The Company has to date and intends to in the future operate in a manner that is respectful of the land, waterways and wildlife, the Tahltan First Nation upon whose traditional territories the Tatogga property is located, and the routines and traditional usages of the land by individual members of the Tahltan First Nation.
An initial meeting with the senior Tahltan leadership to discuss the Company’s exploration activities and plans occurred at the January 2017 AMEC BC Roundup in Vancouver. This was followed, on March 31 and April 1, 2017, by attendance at the Tahltan Works Job Fair in Dease Lake, a second meeting with the Tahltan community and leadership to discuss the Company’s summer 2017 exploration plans, and the signing, April 1, 2017, of a Communications Agreement between the Company and the Tahltan Nation, which establishes a foundation for a mutually beneficial relationship, open dialogue and information sharing with respect to the Company’s exploration programs on Tahltan Traditional Territory.
Shortly thereafter, the Company was pleased to be invited to participate in the Tahltan Central Government’s Tahltan Industry Newsletter 2017, which provides an attractive, positive format for resource- focused companies to overview their activities on Tahltan traditional areas.
On June 1, 2017, the Company visited the Tahltan community of Telegraph Creek, and later that day attended a dinner and provided a presentation to community representatives in Iskut.
At the present time the Company is also supporting a collaborative research project, organized by a Tahltan UBC mining engineering student and involving UBC, NSERC and several other Tahltan youth, to assess the potential of medicinal plants naturally occurring on the Saddle target area for their potential to serve as vectors to metal deposits.
Separately, the Company is also supporting a Tahltan Youth Council initiative called Teni Mehodihi (Trail That We Know) which, among other activities will help Tahtlan high school students learn about exploration, geology, and the flora and fauna of the Tzasia Valley which the Saddle prospect occupies.
In concert with the foregoing activities and initiatives, the Company has moved to proactively address matters of concern to the community. Working with the Chief Gold Commissioner for the Province of British Columbia, the Company created, under Section 22 of the BC Mining Act, a ‘No Registration Reserve’ over more than 844.193 hectares of valley bottom lands adjacent to the village of Iskut, thereby creating an enhanced permanent buffer zone around the Iskut reserve and village.
The Company also retained Rescan Tahltan Environmental Consultants (RTEC) to prepare a Mountain Ungulates Management Plan, which among other things developed flight plans to ensure helicopter traffic to the Saddle target area avoids where possible mountain sheep and goat habitat. RTEC has also been mandated to prepare an initial archaeological assessment of the Company’s exploration sites, and to carry out water quality sampling and fish barrier surveys over areas being explored.
For the summer 2017 exploration program, Company management strongly encouraged its contractors to hire Tahltan community members, where such labour, goods and services are available on competitive terms, and to team up with and/or support Tahltan-owned businesses, where such providers have a demonstrated record of reliability.
Following a competition which demonstrated superior value for money attended by a sound community relationship, Lakelse Helicopters of Terrace, a helicopter services company affiliated with the Tahltan Nation Development Corporation, was selected as the Company’s preferred helicopter services provider for the summer 2017 program. In addition, labour was procured in part through Northern Labour Services Ltd., a Smithers-based, Tahtan-owned and operated private business.
In consequence, there was a high degree of Tahltan involvement in the Company’s summer 2017 exploration effort at Saddle. This included personnel active in camp construction and operations, drill pad construction, drilling operations, and miscellaneous field services such as environmental and archaeological sampling, expediting, soil sampling, prospecting, core cutting, reclamation, line cutting and geotech work. In all, Tahltan employees accounted for an estimated 26% (876 of a total 3,427 workdays) on the Saddle project this summer.
Company management believes the above activities and initiatives have laid a solid foundation for a mutually respectful and beneficial relationship between GT Gold and the Tahltan Nation. Management values the warm welcome the community has extended to the Company, and values also the continued goodwill, cooperation and active support of the community not only with regard to this year’s planned exploration, but also in future years, with any potential development activities that may occur.