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Kitsault moly mine involved in treaty dispute

Keywords: Tags  Avanti Mining, Kitsault, molybdenum, moly prices, moly mining, Craig Nelsen, Nisga'a Treaty, Daniel Fitzgerald

NEW YORK — Avanti Mining Inc. says it has taken “extraordinary and unprecedented” steps to ensure that its Kitsault molybdenum mine in British Columbia will meet the requirements of the Nisga’a Treaty, despite the initiation of dispute resolution by the Nisga’a Lisims Government.

The Vancouver, British Columbia-based company said March 15 it remains confident that the environmental assessment (EA) process for the Kitsault Mine has been thoroughly and properly conducted and expects a decision from the provincial government in the days ahead. The project was recently referred to the British Columbia government for consideration to approve an EA certificate in what Avanti described as a “milestone” for the project (, March 5).

The company added that “nothing in the Nisga’a Treaty or provincial legislation prevents ministers from making their decision at this time on the basis that the Nisga’a have initiated dispute resolution.”

“The amount of work that we have done to ensure the Nisga’a Treaty requirements have been met has been extraordinary and unprecedented, and the government has already gone well past the statutory time frames,” Avanti president Craig Nelsen said in a statement.

One analyst said Nisga’a Lisims dispute resolution initiation could potentially hold up the project.

“When these First Nation organizations get involved, they have a history of success in slowing things down,” he said.

He added that the situation was complicated by the impending British Columbia provincial election in May, which he said might have had a bearing on the timing of the dispute.

“It’s already gone through the public consultation process. I think Avanti is trying to remind the government that the decision is in their hands, and that they have to make their decision based on the technical merits of the application and ignore any political background noise,” he said.

“The biggest concern is still project financing,” he added. “They’ll get the permits ultimately, but it’s difficult to get big project interest when the moly price is so weak.”

Canned molybdic oxide (canned) is currently trading in a range of $11 to $11.30 per pound.

The Kitsault Mine is expected to produce 374 million pounds of molybdenum over 16 years. Construction is scheduled to take 25 months once approval is received.

The Nisga’a Lisims Government could not be reached for comment.

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