Solid Gold reports progress in [Wahgoshig First Nation] dispute – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – March 23, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Some headway is being made in efforts to resolve a conflict between Solid Gold Resources Corporation and Wahgoshig First Nation.

“The government has made certain offers, which I won’t go into at the moment, to accommodate the First Nation,” Darryl Stretch, president of Solid Gold, told The Daily Press Thursday. “The very fact that the government has made some offer of accommodation inspires me just a little, tiny bit. Because it’s always been our position that the government must stand between us and the (First Nation) government.”

Stretch said all along, regional First Nation leaders have been asserting their communities are led by an autonomous government.

If that is to be the case, Stretch added, “then I don’t quite understand why my government would be insisting I go and enter agreement with their government. It just doesn’t make sense.”

Solid Gold is a mineral exploration company that was forced by an injunction to halt drilling on a 200 square-kilometre claim outside the boundary of the Wahgoshig reserve.

A facilitator has since been brought in to help mediate discussions involving Solid Gold, Wahgoshig First Nation and the provincial government.

Stretch is already looking a few months ahead to when the injunction is set to expire.

“The injunction, for all intents and purposes, is defunct as of the second of May,” he said. “There was a 120-day period. It’s also clear the First Nation can seek an extension to the injunction but so far I’m given to understand the first date possible to hear an application to extend it is May 7.”

Stretch said he hopes to have workers back on site the very day the injunction runs out.

However, he said if Wahgoshig files an application to extend the injunction, he won’t jumping at the opportunity to send in work crews the moment the injunction order lapses.

“If a court date was set down subsequent to the expiry of the injunction, I would honour that date,” said Stretch. “I would think it would be prudent not to be active in that area until that hearing was concluded.”

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