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Environmental review begins of northwest gold mine project

First Mining Gold applies for Springpole project permitting, all are welcome to have their say

A Vancouver junior miner has started the environmental review process to bring a northwestern Ontario gold property into production.

First Mining Gold announced March 7 that it has filed a project description to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency for its Springpole Gold Project, 110 kilometres northeast of Red Lake.

It automatically triggers a 20-day public commenting period to determine whether a federal environmental assessment (EA) is required.

The agency will take 45 days to reach its decision. The company said it fully anticipates a federal review.

All the relevant project documents are on the CEAA’s registry and on First Gold’s website.

First Mining has four gold projects in the northwest: Springpole, Goldlund, Cameron and Pickle Crow.

Springpole will be the first mine project out of the chute. The company received a positive preliminary economic assessment last September that it has potential to be an open-pit gold and silver mine with a 12-year life.

“We believe our Springpole gold project has the potential to become one of Canada’s largest new gold mines, and we are very pleased to have commenced the environmental assessment process, a step which marks the first major permitting milestone for Springpole,” said First Mining CEO Jeff Swinoga in a news release.

“Our very experienced team, with our values-based culture, look forward to working diligently and respectfully with all stakeholders throughout the EA process.”

Consultation with area First Nations will be a requirement, which company said it is already started with Indigenous communities within the Springpole area.

The company signed a negotiation protocol agreement with the First Nation communities of Lac Seul, Slate Falls and Cat Lake in February.

It’s a trust-building exercise that establishes a joint development team of both company and Indigenous representatives who will meet quarterly to discuss exploration and development work at Springpole. The gold property lies within the First Nations’ traditional territory.

Ultimately, it’s up to the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change to determine if Springpole will cause any adverse environmental effects.

If not, the project heads to the permitting phase in which all permits necessary to begin construction can proceed.

The company stated that municipalities and First Nations will have multiple opportunities to provide comments throughout the entire EA and permitting phase.

At the same time, the company is talking with the province to enter into a provincial environmental review of its development.

First Mining Gold has 25 mineral assets in Canada, the U.S., and Mexico with a resource base of seven million ounces of gold in the measured and indicated categories.