Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Mineral company, band sign agreement

Old spats forgotten in wake of Mega mine

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A spat last year between a mineral exploration company and nearby Red Sucker Lake First Nation resulting in eviction notices against the company and a court injunction against the band is all water under the bridge.

The company, Mega Precious Metals Inc., and the band signed a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) last week with both sides expressing support and encouragement for each other.

Mega's Monument Bay project is one of the most promising mineral-exploration projects currently underway in the province with substantial gold and tungsten deposits that are being developed.

'We were welcomed into the community and the agreement will form a new basis for

dialogue now'

-- Mega Precious Metals CEO Glen Kuntz

It's located 60 kilometres northwest of Red Sucker Lake and about 570 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

Red Sucker Lake First Nation elected a new chief, Greg Harper, earlier this year, which likely helped to revive a more friendly relationship between the two.

Glen Kuntz, CEO of Mega Precious Metals which is based in Thunder Bay, said everyone is pleased the agreement has been made. "We were welcomed into the community and the agreement will form a new basis for dialogue now," he said.

The MOU includes dropping the court injunction, economic development opportunities, continued environmental monitoring, increased communication with the community and community support of the development of the Monument Bay project.

To help ensure that the relationship stays on track, the parties will utilize a community liaison officer at Red Sucker Lake First Nation and a community engagement co-ordinator at Mega to facilitate communications.

Kuntz said Mega has already invested about $2.8 million into Red Sucker and other local communities.

He said the company had set aside an additional $50,000 for community economic development at Red Sucker that had been held in trust and the signing of the MOU will free the money up.

About 60 per cent of Mega's workforce numbering close to 30 is made up of local First Nations people -- though not all from Red Sucker -- and Métis.

Mega closed a $5.3-million equity offering earlier this month most of which will be spent on new exploration drilling.

The company is scheduled to release key documents later this year, which could go a long way toward determining whether or not a viable mine might be possible.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 29, 2014 B4

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