Moly mine decision awaited

PROVINCIAL ENVIRONMENTAL officials continue to review the application by Avanti Mining to open a $850 million molybdenum mine at Kitsault on the north coast.

A formal assessment of the project was completed late last year and is being examined before being turned over to two cabinet ministers for a decision.

The environment minister and the mines minister have 45 days to make a decision once recommendations have been presented to them.

The proposed Avanti mine project is an open pit molybdenum mine with an anticipated mine life of 16 years and a planned ore extraction rate of between 40,000 and 50,000 tonnes per day. It's located near Kitsault along the north coast.

Avanti has recently received all the final comments to the provincial environment assessment report and is working diligently on responses,” says company president Craig Nelsen.

We are confident that the project will have a net positive effect on the existing environmental conditions at the site because of the commitments we have made during the [environmental assessment] process.”

This should assist the [Environmental Assessment Office] in making a positive referral report on the project and hopefully a positive decision from the responsible ministers," said Nelsen.

Avanti has so far spent $70 million on the Kitsault project, including approximately $15 million on environmental studies.

Kitsault is approximately 200km north of Terrace by road with access through the Nass Valley. It's located at the end of Alice Arm and is within the traditional territory of the Nisga'a.

There have been two previous moly mining operations in and around Kitsault, the last one closing in the early 1980s shortly after it was opened when the market for the product collapsed.

A townsite was developed for that mine development and although abandoned, has been maintained over the years.

Molybdenum has a number of uses, including as a hardening agent in steel alloys.

In its filings, Avanti outlined plans for local training and hiring a construction workforce and then an operating workforce.

Avanti plans to truck out its ore concentrate using the east-west Cranberry Connector route that runs approximately 30km from the Nass Valley to Hwy37 north of Kitwanga.

From there trucks will continue south to Hwy16 and then to Vancouver where the concentrate will be loaded onto freighters for delivery overseas.


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