Strateco starts legal action against Quebec uranium moratorium – by Henry Lanzenby (MiningWeekly.com – April 22, 2013)

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TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Quebec-based Strateco Resources on Monday said it had started a series of legal actions against the province’s environmental agency to assert its uranium exploration rights.

Strateco, which owns and was developing the Matoush uranium project located within a First Nation reserve, said following the moratorium on the issuance of permits for uranium projects announced late in March by the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks (MDDEP) Yves-François Blanchet, it had served the MDDEP with a notice for damages and interest set at an initial amount of $16-million.

This sum represented the loss in the company’s market capitalisation since the Minister’s announcement.

Strateco on Monday said it held Blanchet liable for damages caused by his “misconduct” up until this time, and that it had given instructions for legal proceedings to be instituted to obtain compensatory and punitive damages.

Strateco reserved all rights to any future claims in the event of undue delays, which were currently subject to continue and lead to irreparable losses for the Matoush project, and added that an additional amount would be added to the claim.

It would represent compensation for the loss of value of the project, the amount of which was yet to be determined, as well as the loss of $120-million invested so far.

Strateco also asked the Quebec Superior Court to issue a safeguard order. The company said it believed that the government has upset the balance between the parties. The impact is such that, without a rapid safeguard and recovery order, Strateco was unlikely to be able to maintain its Matoush facilities or cover the costs essential to the viability of this project until the court ruling.

“Considering the urgency of the situation, the balance of convenience, the fact that Strateco would experience serious and irreparable damages and the appearance of illegality of the government’s position, Strateco requests that the court orders the government to pay a sum ranging from $420 000 up to $800 000 on the last day of each month beginning on May 31, and until September 30 at minimum,” the company said in a statement.

These amounts represented the shortfall between Strateco’s available cash and sums required to cover basic costs to sustain the Matoush project.

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