In conjunction with seeking approval for construction of a dry stack tailings facility at North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd.'s ("NTC" or the "Company") Cantung mine ("Cantung"), the Company is working with appropriate Northwest Territories ("NWT") regulatory authorities to update the long-term reclamation plan and security arrangements for the mine site, the Company's Chairman and CEO, Kurt Heikkila, announced today.
"The Cantung team remains focused on executing its operational plan and timely completion of major capital improvement projects, while management seeks discussions with the NWT about the Company's reclamation plan," stated Mr. Heikkila.
The Company continues to participate in the regulatory review process for the reclamation plan and payment structure. The existing payment plan for mine operations is supported by collateral. Additional work and dialogue will be necessary to finalize the amount, form and timing of any revised reclamation plan, as well as any collateral required to support such plan.
Mr. Heikkila continued, "As I said in my year-end remarks, we continue to invest time, expertise and capital to expand capacity and improve margins over the longer term at Cantung. We believe it is in the best interests of all stakeholders that NTC continues to be a prominent supplier in the tungsten market, and therefore it is our intent to come to a satisfactory agreement with the NWT within the next three to four months of the process."
Highlighting NTC's solid 50-year environmental record at Cantung, the Company has made several specific investments that demonstrate its stewardship, including:
- more than $50 million in mine improvements during the past 4 to 5 years, including a state-of-the-art waste water treatment plant commissioned in July 2014;
- completion of engineering studies and work currently in process on the dry stack tailings facility to eliminate future need for additional tailings ponds;
- completed testing and scale-up of a project to increase recovery of tailings in Cantung's current mill operation, laying the groundwork for reprocessing and dry stacking of tailings from the existing tailings ponds; and
- an overall plan for Cantung that includes progressive reclamation while the site is still operating to reduce final closure costs.
Mr. Heikkila said in conclusion, "NTC recognizes that it has a responsibility to be a good environmental steward throughout Cantung's years of active operation, and an equally important obligation to properly reclaim the mine site upon closure. We respect the process we are working through and are committed to directly engaging with the appropriate authorities to satisfactorily resolve this matter for both the NWT and the Company."
On behalf of the Board of Directors
Chairman & CEO