Consent-based Approach to First Nations Engagement Validated by Accelerated Government Permitting Cycle
- Multi-year permits covering the Northwest Expo, Red Dog, Goodspeed, Downward Dog and Hushamu exploration and development targets
- Agreements signed with with Tlatlasikwala First Nation and Quatsino First Nations supporting work programs
- Phase I Drilling to commence an approximately 4,000m program at the gold-enriched copper porphyry zone at Northwest Expo
- Northisle’s commitment to a consent-based approach has proven successful in expediting permits with permits received on an accelerated basis
Vancouver, B.C. – Northisle Copper and Gold Inc. (TSX-V:NCX) (“Northisle” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has received a 5-year area-based exploration permit covering its Northwest Expo, Red Dog, Downward Dog and Goodspeed exploration targets on the North Island Project, in addition to the existing Hushamu permit. Northisle followed a robust engagement process which included extensive information sharing and discussions with impacted First Nations in advance of and throughout the permitting process. This included the recent signing of an agreement between the Company’s 100%-owned subsidiary North Island Mining Corp. (“NIMC”) and Tlatlasikwala First Nation (“Tlatlasikwala”) which provides for collaboration between the parties in respect of the Company’s exploration programs (the “TFN Agreement”), in addition to the agreement with Quatsino First Nation which was signed in December 2022. The multi-year permit covering the Pemberton Hills area has completed its referral and consultation period and is anticipated in the coming weeks.
Drilling crews are in the process of travelling to site and the Company’s fully funded 2023 field season will commence with an approximately 4,000m Phase I drill program focused on defining an initial resource at Northwest Expo. Phase II will be a further approximately 4,000m of drilling to be allocated on a priority basis between Northwest Expo, Pemberton Hills and the Red Dog / Goodspeed area.
Sam Lee, President & CEO, commented “Today’s announcement is significant because we have now initiated our highly anticipated 2023 drill program and it demonstrates that our consent-based approach to permitting is working. Through our committed efforts to build trust and accountability with our First Nations partners, we have been able to successfully expedite the formal permitting process with the provincial government for two 5-year area-based permits, which demonstrates the significant support we have for this critical metals opportunity in Canada for a low carbon energy transition future.”
He continued, “We are keen to initiate our fully financed Phase I exploration program with the objective of defining a significant resource at Northwest Expo and determining our Phase II 2023 program based on those results.”
2023 EXPLORATION PROGRAMS
Northisle has now received multi-year area-based permits covering the Northwest Red Dog, Downward Dog, Goodspeed, and Hushamu areas on the North Island Project. The Northwest permit is valid for a total of five years through May 2028, while the Hushamu permit is currently valid through November 2024. The Pemberton Hills permit has completed the referral and consultation period and is anticipated in the coming weeks.
Northisle plans to complete up to 8,000 meters of drilling during 2023 and will begin exploration with an approximately 4,000 meter program at Northwest Expo (see Figure 1), which is intended to support the definition of an initial resource in the gold-enriched Zone 1. Based on drilling to date, as well as mapping and geophysical surveys, the Company has a target of 40-50 million tonnes of mineralized material for the initial resource in the gold-enriched Zone 1. With drilling anticipated to commence during the last week of May, assays are expected to be available during Q3 2023, with a target for completion of the initial resource estimate by late 2023.
DIFFERENTIATED ENGAGEMENT AND PERMITTING APPROACH
Northisle was able to achieve significantly accelerated permitting timelines, with extensive multi-year permits advanced rapidly after submission to the BC Government, through its focus on placing sincere engagement with First Nations as its highest priority. Agreements with both Quatsino First Nation (see press release) and Tlatlasikwala First Nation (see below) are a key component to this approach. Northisle’s engagement included extensive discussions about exploration impacts, understanding of First Nations development priorities and the completion of advance archeological screening on all potential drill sites before commencement of drilling. As a result, First Nations directly impacted by 2023 programs provided letters indicating their support of or non-objection to our exploration programs. Northisle continues to engage with impacted nations and has committed to the opportunity for concurrent monitoring, enhanced environmental reporting, archeological screening of additional exploration sites and direct community engagement to facilitate understanding of the mineral exploration and mining industry as well as the North Island Project.
NIMC has recently signed the TFN Agreement with Tlatlasikwala, which provides for ongoing mutually respectful collaboration between the parties in respect of the Company’s exploration programs. The Agreement covers all NIMC mineral claims within Tlatlasikwala Territory (as defined in the Agreement) and provides for the following:
- Recognition of Tlatlasikwala rights in respect of its Territory and NIMC rights in respect of its mineral claims
- The provision of letters of non-objection in respect of exploration activities following engagement
- Agreement to work on the basis of mutual understanding, fair and balanced negotiations, open, honest and fair dealings and to deal in good faith
- A defined framework for ongoing engagement in respect of the Company’s exploration activities
- Capacity funding and benefits sharing, community meetings and protection of cultural heritage resources
- Economic development and employment, training and contracting opportunities
In January, Northisle announced several key catalysts for 2023.
- COMPLETED – Results from Fall 2022 surface exploration program including geophysics, mapping and sampling
- COMPLETED – Advancement of Pemberton Hills thesis
- COMPLETED – Signed agreement with Tlatlasikwala First Nation in addition to existing Quatsino First Nation agreement
- Q2-Q3 2023 – Northwest Expo resource definition drilling targeting gold-enriched Zone 1
- Q3 2023 – Commence Phase II 4,000m fully funded drill program
- Q4 2023 – Inaugural Northwest Expo Zone 1 resource estimate (targeting 40-50 million tonnes)
- ONGOING – Metallurgical testing results including Hushamu and Northwest Expo
- ONGOING – Continued progress on relationships with indigenous rightsholders and local stakeholders
UPCOMING INVESTOR RELATIONS EVENTS
Following the completion of permitting of Northisle’s 2023 exploration activities, the Company will be very active in reaching out to new and existing investors via virtual and in-person channels. In addition, the Company intends to host a number of site visits at the North Island Project in June, July, and August. External investor events include:
- September 12-15: Precious Metals Summit, Beaver Creek
- September 17-20: Gold Forum Americas, Colorado Springs
- November 13-15: Precious Metals Summit, Zurich
Robin Tolbert, P.Geo., Vice President Exploration of Northisle and a Qualified Person as defined by National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects, has approved the scientific and technical disclosure contained in this news release.
Northisle Copper and Gold Inc. is a Vancouver-based company whose mission is to become Canada’s leading sustainable mineral resource company for the future. Northisle, through its 100% owned subsidiary North Island Mining Corp., owns the North Island Project, which is one of the most promising copper and gold porphyry projects in Canada. The North Island Project is located near Port Hardy, British Columbia on a more than 34,000-hectare block of mineral titles 100% owned by Northisle stretching 50 kilometres northwest from the now closed Island Copper Mine operated by BHP Billiton. Northisle completed an updated preliminary economic assessment for the North Island Project in 2021 and is now focused on advancement of the project through a prefeasibility study while continuing exploration within this highly prospective land package.
For more information on Northisle please visit the Company’s website at www.northisle.ca.
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.
This news release contains forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are based upon the reasonable beliefs of Northisle and its management as of the date of this news release; however, forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and are based upon factors that may change and assumptions that may prove, with the passage of time, to be incorrect as a result of exploration and other risk factors associated with mineral exploration and development that are beyond the control of Northisle. Accordingly, undue reliance should not be placed upon such statements. If factors materially change or assumptions are materially incorrect, the actual results, performance or achievements of Northisle may be materially different from any future results, performances or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Northisle does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements to reflect new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.