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New Far North gold hunter stresses Indigenous collaboration

ONGold sprang from Northern Superior Resources with plans to explore James Bay property
(Northern Superior Resources photo)

There’s a new gold exploration player operating in the Ring of Fire area of the James Bay lowlands region.

And ONGold is placing an emphasis on establishing solid ties with Indigenous communities, beginning with its selection of its first CEO and filling out the boardroom seats.

ONGold is a spinoff company of Northern Superior Resources. Its shares went live last week and are now trading on the TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V) trading under the symbol ONAU.

Northern Superior remains the largest shareholder at 72 per cent.

Last July, Northern Superior announced it was creating a spinoff centred around its Ontario assets. Northern Superior has shifted its focus to its gold and copper properties in Chicougamau, Que.

The premier Ontario asset in the ONGold fold is the Ti-pa-haa-kaa-ning (TPK) Project, a remote fly-in, fly-out piece of ground situated within the traditional territories of Nibinamik First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation.

The project site is 30 kilometres west of the Ring of Fire, 30 kilometres north of Neskantaga and 470 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

Northern Superior has promoted TPK as one of the largest gold-in-till dispersal anomalies in the world, suggesting it’s a large high-grade gold system with regional-scale mining potential. The company said the TPK has been such a magnet that Barrick, one of the world’s largest gold miners, has staked around the 47,800-hectare property. It compares the geological structure to that of the Val d’Or gold district.

Also in ONGold’s portfolio is the October Gold project, an early-stage property 100 kilometres southwest of Timmins near Newmont’s Borden gold mine outside Chapleau and IAMGOLD’s Côté gold mine. There's a handful of other grassroots properties in northwestern Ontario.

Collaboration with First Nations will be key to the company’s success, said Kyle Stanfield, the new CEO and board member.

Stanfield is noted over his 25-year career for his approach in promoting sustainable development and mining practices through First Nation consultation. The news release said he played a pivoted role in the Musselwhite Agreement involving five signatory First Nations, and he’s also been involved in the preparatory environmental assessments, consultation and permitting for New Gold’s Rainy River Mine, and at the Magino Mine, outside Dubreuilville, recently acquired by Alamos.

“Having spent over two decades in the mining sector, particularly in roles that enhanced collaboration with Indigenous communities and fostered sustainable project development, I am eager to leverage this experience at ONGold,” said Stanfield.

“My experiences successfully collaborating with numerous First Nations and Métis communities have profoundly shaped my approach to sustainable exploration and mining practices, and I am eager to apply this perspective to maximize the potential of ONGold’s impressive portfolio in Northern Ontario.”

Also joining the company is a new board chair, John Kim Bell, a decorated Indigenous leader and recognized cultural leader and activist in First Nation resource development and environmental matters, according to the release. He was the leader of Indigenous Affairs for Brookfield Renewable Energy, Glencore, Hatch, and served on several boards, including the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

In a statement, Northern Superior CEO Simon Marcotte said this spinoff company will “unlock the considerable value of these world-class assets. 

“Based on the financings completed, the value of Northern Superior’s 72.35 per cent interest in ONGold is $18.2 million, and we see a great opportunity for value creation as ONGold advances the TPK Project and deploys its Ontario strategy. ONGold is now well-funded and led by a highly experienced management team.”

ONGold president Rodney Barber said the new management team will be able to focus its attention on these “highly prospective” properties.

“With a dedicated management team, we will be able to focus our time and attention on the large portfolio of assets in highly prospective geological environments. We are committed to working closely with our First Nations partners such that we uphold the highest standards of Indigenous consultation and work hand in hand to deliver economic opportunity and development to the communities at our projects.”

The company said the money is earmarked for exploration and development of its properties, working capital requirements and other general purposes.