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TORONTO, June 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ - Seabridge Gold reported today that it has entered into a comprehensive Benefits Agreement with the Nis ga'a Nation in respect of Seabridge Gold's KSM Project, located in northwest British Columbia. The Benefits Agreement establishes a long-term co-operative relationship between Seabridge and the Nis ga'a Nation under which the Nis ga'a Nation will support development of the Project, participate in economic benefits from the Project and provide ongoing advice.
The Agreement includes commitments by Seabridge regarding jobs and contracting opportunities at the KSM Project, education and training, financial payments and a framework for working together on ongoing development matters. This comprehensive agreement also addresses concerns expressed by the Nis ga'a Nation around the potential environmental and social impacts of the KSM Project.
Seabridge Chairman and CEO Rudi Fronk comments that:"This formal expression of support from the Nis ga'a Nation is a major step forward for KSM. As the only Treaty nation involved in the KSM environmental assessment process, the Nis ga'a's views carry considerable weight. This Agreement validates Seabridge's open, transparent and flexible approach to working with the Nis ga'a Nation and First Nations generally on development of the KSM Project, and the KSM Project is better for it. We are proud that a strong, trusting and mutually respectful relationship with the Nis ga'a Nation has grown out of our work with them over the last six years. Their support of the Project reflects their detailed, independent assessment that the Project can be built and operated in an environmentally responsible way." Mitchell Stevens, President of Nis ga'a Nation, comments that: "We appreciate Seabridge's open and direct approach to working with the Nis ga'a Nation. They began consulting with us very early on in the development of the KSM Project design. They listened to our concerns and took them seriously. They have been very responsive to our concerns around the environmental and social impacts of the project on Nis ga'a Treaty interests. As well, Seabridge has demonstrated a real willingness to assist the Nis ga'a Nation in creating genuine economic opportunities and building the capacity of Nis ga'a citizens." Highlights of the Agreement include:
- Nis ga'a Nation agreement to provide letters in support of the KSM Project to British Columbian and Canadian regulators, as well as potential investors in Seabridge or the Project.
- Financial payments upon the achievement of certain Project milestones and annual production payments based on a percentage of net profits, with the net profits payable normalizing after the Project has recovered its capital costs, as determined under the terms of the Agreement.
- Strong commitments to education and training of Nis ga'a citizens so that they will be better able to take advantage of the economic benefits the KSM Project offers.
- Mutual co-operation on completing the operational permitting process for the Project.
- A framework for the Nisga'a Nation and Seabridge to work together to achieve employment targets and to ensure Nis ga'a businesses will have preferred access to contracting opportunities.
- Mutual co-operation on responding to social impacts which Nisga'a Villages may experience as a result of the Project.