Yukon miner takes Dawson City to court over permit rejection for placer claims

·3 min read
The Yukon court house in Whitehorse. Darrell Carey, a Yukon miner, is asking the Yukon Supreme Court for a judicial review of a decision to deny him a development permit near Dawson City. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)
The Yukon court house in Whitehorse. Darrell Carey, a Yukon miner, is asking the Yukon Supreme Court for a judicial review of a decision to deny him a development permit near Dawson City. (Paul Tukker/CBC - image credit)

A Yukon miner is taking the City of Dawson to court after it denied him a permit to work on a portion of his placer claims located within municipal limits.

Darrell Carey filed a petition to the Yukon Supreme Court on Oct. 26, alleging that Dawson City officials made their decision unfairly and without proper process.

Carey is seeking a judicial review of the decision.

The case has not been tested in court. The municipality had not filed a response as of Oct. 29.

According to the petition, Carey's 44 claims near the Klondike River have been "actively mined for decades," with some of them originally stake as far back as 1926.

"Currently the only government entity preventing the petitioner from performing mining work at the Project is the City of Dawson, and it has done so unfairly and unreasonably," the petition alleges, noting Carey's already obtained a water licence, land use approval for a Class 4 placer mine and approval from the Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board.

The municipality, the petition alleges, denied Carey's applications for various development permits throughout 2019, offering "brief, vague and inconsistent" reasons for doing so.

Decision denies Carey ability to earn a living, petition says

Carey submitted another development permit application in March 2021, the petition continues, but the application was denied "for two reasons, each supported by a single paragraph of text." While the petition doesn't list the reasons for the denial, it says Carey's attempts to appeal the decision were also unsuccessful, with the town council issuing written reasons in support of the decision in September.

"The Decision, and the larger issue of Mr. Carey being able to earn a living mining his active and valid placer mining claims, is one of considerable [significance] to him personally, his family, and the larger Yukon mining community," the petition reads.

"Mr. Carey has not been treated fairly by the City of Dawson. The City has, without compensation, denied his ability to earn a living off the placer mining claims that with [the] assistance of this court he purchased only five years ago."

Carey is asking the court to overturn the September decision to deny his application for a development permit, as well as a declaration that the decision "was the product of a procedurally unfair decision making process" and "was substantively unreasonable and legally incorrect."

He's also asking for a direction that Dawson City council either issue him a development permit or that "the matter be returned for consideration by a new decision maker," "monetary relief" or, in the alternative, that Dawson City pay him "for the claims it has expropriated."

The petition is the second legal action Carey has launched over his claims in about as many years — in August 2019, he filed a lawsuit against the territory's minister of energy, mines and resources, accusing him of expropriating his claims.

Carey hasn't been the only one to take legal action. Dawson City, in 2010, successfully sued Carey for trespassing after he removed trees from two roads that traversed a portion of his claims.

There have also been a series of disagreements that have taken place outside of court; in 2014, the Yukon government agreed to re-route Dome Road around Carey's Slinky Mine project so he could mine for gold underneath following a prolonged dispute between Carey and the municipality.

Carey also caused a stir in 2017 when he announced plans to do exploration work in the Dome Road area that winter, with some residents concerned the activity would be too close to popular ski trails.

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