Spanish Mountain Gold announced Tuesday it has signed a protocol agreement with the Soda Creek Indian Band (Xat’sull).
The agreement addresses the involvement of Xat’sull during the environmental assessment and permitting review process in relation to the development of the SMG project located near Likely, the company said in a press release.
Under the agreement, the release says, SMG recognizes and respects Xat’sull’s asserted aboriginal rights and title in the area of the gold project, and Xat’sull recognizes and respects SMG’s rights and interests in the exploration and development of the project. The agreement also reflects a commitment by both SMG and Xat’sūll for continued engagement in a respectful and collaborative manner.
It provides capacity support to Xat’sull for its ongoing involvement in the project, as well as training, employment, and business opportunities. Additionally, the parties have committed to negotiate a more detailed agreement regarding the impacts and benefits associated with the construction, operation and reclamation of a large scale mine development.
“We appreciate the respectful and candid manner in which Brian Groves and Spanish Mountain Gold Ltd. have dealt with our community,” says Xat’sull Chief Bev Sellars. “This agreement gives us the opportunity to have an impact on the environmental assessment process and the construction, operation and reclamation of the mine, should the project proceed to development.”
Groves, president and CEO of SMG, echoes Sellars, saying the company is very pleased to have signed the agreement.
“Spanish Mountain Gold Ltd. views the building and maintaining of strong, functional relationships as a priority with those First Nations in whose traditional territories we operate,” Groves says. “This agreement formalizes our emerging relationship with Xat’sull and provides a strong framework for open communication, consultation and discussion at each stage of the ongoing development of the Spanish Mountain Project. We are also pleased that this agreement is comparable to the one reached between Spanish Mountain Gold Ltd. and the Williams Lake Indian Band, the signing of which was announced last year.”
The company wishes to acknowledge the support of Catana Consulting, a Vancouver-based consultant specializing in First Nation engagement activities, whose assistance was instrumental in the successful completion of this protocol agreement.