Approval process going too slow for Gowest Timmins gold project – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – April 8, 2016)

TIMMINS – The Timmins man in charge of the Gowest Gold mining project in Timmins has challenged the city’s business community to do something about the slow pace of permitting.

Gregory Romain, the president and CEO of Gowest was the guest speaker at a Timmins Chamber of Commerce lunch event Thursday.

Gowest is a junior gold exploration company working to develop the North Timmins Gold project located roughly 35 kilometres north of the built-up area of Timmins. The project, which is part of the well-known Bradshaw gold venture, has more than 400,000 indicated ounces of gold and more than 750,000 ounces inferred.

Romain told the chamber lunch crowd he is confident the property will eventually become a mine, but there was clear frustration in his voice as he spoke of the permitting process.

Permitting is the process where mining companies submit comprehensive work plans and outlines in order to get approval from numerous government ministries and agencies. In many cases this can require months, sometimes years of research and produce thousands of pages of paperwork.

As he noted that spring is almost here along with the arrival of golf season, Romain drew a parallel between golfing and mining. He said it would seem that things are pretty straightforward until you end up in the sand trap, which he said is like the “permit trap” in mining.

“It’s a place where sometimes you question whether you’re ever going to get out,” Romain quipped. He said the permitting requirements are reasonable and community consultations are a must, but he said he is concerned about the process and timing.

He said on the Bradshaw Gold property, baseline studies were carried out in 2009 and yet here in April 2016, Gowest is still waiting for two final permits, which are in review.

He also said Ontario’s record in the area of permitting and consultation is poor.

“The process has become far too complex and time consuming and should be of grave concern to all of you,” told the audience.

He said a recent write-up by the Fraser Institute indicated that Ontario ranks last in Canada for permitting.

Romain challenged the business community to take action on the issue.

“I think it is incumbent on you as business people to pressure both the provincial and federal governments to come up with a process immediately that will address the concerns of all stakeholders,” said Romain.

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