It’s back to court for Northern Superior Resources. The Sudbury junior miner is heading to the Ontario Court of Appeal after its $25-million lawsuit against the Ontario government was dismissed by a Superior Court judge in late May.
After taking a few weeks to consult with his lawyer, company president-CEO Tom Morris claims Justice Thomas Lederer’s ruling overlooked many critical issues that forced his exploration firm to abandon their northwestern Ontario gold claims in 2011 due to a conflict with Sachigo Lake First Nation.
“Many of the important issues we brought to trial were simply ignored by the judge or sidestepped.” According to Morris, it’s tough to play by the Ontario government’s rules on the duty to consult with First Nation communities when there are no clear-cut rules to follow, even by today’s new standards.
Northern Superior sued the province in the fall of 2013, arguing that the province failed to properly consult with Sachigo and didn’t protect the company’s government-granted right to stake and explore for gold near the Manitoba border.
Northern Superior claimed it lost access to its exploration properties after refusing to give in to a demand by Sachigo First Nation to pay an exorbitant 24 per cent “administration fee” to be drawn from the company’s exploration budget.
The company claimed Sachigo leadership – who didn’t appear in court – served them with an “eviction notice,” forcing them to leave the area.
On May 25, Justice Thomas Lederer dismissed the company’s compensation claim, stating that the company make a mistake in walking away from a provincial offer to mediate a solution.
Senior Ministry of Northern Development and Mines officials testified they had been unaware of any difficulties until the company demanded compensation and the lawsuit was underway.
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