The Kátł’odeeche First Nation (KFN) says it has “cautious optimism” about Osisko Metals’ efforts to revitalize the Pine Point mine.
Peter Redvers, lead of negotiations and consultations for the First Nation, told Cabin Radio KFN continues to work with the company but remains somewhat guarded as the mining industry is “highly affected by international factors.”
An exploration agreement signed several years ago “continues to guide a working relationship” with the mine, Redvers said.
Cabin Radio approached Indigenous governments and groups in the region after Osisko sought a letter of support from Hay River town council earlier this month.
The company wants the town to back its latest applications for permits related to Pine Point.
Osisko president Jeff Hussey told Hay River councillors an economic analysis had concluded Pine Point’s revival “has technical and financial merit.”
The company expects to continue collecting samples.
“We’re into the second half of the game and this is where it can get exciting,” Hussey said at the meeting.
Hussey’s request for a letter of support will be discussed at the council’s next meeting on August 25. It’s not clear if similar letters are requested of other groups.
Redvers told Cabin Radio KFN’s agreement with Osisko ensures it can benefit from exploration associated with the project and mitigate potential social and environment impacts through the regulatory process.
He said KFN so far has no concerns regarding the project and offers its “conditional support.”
“The full scope of the project has yet to be defined so, where concerns emerge, KFN will deal with those initially with [the company] and if needed through the regulatory process.”
Mine needs ‘very good agreement’
Garry Bailey, president of the NWT Métis Association, said the association would meet with Hussey in the coming weeks to discuss the project.
The Deninu Kue First Nation had no comment.
Tu Nedhé-Wiilideh MLA Steve Norn – who represents communities like Fort Resolution likely to be impacted by the proposed mine – said he had received no feedback from local groups.
Norn said he supports the project only if there is “a very good agreement put in place” that would allow constituents in his electoral district fair access to employment.
Fort Resolution Mayor Patrick Simon said the hamlet has so far only been in contact with Osisko by email.
“Formally, as mayor and as council, we have not sat down with them like they do with the Métis or Indigenous governments, but if it seems that the impacts on the hamlet warrant it, we will then sit down with them,” said Simon.
Simon said the project has not, so far, affected the hamlet, but he expects to support positions adopted by the Deninu Kue First Nation and NWT Métis.
“We want to get a better idea on what the operation is, the environment, the employment,” he said, noting potential concerns could arise if the mine later needs to use Fort Resolution for solid waste disposal, water treatment, or hotels.