Tlicho Road to extend into gold-rich NWT
Last updated 1/4/2019 at 5:10am
Nighthawk Gold Corp. Dec. 20 provided an update on Tlicho all-season road, a new two-lane gravel highway that will bring year-round ground transportation roughly 90 kilometers (62 miles) closer to the company's Indin Lake gold property in Northwest Territories.
The Tlicho Road will follow an existing winter road some 97 kilometers (60 miles) miles north from Highway 3 to the community of Whati.
In late October, federal and territorial ministers approved the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Review Board recommendation to proceed with the environmental assessment for this two-lane gravel highway further into this mineral-rich territory.
The federal government has agreed to pay up to 25 percent of the cost to build this road – the remainder is being funded by Northwest Territories.
The ceiling of C$200 million was placed on the request for proposals to build this road. The preferred proponent to build and maintain this road for the first 25 years was selected in November.
"This is an important project for the Northwest Territories, and particularly residents of the Tłı̨chǫ First Nation as the road will allow transportation efficiencies to reduce the cost of living within the region, foster social opportunities by linking up some of the more remote communities such as Whatı̀, and ultimately result in better winter road access to our Indin Lake Gold Property," said Nighthawk Gold President and CEO Michael Byron.
The Northwest Territories government is working in partnership with the Tlicho First Nation to advance the road project, and road construction and maintenance will result in significant employment and training opportunities for Tlicho residents.
"We are encouraged to see the commitment of all three parties (federal, territorial and First Nations) to promote infrastructure development and road access, especially when considering any future mining scenarios at our flagship Colomac gold project," Byron added.
Colomac, the most advanced project on Nighthawk's 222,203-acre Indin Lake gold property, hosts 50.3 million metric tons of inferred resource averaging 1.62 grams per metric ton (2.61 million ounces) of gold, according to a resource calculated in May.
A winter road extends roughly 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the north end of the coming Tlicho Road to Colomac, which is the site of a past producing gold mine.
"There is substantial mine waste rock stockpiled on surface from the former operation that could potentially be used as material for any additional road construction in the future," the Nighthawk Gold CEO said.
In addition to bringing year-round ground transportation closer to Indin Lake, the road will provide better access to other mineral projects in this area northwest of Yellowknife.
"We see this as an evolutionary step in the right direction to provide attractiveness to industry in the exploration and development of natural resources," said Byron.
Fortune Mineral Ltd.'s Nico cobalt-gold-bismuth-copper project is an advanced stage mining project that will also benefit from the Tlicho Road.
Located about 50 kilometers (30 kilometers) north of Whati, Nico host enough mineral reserves to support a 21-year mine that would average 1,615 metric tons of battery-grade cobalt; 41,300 ounces of gold; 1,750 metric tons of bismuth; and 265 metric tons of copper per year.
Fortune has already received its environmental assessment approval and the major permits needed to build the mine, including a 50-kilometer (30 miles) spur road to Whati.
Above provided access to mine development and mineral exploration projects, Minister of Infrastructure Wally Schumann said the Tlicho Road will provide safety and economic benefits to the communities it connects.
"Not only will this project help provide jobs and fosters skills and capacity building for all northerners, especially in the Tlicho region, but it is also another step forward for this government in fulfilling our mandate commitment to secure funding and advance planning and construction of transportation projects," Schumann said.