The Town of Hearst and Constance Lake First Nation are collaborating on a unique partnership that could see the two communities benefit from mining in the region.
In March, the two communities embarked on the joint development of a mining readiness strategy, which is designed to boost economic development and growth in the region and improve local skills and service delivery geared toward attracting mining companies and investment.
Sylvie Fontaine, general manager of the Hearst Economic Development Corporation, said the idea was modelled on a similar development in the North where communities began preparing for potential mining activity from the Ring of Fire. “In our case, it’s not the Ring of Fire, but it’s any mining activity that might start in the near future,” Fontaine said.
“As you know, they’ve found some graphite, the purest graphite in the world, about 60 kilometres from Hearst and about 20 kilometres from Constance Lake.”
Dubbed the Albany Graphite Deposit, the hydrothermal graphite mineralization was discovered in 2011 by Zenyatta Ventures, which has since prepared a resource estimate indicating 25.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 3.89 per cent graphitic carbon containing 977,000 tonnes, and inferring 20.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 2.20 per cent, containing 441,000 tonnes.
Graphite is prized for its use in lithium-ion batteries, the renewable energy industry, electronic devices, and fuel cells.
The two-year mining strategy is currently in the first of three phases, which involves creating a baseline of information, such as the population, economy, environment, and infrastructure of the two communities.
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