Sudbury mining firm sues province for $110M – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – October 26, 2013)

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

A Sudbury-based resource company has filed a $110-million lawsuit against the Government of Ontario, charging it has “absolutely failed” to fulfil its constitutional duty to establish a framework to help companies and first nations settle mining deals.

Northern Superior Resources Inc. filed the statement of claim Thursday in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for damages it says it’s incurring by not being able to access its Thorne Lake, Meston Lake and Rapson Lake gold properties. They are located just west of the Ring of Fire.

None of the allegations contained in the lawsuit have been proven in court.

Tom Morris, president and chief executive officer of Northern Superior, says the Government of Ontario is failing both mining companies and first nations by not ensuring consultation occurs as required under the Mining Act.

Northern Superior has had successful negotiations with Cree nations in northern Quebec and with the Neskantanga First Nation in northwestern Ontario, said Morris.

But an exploration agreement it reached with Sachigo Lake First Nation, with which it began an exploration program in 2011, “fell apart on invoicing issues,” said Morris.

His company had spent $15 million in the area, 25% of it in the Sachigo Lake First Nation, said Morris, when the partnership fell apart.

His company pulled its work crews, but thought it had patched things up and re-engaged with the community on another agreement in the spring of 2012 when Sachigo Lake First Nation added a 24% administration fee to an agreement already settled, said Morris.

Some media sources reported Sachigo Lake First Nation Chief Alvin Beardy as disputing the company’s claims and being at a loss as to understand what went wrong. The Star could not reach Beardy on Friday.

Northern Superior Resources was looking to spend $10 million on a core drill program and feared that administration fee would be applied to that program, said Morris.

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