A would-be zinc mine builder has signed a “negotiation agreement” with a First Nation community on the north shore of Lake Superior.
Metallum Resources calls the agreement with Pays Plat First Nation (PPFN) a “major milestone” that puts the wheels in motion toward early-stage development at the site. It also moves the relationship along toward signing a more fruitful impact benefit agreement (IBA) later this year.
IBAs are agreements between a First Nation and a mining company concerning an existing or a proposed industrial development in a First Nation’s traditional territory. An IBA paves the way for any potential economic benefits spun off from the mine such as training, job and contracting opportunities for community members and businesses.
“Metallum has built a strong relationship with the PPFN and the local communities over the past year, and signing this agreement solidifies the support and our collaboration to move our exciting project forward,” said company president Kerem Usenmez in a statement.
“This negotiation agreement sets a strong foundation for us to work collectively with Metallum on a number of economic opportunities,” said Pays Plat First Nation Chief David Mushquash. “We look forward to the advancement of this agreement into an IBA stage as the project develops.”
Metallum calls its Superior Lake Zinc Project, 29 kilometres from the town of Schreiber, one of the highest grade zinc development projects in North America. The company is in the mine permitting stage on the path toward reopening of the former Winston Lake zinc mine and fast-tracking it to production as early as next year.
Metalllum said most of the permits and licences needed for the mine are in place to allow for a quick start to the development once a final investment decision in made.
The company said it’s met with Mayor Kevin Mullins and municipal staff to discuss the project.
“We have the skilled labour, railway station and most of the supporting infrastructure very close to the Project,” said Mullins in a statement. “We are very excited about the future development of the Superior Lake Project and will support Metallum to advance this project into production.”
“Having local support is crucial for any development project,” added Usenmez. “The local support has been very strong and encouraging for us. We look forward to working together with all the local communities and advancing quickly.”