Avalon Rare Metals Inc. (TSX:AVL) (NYSE MKT:AVL) is pleased to report that the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board has completed its Report of Environmental Assessment and has recommended approval of the Company’s Nechalacho Rare Earth Elements Project, Thor Lake, Northwest Territories.
MVEIRB concluded that a full environmental impact review of the Project is not necessary and recommends that the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (“AANDC”) approve the Project, subject to implementation of certain measures intended to mitigate any potential adverse environmental impacts.
Don Bubar, President and CEO stated “This is a major milestone for Avalon and the Project. We have made sustainability a top priority since beginning physical work at Nechalacho seven years ago and I am pleased to see these efforts recognized by MVEIRB.”
In its 220 page report, MVEIRB set out five measures that, when implemented, will mitigate any predicted environmental impacts so that they are no longer significant. These measures:
-- Ensure through comprehensive monitoring that the water released from the
Project into the receiving environment does not cause significant
-- Require the development and implementation of a wildlife and wildlife
habitat protection plan and monitoring programs, with an emphasis on
caribou, and mitigation if required; and
-- Require that a socio-economic agreement with the Government of the
Northwest Territories ("GNWT") is in place before construction begins.
Avalon’s Vice President, Sustainability, Mark Wiseman commented “These measures are consistent with our values and the objectives articulated in our Corporate Sustainability Report. We have no hesitancy in committing to implement them. The Project has always been designed to minimize undesirable impacts but we accept that there is always room for improvement and commit to working with our Aboriginal partners and regulators to ensure there are no significant environmental impacts. Further, negotiations toward concluding a socio-economic agreement with the GNWT are already well advanced.”
The Company now awaits the decision of the AANDC Minister, who has the option to adopt the EA Report’s recommendations, refer the EA Report back to MVEIRB, suggest modifications to the recommendations, or reject the reasons for the decision and order a full environmental impact review. In the meantime, submissions to secure the necessary Land Use Permits and a Water License for the Project from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board will be finalized along with advancing plans to implement the measures identified above. Avalon does not anticipate that these steps will cause any further delays to its present construction schedule.
Concurrent with the permitting process, Avalon continues its efforts to finalize its Aboriginal agreements, secure product off-take agreements, identify strategic partners, and secure project financing. Avalon continues to evaluate and test other project optimisation opportunities to improve the Project economics, reduce risk, enhance metallurgical recoveries, minimize environmental impacts and develop other operational efficiencies.
About Avalon Rare Metals Inc
Avalon Rare Metals Inc. is a mineral development company focused on rare metal deposits in Canada. Its flagship project, the 100%-owned Nechalacho Deposit, Thor Lake, NWT is exceptional in its large size and enrichment in the scarce ‘heavy’ rare earth elements, key to enabling advances in clean technology and other growing high-tech applications. With a positive feasibility study and environmental assessment completed, Nechalacho remains the most advanced potential large new source of heavy rare earths in the world outside of China, currently the source of over 95% of the world supply. Avalon is well funded, has no debt and its work programs are progressing steadily. Social responsibility and environmental stewardship are corporate cornerstones.
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We acknowledge the [financial] support of the Government of Canada.