by Greg Klein | August 26, 2013
Subject to financing, Northern Graphite TSXV:NGC has “effectively” been given the go-ahead to build an open pit mine at its Bissett Creek project in southeastern Ontario. The province’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has accepted the company’s mine closure plan and granted a mining lease, Northern Graphite reported on August 26.
In a statement accompanying the announcement, CEO Gregory Bowes said, “We look forward to getting on with the next phase of a project that has the potential to generate substantial benefits for local and first nation communities and the people and province of Ontario, as well as the company’s shareholders.” But, he added, “it is unfortunate that it took the Ontario government 10 months to approve the MCP when it is represented as a 45-day process.”
The company submitted the plan in October 2012. In July Bowes criticized the province for delays when Northern Graphite was “competing with companies in Quebec, Europe, Africa and Australia to build the first new Western graphite mine in over 20 years. Being first to market is very important but the company is at a competitive disadvantage due to the regulatory process in Ontario…”
At the time provincial officials contacted by ResourceClips.com were unable to explain the delays.
Northern Graphite still needs additional permits to address concerns related to air, noise, water and species at risk but these “will follow in the normal course now that the MCP has been filed,” the company stated. “Most of these issues are already addressed in the MCP.”
The company also stated it will revise the project’s July 2012 feasibility within weeks “to incorporate a new and much larger resource [released last May] as well as lower graphite prices and a number of modifications to the original capital and operating cost assumptions.”
Along with the revised feasibility, Northern Graphite has begun a preliminary economic assessment “to show the economics of doubling production in three or four years to meet the anticipated growth in graphite demand…. Due to the flat-lying nature of the deposit, production can be expand[ed] without a significant increase in the stripping ratio and capital or operating costs.” The original feasibility called for an initial capex of $102.92 million.