12/22/2011 01:02 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

Environmental paperwork nudges northwestern B.C. mine closer to reality

VANCOUVER - Efforts to restart a mothballed molybdenum mine in northwestern B.C. are moving forward.

Avanti Mining Inc. (TSX-V: AVT) has submitted a 7,000-page environmental assessment application for the Kitsault mine, a $770-million revival slated for the property 140 kilometres north of Prince Rupert.

Regulators including the B.C. and Canadian environmental assessment offices have 30 days to consider the application and, if the details are accepted, a more rigorous, formal 180-day review would begin.

Low molybdenum prices forced shutdown of the Kitsault mine in 1982 and Avanti bought the property in 2008.

It estimates about 232 million tonnes of molybdenum — used to harden and protect other metals from corrosion — remain in the mine.

If the project goes ahead, Avanti says construction could create 650 jobs and the mine would employ 350 people over its 16-year lifespan.