Rock Tech Lithium (CVE:RCK) announced Thursday it entered into a memorandum of understanding (NASDAQ:MOU) with First Nations groups Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek (NYSE:BNA), Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek (BZA), and Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek (AZA), to discuss the development of the Georgia Lake lithium project.
The Georgia Lake lithium project is located in the Thunder Bay mining district of north western Ontario. Rock Tech has full ownership over the project's 11,481 hectares, all of which fall within the First Nations' traditional territories. A two kilometre-long stretch of road that accesses the Nama Creek claim block, however, runs through the BNA First Nations' reserve land.
The MOU will provide the framework for future negotiations regarding an Impacts and Benefits Agreement, and will define the benefits to both the First Nations groups and to Rock Tech, helping to mitigate any adverse impacts during the project's development.
"We have already established strong business relationships with the BNA, BZA and AZA leaders and communities and are very pleased to have reached an initial agreement on how we can further build and strengthen these relationships," said Rock Tech president and CEO, Eunho Lee.
"Fostering these relations is a core element to our business principal of developing sustainable projects that will provide long-term economic viability to the local and regional stakeholders."
Since Rock Tech initially began exploration on the Georgia Lake project in December 2009, the Vancouver, B.C.-based company has employed several First Nations members and has procured equipment and materials from First Nations organizations whenever feasible, it said.
The project has an historical resource of 9.8 million tons grading 1.18% lithium oxide, based on 33,000 metres of diamond drilling carried out in the late 1950s.
In late June, Rock Tech said that it produced lithium at the Georgia Lake project with purity levels of nearly 100%, without any optimization.