MAC: Mines and Communities

Huge Open Pit Mine Approved

Published by MAC on 2007-02-24
Source: Vancouver Sun

Huge open pit mine approved: NovaGold's Galore Creek project will create 1,000 jobs in four years of construction

Scott Simpson, Vancouver Sun

24th February 2007

One of North America's largest mine projects reached a major milestone with an environmental approval by the British Columbia government, NovaGold Canada announced Friday.

The Vancouver company's $2 billion project at Galore Creek in northwestern B.C. is a world-class copper-silver-gold deposit that may someday rival Teck Cominco's venerable Highland Valley copper mine near Kamloops for size and scope.

It will take four years to build the open pit mine, creating 1,000 jobs during the construction phase and 500 to run the mine when the project is complete.

Pending federal approvals and issuance of mine permits, construction of the access road could begin as early as April.

Ottawa has yet to sign off on the project -- but federal agencies have already indicated in a joint report with Victoria that environmental effects will be within acceptable levels if carried out according to NovaGold's development proposals.

The project is supported by the elected leadership of the local first nation, the Tahltan, and is considered by environmental groups to present no serious environmental risks.

"This is obviously a very major step for us. We've been working hard on this for three years and we feel really good about it," NovaGold president-CEO Rick Nieuwenhuyse said in an interview.

Support by the Tahltan Central Council was fundamental to the project's success, he said.

"When you are working in their community, in their territory, you can't just pay lip service to the concept of respect. You're going to be investing lots of money, but you are going to be doing it in a way

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