WORK on roads and for a construction camp at Kitsault has been started by Avanti Mining in a lead up to a planned full-on development starting next year for a molybdenum mine scheduled to open in 2017.
The work follows the granting by the provincial government on June 13 of a mines permit and the subsequent granting of other permits and leases allowing work to start.
“This is a very significant milestone for the Kitsault molybdenum project,” said Avanti president Gordon Bogden of the mines permit for the project which will cost close to $1 billion in construction and ongoing capital costs.
Avanti has lined up a portion of its financing, as well as sales agreements with South Korean and German firms and agencies and is now working on final financing.
It is forecasting a construction workforce of 700 people at the peak and anticipates needing a workforce of 300 people over a projected 14-year life.
“I am eager to see production at Kitsault begin, which will provide up to 300 new, well-paying jobs for British Columbians,” said provincial mines minister Bill Bennett.
Avanti received its provincial environmental approvals a little over a year ago and anticipates receiving federal environmental approval soon.
And if Avanti has been making progress on its approvals, it took a major step forward when it negotiated a revenue sharing deal with the Nisga’a Nation that was announced the beginning of this month.
That deal will see the Nisga’a Nation receive up to two per cent of net smelter royalties with the actual dollar amount varying depending upon the price of molybdenum.
The Nisga’a concerns over environmental protection were also addressed within the agreement.
Although not within Nisga’a lands granted under a 2000 land claims treaty, the Nisga’a do have an influence, through the treaty, in what happens in the Kitsault area.
The Nisga’a had listed environmental and other worries about the development and was using the dispute resolution mechanism within the 2000 treaty to register those objections.
The Nisga’a also filed a BC Supreme Court suit last year to have the provincial environmental approval overturned but stopped that suit in the lead up to revenue sharing negotiations and subsequent agreement.
In addition to revenue from Avanti, the Nisga’a are also in negotiations with the provincial government for a share of the tax revenue that will flow from the project.
That falls in line with a provincial policy of providing tax monies flowing from either new mines or expansions of existing ones.