The largest mineral exploration program the local region has ever seen is about to close down for the winter.
The New Gold mining company said that they will halt this year's drilling activities sometime at the end of November. It will start up again in spring as they continue to probe the boundaries and test the properties of their Blackwater gold deposit south of Vanderhoof.
The proposed project would be an open pit gold and silver mine with an estimated production capacity of 60,000 tonnes per day.
We are looking forward to starting exploration again in the warmer weather, said New Gold president, chief executive officer and director Bob Gallagher.
He added that this schedule was in keeping with New Gold's prescribed plan for this stage in their progress.
They are not yet an approved mine, only permitted to explore the mineral composition of Mount Davidson. Full mining applications are expected once that is complete.
We are continuing to work closely with communities and First Nations to develop a project that makes a positive contribution to the region, said Gallagher. The project continues to move forward.
According to New Gold, the schedule of immediate next steps includes:
Complete the government-mandated economic feasibility study by the end of this year;
Submit its application for federal and provincial environmental approval early in 2014;
Continue technical and economic studies, and permitting work through 2014;
Consult with local citizens, local and regional governments, and First Nations;
Move towards a 2015 construction and 2017 operations start.
A 30-day public comment period gets underway on Wednesday on the draft Application Information Requirements (AIR) document. This process is called for and handled by the B.C. Environmental Assessment office (EAO).
The EAO will be holding public forums in Fraser Lake on Oct. 15 (at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch No. 274) and in Vanderhoof on Oct. 16 (at the Nechako Senior Friendship Centre) to hear from anyone who has opinions about the Blackwater project's proposal, as outlined in the AIR. Both forums are held between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.
"The intention of seeking public comments is to ensure that all potential effects - environmental, economic, social, heritage and health - that might result from the proposed project are identified for consideration as part of the assessment process," said a written statement from the EAO. "At this stage of the process, the primary intent is to receive feedback about the studies or information required for a comprehensive environmental assessment."
Anyone wishing to read the draft AIR, in order to make informed comments before the closure of the 30-day input period, can do so online at www.eao.gov.bc.ca or see a hardcopy version at any of the area's public libraries.
Anyone wishing to comment outside of the public forums can make a written submission (all submissions are factored into the EAO's deliberations) in these ways:
EAO accepts public comments through the following ways:
By online form at http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca
By Mail: Shelley Murphy, executive project director
Environmental Assessment Office
PO Box 9426 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria BC V8W 9V1
By fax: 250-387-2208