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First Nations demand moratorium on Yukon mining activities following Eagle incident

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The Nacho Nyak Dan First Nation is demanding an immediate halt to all mining operations on Indigenous lands in the Yukon Territory following a landslide last week at Victoria Gold’s (TSXV: VGCX; OTC Pink: VITFF) Eagle Mine.

in A statement released on Wednesday (July 3), First Nations called the incident “the latest and potentially catastrophic mining failure in the region” and called for an independent investigation and review.

Chief Dona Hope stressed the need for sustainable development and responsible mining practices, stressing that protecting the integrity of Na Tcho Nyauk Dung’s lands, people and ecosystems is a top priority.

The failure of an alluvial leach pad at Eagle triggered a landslide, causing extensive damage to infrastructure and releasing cyanide into the environment, raising environmental concerns.

in Media Briefing On Thursday, July 4, the territory’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources, John Stryker, said tests at the mine site had detected high levels of cyanide, while four water samples taken around Eagle also showed cyanide, but at lower concentrations, and that the water quality in Haggart Creek could be high enough to affect fish.

in Press release on the same dayVictoria Gold said surface water samples taken from various locations downstream of the Eagle River showed no signs of cyanide.

“In terms of environmental mitigation, a pumping system was installed within hours of the incident to move water away from the HLF material back into the lined containment pond. Diversion systems were also installed to manage both non-contact and contact water and materials. To date, continuous environmental surface water quality samples have been taken at multiple points downstream of the site and no cyanide has been detected.”

Victoria Gold has promised to release more information by the end of next week.

Na Tho Nhac Dung, on the other hand, is calling for the implementation of a land use plan that will limit development and implement strict monitoring of mining and industrial activities in the territory. Meanwhile, Hope stressed that the community is exploring all possible remedies to address the environmental damage.

“We will pursue all available avenues, including legal options, to protect and preserve our rights, address this environmental destruction, and ensure that the lands and waters of our territory are safe for the fish, wildlife and people who have relied on them for generations,” she said in the First Nations statement.

in In an interview with CBC on WednesdayStreaker confirmed that the surface water at the landslide site has been contained, but added that it is still unclear how much soil was released during the landslide and what the exact cause of the landslide was. He believes the top priority should be to take preventative measures to prevent similar incidents from happening in the future.

“We’re really pleased that there were no fatalities, but over time we’ll need to understand what happened and make sure we’re not putting Yukon residents and workers at risk,” he said.

Victoria Gold’s shares have fallen nearly 90% since the incident and remain sluggish.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Giann Liguid, hold no direct investment interests in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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