Wolf Lake mining claim gets renewed – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – June 1, 2012)

 The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The Ontario government has extended mining exploration rights on the largest remaining stand of old-growth red pine forests left in the province.

In a much-anticipated statement Thursday, Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci made clear it was his government’s obligation to extend long-standing mining claims in Wolf Lake.

Under Ontario’s Living Legacy land use strategy, Wolf Lake’s Forest Reserve designation allows the mining claims and leases held by Flag Resources in the Wolf Lake area north of Greater Sudbury to continue.

“The company has met the renewal criteria established under the Mining Act and is entitled to have its lease renewed,” Bartolucci said. Located 50 kilometres northeast of Sudbury, Wolf Lake lies in the Temagami district. It is beloved by hikers and canoeists for its soaring stands of 300- year-old red pines and deep blue lakes.

Naomi Grant, of the Wolf Lake Coalition, said extending the claim clearly runs counter to the ministry’s own guidelines. “According to public records, very little activity has occurred on this lease for the past 30 years,” she said.

“Not only is this area not in production — it is not remotely close. Under our own legislation, this lease should not be renewed.”

In an email to The Sudbury Star earlier this week, Flag Resources’ spokesman Murdo McLeod confirmed the company has not been active in the lease area, but plans to open a Sudbury office “soon.”

The news strikes a blow to efforts to have the Wolf Lake stand — a keystone of the Wolf Lake Old Growth Forest Reserve — made part of the Chiniguchi River Waterway Provincial Park.

The park was announced in 1999 as part of Ontario’s Living Legacy. That project recognized some mining claims and leases overlapped with the Wolf Lake Forest Reserve, which contains the largest area of old growth, self-sustaining red pine in Ontario.

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