Townships willing to sell, lease land to mine project

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by Terry Myers

The townships of Head, Clara, Maria are willing to go part way on a promise to help support the opening of a proposed graphite mine near Bissett Creek.

Townships council has agreed to enter a “memorandum of understanding” to sell or lease portions of unopened municipal road allowance if and when financing for the mine project is in place.

Greg Bowes, CEO of Northern Graphite, the company behind the mine project, told council earlier this year that final approvals for the mine should be complete by the end of this year.

The company will still need to raise somewhere around $100 million to get the mine into operation, or find a major mining company to buy them out and take over the project.

In an email earlier this summer, Bowes suggested the two sides could enter a memorandum of understanding stating that the townships support the project, “assuming you do,” and that it would agree to sell or lease the road allowances to Northern Graphite once the project financing is arranged.

Council agreed with Bowes’ proposal, in what Mayor Debbi Grills said was a “move forward.”

“Our (previous) concern was, had we sold it (the road allowance land) and the mine didn’t happen, what would happen to the property,” she said, noting the mine project has been talked about for “decades.”

“I’m certainly hoping that it does happen sooner rather than later, but it won’t happen if we don’t take steps (to support it).”

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