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Pickle Lake gold explorer cuts exploration deal with Indigenous community

Ardiden and Cat Lake First Nation lay the ground rules for communication
Cat Lake First Nation Chief Russell Wesley and Haydn Daxter, Ardiden's exploration manager, seal the deal at PDAC (Company photo)

An Australian gold company working in the Pickle Lake area of northwestern Ontario has inked an exploration agreement with Cat Lake First Nation.

Ardiden Ltd. announced it signed a “pivotal” agreement with the community leadership at the PDAC mining convention in Toronto this week. The document establishes the framework for a “mutually beneficial relationship” surrounding the company's Pickle Lake Gold Project. 

The agreement outlines the rights and obligations of both parties and “provides certainty regarding all pre-mining exploration activities.” 

Ardiden's field work is within the traditional lands of Cat Lake, an Ojibway community 180 kilometres northwest of Sioux Lookout.

In the news release, the company said it made its first post-COVID visit to Cat Lake in late November.

Ardiden kicked off a 3,250-metre exploration drilling program in early March to tap into an area of interest on its claims known as Dorothy. It’s a follow-up from exploration conducted last year where Ardiden said it encountered some “broad, anomalous mineralized zones” during an earlier drill program.

Ardiden’s exploration grounds comprise more than 1,000-square-kilometres to the west of the community of Pickle Lake and contains a number of gold deposits in what was an active gold mining camp decades ago. Ardiden’s holdings include the former Golden Patricia Gold Mine.