NEW YORK Avanti Mining Inc. plans to start construction on its Kitsault molybdenum mine in British Columbia later this year after the project received environmental certification from the provincial government despite objections from a First Nations organization.
An environmental assessment certificate was issued by the British Columbia Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas, with the project now awaiting similar approval from the federal government, according to the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company.
The Nisgaa Lisims Government raised objections to the Kitsault project last week, which had the potential to delay the projects construction (amm.com, March 18).
However, the British Columbia review concluded this week that the governments obligation to consult with First Nations and the Nisgaa Nation under Chapter 10 of the Nisgaa Final Agreement had been met.
"We can now focus our efforts on obtaining the necessary financing and permits to start construction later in 2013 of this very significant project that will provide benefits to all stakeholders, including the Nisgaa Nation," Avanti chief financial officer A.J. Ali said in a statement.
The provincial governments environmental approval represented a "major hurdle being cleared" for the project, with federal approval likely to follow within the next few months, an analyst told AMM.
While the company has given Kitsaults construction an approximate timeline of 25 months, the analyst described the target as "pretty aggressive" and forecast that a 2017 start-up date was more likely in light of the financing arrangements that still need to be made for the project.
The Kitsault Mine is expected to produce 374 million pounds of molybdenum over 16 years.