Energy, Mines and Resources


Mineral Tenure on Commissioner's Land

The Quartz Mining Act (QMA)  578 KB, is the primary legislation governing hard rock mining activities on lands in Yukon. The purpose of the QMA is to encourage prospecting, exploration, staking and development of mineral resources by providing an orderly system of allocation of exclusive rights to minerals. Specific permission must be obtained where the surface is occupied by others.

Mineral tenure is granted under the free entry system in Yukon. This system gives individuals exclusive right to publicly-owned mineral substances from the surface of their claim to an unlimited extension downward vertically from the boundary of the claim or lease. All Commissioner’s lands are open for staking and mineral exploration unless they are expressly excluded or withdrawn by order-in-council (e.g. parks, interim protected lands, buildings, dwelling houses, cemeteries, agricultural lands, settlement lands).

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A prospecting license is not required in Yukon. Anyone 18 years or older, or an individual authorized by any corporation authorized to carry on business in Yukon, or anyone on behalf of someone else 18 years or older, may enter on available land for mining purposes, locate, prospect, and mine for gold and other precious minerals or stones.

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Mineral Claims
A claim is a parcel of land located or granted for hard rock mining. A claim also includes any ditches or water rights used for mining the claim, and all other things belonging to or used in the working of the claim for mining purposes.

Size of a Claim
A claim is a rectangular plot of ground that does not exceed 1,500′ X 1,500′. All angles of a claim must be right angles, except in the cases where a boundary line of a previously located claim is adopted as common to both locations. See QMA  578 KB: Section 18.

Fractional Claims
A fractional claim is a plot of ground lying between and bounded on opposite sides by previously located mineral claims and measuring less than 1,500′ X 1,500′. A fractional claim does not need to be rectangular in form and the angles do not need to be right angles. The lines of the previously located mineral claims, between which the fractional mineral claim is located, may be adopted as the boundaries of the fractional mineral claim. See QMA  578 KB: Section 19.

Staking a Claim
Before staking a claim, an individual or company should reference the relevant maps available at the Mining Recorder Office (also available online) to determine where land is available for staking and where areas have been withdrawn from staking. See QMA  578 KB: Sections 23-33.

Staking a claim in Yukon requires that you acquire claim tags from the Mining Recorder prior to staking in the field and that posts be placed in the ground according to regulated requirements. The Mining Recorder Offices have staking guides available, including information such as dimensions of a post and details of the information which must be placed on the claim tag. Yukon uses a two post system with the claim lying on one side of the line joining the two posts. (QMA Sections 12, 23-40)

Recording a Claim
Once a claim is located it must be recorded with the Mining Recorder responsible for the district in which the claim is located. Claims must be recorded within 30 days of staking.

An application to record a claim must be submitted with all fees ($10 per claim) and a sketch of claims. The application form must be notarized and can be delivered in person, by fax (with original in mail) or mailed to the Mining Recorder Office. Payment can also be made in person or over the telephone with a credit card. A claim is not considered to be received until the fees have been collected by the Mining Recorder Office responsible for the district in which the claim is located. The date that the ‘Application to Record’ form and fees are received is considered the recording date (anniversary date). See QMA  578 KB: Sections 41-47.

Application for a Full Claim (YG5047)
 English  40 KB français  48 KB

Application for a Fractional Claim (YG5047)
 English  40 KB français  48 KB

Representation of Work
Continued tenure to the mineral rights is dependent upon work performed on the claim or a group of claims. When work has been done on a claim and is being used for the renewal of that claim, a full report of the work done must be submitted to the Mining Recorder Office. A renewal certificate will not be issued until the report and/or survey has been approved for the value required.

The Quartz Mining Act (QMA)  578 KB does not specify work to be performed, except in dollar terms. Renewal of a quartz claim requires that $100 of work be done per claim per year, based on the Schedule of Representation Work outlined in the QMA. Where work is not performed, the claimant may make a payment in lieu of work. The fee for payment in lieu is $100 per claim per year plus $5 for the certificate of work per claim per year. See QMA  578 KB: Section 53-60, Schedule 2, Fee (Section 104).

Schedule of Representation Work  785 KB

Application for a Certificate of Work (YG5049)
 English  40 KB français  49 KB

Application for Renewal of Grant for Quartz Mining Pay in Lieu (YG5220)
 Bilingual  203 KB

Grouping Claims
Work must be performed on every claim unless groupings are filed. An application (Application to Group Mineral Claims (YG5048) Bilingual  87 KB) can be made to group adjoining claims; the maximum number of claims per grouping is 750. Grouping allows work to be performed on one or more claims and can be distributed to any or all other claims in the group. Groupings may be applied for at the same time as renewal applications. Each grouping requires a sketch showing the selected claims. (See QMA  578 KB: Section 55).

Lapsing of Mineral Claims
The holder of a claim may abandon or relinquish any rights to his/her claims. If assessment work is not performed on a claim, or payment in lieu is not made, the claim will lapse. There is a 14-day grace period, after the expiry of the claim, during which assessment work which was done prior to the expiry date of the claim may be recorded without penalty. Work filed after the grace period, but before the six month anniversary of the claim’s expiration, is subject to penalty fees. Work cannot be filed more than six months after the expiry date of the claim. The applicant should contact the Mining Recorder Office prior to the expiry day of the claim in order to ensure familiarity with all additional conditions of filing work in penalty.

Surveying Claims
If there is a dispute regarding claim boundaries, the holder of a claim may apply to have the claims surveyed. All surveys of mining claims must be completed by a Canada Lands Surveyor. The Survey Notice Form  37 KB must be completed and submitted to the Mining Recorder Office.

Quartz Leases
Quartz leases are the most secure form of mineral title in Yukon. Once a vein or lode is confirmed within the limits of the claim, the proponent may apply to lease the subsurface of their claim(s). Typically, companies contemplating production will take their claims to lease which provides secure title and relieves them from their annual work requirement. Quartz leases are issued for 21 years and can be renewed for an additional 21-year term, provided that during the original term of the lease, all conditions of the lease and provisions of the legislation have been adhered to.

Applying For a Quartz Mining Lease:

  1. The applicant must do or cause to be done $500 worth of work on the claim. (This can be a combination of work and payment in lieu. The applicant must provide a spreadsheet type document for each claim being taken to lease.)
  2. A vein or lode must have been found within the limits of the claim and certified by the Yukon government’s chief geologist. (The Mining Recorder Office makes the request to the chief geologist for this report.) A Certificate of Improvements will not be issued until a report from the chief geologist is received.
  3. The claim must be surveyed by a Canada lands surveyor.
  4. A copy of the preliminary survey plan and a copy a Notice of Intent to Apply for a Certificate of Improvements (Form 8)  40 KB must be posted on the claim and in the Mining Recorder Office.
  5. A copy of the Notice (Form 8)  40 KB must be published in the newspaper at least 60 days (continuous) prior to the application for a Certificate of Improvements (available in English  39 KB and français  46 KB). This is to allow the public to comment on the survey plan. Original newspaper clippings must be forwarded to the Mining Recorder Office to confirm that this was done.
  6. The applicant must submit an Application for Certificate of Improvements (Form 9) (available in English  39 KB and français  46 KB) to the Mining Recorder Office.
  7. After 60 days, plus 20 days to allow for the possible commencement of any court action, the Mining Recorder can notify the Legal Surveys Division, Natural Resources Canada and the claim holder that no protests have been received.
  8. The Mining Recorder will issue a Mining Recorder’s Certificate that outlines that the above noted processes are complete.
  9. Once the legal survey is approved, the Mining Recorder will issue the Certificate of Improvements.
  10. The applicant may forward the lease fees at the same time the Certificate of Improvements is applied for or afterward. However, the lease must be applied for by letter to the Mining Recorder Office, within three months from the date the Certificate of Improvements is issued. If this is not done, the claim lapses.
  11. The lease fee includes a $10.00 application fee. Rental fee (for 21 year term) is: $50.00 for 51.65 acres or less; $5.00 for each acre over 51.65 acres.

Disputes and Procedures
The Yukon Surface Rights Board has jurisdiction to resolve disputes over access to privately-held land, including settlement land. It also has jurisdiction to resolve disputes over the competing rights of surface and sub-surface users of land, including settlement land. The Surface Rights Board will also determine compensation for the expropriation of settlement land. An order of the Surface Rights Board will have the same legal effect as an order of the Supreme Court of the Yukon.

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SCHEDULE 2 (Section 104) Quartz Mining Act  578 KB

Recording mineral claim $10.00
For a substituted record $10.00
Application for a lease and issue of same $10.00

For Certificate of Work:

  • For one year $5.00
  • For two years $10.00
  • For three years $15.00
  • For four years $20.00
  • For five years $25.00
For a Certificate of Improvements $5.00
For a grouping certificate $5.00

Recording assignments, abandonments, affidavits or any other document $2.50

  • If document affects more than one claim, for each additional claim $1.00

For an abstract of the record of a claim

  • For the first entry $1.00
  • For each additional entry $0.10

For copies of any documents recorded

  • Up to three folios $3.00
  • For each additional folio $0.50
For recording a power of attorney to stake from one person $4.00
For recording a power of attorney to stake from two persons $8.00
For recording an assignment of a quartz mining lease $3.00

Rental for whole or fractional mineral claim granted under lease for whole term of 21 years:

  • If acreage is 51.65 acres or less $50.00
  • Add for each acre or fraction over 51.65 acres $5.00

Rental for renewal whole term of 21 years

  • If acreage is 51.65 acres or less $200.00
  • Add for each acre or fraction over 51.65 acres $20.00
Rental iron and mica claim as defined by section 20 of the QMA $150.00
Rental for renewal term of twenty-one years iron and mica claim $600.00

Note: Iron and mica mining are dealt with separately from other minerals, as outlined in Sections 20 and 21 of the QMA  578 KB. Grants for locations as outlined in Section 20 for iron and mica do not include the surface rights of the lands.

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