A B.C.-based mining company is facing charges related to a contentious exploration project near Cowley Creek, just outside of Whitehorse.
Gladiator Metals Corp. is facing six charges under Yukon’s Quartz Mining Act. The company is alleged to have exceeded the scope of its exploration permit, by clearing vegetation and upgrading access roads, among other things.
The charges relate to work done between April 24 and May 12 this year.
The company has been drilling in the area near Cowley Creek to measure copper levels, under a permit for early-stage exploration.
The project raised concerns this past spring among local residents who complained about the “horrific mess” the company was making.
The drill sites are accessible off the South Klondike Highway, just a few minutes outside Whitehorse and beside Cowley Creek. Drill trails were established there as part of mining operations in the 1970s and ’80s, but residents of neighbouring subdivisions say they now use those trails for recreation. And, they say, the work has torn up the area.
Court documents filed in late June allege that some of Gladiator’s actions have been done without an approved operating plan. Those alleged actions include:
- Creating clearings greater than 400 square metres.
- Upgrading access roads.
- Exploration without approval by the Heritage Resources Unit.
- Removing the vegetative mat without storing it for reestablishing it later.
- Failing to contain drill fluids in a sump.
- Rutting and gouging roads and trails.
Most of the charges carry a maximum penalty of $20,000 under Yukon mining laws.
In an emailed statement to CBC News, Gladiator spokesperson Jason Bontempo said the company’s lawyers are in contact with the Yukon government about the charges.
“As we have been successfully working with [the Compliance, Monitoring and Inspections branch] on updated plans and procedures for future exploration, it is our intention to continue with the approved program in compliance with all relevant regulations,” Bontempo wrote.
The Yukon government declined to comment on the charges while they’re before the courts.
Gladiator will next appear in Yukon Territorial Court on August 15.
With files from Leslie Amminson
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