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Gold company, First Nation set the ground rules for Far North exploration

Eabametoong Chief says agreement with Storm Exploration is a 'model for others to follow'
Relogging historical drill core from the Miminiska Project (Storm Exploration photo)

Vancouver’s Storm Exploration has signed an exploration agreement with the Eabametoong First Nation (EFN) regarding planned activity around its Fort Hope Projects in the remote James Bay region.

In a May 23 news release, Bruce Counts, Storm’s president-CEO, called the signing a “major milestone” that offers mutual benefits for both the company and community.

Storm’s Miminiska, Keezhik and Attwood projects are 350 kilometres north of Thunder Bay within a mineralized geological structure called the Miminiska-Fort Hope greenstone belt.

The exploration agreement sets up a framework for ongoing consultation and provides opportunities for community members to participate in this early stage exploration project, offers training and employment, and local business spinoffs. 

Storm will also contribute to a community fund in an amount that, the company said, is proportional to its exploration spending in the traditional territory of Eabametoong.

The community will also have an ownership stake in the projects.

Storm is issuing $275,000 worth of common shares over a four-year period once the TSX-Venture Exchange accepts the exploration agreement.

In a statement, Counts thanked Chief Solomon Atlookan and council for making it happen.

“Storm firmly believes that the participation of local first nations is critical to the success of a project, and I am excited to be working with the EFN on advancing the highly prospective Fort Hope properties,” said Counts.

Atlookan said getting the relationship off on the right foot is important.

“For far too long, other exploration companies have sought to obtain permits from Ontario before working collaboratively with us or other First Nations. The significant thing about this new agreement is that it recognizes the role of our community in permitting, monitoring, and regulating any activities on the land before and beyond any Crown permits.” 

“Mr. Counts has been very respectful in working with EFN and this approach should be a model for others to follow. EFN expects all resource companies to come and work with us on common interests, but also to respect where certain activities cannot occur. This agreement outlines a pathway for an ongoing relationship and we look forward to working with Storm to protect and steward the land while exploring this beautiful area that we have been entrusted with.”

The company has high hopes for the area, claiming each project has the potential to become a multi-million-ounce gold deposit. One in particular, Attwood, could also host a significant base metal deposit. 

The flagship project is Miminiska, where the company said exploration drilling has turned out some high-grade gold hits to confirm some promising historical assays recorded by a previous company. More drilling is queued up for this summer.