Osisko Mining Inc has signed a binding term sheet with Miyuukaa Corp, a wholly-owned corporation of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi (CFNW), with respect to the construction of proposed transmission facilities and the transport of hydroelectric power to the Windfall project, in the Abitibi greenstone belt of Québec, Canada.
The agreement will see Miyuukaa finance, build, own and operate a 69 kV dedicated transmission line that will transport hydroelectricity to the Windfall project. The power line from the Waswanipi substation to Windfall minimises the environmental footprint and is located 100% on CFNW traditional lands covered by the James Bay Northern Québec Agreement, according to Osisko.
As an end user, Osisko will pay service fees to Miyuukaa. The binding term sheet outlines the general and financial terms of the agreement between Osisko and Miyuukaa, which is for the purpose of ensuring delivery of hydroelectricity over the life of the planned Windfall mill as required. Terms will be further outlined in a definitive agreement to be entered into between Osisko and Miyuukaa, which is expected to be completed in the coming month.
Last month, Osisko released a definitive feasibility study on Windfall that outlined a 3,400 t/d milling operation able to produce an average of 294,234 oz/y of gold over the life of mine.
This agreement wutg CFNW solidifies the collaborative approach between Osisko and the CFNW to sustainably develop energy infrastructure, which will create robust employment opportunities for members of the CFNW, Osisko said. Using hydroelectric power through the final stages of exploration and throughout the planned construction and operations phases will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the Windfall project’s dependency on fossil fuels.
Work is expected to commence in January on existing access roads, in preparation for brush clearing and construction of the transmission line, while awaiting permitting. The work is projected to take 12 months to complete, with the hook-up date anticipated in the first half of 2024.
Osisko’s Chief Executive Officer and Chairman, John Burzynski, said: “We are proud to announce today’s landmark agreement with Miyuukaa, and to begin preparations for work on the line which will deliver hydroelectricity to Windfall. The advent of power at Windfall will allow us to move away from diesel-generated electricity for our exploration activities. Hydroelectric power availability for the anticipated construction of the Windfall Mine will make a significant difference in both the cost and environmental impact of our future planned activities.”
Irene Neeposh, Chief of the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi, said: “The Cree First Nation of Waswanipi will always prioritise the protection of its territory and of the traditional way of life of its
members but this does not prevent us from also participating in the economic development of our land. Cree ownership of this transmission line is a great example of what can be achieved when resource development companies engage honourably and meaningfully with Indigenous nations and the concerns of all parties are addressed upstream and conciliated. By owning and operating this key infrastructure for the region, with Osisko as a partner, the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi continues on its path to controlling the development of its traditional territory.”
John Kitchen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Miyuukaa, said: “Today’s agreement with Osisko highlights the benefits of what can be achieved when First Nations are involved in the decision making. The electrification of the Windfall project in collaboration with the Cree First Nation of Waswanipi is part of the vision behind the Grande Alliance agreement signed in February 2020 between the Grand Council of the Crees, the Cree Nation Government and the Government of Québec. A vision that calls for a collaborative, long-term, balanced socio-economic development in a spirit of respect for Cree values in the Eeyou Istchee James Bay Territory. The Kuikuhaacheu Transmission Line, to be built by Miyuukaa, is a generational asset that will provide for training, employment and business opportunities for decades while respecting our Cree way of life. Emotions are hard to contain when thinking about the positive impact this will have on the CFNW youth, the core of our members.”