A gold exploration company working ground near Geraldton has signed an exploration agreement with three area First Nations.
Tombill Mines announced that they have entered into an agreement with Aroland First Nation, Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek and Ginoogaming First Nation.
The company is exploring a large claims package, just south of Geraldton, where it ran two drilling program last year and started another in mid-April.
In a recent news release, Tombill said it recognizes the significance of the lands to the three First Nations. In return, the First Nations are giving consent to Tombill’s ongoing exploration work.
Highway 11, the Trans-Canada Highway, runs through a portion of the property, situated 225 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.
Tombill’s next door neighbour, to the east, is Equinox Gold which is currently in the opening stages of carving out an open-pit gold mine, scheduled for commercial production in 2024.
The exploration agreement was written to address any concerns from the communities that might impact Indigenous rights, cultural values and the environment. The company said it's committed to taking a number of mitigation measures to prevent and minimize negative impacts on the First Nations.
“We are pleased to announce a mutually respectful and consent-based relationship with the three First Nations and look forward to working with them over the years to come,” said Tombill CEO Adam Horne in the release.
“Tombill are committed to developing positive relationships, which recognizes the need for each party in the agreement to mutually benefit and co-exist. We are happy to fully engage in the collaboration to ensure smooth operations as we advance our mineral claims in and around Geraldton.”
The communities are with Minodahmun Development Limited Partnership, dedicated to ensuring benefits from mining development are shared with the First Nations to grow the area’s economy and provide opportunities for community members.
Tombill said this is a “district-scale gold exploration project” that has not been subjected to modern exploration techniques for several years. The company is confident that there's a “high probability” to discover new gold deposits.
There are two former gold mines on its property, including the Tombill Mine, which produced 68,737 ounces between 1938 and 1942.
Minodahmun president Joe Donio called the agreement a “major milestone” for the communities and the company.
“It demonstrates the importance of seeking free, prior, and informed consent for exploration projects. The exploration agreement provides environmental oversight, regular consultation, employment, and contracting opportunities for the Three First Nations among other provisions. We look forward to working collaboratively with Tombill over the coming years as Greenstone develops into Canada’s newest mining hub.”