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Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) has signed its first-ever mineral production lease, allowing Agnico Eagle Mines (AEM) to extract gold from Inuit-owned land near the Meadowbank mine in exchange for annual fees and a minimum annual royalty of 1.8 per cent of gross revenue.

The production lease will cover AEM’s 144-hectare Vault deposit, an open-pit operation about nine kilometres northeast of Meadowbank’s processing plant. The Vault deposit contains proven and probable reserves amount ing to 855,000 ounces of gold. The project is expected to become the main mining operation for Meadowbank by 2015.

NTI and AEM have also signed 15 mineral exploration agreements that cover 110,241 hectares of Inuit-owned lands in the Kivalliq region.

Exploration agreements give a company exclusive mineral exploration rights to prescribed parcels of land. These agreements last for a maximum of 20 years.