April 12, 2018 (Source) — Mr. Jean-Roch Ottawa, Chief of the Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan (CDAM) and Mr. Constant Awashish, Grand Chief of the Atikamekw Nation and Atikamekw Sipi (CNA) as well as Mr. Éric Desaulniers, President and CEO of Nouveau Monde Graphite Inc. (« NMG ») (TSX-V:NOU) are proud to announce the signing of a framework that will establish the terms of discussions and negotiations leading to the conclusion of a predevelopment agreement. Once that is underway, an agreement on repercussions and benefits will also be drawn. All this, in a spirit of reciprocal respect, and in order to conciliate rights and interests of the Atikamekw community regarding the mining activities undertaken by NMG for its Matawinie project and demonstration facility.
The present framework agreement establishes negotiation topics to be discussed and goals to be met in order to arrive at a successful agreement in the best interests of all parties concerned. It also states subjects and guidelines to consider throughout the discussion process to favour an environment propitiatory to a sound negotiation. The strong desire to make the Matawinie project a vector of pride for concerned parties inscribes itself in a committed willingness to develop in the most sustainable way possible, on all levels of operations.
“This framework agreement serves to consolidate the existing harmonious accord between NMG and the Atikamekw nation. As our first agreement signed between concerned parties, it acts as the founding pillars of the innovative and sustainable regional and community development project we wish to see follow through,” explains Éric Desaulniers, NMG President and CEO. Jean-Roch Ottawa, Chief of CDAM adds: “ This Framework Agreement is the first step in a historic negociations process leading to an Impact and Benefit Agreement for our Nation, providing context for discussions based on mutual trust and respect..” Constant Awashish, Grand Chief of the Atikamekw nation comments: “The NMG mining project resides on land that has not been ceded by the Atikamekw. That is why it is crucial for the predevelopment agreement and the impact and benefit agreement to showcase prominent development leverage for both parties.”
A working cell has been set up to brainstorm, discuss and develop a predevelopment agreement and to do so in a timely fashion. The working cell will also see to determine the most favorable requisites to a successful agreement in which the Atikamekw community incessantly play an inclusive role in the Matawinie project as well as the demonstration facility, forecasted to open Summer 2018. In addition to this dedicated working cell, a member of the Atikamekw community of Manawan as well as an official of the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw will sit at the table of a support committee established by NMG. This support committee plays an active role in the NMG’s implementation of many actions with the goal of ensuring that the mining project develops itself successfully and in full collaboration with its hosting communities.
About the Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan
The Manawan community is located 120 kilometres west of La Tuque and 72 kilometres north of Saint-Michel-des-Saints, on the south shore of the Métabeskéga Lake. Members of the Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan are elected representatives of the community. They serve as the sole officials entrusted with the general management of the reserve under right delegations given by the Minister of Native Affairs and of Northern Canada. One of the main roles confided to the Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan is to deliver public services to the population in conformity to financing agreements. The Conseil des Atikamekw de Manawan is composed of the Council Chief as well as of six councillors, all elected for a four-year mandate. Jean-Rock Ottawa is the current Chief of Council.
About the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw
Founded in 1982, the Conseil de la Nation Atikamekw—Atikamekw Sipi (CNA) is a non-profit organization that sprang from the will of Manawan Atikamekw, Opitciwan and Wemotaci councils to unite their programs and services and better serve the Atikamekw population.
As a tribal council, the CNA dispenses counselling services such as technical services and council in economic development management. Other delegated public services are also offered such as social services and educational, linguistic and cultural services.
In parallel, the CNA is actively negotiating an agreement in principle with the Canadian and Quebecois governments in view of a treaty signing. The CNA also plays a political role that supports and promotes historical, political, economic, cultural and social aspirations of the Atikamekw nation.
About Nouveau Monde Graphite
Geologist and mining exploration expert Éric Desaulniers founded Nouveau Monde Graphite (NMG) in 2012. In 2015, thanks to the innovative use of 3D geodesic modelling technology, NMG discovered two major and high-quality graphite deposits on its Matawinie property, located in Saint-Michel-des-Saints, 150 km north of Montreal, Quebec. NMG then stepped out of its exploration phase to enter an era of development, having secured financial support with prominent venture capitalists and bankers.
On October 25, 2017, NMG revealed the results of its pre-feasibility study, independently conducted in accordance to the “Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum”. The study proved the high graphite content and quality and showed the industrial exploitation potential of the deposit located in the West Zone of its property. Having secured $13.7 M, during the Summer of 2018, NMG plans on operating a demonstration facility with a capacity to hold up to 1,000 tonnes of graphite concentrate flakes a year. The two-year project’s goal is to produce and characterize various forms of graphite to meet the needs expressed by potential industrial clients. All the while, NMG will finalize investments and start working on the development of an open-pit mine and the creation of a treatment facility capable of producing 52,000 tonnes of concentrate a year. Both the mining operation and the plant will be fully electric.
Finally, in a vertical integration and sustainable development perspective, NMG has begun planning the establishment of a large-scale graphite secondary transformation facility. This will cater to the ever-growing popularity and use of lithium-ion batteries and would be the only existing manufacture of its kind in North America.
Our team at NMG has more than 40 years of recent experience with graphite. NMG develops its projects in the utmost respect of the neighbouring communities while favouring a minimal ecological footprint. NMG has many direct accesses to labour and needed infrastructure for its operations, such as an abundant source of affordable and renewable hydroelectricity.
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