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Indigenous company lands Sudbury mine project contract

Aki-eh Dibinwewziwin LP awarded advanced exploration contract for Magna Mining's Crean Hill Project
Magna Mining's Crean Hill Project, outside Sudbury

Sudbury’s Magna Mining decided to buy local in picking an Indigenous contractor to extract a bulk sample from its emerging Crean Hill nickel and copper mine project. 

Aki-eh Dibinwewziwin Limited Partnership (ADLP) has been awarded an advanced exploration contract that involves pulling a 20,000-tonne surface bulk sample that’s part of Magna's early test mining scheduled for later this year. The sample will be trucked to Glencore’s Strathcona mill in Sudbury for processing.

ADLP is a partnership between Atikameksheng Anishnawbek, Wahnapitae First Nation, and Technica Mining, a mining contracting firm. The venture sprang into existence a year ago.

In a news release, Magna CEO Jason Jessup said discussions with ADLP had been taking place for several months and he felt confident that “they have demonstrated the culture and expertise that meets our expectations.

“Additionally, working with a local mining contracting company on our project will help to minimize costs and reinforces our conviction to build strong relationships with our local stakeholders while contributing to the economic growth in the Sudbury region.” 

Crean Hill was a decommissioned mine site in an active area of mining and exploration on the southwest edge of the Sudbury basin. Located about 35 kilometres from the city, Crean Hill was mined by INCO from 1900 to 2002. Magna acquired the asset from Vale Base Metals in late 2022 and is mobilizing this spring and summer to bring the mine back into production.

Drilling and blasting for the bulk sample begins in July. Below ground, dewatering of the old mine infrastructure starts this summer in preparation to build a surface portal and drive an underground ramp later this year. Magna said the water pumped out of the mine will be treated through an existing water treatment system located off the property.

In a statement, Atikameksheng Anishnawbek Chief Craig Nootchtai said they are “ecstatic” with being awarded this contract that builds on an earlier contract Magna award involving their drilling company Bagonea’an – JS Drilling.  “Magna Mining has shown its commitment to respect and promote First Nations involvement in its mining operations in the Sudbury basin. 

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Chief Larry Roque of Wahnapitae First Nation commented that the contract treats local First Nations “as equals” in having more say on the work being done in their traditional territories. “We are grateful to Magna Mining for this opportunity, the acknowledgement it provides, and the financial benefits it will provide for many generations to come.”

Technica Mining CEO Mario Grossi said the partnership in the Crean Hill development will have a positive impact with all the communities in the area.

“As we continue to cultivate our partnership with Atikameksheng Anishnawbek and Wahnapitae First Nation under our recently formed Limited Partnership Aki-eh Dibinwewziwin (ADLP), I am truly excited that Magna Mining has selected ADLP as its contractor of choice for their advanced exploration.”

Magna had made great strides in a year and half to push Crean Hill back into production.

Since acquiring the property in November 2022, Magna has drilled more than 23,000 metres to get a better fix on the mineral resources left behind from its INCO mining days and then expand upon that mineral resource, 

The assay results will be poured into a new mineral resource estimate and an updated preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Crean Hill, due out in this year’s third and fourth quarters.

The company has ore selling and milling agreements with Sudbury’s two major miners, Vale Base Metals and Glencore Canada.

Magna is envisioning Crean Hill reopening as a high-grade underground operation with a lower production rate. The PEA will study how to maximize revenues from the initial stages of mining to fund the first few years of underground development to reduce their upfront capital costs required.