A northeastern Ontario First Nation won its injunction fight in Ontario Superior Court against a junior miner that was conducting unapproved exploration drilling on its traditional territory.
In a decision released Jan. 3, Justice Carole Brown ordered Solid Gold Resources to stop drilling for 120 days while the company and the Ontario government pay for a third party mediator to begin a consultation process with the Wahgoshig First Nation.
Justice Brown said the company made a “wilful effort not to consult” with the community despite provincial requests to do since 2009.
The community claims the area the company was exploration drilling contains ancient burial grounds and many sacred sites.
The company argued it had no legal responsibility to consult and said it was the legal duty of the Crown.
In a Jan 4 statement released by Mining Watch, Wahgoshig Chief David Babin feels more precedence has been set with the decision and that exploration companies will have to recognize Aboriginal and treaty rights.
“We are very pleased with this decision. We feel that justice has been done.”
Temiskaming Shores MPP John Vanthof (NDP) blamed the provincial government for failing to fulfill its obligation to consult with First Nations.
“By ignoring First Nations at the outset of the exploration process, the government is, in fact, slowing down mine development and hindering economic opportunities throughout the province.”
Vanthof said a Nov. 8 letter from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines confirmed that consultation with the First Nation regarding Solid Gold's exploration activity had been “inadequate.”