The Government of Yukon releases new quartz mining guide to help protect water in the Yukon

Press Release

October 15, 2021

The Government of Yukon released guidelines to help the quartz mining industry address and reduce its impacts on water in the Yukon. The Yukon Guide for Developing Water Quality Objectives and Effluent Quality Standards provides quartz mining proponents with methods for determining water quality objectives and effluent quality standards for projects.

Quartz mining proponents are now expected to use these guidelines to support their environmental assessment and water licence applications.

Having a standard guideline for industry to access and use will help protect the Yukon’s freshwater and promote sustainable water use in the territory.

Yukon First Nations governments and quartz mining industry representatives provided important feedback during the development of the guide.

It is important that we protect the Yukon’s freshwater now and for future generations. To do this, we are taking steps to mitigate the potential impacts that quartz mining has on the Yukon’s water. These guidelines will help quartz mining water licence applicants understand environmental obligations while supporting their industry.

Minister of Environment Nils Clarke

This guide will offer the mining industry increased clarity on what is required to protect Yukon waters. Clarity is a key component to an efficient and effective regulatory system and we hope this new guide will result in successful, responsible mining operations in the Yukon.

Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources John Streicker

The use of the Guide will greatly assist the Water Board by providing clarity needed in the development of plans and establishing project specific effluent quality standards for water licences.

Yukon Water Board Chair Piers McDonald

The Guide will be an invaluable resource and reference point for assessments, offering much needed certainty regarding the information on water quality expected in a project proposal.

Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board

Quick facts

  • Water quality objectives are thresholds of acceptable quality conditions in specific receiving waters that may be affected by a project.
  • Effluent quality standards are maximum allowable concentrations of contaminants of potential concern that can be released to the environment in effluent.
  • The Yukon Water Board endorses the guide and expects applicants to use them for water licence applications going forward. Applicants who have previously submitted water licence applications may also choose to use the guide should they wish.
  • The Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board supports this guide which embraces generally accepted and long-established principles and approaches to water quality management. The Board intends to use it as part of their assessment process. Specific baseline requirements will be assessed on a project specific basis.


Jacob Wilson
Cabinet Communications

Sophie Best
Communications, Environment

Sue Thomas
Communications, Energy, Mines and Resources


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