Molybdenum mine decision urged despite Nisga'a concerns
The Nisga'a fear the mine is being rushed through before the May 14 provincial election
A Vancouver-based mining company says it has spent four years and $13 million shepherding the revival of a mothballed northwestern B.C. mine through the environmental review process, and there are no reasons for further delay.
Avanti Mining Inc. is responding to the decision by the Nisga'a Lisims Government to launch the dispute resolution provision within the First Nation's historic treaty, in hopes of slowing provincial approval of the Kitsault mine.
The Nisga'a fear the mine, which is in their traditional territory, is being rushed through the approval process to beat the upcoming May 14 provincial election.
Avanti president Craig Nelsen says the company has gone to "extraordinary and unprecedented" efforts to ensure the Nisga'a Treaty requirements have been met for the billion-dollar molybdenum mine, 140 kilometres north of Prince Rupert.
He says although the dispute resolution process is now in play, nothing in the treaty or provincial legislation prevents Environment Minister Terry Lake and Mines Minister Rich Coleman from making a decision within the next 30 days on an environmental assessment certificate for Kitsault.
The company purchased the mine in 2008, more than 25 years after it was closed because of low molybdenum prices, but Avanti says higher prices for the element means the mine can be profitable for at least the next 16-years, creating as many as 300 local jobs.
The proposal before the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office includes an open pit mine with up to 40,000 tonnes of ore extracted per day, a facility for manufacturing explosives, mill processing, and other facilities, including a potential 9.8 MW run-of-river power project to generate 9.8 MW of power.
With files from CBC News