The Casino Mine project is located 150 km northwest of Carmacks and 300 km northwest of Whitehorse, Yukon. The mine is designed to process approximately 120,000 tonnes per day (or 43.8 million tonnes per year), over a 27-year operation following a 4-year construction period. Over the life of the mine, it is estimated it will produce 4.27 billion pounds of copper, 6.95 million ounces of gold, 36.09 million ounces of silver, and 346 million pounds of molybdenum. The project is expected to employ approximately 1,400 people during the construction period and 600-700 annually throughout operations.
The main components of the project include the open pit, the tailings management facility, the processing facilities, ore stockpiles, and associated mine infrastructure components. Affected First Nations include Selkirk First Nation, Little Salmon / Carmacks First Nation, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, White River First Nation, and Kluane First Nation. Casino Mine Corporation (CMC) submitted a project proposal to the executive committee of the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) in January of 2014 and was ultimately referred to a Panel Review in 2016.
Project solutions and approach
Ausenco has worked closely with CMC on this site since 2014. Our team is currently providing CMC with advice and guidance on the environmental assessment, agreements, and traditional knowledge, as well as socio-economic and engagement and consultation support. The project is advancing through the environmental and socio-economic assessment process under the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Act (YESAA).
With the objective of building stronger partnerships with First Nations and communities, we designed an intensive consultation program for CMC. While coordinating the implementation with CMC’s team, our key responsibilities included the development and design of consultation materials, coordination and facilitation of all technical and community engagement activities (virtual/in-person meetings, workshops, open houses), as well as the collection and management of all comments and concerns received pertaining to the proposed project. We serve as a liaison between CMC and affected First Nations and communities to ensure transparent, consistent, and effective communication in the consultation process. This includes all logistical aspects of the community work, synthesizing meeting summaries, and will culminate in a consultation and engagement report as part of CMC’s Environmental and Socio-economic Effects (ESE) Statement for Panel Review. Our team works closely with CMC’s legal team to satisfy and meet any requirements of CMC’s agreements with First Nations.
We also serve as an advisor to CMC in their navigation of the YESAA process. In this role, we have undertaken the revised socio-economic baseline and effects assessment in accordance with direction from YESAB. Ausenco is also the technical lead on the incorporation of traditional knowledge into the overall effects assessment.
Outcomes and achievements
- Yukon-based experience working with First Nations, designing and executing effective First Nations and public consultation processes.
- Specific experience in progressing socio-economic studies through YESAA.
- Designing socio-economic studies and traditional knowledge incorporation for panel review.