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District of Wells signs MOU with Osisko Development

The Cariboo Gold Project could receive a certificate of approval as soon as this fall
This map shows the location of Barkerville Gold MIne Ltd.’s QR Mill and Bonanza Ledge Mine and proposed Cariboo Gold Project mine site near Wells, as well as the trucking route to take ore from the Cariboo Gold Project to the QR Mill. (Photo courtesy of BGM)

The District of Wells has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Osisko Development as the Cariboo Gold Project project inches closer to approval.

A news release describes the agreement as a framework for the relationship between the two parties.

“When you have an investment of the magnitude of the… Cariboo Gold Project, it is critical to have an MOU that defines the relationship, I call it the ‘rules of the mining cart,’” Mayor of Wells, Ed Coleman said in the release.

“We can now have deep and comprehensive discussions on sewer, water, power, snow removal, housing, land use, facilities, school, trail systems, tourism, arts, forestry, transportation, and local, regional and provincial social & economic impacts.”

At a District of Wells council meeting on Tuesday, March 22, Coleman said the district has used the city of Quesnel’s MOU as a template for their own agreement.

Osisko operates the Bonanza Ledge Mine near Wells and the QR Mill. In a presentation to Quesnel City Council, Osisko President Chris Lodder guessed the new mine could bring over 450 jobs, with 75 per cent of the workforce coming from the Cariboo region.

READ MORE: Quesnel will be ‘key factor’ in Barkerville Gold Mine project

The mine could receive a certificate of approval as soon as fall of 2022. The Cariboo Gold Project is the first mine to undergo approval using the province’s new environmental assessment process.

“Wells will not just be a home to the Cariboo Gold Project, it will be a home for our employees, so working together on shared priorities is good for everyone,” Lodder said in the news release.

“We look forward to this MOU guiding our ongoing discussions about our shared priorities like revitalizing infrastructure and strong community services.”

Osisko has donated $500,000 in each of the past two years to Barkerville Historic Town and Park.

When presenting to Quesnel council, Lodder noted Osisko had completed agreements with Lhtako Dené First Nation and is in ongoing negotiations with Xatśūll First Nation and Williams Lake First Nation.

The proposed lifespan of the Cariboo Gold Project is 15 years, but Lodder said the company is hoping it will last even longer.

With files from Rebecca Dyok

READ MORE: Barkerville trust thanks Wells gold mine for providing $500K funding boost

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