The developer of a proposed palladium mine, east of Sudbury, has signed an exploration agreement with an area First Nation.
New Age Metals announced it has reached a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Nipissing First Nation related to the company's advanced palladium property, the River Valley Project, 100 kilometres northeast of Sudbury. The proposed open-pit mine is within the traditional lands of the First Nation.
In a news release, the Rockport, Ont.-based company said the agreement was signed Jan. 6.
The objective of the MOU is to establish a "mutually respectful relationship" and open a line of communication between the company and the First Nation to consult during exploration activities.
With the MOU, New Age said not only does this agreement recognize Nipissing's treaty rights and traditional territories, but creates a negotiating path for further agreements should the project proceed to construction.
The company is working on a technical report called a pre-feasibility study on the project, which is due out by mid-year. It'll illuminate the project economics of River Valley becoming a mine.
The plan is for a pit operation that would extract 119,000 ounces of palladium per year over 14-year mine life.
"New Age Metals acknowledges that the River Valley Project is subject to Aboriginal traditional and treaty rights which are protected under Section 35 of the Constitution Act, Canada," said New Age Chair-CEO Harry Barr in the release. "By signing this agreement, the company believes that there is a structured method to work constructively with the Nipissing First Nation in regards to the exploration and development of any of the company’s claims that are located on traditional territories.”
"Ongoing engagement and consultations with our nation members will ensure any potential mine developments respect our rights and the importance of the environment while creating direct benefits for our nation," said Nipissing First Nation Chief Scott McLeod.
Under the terms of the MOU, New Age will issue 1,000,000 warrants to Nipissing, allowing the First Nation to purchase 1,000,000 common shares of the company.