First Mining Finance Corp. (TSX:FF) (OTCQX:FFMGF) (FRANKFURT:FMG) (“First Mining” or the “Company”) is pleased to provide an update on the current and proposed future permitting activities at its 100%-owned Springpole Gold Project (“Springpole”) which is located approximately 110 kilometres east of Red Lake in northwestern Ontario. On September 21, 2017, the Company released the results of an updated Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) on Springpole. The PEA describes the potential technical and economic viability of establishing a conventional open-pit gold mine-and-mill complex for the project.
The Company is currently working on a number of fronts to advance the permitting for Springpole, which includes engaging and working with various ministries and departments of the Canadian (federal) and Ontario (provincial) governments. Highlights of the permitting activities are as follows:
- A Project Description document is expected to be submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (“CEAA”) before the end of 2017. The Project Description is a required government filing that will initiate the federal Environmental Assessment (“EA”) process for Springpole.
- Once the Project Description has been filed, and the project has been registered by CEAA, the Company expects to commence preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) for Springpole.
- The EA process and eventual project approval is expected to take 18 to 24 months, after which permitting for “start of construction” can commence. Permitting is expected to begin immediately after EA approval is received, and is expected to take 12 to 18 months. To help streamline the process, the Company intends to have its permit application submissions ready for filing as soon as Springpole is released of all EA obligations.
- Provincially, the Company intends to voluntarily submit to an Individual EA under the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act, and EA Terms of Reference are being prepared for submission to the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (“MOECC”).
- The Company also intends to continue engaging with local stakeholders, including local First Nation groups, and expects to sign a number of agreements with these groups in the near future.
Keith Neumeyer, the Chairman of First Mining, stated, “First Mining’s strategy from being simply an acquirer and holder of gold projects has evolved into a project developer. With the very robust PEA that was released recently, it has become clear that Springpole has the potential to become a very substantial mine that will have a major economic contribution to northern Ontario. The normal evolution for this project is permitting and completing a Pre-feasibility study, both of which are a high priority for the Company. I believe that moving Springpole forward is the best way to add considerable value for our shareholders and I’m confident that the permitting process for Springpole will be successful.”
The specific details of the Company’s EA and permitting activities are set out below.
Both the federal and provincial Environmental Assessment processes are expected to be formally initiated before the end of 2017 through the submission of a Project Description to CEAA and EA Terms of Reference to MOECC. The Company expects to receive federal EIS Guidelines and approval of EA Terms of Reference for Springpole before the end of the second quarter of 2018.
Discussions have already been initiated with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (“MNRF”) Red Lake District for the permitting of the access road to the Springpole site, a project which has already been approved by MNRF through a Class EA for Resource Stewardship and Facilities Development Projects conducted in 2013, and subsequently released from any further EA obligations by the MOECC in May 2014. Submissions for the various work permits and to secure aggregate deposits required to construct the road are in the process of being prepared and will be submitted by year end to the MNRF in Red Lake and Sioux Lookout District offices
Discussions with Fisheries and Oceans Canada (“DFO”) regarding fishery off-sets for Springpole are expected to be initiated in the first quarter of 2018, with the submission of a Fisheries Existing Conditions Report targeted for the fourth quarter of 2017. First Mining has already been in contact with DFO staff in the Edmonton Regional office to inform them of our development plans.
The Company has also engaged with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (“MNDM”) in Thunder Bay with regards to First Mining’s future project development plans for Springpole and an Inter-Agency meeting is expected to be held in the near future following MNDM’s “One Window” approach to mineral development projects in Ontario.
The federal and provincial EA process for Springpole is expected to take between 18 and 24 months. Permitting for “start of construction” is expected to begin immediately after Springpole receives EA approval and is expected to take 12 to 18 months. To help streamline this process, the Company intends to be proactive and have its permit application submissions ready for filing as soon as Springpole is released of all EA obligations. Reports are currently being prepared to support this process using the extensive environmental baseline data that has been collected at the Springpole site since 2013.
ABOUT FIRST MINING FINANCE CORP.
First Mining is a mineral property company that is evolving from a holder of mineral assets to a project developer. The Company currently holds a portfolio of 25 mineral assets in Canada, Mexico and the United States with a focus on gold. The core assets include the Springpole Gold Project, the Goldlund Gold Project, the Cameron Gold Project and the Pickle Crow Gold Project, all located in Ontario, and the Hope Brook Gold Project in Newfoundland.
ON BEHALF OF FIRST MINING FINANCE CORP.
For more information contact:
Vice President, Investor Relations
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release includes certain “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” (collectively “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of applicable Canadian and United States securities legislation including the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release. Forward-looking statements are frequently, but not always, identified by words such as “expects”, “anticipates”, “believes”, “plans”, “projects”, “intends”, “estimates”, “envisages”, “potential”, “possible”, “strategy”, “goals”, “objectives”, or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions.
Forward-looking statements in this news release relate to future events or future performance and reflect current estimates, predictions, expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to: (i) the timing for the submission of a Project Description for the Springpole project to CEAA and EA Terms of Reference to MOECC; (ii) the timing for the receipt of EA guidelines from CEAA and MOECC and the submission of the EA; (iii) the timing for the approval of the EA; (iv) the timing for the commencement of “start of construction” activities at the Springpole project and the expected duration of such activities; (v) the Company’s intention to have its permit application submissions ready for filing as soon as the Springpole project is released of all EA obligations (vi) the timing for the initiations of discussions with DFO regarding fishery off-sets; and (vii) First Mining’s future project development plans at the Springpole project.
There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Forward-looking statements reflect the beliefs, opinions and projections on the date the statements are made and are based upon a number of assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by the respective parties, are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social uncertainties and contingencies.
By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important factors could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risk factors may be generally stated as the risk that the assumptions and estimates expressed above do not occur as forecast, but specifically include, without limitation: (i) risks relating to receipt of permits and regulatory approvals; (ii) risks relating to the fulfillment of environmental assessment commitments and arrangements with local communities; (iii) delays in stakeholder negotiations (including negotiations with affected First Nation groups); (iv) changes in regulations applying to the development, operation, and closure of mining operations from what currently exists; (v) developments in world metals markets; (vi) risks relating to fluctuations in the Canadian dollar relative to the US dollar; (vii) difficulties attracting the necessary work force; (viii) availability of necessary financing and any increases in financing costs or adverse changes to the terms of available financing, if any; (ix) changes in permitting, development or mining plans due to changes in logistical, technical or other factors; (x) changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; (xi) the effects of competition in the markets in which First Mining operates; (xii) operational and infrastructure risks; (xiii) management’s discretion to alter the Company’s short and long term business plans; and (xiv) the additional risks described in First Mining’s Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2016 filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities under the Company’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com, and in First Mining’s Annual Report on Form 40-F filed with the SEC on EDGAR.
First Mining cautions that the foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive. When relying on our forward-looking statements to make decisions with respect to First Mining, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. First Mining does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by the Company or on our behalf, except as required by law.