MMG Ltd. looking for growth in Canada with Izok Corridor, acquisitions

International miner MMG Ltd. is looking to Canada for growth with its Izok Corridor zinc project in the far north, and keeping an eye out for more acquisitions.

While attending his first Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference, Troy Hey, MMG’s general manager of stakeholder and investor relations, said it was important for the company to be at the meeting.

“With our Izok Corridor project moving into feasibility and approvals and our long-term aspirations to be a major player in Canada, it’s time for us to put our shingle out and make sure people know who MMG is,” he said Monday.

The 2012 PDAC convention and trade show in Toronto brings together thousands a attendees from around the world and helps connect mining and exploration companies with investors and other experts.

Hey said MMG, which is majority-owned by China Minmetals Corp., is looking for growth in Canada and abroad.

“We’ve spoken about other commodities such as nickel as being in our base metals universe and we’ve also spoken about being very focused on growing our business and we probably can’t do that all by growing our own projects,” he said.

“There’s probably going to be some mergers and acquisitions that we will need to undertake to meet our growth ambitions.”

In Canada, the Izok Corridor project in Nunavut includes deposits at Izok Lake and High Lake in the western part of the territory.

Key to the approval of the project will be how it deals with the caribou herd in the region.

The company expects a decision later this year on whether the project will face a territorial or federal review.

The government of the Northwest Territories has raised concerns that the Izok Lake mine site and the High Lake mine site, as well as the route of the Izok corridor all-weather road, which are near to or on an important calving ground for a fragile caribou herd.

Sahba Safavi, MMG’s project manager for Canada, said the company is continuing to collect data for the environmental permit process and work on its feasibility study for the project.

“We are in the process of evaluating the viability of the project and we hope to get some sort of a definition towards the third quarter of 2013, hopefully with sufficient enough information to make a decision on how we approach the next phase of the project,” he said.

Safavi said how the company deals with the caribou is one of the project’s biggest challenges in the review process.

“We are trying to get a much better understanding of what the issue is and how the project may potentially impact the caribou,” he said.

“We’re also developing many different ways to eliminate and mitigate any impact.”

China Minmetals Non-ferrous Metals Co. Ltd owns a 71.72 per cent stake in MMG.

In a speech to the PDAC conference Monday, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said mining is essential to the government’s goal of jobs, growth and long-term prosperity.

Oliver noted that discoveries in Ontario’s Ring of Fire, northern Quebec and Northern Canada will provide economic growth for years to come.

The minister pointed to work by the federal government to make project reviews more predictable and faster.