Timmins-area mine developer Canada Nickel has filed documents for a new federal mine permitting process that leans heavily on Indigenous input and participation.
The company announced this week it has filed a draft project description of its Crawford Project to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (IAAC). It’s part of Ottawa's new environmental and social impact process to determine if a major development is in the public’s interest.
The new Federal Impact Assessment Process is being referred to as a “planning and decision-making tool” that will be used by IAAC, communities, stakeholders, Indigenous groups and companies to go over the positives and negatives of Canada Nickel's nickel project.
The Crawford nickel and cobalt sulphide project is 40 kilometres north of Timmins.
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When brought into production, it will be the largest base metal mine in the country and the world's fourth largest nickel sulphide deposit. Crawford is envisioned as a two-pit operation over a projected 25-year mining life with huge exploration upside that could add to its longevity.
The company has bold plans to create a zero emission mining and processing operation in the Timmins camp designed to feed the electric vehicle and stainless steel markets.
In a news release, Canada Nickel CEO Mark Selby called the filing of their submission an “important first step” in the regulatory permitting process to bring Crawford into production. It dovetails with the company's “groundbreaking” Impact Assessment Process Agreements signed with nearby Taykwa Tagamou Nation, Matachewan First Nation, and Mattagami First Nation.
“Since the founding of the company," said Selby, “our approach has been to work with Indigenous communities and local stakeholders as partners in order to create shared value through economic opportunities, while also being respectful and responsible stewards of the natural environment. These ground-breaking Impact Assessment Agreements foster full participation of Indigenous communities in the federal Impact Assessment process for the development of the Crawford Nickel Project.”
In a statement, Taykwa Tagamou Nation (TTN) Chief Bruce Archibald talked about the “proud” partnership his community has with Canada Nickel.
“This innovative model of applying traditional knowledge through a land-use study enables our community to both understand the project’s impacts through all stages of its life cycle, while ensuring that, as the stewards of our traditional territory, development is conducted in an environmentally sustainable manner,” he said.
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“True Indigenous partnerships, such as ours with Canada Nickel, provide certainty for proponents, along with economic opportunity for Northern Ontario and impacted Indigenous communities,” said TTN Deputy Chief Derek Archibald. “With this certainty, Taykwa Tagamou Nation is meaningfully participating in the project’s economic development from beginning to end.”
Chief Chad Boissoneau of Mattagami First Nation said: “Agreements of this nature, built upon honest and genuine relationships, benefit both the First Nation and the proponent. First Nations can fully participate in the impact assessment of a major project on our traditional land, while supporting Canada Nickel in making properly informed, sustainable, and respectful decisions about a project that stands to be of great benefit to our community.”
Canada Nickel said after a “precursory review period” of its documents involving consultation with Indigenous people and the public, the company will file an updated project description sometime this summer.