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Northwestern Ont First Nation, junior miner strike exploration deal

Ginoogaming approves Silver Spruce Resources to do work north of Nakina
Melchett Lake (Silver Spruce Resources)
(Silver Spruce Resources photo)

Ginoogaming First Nation Chief Sheri Taylor is pleased to see consultation done the right way.

The northwestern Ontario band has signed off on an exploration agreement with Silver Spruce Resources which is working a zinc, gold and silver property north of Nakina.

In a news release, the First Nation said it is "exercising its inherent jurisdiction" by issuing a permit and granting approval to the Bedford, N.S.-based company to do exploration on its Melchett Lake property, 110 kilometres north of Geraldton and 60 kilometres north of Nakina.

The company began geology and geophysical surveys of the 4,716-hectare property last winter.

"We are happy to see things progress the way they should be done," said Taylor in a statement.

"The company sought our community's consent and is prepared to meet the conditions required to obtain that consent, so we the government of the First Nation community issued our permit containing those conditions."

Ginoogaming is a small Anishinaabe community 40 kilometres east of Geraldton.

The First Nation recently went to court in a dispute over consultation involving another junior exploration company operating on its territorial land.

"The Ontario Crown government, through ENDM (Energy, Northern Development and Mines), routinely does its 'consultation' on exploration through a form letter and formula time frames with little else," said Ginoogaming lands staff person Peter Rasevych.

"This is not near enough. So First Nations are compelled to turn to the company. If the company is respectful of our right to free, prior and informed consent, then this gets us a positive result, as is the case in our current collaboration with Silver Spruce."

Silver Spruce struck a similar exploration agreement on the project with Aroland First Nation last spring. In on the negotiations for both agreements was Kate Kempton from OKT Law of Toronto.

Kempton said the community's concerns about cultural and heritage values have been addressed in this agreement.

"It provides for high standards and First Nation input on land use, environmental management and plans of the company."

Greg Davison, Silver Spruce's vice president of exploration said the agreement is a "consent-based relationship" based on mutual respect.

"With Silver Spruce fully engaged in this collaboration, it will ensure smooth operations as we advance our mineral exploration programs in and around Melchett Lake."

Besides Melchett Lake, Silver Spruce Resources is working on gold and silver exploration properties in Newfoundland and Mexico.