Taku River Tlingit First Nation, Eagle Plains and Prize Mining Sign Impact & Benefit Agreement for Yellowjacket Gold Project
Atlin, B.C., November 9th, 2009: The Taku River Tlingit First Nation (“TRTFN”), Eagle Plains Resources Ltd. (TSX-V:EPL) and Prize Mining Ltd. (TSX-V:PRZ) jointly announce that the parties have completed and executed a formal Impact and Benefit Agreement (“IBA”) relating to mineral exploration and gold production activities at the Yellowjacket Gold Project (“Yellowjacket Project”) located near Atlin, British Columbia. The project is operated through the Yellowjacket Joint-Venture (“YJV”) comprised of Eagle Plains and Prize Mining. The completion of this document is a very important event and may signify a new era of Aboriginal participation in mineral resource exploration and extraction in British Columbia. The TRTFN is hopeful that the signing of this IBA will pave the way for future relationships with third party interests in the TRTFN traditional territory.
TRTFN Clan Director for Land and Resources, Bryan Jack stated that “the TRTFN is supportive of responsible mineral exploration and mine development in the TRTFN Territory. In addition, the TRTFN are keen to ensure that the benefits from all responsible development ought to be realized by the TRTFN and Atlin community residents.”
The Agreement recognizes that the Yellowjacket Project is located within the TRTFN Territory; and, the YJV holds certain interests and rights granted by British Columbia to extract gold resources. Furthermore, the parties recognize that they have a mutual and beneficial interest in cooperating with each other to advance and complete the Yellowjacket Project in a timely, environmentally responsible and orderly manner.
The Agreement provides employment and training opportunities to TRTFN members and contracts for fuel purchases and other services necessary for mining and exploration activities, including a contract to conduct environmental monitoring at the Project.
In addition, Yellowjacket has agreed to contract TRTFN to study the feasibility of supplying power to the Project from a hydroelectric facility nearby that is owned and operated by the Atlin Tlingit Development Corporation. In turn, TRTFN has agreed to provide to support the Project and grant access, use and occupation to the joint venture to conduct the project within its traditional territory.
The agreement sets out a clear understanding between the parties of the opportunities and benefits that may result from such an undertaking, while taking into consideration the challenges relating to economic sustainability and responsible environmental stewardship. The document itself reflects the clear and forthright communication present throughout the negotiating process and further underscores the mutual respect of all parties.
Spokesperson for Taku River Tlingit First Nation, John Ward, stated that “It is important that when a mining company comes into Tlingit territory to explore and develop mineral resources, that they first come and talk to us about the proposed activity, and get our consent. The Tlingit people need to be assured that a mining project can and will be carried out in a manner that contributes to, and does not undermine, the sustainability of the Tlingit culture and land-based economy. Negotiating this agreement with the Yellowjacket joint venture shows that this goal can be achieved in a fair and responsible manner with all parties benefiting. We look forward to a productive relationship with Yellowjacket.”
Tim Termuende, President and CEO of Eagle Plains Resources stated recently “The Agreement marks an important milestone for the Yellowjacket Project and the British Columbia mining industry as a whole. It demonstrates clearly that cooperation and mutually beneficial relationships between First Nations and the mining industry are both possible and preferable. I would like to thank the TRTFN Leadership and members of the negotiating team for this rewarding experience, and look forward to working further with TRTFN”.
“It is a great pleasure to announce the signing of the IBA,” stated Feisal Somji, chairman of Prize Mining. “I look forward to working alongside the Taku River Tlingit First Nations as we develop the Yellowjacket Project. The TRTFN have been invaluable advisors during this process and I am proud of our joint commitment to environmental responsibility and the local community. Our negotiations have been amicable and beneficial for all parties involved and I look forward to our continued work with the TRTFN.”
About the Yellowjacket Gold Project
The Yellowjacket Project received a Small Mines Act Permit in July of 2009 for the development and production of gold from the British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources (see EPL/PRZ news release dated July 13, 2009). The Permit allows for the development and operation of an open pit gold mine and onsite concentrator processing up to 75,000 tons per year of ore. The TRTFN were active participants in the review and approval of the Permit.
Commissioning and test work on the mill facility was completed earlier this season, and excavation activity took place from mid-August to mid-September. Approximately 50,000 tonnes of material was mined, with approximately 11,000 tonnes of material stockpiled for processing. Mining and milling activity for the 2009 season was completed in early October. Metallurgical test work and plant engineering designs show that expected gravity concentration gold recoveries will be between 73% and 80%, with no chemicals used in the extraction process. Production activity is presently seasonal, but the potential exist for year-round operations.
The Taku River Tlingit First Nation are the indigenous people who have Aboriginal title and rights to some 40,000 square kilometers in northwest corner of British Columbia, comprising the Taku watershed and a major portion of the Atlin plateau. The area is largely unroaded, and is rich in wildlife and fish resources upon which the Tlingit depend. The main place of residence for Tlingit citizens is Atlin, British Columbia, located 9km west of the Yellowjacket gold mine. The TRTFN are currently in the BC treaty process to resolve the outstanding issues of ownership and jurisdiction in the Tlingit territory. The TRTFN are supportive of mining activity in the territory if it can be done in a sustainable fashion and in a way agreeable to TRTFN government.
About Prize Mining
Prize Mining Corporation (TSX VENTURE:PRZ) is dedicated to the exploration, discovery and development of precious metal deposits. Prize is exploring for gold in the Atlin area of northwestern British Columbia, Canada and for nickel-copper-palladium and platinum on the Muskox Layered Intrusion in Nunavut, Arctic Canada.
About Eagle Plains Resources
Eagle Plains Resources continues to conduct research, acquire and explore metal projects in western Canada. In addition to holding mining royalties on various projects, the Company controls over 35 gold, base-metal and uranium projects, several with third parties including Waterloo Resources Ltd (TSX-V:WAT.P) and XO Gold Resources Ltd. (a private B.C. company). In recent years, Eagle Plains has completed option agreements with Teck Limited (TSX:TCK.B), Alexco Resource Corp. (TSX-V:AXR), Billiton Metals, Rio Algom Exploration, NovaGold Resources, Kennecott Exploration and numerous other junior exploration companies, resulting in over 53,000m (158,500’) of drilling and over $27.0 million in exploration spending on its projects since 1998.
Expenditures during 2008 on Eagle Plains’ projects were approximately $6,000,000, funded equally between Eagle Plains and third party partners. This work resulted in approximately 6,300m of drilling and extensive ground-based exploration work and facilitated the advancement of numerous projects at various stages of development.
On behalf of the Board of Directors
“Tim J. Termuende”
President and CEO
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release. This news release may contain forward-looking statements including but not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work programs, geological interpretations, receipt of property titles, potential mineral recovery processes, etc. Forward-looking statements address future events and conditions and therefore, involve inherent risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those currently anticipated in such statements.