Kitsault project environmental assessment open for final public comment

26th August 2013

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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JOHANNESBURG ( – The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has given the public until September 22 to comment on the environmental assessment of Avanti Mining’s proposed construction and operation of an openpit molybdenum mine in British Columbia.

Avanti planned to reopen the Kitsault mine, which had proven and probable reserves of 415.5-million ounces of molybdenum, during 2015, with construction on the $938-million project expected to start this year.

A total of 374-million ounces of molybdenum would be extracted at a cash cost of $6.73/oz and at an average rate of 23.4-million ounces a year – with the first years averaging 29.6-million ounces a year – over the 16-year mine life.

The deposit had National Instrument 43-101-compliant measured and indicated resources of 272.6-million ounces and 233-million ounces respectively, with inferred resources of 286.3-million ounces.

Between 1967 and 1982, about 38.3-million tonnes of ore had been mined and about 13.6-million kilograms of molybdenum recovered.

The CEAA’s comprehensive study report tabled conclusions and recommendations regarding the implementation of mitigation measures.

“ … with the implementation of mitigation measures, the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects,” the agency said.

The 152-page document noted that the project might, however, deliver potential adverse effects on nearby communities’ interests in relation to fisheries, wildlife and migratory birds and forest resources.

As Avanti awaited a federal environmental assessment decision on the Kitsault project, the Nisga'a First Nation has been opposing the mine’s development and challenged the British Columbia Environmental Assessment Office’s decision to award the project an environmental assessment certificate in March, as well as the Fisheries and Oceans Canada declaration that certain waters in the area of the tailings impoundment facility were not frequented by fish.

The agency’s report indicated that the project was also likely to affect the social and cultural wellbeing of Nisga’a citizens, as “the potential inflow of people and income to the communities may place additional demand on the existing housing supply and may reduce opportunities to pursue cultural activities”.

The agency pointed to a modest benefit to the economic wellbeing of Nisga’a citizens owing to employment and contracting opportunities associated with the project.

“We believe this project can offer tremendous training and employment opportunities for Nisga'a citizens and others and we are committed to moving forward with this,” Avanti CEO and president Craig Nelsen said earlier this year.

The project’s “high degree” of environmental protection ensured extensive monitoring and protection measures, as well as water treatment. The environmental assessment process also included a comprehensive environmental, social and cultural impact assessment, done specifically with respect to the Nisga'a community, with “extensive input from and in consultation with the Nisga'a”, he said.

The federal Minister of the Environment would take into consideration the report, along with comments received from the public and aboriginal groups, before issuing an environmental assessment decision statement, said CEAA.

Edited by Chanel de Bruyn
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor Online


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