The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) has formally approved the proposed plan and budget for the 2021 summer field season activities and services of up to $13 million for Trilogy Metals Inc.’s Ambler Access Project. The cost will be shared 50/50 by AIDEA and Ambler Metals LLC, the joint venture operating company equally owned by Trilogy and South32 Ltd.

The Board of AIDEA has authorized up to $6.5 million for field season activities. These funds will be matched by up to another $6.5 million from Ambler Metals under the terms of the Ambler Access Development Agreement that was approved by the board on February 10.

The access project is a proposed 211-mile, east-west running controlled industrial access road that would provide industrial access to the Ambler Mining District in northwestern Alaska. The area currently lacks the transportation infrastructure necessary for the operations of mines in the district, according to the company. The Ambler Mining District is one of the largest copper-zinc mineral belts in the world.

AIDEA has entered into a land access agreement with Doyon Ltd. to conduct final feasibility and permitting activities to advance the project. Doyon is the Alaska Native regional corporation for Interior Alaska. With more than 12.5 million acres of land in Alaska allocated to the corporation under Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act, Doyon is the largest private landholder in Alaska and one of the largest in North America.

The land access agreement with Doyon allows AIDEA, and its contractors, controlled access to land owned and managed by Doyon along the proposed road route to the Ambler Mining District. AIDEA is working in conjunction with Ambler Metals through the Development Agreement.

“I would like to applaud the hard work being carried out by AIDEA which, in a span of a few months, has made a number of significant accomplishments in the advancement of the access project,” Trilogy President and CEO Tony Giardini said. “I am also very encouraged with the work AIDEA has invested in with respect to its engagement with Doyon Ltd. The development of relationships with all stakeholders is the key to creating opportunities for Alaskans and other stakeholders.”

Under the Development Agreement, Ambler Metals and AIDEA agree to contribute up to $35 million each for pre-development costs of the access project through to December 31, 2024.