Permitting Advances on Ambler Access Road
March 6, 2017 - Vancouver, British Columbia – Trilogy Metals Inc. (TSX, NYSE-MKT: TMQ) ("Trilogy Metals” or "the Company”) is pleased to announce that the permitting process is advancing on the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project (“AMDIAP”). The Notice of Intent (“NOI”) initiating the permitting process under the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) for the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement (“EIS”) on the AMDIAP was published on February 28, 2017 by the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) in the U.S. Federal Register. The BLM is the lead Federal agency for the EIS. This notice initiates the public scoping process for the EIS with comments due by May 30, 2017.
The Notice of Intent states that the various federal and state agencies intend to prepare an EIS for Federal authorization to construct and operate an approximately 211-mile long industrial access road in the southern Brooks Range foothills of Alaska, originating at the Dalton Highway and ending at the Ambler River and providing access to the Ambler Mining District. The BLM has announced the beginning of the EIS scoping process to solicit public comments and identify issues. The BLM intends to coordinate the development of the EIS with the National Park Service (“NPS”), which is in accordance with the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (“ANILCA”). The NPS is developing a separate environmental and economic analysis (“EEA”) solely for the purpose of determining the most desirable route for that portion of the proposed road right-of-way that would cross the Gates of the Arctic National Preserve.
The AMDIAP is anticipated to provide surface access to the Ambler Mining District, long known to contain significant deposits of copper, lead, zinc, gold and silver and specifically including the Company’s Upper Kobuk Mineral Projects – Arctic and Bornite. Through an Exploration and Option to Lease Agreement with NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (“NANA”), Trilogy has the exclusive rights to enter and explore their Bornite Lands and ANSCA Lands. Further NANA and Trilogy have agreed to certain matters relating to the exploration and possible development, construction and operation of a mine on the Bornite Lands, the ANCSA Lands and the Ambler Lands contributed by the Company. In exchange for these rights, NANA receives a net smelter royalty, a net profits share, and the option to participate as an equity owner in a mining operation. This partnership also provides, among other things, scholarship funding, contracting preferences for NANA companies and a focus on local workforce development.
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) the Company has been working with the Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority ("AIDEA”) over the past several years to identify and select a preferred access route into the Ambler Mining District and support engineering and environmental studies as well as community outreach for the AMDIAP. Now that AMDIAP is in the permitting phase, the Company intends to sign a new MOU with AIDEA that sets the foundation to work together during this next permitting phase.
The AMDIAP is modeled on AIDEA’s successful DeLong Mountain Transportation System (“DMTS”), which includes an industrial access road from the Red Dog Mine to the DMTS port. AIDEA worked with private investors to finance construction of the DMTS industrial access road, and the costs of road construction were paid back through tolls paid by the mine for use of the road. No State of Alaska general funds were used to construct the DMTS and that is exactly what is anticipated for the AMDIAP.
Rick Van Nieuwenhuyse, President and CEO of Trilogy Metals commented, “Having the BLM initiate the permitting process is a major accomplishment and milestone for developing the Ambler Mining District. Permitting in the United States under NEPA is a prescribed process involving five recognized stages: Public Scoping to identify concerns; Preliminary Draft EIS (draft permitting document); Draft EIS and Public Comment; Final EIS and Public Notice; and finally a Record of Decision (“ROD”). This process has typically taken two to three years to complete. However, with the issuance of Executive Order # 13766 (entitled: “Expediting Environmental Reviews and Approvals for High Priority Infrastructure Projects”) under the new Trump Administration which directs the federal agencies to coordinate an effort to streamline the permitting process, particularly with respect to important infrastructure projects, we are hopeful that the permitting timeline could be shortened. The Company plans to work closely with AIDEA to accomplish this important objective.”
About Trilogy Metals
Trilogy Metals Inc., formerly NovaCopper Inc., is a metals exploration company focused on exploring and developing the Ambler mining district located in northwestern Alaska. It is one of the richest and most-prospective known copper-dominant districts located in one of the safest geopolitical jurisdictions in the world. It hosts world-class polymetallic VMS deposits that contain copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver, and carbonate replacement deposits which have been found to host high grade copper mineralization. Exploration efforts have been focused on two deposits in the Ambler mining district - the Arctic VMS deposit and the Bornite carbonate replacement deposit. Both deposits are located within the Company's land package that spans approximately 143,000 hectares. The Company has an agreement with NANA Regional Corporation, Inc., a Regional Alaska Native Corporation that provides a framework for the exploration and potential development of the Ambler mining district in cooperation with local communities. Our vision is to develop the Ambler mining district into a premier North American copper producer.