Vancouver-based Avanti Mining (TSXV:AVT) responded this morning to the recent decision by a BC First Nation to launch a dispute resolution process with the provincial government over an environmental assessment of the Kitsault molybdenum mine.
The move on the part of the Nisga’a Lisims government could delay the restart of the past-producing mine located north of Prince Rupert. As outlined in a 2010 feasibility study, Kitsault has proven and probable reserves of 232.5 million tonnes grading 0.081 percent molybdenum and containing 415.8 million pounds of molybdenum.
Avanti’s president, Craig Nelsen, said the company has spent four years and $13 million on assessing the environmental impacts of the mine, and noted that BC’s environment assessment process is “one of the most rigorous anywhere.”
He also said the Nisga’a were key participants in the process and the company provided the First Nation funding to do so.
“The amount of work that we have done to ensure the Nisga’a Treaty requirements have been met has been extraordinary and unprecedented, and the government has already gone well past the statutory timeframes,” Nelsen said, adding, “[w]e firmly believe that BC and Canada have fulfilled their obligations under the Treaty and fully expect the Ministers to approve this project at this time.”
There is nothing in the Nisga’a Treaty or provincial legislation preventing ministers from making a decision on environmental assessment, even though the Nisga’a have initiated dispute resolution, according to Avanti.
The mine would inject some $1 billion to local communities over 25 months of construction and would provide over 700 construction jobs and 300 jobs to local communities, including the Nisga’a, during its 16-year mine life, Avanti noted in its press release.
For its part, leaders of the Nisga’a Nation said Thursday that the billion-dollar molybdenum mine would violate the province’s first modern-day treaty.
“We all know we’re on the eve of a provincial election,” Kevin McKay, chairman of the Nisga’a Lisims government, told The Province newspaper. “It’s our feeling that the (environmental assessment office) is moving a little too hastily, before they are sure that they’ve met all of the requirements.
Securities Disclosure: I, Andrew Topf, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
Editorial Disclosure: Avanti Mining is a client of the Investing News Network. This article is not paid-for content.