ATW Resources Ltd.

June 09, 2009 15:23 ET

ATW Resources Ltd.: First Nation Formally Supports Mineral Exploration Project

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - June 9, 2009) - The Yellowknives Dene First Nation (YKDFN) is pleased to announce its support for the mineral exploration activities of ATW Resources Ltd. (ATW) at Mackay Lake, NWT.

On March 5th, 2009, the YKDFN and ATW entered into a forward-looking relationship by signing an Exploration Agreement. In addition to formalizing YKDFN support for ATW's exploration activities, this agreement provides for mutual ongoing communications, prioritization of First Nation business and employment opportunities, and YKDFN participation in on-site archaeological studies and environmental monitoring.

Understanding that the complex regulatory framework and the ambiguous nature of consultation in the NWT are discouraging exploration investment, the YKDFN and the other Akaitcho Dene First Nations finalized the development of an Exploration Agreement with formal ratification in November 2008. This agreement was designed in collaboration with mineral exploration companies to ensure that projects can proceed with efficiency, clarity, and certainty. Containing explicit provisions defining the respective roles and responsibilities of both the First Nation and the company, an Exploration Agreement is a mechanism to dispose of consultation obligations and potentially streamline the regulatory process for any company wishing to explore in the Akaitcho Territory.

"By using this model in the Chief Drygeese Territory, we have an agreement that gives certainty to the First Nation and ATW. The company can conduct its exploration activities, but we know that our values and objectives are going to be respected," said Yellowknives Dene First Nation Chief Edward Sangris. "With this agreement and those that follow, we are creating a new relationship between the industry and the First Nation - no longer will consultation be an unknown process. It will have defined responsibilities for both sides, allowing the company to undertake their work while at the same time protecting the values that we hold dear."

"We are very pleased to have signed this agreement with the Yellowknives Dene First Nation and we look forward to working closely with them as we advance exploration on the ATW project," ATW's representative Marc Blythe stated. "We plan to build trust and respect through communication and involvement of the YKDFN in the project. Agreements such as this one reduce uncertainty for exploration companies working in the NWT."

By acknowledging the common interests of both the YKDFN and ATW, the Exploration Agreement signals the beginning of a collaborative relationship that sets a workable precedent for companies wishing to conduct exploration activities within the traditional territory of the YKDFN.

Contact Information

  • Yellowknives Dene First Nation
    Chief Edward Sangris
    Dettah Chief
    (867) 873-4307
    NWT Treaty #8 Tribal Corporation
    Steve Ellis
    Akaitcho Interim Measures Office
    (867) 370-3217
    ATW Resources Ltd.
    Marc Blythe
    (604) 689-7644