A Vancouver mine gold developer has signed a mineral exploration agreement with a northwestern Ontario First Nation.
First Mining Gold entered into the agreement with Animakee Wa Zhing #37 First Nation (AWZ 37) with an upcoming drilling program scheduled at the company's Cameron Gold Project, just east of Sioux Narrows and 80 kilometres southeast of Kenora.
The 528-square-kilometre property is within the traditional territory of AWZ 37.
The agreement between the company and the community sets out the framework for communication and cooperation for exploration activities that could involve hauling away an old ore pile on the property for processing elsewhere.
Cameron is considered an advanced stage gold project that has the potential to be a district-scale gold operation, both open pit and underground.
The property has four identified deposits and several gold showings. With a measured and indicated resource of 460,000 ounces of gold and an inferred resource of 533,000 ounces, the company believes they can expand on that base seeing more gold potential to the northwest.
To that end, First Mining intends to do more exploration work this year in queuing up a 4,000-metre drilling program of 36 holes this year to evaluate some prospective gold targets called Dubenski, Dogpaw, East Cedar Tree, Angel Hill, and Robertson.
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Through the agreement with the community, the plan for the drilling program is to use existing roads and trail as much as possible to minimize the environmental impact.
With a population of 537 (including 196 on reserve), Animakee Wa Zhing #37 First Nation is comprised of two distinct communities - Regina Bay and Windigo Island - 200 kilometres apart that were amalgamated under one government in 1915. Regina Bay is located near Sioux Narrows. Windigo Island is a water access community on a series of islands on Lake of the Woods between Manitoba and the U.S.
Chief Linda McVicar is excited about the opportunities that exploration activities will bring for her community.
"The work planned by First Mining's exploration of the Cameron Project will help bring socio-economic benefits to the community and surrounding area. With our stewardship we are comfortable that First Mining will conduct their activities in a way that will minimize the environmental impact and pay respect to the land."
First Mining CEO Dan Wilton was "extraordinarily pleased" to sign the agreement and open regular dialogue and interaction with the community.
"We feel strongly that the Cameron project will benefit from the traditional knowledge regarding land use, environmental stewardship and cultural history stemming from our partners' long experience in this area, and we look forward to working cooperatively with AWZ 37 as we advance the mineral potential of our Cameron Project."
The area around Cameron has been extensively explored for gold since the 1940s. In the late 1980s, 65,000 metres of material was unearthed when underground development was done at Cameron by another company to take a bulk sample. An open-pit excavation carried out in 1995 to extract another bulk sample.
Cameron of one of four gold project First Mining holds in northwestern Ontario. Its lead property is Springpole, 110 kilometres northeast of Red Lake, where the company plans to build an open-pit gold mine.
A pre-feasibility study places an 11-year mine life on Springpole based on proven and probable reserves of 3.8 million ounces of gold and 20.5 million ounces of silver. Springpole is at the permitting and environmental assessment stage, a two-year government review process that must be take place before construction can conceivably begin in late 2023.