Two presentation evenings, including one in the La Motte Municipality where Authier is located, and a second in Pikogan to present the project to the members of the Abitibiwinni First Nation, where undertaken in accordance with the Mining Act guidelines. The objective of these meetings was to present the Authier project development plan, strategies for protecting the environment, employment and contract opportunities, and to outline the potential economic benefits to the community. Community concerns are being addressed and implemented in the ongoing development plans.
In addition, the Company has an active communication strategy and has been engaging with the broader community outside the immediate project area. Meetings have been held with regional councils, other mining companies successfully operating in the region, Government organisations, and other key business stakeholders in the region.
A high level focus in the meeting was outlining the Company's plans for the protection of the environment. The Company has commissioned a number of studies to examine whether the Authier mine has any physical, biological or social impacts on the environment and communities. The studies are being undertaken by highly reputable independent consultants with extensive experience and expertise in the region.
A comprehensive base-line environmental study was completed at Authier in 2010 by environmental consultancy, Dessau. Since the Company's acquisition of the project in late 2016, all of the environmental studies have been updated, including:
- Creating a vegetation inventory, including wetlands and species with special status;
- Inventory of fish and fish habitats;
- Inventories of wildlife species with special status;
- Assessment of surface and ground water quality; and
- Hydrogeological and hydrological baseline conditions.
The work to-date has not identified any material environmental issues and finalisation of the environmental studies will be completed in the second quarter of 2018.
The Company's development strategy is aimed at minimizing Authier's impact on the community and environment, and includes the following activities:
- Reagents used in the process plant will all be contained within the process plant compound and not discharged into the environment;
- All process plant, mine run-off and dewatering water will be contained within ponds and recycled through the process plant to minimise new water requirements. Process water will be 100% reused in the plant;
- The tailings produced from the processing operations will be filtered and dry stacked with waste rock from the mine, eliminating the need for a tailings dam, and keeping the project footprint small;
- The tailings and waste rock material are not acid generating and do not leach any heavy metals. The Company has been contacted by surrounding Municipalities enquiring about the use of mine waste rock for road base;
- Water in process ponds will be treated, if required, before any discharge into the environment;
- The scale of the mining operations are relatively small at around 1,900 tons per day which minimizes the impact on the community and environment; and
- Progressive site reclamation and remediation planning during operation and at the end of mine activities.
The public consultation process is ongoing and a second series of presentations will be held in June 2018 to present the outcomes of the environmental base-line and definitive feasibility studies, as well as strategies that will be adopted to protect the environment and minimise potential impact on the local community. During the public consultation, all relevant reports will be made available to the public and the Company will be available to respond to questions about the Authier Project. Feedback will be used to ensure the Authier project delivers positive impacts to the local community.
The Company is progressing through all the activities required for permitting by both the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources ("MERN") and the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change ("MDDELCC"). The Company is targeting to have obtained all material permits required for the project by mid-2019.
Mining lease applications are submitted to the MERN pursuant to Section 100 of the Mining Act (Québec). A mining lease can only be granted after the following conditions are fulfilled:
- Completion of a feasibility study (in progress and due for completion 2Q2018);
- Completion of a scoping and marketing study for processing within Quebec (in progress);
- Rehabilitation and restoration plans have been approved (nearly complete);
- The MDDELCC authorization required under the Environment Quality Act has been issued for the project (in progress); and
- A survey plan has been approved by the Office of the Surveyor-General of Québec (complete).
The initial term of the lease is 20 years. The lease may then be renewed no more than three times for a period of 10 years each time. After the third renewal, the MERN may renew the lease for periods of five years. Within 30 days after the lease is issued, the lessee must establish a monitoring committee to foster the involvement of the local community in the project as a whole.
Before a mining lease can be granted for a mine that has a production capacity of less than 2,000 metric tons per day, a public consultation initiated by the proponent must be held in the region in which the mine will be located.
The project is subject to various environmental laws and must be authorized by the MDDELCC pursuant to the Environment Quality Act. This permitting process involves the filing of various documents and environmental studies, including potential environmental impacts of the project and related monitoring and mitigation measures. The Company is targeting to submit its application to obtain the MDDELCC authorization in mid-2018, with the objective of obtaining this key authorization by mid-2019.
In March 2018, amendments to the Environmental Quality Act came into force allowing the Government, in exceptional circumstances, on the recommendation of the Minister of MDDELCC, to submit a project to the environmental impact assessment and review procedure if in the Government's opinion the project may raise major environmental issues and public concern warrants it. The Company believes its environmental studies have demonstrated that Authier will have minimal impact on the environment and community.
Corey Nolan, Chief Executive Officer, commented "The presentation sessions were a great opportunity for our Canadian team to meet and exchange information with the local communities and the members of the Abitibiwinni First Nation. The Company is committed to maintaining a close relationship with all the stakeholders who will be impacted by the project. Furthermore, we strongly emphasise that the Company is fully committed to the protection of the environment and minimising its impact on the local community. The Company is looking forward to updating stakeholders in June on the outcomes of the studies and its plan for the future".
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About Sayona Mining Ltd
Sayona Mining Limited (ASX:SYA) (OTCMKTS:DMNXF) is an Australian-based, ASX-listed (SYA) company focused on sourcing and developing the raw materials required to construct lithium-ion batteries for use in the rapidly growing new and green technology sectors.
The Company's primary focus is the development of the Authier Lithium deposit in Quebec, Canada however exploration for additional lithium deposits is also ongoing in the Authier region and in the Pilbara of Western Australia where the Company has an extensive lithium exploration package of tenements.
Chief Executive Officer