Red Mountain pact ensures benefits for all
Last updated 4/19/2019 at 5:16am
Ascot Resources Ltd. and Nisga'a Nation April 10 announced the signing of a benefits agreement for Red Mountain, an underground gold project roughly 15 kilometers (nine miles) northeast of Stewart, British Columbia.
"This agreement sets a comprehensive structure to collaborate through the development and mining at Red Mountain, along with certainty for the proponent," said Nisga'a Lisims President Eva Clayton.
Completed through IDM Mining Ltd., now a subsidiary of Ascot Resources, this agreement provides a framework for the Nisga'a Nation, its citizens, and businesses to benefit from the ongoing success at Red Mountain.
"The company's relationship with Nisga'a Nation truly started on the land: at Red Mountain with our Waks and Gimxdii operating safely and efficiently in a challenging environment, finding and defining the gold in the ground," said Rob McLeod, Ascot advisor and former CEO of IDM Mining.
"Our people have worked on the drills, in the camp, in the mine and everywhere on the project through exploration, engineering, and regulatory efforts," Nisga'a Lisims Chair Brian Tait added.
This work over the last several years has culminated in defining enough ore reserves to support a mine that is expected to average roughly 78,800 ounces of gold and 228,800 oz of silver annually over an initial six-year mine-life, according to a feasibility study completed in 2017.
"I look forward to working with Nisga'a Nation through the implementation of the agreement as we advance the high-grade Red Mountain project," said Ascot Resources President and CEO Derek White.
Under the agreement, Nisga'a Nation will receive cash payments that are tied to achieving permitting, financing and production milestones at Red Mountain, as well as a percentage of provincial mineral tax from production at the site.
The pact also establishes a training and employment committee to provide pre-employment training, advancement training, local sourcing and success-based initiatives.
A second committee is being established to identify and plan for business opportunities associated with the coming mine.
"We look forward to growing our participation through construction and operations at Red Mountain which will provide sustainable and transferable careers and business opportunities for Nisga'a citizens," said Tait.
For its part, Nisga'a Nation will provide ongoing support and continued consultation for the development and future operations of an underground gold mine at Red Mountain. This input will emphasize respect for the land, protection of the environment, as well as understanding of cultural use and knowledge encompassing the entirety of the Red Mountain project site.
"The rights under our treaty, the obligations of this agreement, and our commitment to stewardship of the land and Nisga'a citizens have set the Red Mountain project to be a safe, prosperous, and responsible mining operation," said Corinne McKay, secretary-treasurer of Nisga'a Lisims. "We will work closely with the company to ensure that they carry out the obligations we have agreed upon."
Ascot Resources hopes this agreement lays the groundwork for similar collaborations with the local First Nations as it looks to resume operations at the historical Premier gold-silver mine and adjacent properties near Stewart.
"We look forward to developing an additional potential benefits agreement for our Premier and Big Missouri Projects, also located within the Nass area," said White.
A third-generation resident of Stewart, McLeod is pleased with what this agreement means for the people he grew up with and the gold project he helped to advance to the development stage.
"Our relationship has culminated with approval by the officers of the Nisga'a Nation and the executive of Nisga'a Lisims government, resulting in a fair and comprehensive agreement that will advance Red Mountain, provide opportunities to Nisga'a citizens and benefit my hometown of Stewart, BC. I am very proud of this accomplishment," he said.