Outcome of lawsuit between junior miner and province to determine duty to consult with First Nations
A Sudbury junior miner said the province is balking at producing promised documents in a $110 million lawsuit.
Northern Superior Resources is suing the Ontario government for failing to consult with First Nations on mining claims A trial date set for Monday has been pushed to October.
The president and CEO of Northern Superior Resources, Tom Morris, said the delay is a result of the government’s failure to disclose certain documents by the deadline.
The litigation, Morris said, is based on the company’s loss of several gold claims in the northwest near the Manitoba border in 2011 after a series of disputes with the Sachigo Lake First Nation.
“We’re looking for a settlement,” he said. “We’re looking to get our investment back so we can redeploy our monies elsewhere. I do have a fiduciary duty to recover those monies for our shareholders.”
However, Morris said the outcome of the lawsuit will also determine whose responsibility it is to consult with First Nations on mining claims.
He said he knows other companies are watching.
“The secondary part of this is the fallout from any decision made in trial which, again, will hopefully improve the environment for doing exploration and mining in the Province of Ontario. I think it’s extremely important not just for the industry but for I think extremely important for the First Nation, and at the end of the day, also for the Ontario government.”
Morris said he hired a consultant to evaluate the claims in response to an expert witness the province has retained.
He said the October date also means the judge the two parties have been dealing with will continue to oversee their case.
A spokesperson for the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines said it would be inappropriate to comment because the matter is before the courts.
However, in its statement of defence, the province said its duty to consult is owed to First Nations, not third parties. Ontario also explained it was not responsible for Sachigo Lake’s alleged demands… or for the company’s decision to reject them.
The trial is scheduled to get underway October 5th in Toronto and slated to go for four weeks.
For the original version of this article, click here: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/northern-superior-resources-vs-ontario-postponed-to-october-1.3091821