Alsek Valley

Alsek Valley, Yukon Canada

Alsek Valley (Source: Marty Sims)

Alsek Valley (Photo by Marty Sims)

The Alsek Valley region is located in southwest Yukon, about 10 km northwest of Haines Junction.  The region is approximately 450 square kilometers and includes areas of Kluane National Park & Reserve, the Kluane Game Sanctuary, UNESCO Kluane/ Wrangell-St. Elias World Heritage Site and the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations Traditional Territory.

The Alsek River (a Canadian Heritage River) flows from this region into Alaska, ending up at Dry Bay.  It supports commercial fisheries for king, coho, and sockeye salmon, as well as sport and subsistence fishing.

Solomon Resources, a junior mining company, has staked a large claim block in the Kluane Game Sanctuary in the Alsek Valley, right on the Kluane National Park border.  The claim is for deposits containing gold, copper, nickle, and platinum.
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Concerns

  • Grizzly bear movement corridors (Source: Yukon Conservation Society)

    Grizzly bear movement corridors.  Click to enlarge.   (Source: Yukon Conservation Society)

    Habitat Disruption: The Alsek valley is a crucial corridor for wildlife in the region, particularly grizzly bears.  Kluane National Park does not contain enough land to support its grizzly population, so the bears rely on being able to travel to land outside the park.  The mine would block the wildlife corridor, fragmenting the habitat. Additionally, the Alsek Valley is home to Draba yukonensis (also known as Yukon Whitlow-grass), one of the rarest plants in Canada.

  • Cumulative impact of other development in the region: The mine would compound the effects of other development in the region, such as logging, mining, roads, gravel pits, and residential subdivisions.
  • Effect on residents, local businesses, and tourism
  • Water quality: People, fish and wildlife all depend on the clean water of the Alsek River.  The mine would cover most of the Thunderegg Creek which flows a short distance directly into the Dezadeash/Alsek River.

Alsek Campaign

Alsek Valley Grizzly Bear (Source: Marty Samis)

(Photo by Marty Samis)

The Yukon Conservation Society, MiningWatch Canada, and local citizens are campaigning for a land use plan that considers the special environmental and socio-economic values of this region. The campaign has two objectives:

  1. Ask Solomon Resources Ltd. to refrain from renewing its quartz claims in the Alsek Valley when they expire in May 2013. (Note: Solomon’s claims in the Alsek Valley are only a small portion of the company’s overall properties in the southwest Yukon)
  2. The Yukon government establishes a moratorium on staking and mining in the region until a regional land-use plan is established and implemented.  The Yukon government also establishes and implements a regional land-use plan.  This is a priority of the Champagne and Aishihik First Nations and a requirement of their land claims settlement

Take action!

You can write to Solomon Resources asking them to cancel or not renew their claims in the Alsek Valley region.

Solomon Resources
P.O. Box 938
Vernon
British Columbia
V1T 6M8
FAX: 778-475-5541

You can also write to the Yukon Government asking them to place a moratorium on mining in the Alsek Valley and to initiate and implement a regional land use plan.

Draba yukonensis  (Photo by Gerry Mussgnug)

Draba yukonensis (Photo by Gerry Mussgnug)

Hon. Brad Cathers
Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources
Yukon Legislative Assembly
Box 2703
Whitehorse, YK
brad.cathers@gov.yk.ca

Bob Holmes
Director, Mineral Resources
Mineral Resources Branch, Yukon Government
400-211 Main Street
Whitehorse, YK
robert.holmes@gov.yk.ca

Resources

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