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Feds give nod to northwestern B.C. mine project

The federal government has given its approval for Avanti's Kitsault molybdenum mine project provided the company follows a series of measures to dampen environmental effects.

“I have determined that the project can reasonably be expected to result in adverse, but not significant, environmental effects on residents of Nisga'a Lands, Nisga'a Lands or Nisga'a interests related to fisheries, wildlife, migratory birds and forest resources,” noted federal environment minister Leona Aglukkaq in an approval document released today.

She did lay out a number of recommendations identified through earlier studies that Avanti needs to follow.

The list includes fish, water and wildlife compensation plans.

The list of Avanti tasks also takes in snow clearing and other work along the Nass Forest Service Road (better known as the Cranberry Connector) which would be a key transportation connections for road access into Kitsault.

The company would be responsible for measures to minimize vehicle-wildlife collisions and will need to participate in measures to increase the Nass moose population.

A further federal condition is to promote Nisga'a business opportunities and develop Nisga'a hiring plans.

Avanti officials have been anticipating federal approval for some months and today's announcement clears another hurdle for the project .

The company received its provincial approval more than a year ago, signed a revenue sharing deal with the Nisga'a Nation last month and, last week, began clearing an access road and area to expand a camp that's at the location.

It is also working on final financing needed for the $1 billion project and anticipates a full construction start next year leading to a 2017 opening.

Molybdenum is used in steel alloys and Avanti is forecasting a mine life of 14 years.

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