A Sudbury-based junior gold miner that’s suing the Ontario government for $110 million still maintains the province fell short of its legal duty to consult with a First Nation that “evicted” the company from a remote area of northwestern Ontario following a series of disputes in 2011.
Northern Superior Resources responded to a recently amended State of Defence from the province by contending that the government’s version of consultation consisted of a “standard form letter” sent to them that identified Sachigo Lake as one of the First Nation communities that they should contact to advise them of their exploration work.
The company maintains that the province didn’t undertake any formal consultation with Sachigo, nor were they of any assistance or even got involved, until after the company was “evicted” by Sachigo and other area First Nation communities.
Last fall, Northern Superior Resources sued the government for failing to consult with the Sachigo after multiple disagreements with the band caused the company to abandon exploration on its mining claims near Thorne Lake in late 2011. The company said the band made unreasonable demands – including monetary – that forced them to stop work and withdraw.
The company also takes issue with an exclusion zone drawn up in 2012 by the Ontario government that prohibits mining and exploration activity in a 23,000-square-kilometre area that borders their claims.
The gold exploration outfit claims the company was hurt by the inaction of the Ontario government and wants compensation for the $15 million invested in exploration since 2005 as well as the estimated value of its three gold properties located near the Manitoba border.
Among the assertions made by the government is that the Crown made “reasonable and good faith efforts,” to bring the company and band together to resume dialogue and restore the relationship, but without success.
The government is asking an Ontario Superior Court of Justice to dismiss the case and the claim of compensation.