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Premier Gold signs impact benefits deal with First Nations on Hardrock mine project

Agreement provides for environmental safeguards, local training and job opportunities
Premier Gold 2
The MacLeod-Cockshutt Mine headframe near Geraldton (Premier Gold photo).

Premier Gold has a struck a partnership agreement with three northwestern Ontario First Nations to benefit from the construction and operation of the proposed Hardrock gold mine project near Geraldton.

The Thunder Bay mining company announced on Nov.20 of the signing of a mutually beneficial “long-term relationship agreement” with Aroland First Nation, Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek and Ginoogaming First Nation.

It represents a formal commitment by Premier to protect the environment, support First Nation social and cultural practices, provide opportunities for locals to take part in the mine’s environmental monitoring and provide employment, training, business, and contracting opportunities.

Hardrock is a 50-50 joint venture between Premier and Centerra Gold, run under the banner of Greenstone Gold Mines (GGM).

“Our First Nations look forward to continuing our positive working relationship with GGM and playing an integral role in mineral development in our territory to foster positive changes in our communities”, said Aroland Chief Dorothy Towedo, Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek Chief Theresa Nelson, and Ginoogaming Chief Celia Echum in a joint statement.

“We have an agreement that will provide our communities with meaningful environmental participation, business opportunities, employment and training, and financial benefits.”

Premier is expected to make a production decision on Hardrock by year’s end but all the permits are in place to start construction by mid-2020 on a two-year build. When finished, the mine and processing plant will employ 450.

“This (agreement) represents the successful completion of negotiations with local First Nations regarding the development of Hardrock,” said Premier Executive Chairman John Begeman in a statement.

“With all local communities in support of this project, Hardrock moves one step closer to becoming a reality."

Hardrock, an open-pit and underground project is one of four deposits on a 28,550-hectare land package, known as the Greenstone Gold Property, near Geraldton.

Premier Gold Mines is a mine developer and exploration company with partial ownership with Barrick in a gold mine in Nevada with a gold-silver mine operation in Mexico, and some exploration properties in Nevada, Mexico and northwestern Ontario.