A Toronto junior mining company and Constance Lake First Nation have set up the ground rules to do exploration in the Hearst area.
Noble Mineral Exploration said in a news release that it’s signed an exploration agreement to work on two mineral lands within the community’s traditional territory.
The agreement, which involves Noble’s Nagagami and Boulder Projects, establishes a framework for consultation and accommodation with the community, but also opens the door for the First Nation to benefit from early-stage exploration work.
The company maintains Constance Lake will be given priority access for any business spinoff opportunities, employment and training, and financial compensation.
In the release, company president Vance White said his company is committed to taking a “constructive and collaborative approach” toward responsible exploration and possibly mine development of these two underexplored mineral lands.
“Our approach is to work with First Nations in order to create shared value through economic opportunities, while also being respectful and responsible stewards of the natural environment,” White said in a statement.
Constance Lake Chief Ramona Sutherland commented that the community is pleased with this “respectful” approach.
“Constance Lake First Nation ensures that any development in our territory is done right, only with respect for the lands and our people and only with our free, prior and informed consent.”
Nagagami is a niobium and rare earths project with a “spotty” exploration history, said the company. The mineral complex was first discovered years ago by Algoma Ore Properties, once the exploration arm of Algoma Steel, on the hunt for iron deposits. Noble has an early exploration permit from the provincial government and will begin drilling on the 14,600-hectare ground next month.
The Boulder Project harbours copper and gold prospects. In 2019, the Ontario Geological Survey analyzed a sample from a 140-kilogram boulder and found high-grade traces of copper, lead, zinc, silver, gold and platinum group metals. The company has been looking for the source of that boulder on the 4,500-hectare site and will be flying a helicopter airborne survey in September.