The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency has opted to proceed with a comprehensive study for the Spanish Mountain Gold development near Likely. The decision was announced Friday.
Back in August a representative from SMG environmental consultant Knight Piesold indicated it was expected the project would proceed with a comprehensive assessment.
The CEAA website describes comprehensive assessments as those that tend to be large projects having the potential for significant adverse environmental effects. They may also generate public concerns.
Maxine Leger-Haskell, spokesperson for the EAA, said the agency is in the preliminary stages of a comprehensive study for the proposed mine, which includes the gathering of public comment and determining what information and studies will be needed in order to proceed with the assessment.
Public comments on the project will be accepted until Nov. 21; there will be a total of three public comment periods during the process.
Leger-Haskell says a comprehensive study was chosen based on the mine’s throughput.
“Our legislation has a list which describes a certain project of a certain size and that automatically triggers a comprehensive study assessment,” she said.
The agency now has 365 days to complete the assessment; however, only the days when the SMG project are worked on are counted.
The province’s Environmental Assessment office has already indicated the SMG project must undergo an assessment and receive an environmental assessment certificate in order for the project to proceed. If approved, SMG’s open pit gold mine is anticipated to be operational by January 2014. SMG expects the mine could produce more than 200,000 ounces of gold per year with a mine life of 10 years.
During the construction phase that could begin by 2013 it is estimated 600 temporary jobs could be created; when operational the mine could create approximately 284 jobs.
The federal EAA has made available $45,000 under its Participant Funding Program to assist groups and individuals to take part in the environmental assessment of this project.
Company officials were not available to comment on this story by press time.