PROJECT AGREEMENT FOR HARDROCK DEPOSIT (GOLD) MINE IN ONTARIO

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PREAMBLE

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEA Agency) has commenced an environmental assessment (EA) pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012) for Premier Gold Mines Hardrock Incorporated's (the Proponent) Hardrock Deposit (Gold) Mine (the Project).

Premier Gold Mines Hardrock Inc. is proposing the construction, operation, decommissioning, and abandonment of an open-pit gold mine and on-site metal mill located approximately five kilometres south of Geraldton, Ontario, at the intersection of Highway 11 (Trans-Canada Highway) and Michael Power Boulevard. As proposed, the gold mine would have an ore production capacity of 30,000 tonnes per day, and the metal mill would have an ore input capacity of 30,000 tonnes per day.

The CEA Agency and the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change have agreed to coordinate the federal and provincial EAs to the extent possible pursuant to the Canada-Ontario Agreement on Environmental Assessment Cooperation.

Nothing in this Project Agreement (the Agreement) fetters the powers, statutory authorities and functions of federal departments/agencies and their respective Ministers.

The signatories to this Agreement (the Parties) commit to work together to facilitate an effective, accountable, transparent, timely and predictable federal review in relation to the proposed project and to contribute to fulfilling the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal groups.

1.0 PURPOSE

The purpose of this document is to provide detailed information pertaining to the federal review process where the CEA Agency is the responsible authority during the EA. For further information regarding the federal review process, please refer to The Federal Review Process for Major Projects: Project Agreement Companion Document (the Companion Document) (www.mpmo-bggp.gc.ca).

2.0 ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

The following federal departments and agencies have identified an interest in the Project, and will participate in the federal review:

  • Responsible authority: The CEA Agency will ensure that an EA is conducted, an EA Report is prepared and that an EA Decision Statement is issued;
  • Federal authorities (FAs): Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), Environment Canada (EC), Health Canada (HC) and Transport Canada (TC) may be in possession of specialist or expert information or knowledge with respect to the Project;
  • Regulatory departments: DFO, EC, TC, and NRCan may have regulatory and statutory duties in relation to the Project;
  • Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) has advisory responsibilities in relation to the Project to support consistency with the Government of Canada’s Whole of Government approach to Aboriginal consultation activities; and,
  • The Major Projects Management Office (MPMO) will provide oversight and advice throughout the entire federal review in relation to the Project to ensure adherence to the service standards and roles and responsibilities of all Parties as described in the Agreement and the Companion Document.

3.0 Aboriginal Consultation

The Parties are committed to a Whole of Government approach to Aboriginal consultation that is integrated with the EA and regulatory process, to the extent possible. For more information on the Whole of Government approach, including roles and responsibilities of departments and agencies, as well as coordination during the project review, please refer to Annex I of the Companion Document.

Where applicable, the terms and conditions of all existing agreements or protocols and/or MOUs between the Crown and Aboriginal groups will be respected.

4.0 TIMELINES

Timelines identified in the Agreement represent the time expected to be taken by federal departments and agencies in carrying out their respective tasks. The timelines do not account for time taken by the Proponent to collect information or undertake a study at the request of the CEA Agency during the EA or regulatory departments during the regulatory phase. The target timelines for the federal review are as follows:

  1. Completion of the EA, as per CEAA 2012 – 365 days from the posting of the Notice of Commencement (NoC) on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry Internet Site (CEARIS) to the Minister of the Environment's (the Minister) EA Decision Statement about whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.
  2. Regulatory decisions pursuant to the Fisheries Act and the Navigation Protection Act (NPA) – 90 days from receipt of a complete application assuming the Minister’s EA Decision Statement has been posted on the CEARIS and no additional consultation is required.
  3. Regulatory decision pursuant to the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations – 8 months from the Minister’s EA Decision Statement posted on the CEARIS. The timeline will be reduced to 6 months if Treasury Board is satisfied that the Conditions for Exemption have been met (see the Companion Document for additional information).
  4. If appropriate, regulatory decision pursuant to the Explosives Act – 1 month from the submission of a complete and acceptable application for an Explosives Factory Licence.
  5. If appropriate, issue an Order in Council (OIC) exemption under s.24 of the NPA – 11.5 months from the Minister’s EA Decision Statement posted on the CEARIS.

5.0 SIGNATORIES

The Parties hereto have signed the Agreement, in counterpart, on the dates indicated below.

Annex I

Key Milestones and Service Standards for the Environmental Assessment and Aboriginal Consultation
  Milestone Lead Support As Needed Timeline/
Completion Date
1 Post the Notice of Commencement (NoC) on the CEARIS CEA Agency FAs June 13, 2014
2 Public and Aboriginal group comment period on the draft EIS Guidelines CEA Agency FAs June 13, 2014 – July 13, 2014
3 Finalize the EIS Guidelines and provide to the Proponent CEA Agency FAs July 14, 2014 – August 5, 2014
4 Submit the EIS and EIS Summary Proponent CEA Agency, FAs To be determined by the Proponent
5 Perform conformity check of the EISFootnote 1 CEA Agency   Day 45-51 (7 Days)
6 Public and Aboriginal group comment period on the EIS summary CEA Agency FAs Starting between day 52 and 76 (for a duration of 30 Days)
7 Review and provide comments on the EIS to the CEA Agency FAs CEA Agency Day 52-91 (40 Days)
8 Review and provides information requests on the EIS to the Proponent CEA Agency FAs Day 52-109 (57 days)
9 Submit response to information requests Proponent CEA Agency, FAs To be determined by the Proponent
10 Review and provide comments on the additional information to the CEA Agency FAs CEA Agency Day 110-139 (30 Days)
11 Review and provides information requests on the additional information to the ProponentFootnote 2 CEA Agency FAs Day 110-144 (35 Days)
12 Prepare the draft Environmental Assessment Report (EAR) CEA Agency FAs Day 145-225 (81 Days)
13 Public and Aboriginal group comment period on the draft EAR CEA Agency FAs Day 226-255 (30 Days)
14 Review and provide comments on the draft EAR to the CEA Agency FAs CEA Agency Day 226-260 (35 Days)
15 Finalize the EAR and submit to the Minister CEA Agency FAs Day 261-335 (75 Days)
16 Minister Makes EA Decision Minister CEA Agency Day 336-365 (30 Days)
17 Issue and Post the Minister’s EA Decision Statement on the CEARISFootnote 3 CEA Agency   Day 365 (0 Day)

Annex II

Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the EAFootnote 4

A Gantt chart that is a visual representation of the milestones and timelines in Annex I.

[Larger image - Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the EA]

Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the Regulatory PhaseFootnote 5

A Gantt chart that is a visual representation of the milestones and timelines in Annex I.

[Larger image - Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the Regulatory Phase]

Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the Regulatory Phase (continue)

A Gantt chart that is a visual representation of the milestones and timelines in Annex I.

[Larger image - Gantt Chart: Target Timelines for the Regulatory Phase (continue)]