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Nisga'a, mining company announce economic agreement
Avanti Mining Inc. and the Nisga'a Nation have announced an agreement for the latter to receive economic and other benefits from the company's planned molybdenum mine at Kitsault on the north coast.
“The agreement will address a number of outstanding Nisga'a concerns in respect of environmental protection, provide economic benefits to the Nisga'a Nation (including a net smelter royalty of up to 2 per cent based on prevailing molybdenum prices), and resolve all outstanding litigation,” states a company release of this morning.
The project is located within the Nass Area, in which the Nisga'a Nation has certain treaty rights under the 2000 Nisga'a Final Agreement.
This is the first major economic agreement negotiated by the Nisga'a Lisims Government.
Molybdenum is primarily used to strengthen steel.
Avanti and the Nisga'a Nation previously had a number of outstanding differences regarding the project and related permitting, but have recently been in direct discussions to resolve those issues and that has proven successful, states the release.
"We are pleased to have finally reached an agreement with Avanti that will enable the project to proceed while ensuring that our treaty rights are respected, and our Nation's environment is protected" said Mitchell Stevens, President of the Nisga'a Nation.
"We wish to congratulate Avanti's new executive team who approached us with a sincere interest in addressing our concerns with the project, which we were then able to work through without delay. This demonstrates that when proponents take the Nisga'a Nation's interests and concerns seriously, practical agreements can be reached in a timely manner. We are now counting on the provincial and federal governments to fulfil their responsibilities under our treaty in respect of this and other projects in our area."
"We are confident [the agreement] will provide meaningful benefits to all parties, including Nisga'a individuals and businesses, and we look forward to growing this partnership,” said Avanti president Gordon Bogden in the release.
The company had already received provincial environmental approval and is waiting for similar approval from the federal government.
It has already negotiated financial and sales agreements with German and South Korean interests tied to the project and is now pursuing final financing.
Construction to reopen the project under a modern day mine plan is expected to start in 2014, subject to receipt of final permits.
Total investment in the project will be approximately $1 billion and, when in production, the mine will provide up to 300 full-time jobs during its anticipated 14-year life.