By john Cumming
A long-simmering legal case revolving around the duty to consult in Ontario’s Mining Act has been resolved, with plaintiff Northern Superior Resources having its action against the province of Ontario in Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice dismissed. If you’ll recall, Northern Superior Resources is a Sudbury-based junior mineral exploration company that has spent the last couple of decades looking for gold in Ontario and Quebec. The claims at the heart of the court case — named Rapson Bay, Meston Lake and Thorne Lake — were staked by Northern Superior between 2005 and 2007 in the Red Lake Mining Division located 740 km northwest of Thunder Bay, with an eye to their gold potential.
… With no further progress after that, Northern Superior blamed the provincial government for not meeting its own duty to consult in the matter and demanded compensation for its loss by the provincial government. Thus the lawsuit was born.
“To put it simply,” the judge writes in the dismissal, “Northern Superior cannot reasonably expect to be compensated by the Crown, which was never directly involved in its relationship with Sachigo Lake First Nation, and who it contacted only for the purpose of seeking compensation. When, in response to the Crown’s offer to facilitate meetings with Sachigo Lake First Nation or to employ the as-yet unproclaimed amendments to the Mining Act, Northern Superior walked away, it gave up any possibility of succeeding in an action before the court, regardless of the cause of action.”
In other words, it’s up to mining companies to foster good relationships with local First Nations near their mineral projects in Canada. And if they can’t pull that off, don’t bother running to the government for a bailout.