Integra Gold Corp. is pleased to announce that it has received the Certificate of Authorization necessary for underground decline development work at the Triangle Zone, situated on its Lamaque South Property.
The permit, issued by The Québec Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change ("MSDEFCC") allows the Company to begin surface preparation work, build all required infrastructure and commence underground decline access development required to complete a bulk sample. In conjunction with the CA, the Company has also received approval from the Québec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks to clear the land area around the Triangle Zone decline access and begin road construction.
The Company has submitted the Triangle Zone reclamation plan to the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources ("MERN") and is awaiting approval which it anticipates will be received in the next 30 days. During the MERN review process, the Company is permitted to begin initial surface work at the site in preparation for underground exploration and bulk sampling. Once the MERN approval is received, the Company will be required to post a bond in the amount of $665,000 and will then be in a position to commence rock excavation and underground decline development.
Triangle Zone Surface Preparation
The Company has now commenced surface preparation at the Triangle Zone. Foresterie Jaski Inc. of Barraute, Québec has been contracted to clear the land in the vicinity of the Triangle Zone and begin site development. Once the site has been cleared, construction of a road from the Triangle Zone to the Sigma Mill will commence. The Company will also start preparing the area directly adjacent to the proposed decline for the additional site infrastructure required to support the underground exploration decline development. A bidding process is underway for construction of an electric line, surface preparation, road building, portal excavation, garage and office/dry construction as well as underground development. The proposed decline and building infrastructure for the Triangle Zone are located 400m west of the centre of the Triangle Zone, on an elevated outcropping rock surface. Condemnation drilling in the vicinity of the proposed decline location was successfully completed in 2014. Drilling activities over the summer will continue to test the western extensions of the Triangle Zone, which could potentially impact the design/location of underground infrastructure but will have no impact on the placement of surface infrastructure, including the portal for the exploration decline.
"With the largest and most time consuming project permitting hurdles behind us we can now begin work to advance the project through this next phase of underground exploration," commented Company President and CEO, Stephen de Jong. "Our team continues to be rewarded for a proactive approach taken in dealing with the various federal, provincial and community level stakeholders. The Province of Québec continues to prove itself as one of the top mining jurisdictions in the world and we are grateful for the support shown by the various government organizations involved in all aspects of permitting."
Lamaque Project Permitting Overview
The primary permits required for underground exploration and eventual production at Lamaque are as follows:
- Federal Environmental Assessment -- Completed Q3 2014
- Provincial Environmental Assessment -- N/A (projected daily throughput below threshold)
- Triangle Zone Provincial CA for Underground Exploration -- Completed Q2 2015
- Triangle Zone Provincial CA for Underground Production -- Expected Q2 2016
- Parallel Zone Provincial CA for Underground Exploration/Production -- Expected Q3 2015
- Milling/Tailings/Waste Rock Provincial CA -- Completed Q1 2015
- Conversion of Triangle Zone exploration claims to mining leases -- Expected Q2 2016
- Public consultation (Val d'Or Community, First Nations, other stakeholders) -- Phase 1 Completed Q1 2015
Environmental Assessment / Environmental Impact Study: Federal and Provincial Process Completed
In September 2014, the Company was informed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency ("CEAA") that it will not be required to file a Federal Environmental Assessment ("EA"), also known as an Environmental Impact Study, for the combined Sigma-Lamaque Mine and Mill Complex (the "Mill Property") and the Lamaque South Project.
The Company submitted a preliminary project description to the CEAA to ensure compliance with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act of 2012. Upon review of the preliminary project description, the CEAA concluded that an EA is not required by Integra since the contemplated future development of Lamaque does not exceed any of the Regulations Designating Physical Activities that would prompt an EA. This is due to the fact that surface disturbance at Integra's Lamaque South Project accounts for only a small fraction of the combined land package (Lamaque South and the Mill Property) following Integra's acquisition of the neighbouring Mill Property (see Company press releases dated September 3, 2014 and October 9, 2014).
The Company is not required to complete an EA at the Québec provincial level as planned production is less than the provincial threshold of 2,000 tonnes per day ("tpd").
Provincial CAs for Underground Exploration and Mining at the Parallel Zone
Using existing CAs which were obtained through the Sigma Mill acquisition, the Company can now commence underground exploration at the Parallel Zone as the first 400 m (of 700 m total) of proposed underground development required to access the Parallel Zone is situated on the Sigma Mill property. In late 2014 the Company was informed by the MSDEFCC that underground exploration/production work at the Parallel Zone could proceed with only a small modification to an existing CA which was obtained with the Sigma Mill acquisition. Documentation was submitted to MSDEFCC in January 2015 and the Company anticipates that a modified CA will be received in July 2015. The modified CA will allow underground exploration, bulk sampling and production to proceed.
Multiple CAs Obtained with the Sigma Mill Acquisition
All existing CAs associated with the Mill Property have been transferred into Integra's name and are in good standing with the Québec provincial government including permits for milling, tailings (including raising of tailings dams) and waste rock.
The Company has also resumed dewatering work at the historic Sigma Mine, with the water effluent being monitored as required by the MERN, meetings all standards and guidelines
Conversion of Exploration Claims to Mining Leases: 80% of Mining Leases in Place
In addition to project permitting, the Company has commenced the process of converting its remaining exploration claims on the Triangle Zone into mining leases. Over 80% of the ground at Lamaque South, including the entire Parallel Zone and a small portion of the Triangle Zone where planned infrastructure is located, is registered as grandfathered mining concessions, thus allowing for future mining.
The process of converting exploration claims to mining leases commenced in November 2013 and is ongoing. The claims were surveyed according to specifications provided by the Québec General Surveyor Office. To complete the conversion process, a feasibility study is required which will be submitted upon completion of underground exploration and bulk sampling. The Company does not anticipate that the conversion process will be an impediment to advancing the project.