| Nov 08, 2007


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Feature Article - November 8, 2007

Frontenac Ventures Returns to Robertsville Mineby Jeff Green

Peter Jorgensen, the owner of the Robertsville mine, along with Jamie Fairchild of Frontenac Ventures Corporation, have been on the site, and Frontenac Venures Corporation has put a new lock on the gate.

The Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwaan Algonquin First Nations, who had kept the company off the site since June 28, have vacated the site, although the Ardoch Algonquins have maintained a presence outside of the gate with a band office and a make shift cabin, and anti-uranium activist Donna Dillman is continuing a hunger strike outside the gate. Her hunger strike is now 31 days old.

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Observers, who were agreed upon by Frontenac Ventures and the First Nations, will be meeting with the company on the site this week to be informed about plans for preparatory work that will be starting up as soon as the company can get a crew up and running.

One of the observers, Jeff Beaver from the Alderville First Nation, met with Jamie Fairchild at the site this Monday, and in an interview with the Frontenac News, Jamie Fairchild said he found Beaver to be “very professional” and did not see any problems for the agreed-upon work at the site to proceed. John McCance, the other observer, was scheduled to meet on the site on Wednesday.

Fairchild said he has also met with representatives from the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority, who he said “expressed some concerns about work that has been done and will be done in the future. We will be addressing these concerns.”

The company will also be meeting with officials from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources.

The groundwork has been laid for mediation talks, aimed in part at resolving the question of whether the Government of Ontario breached a duty to consult with the First Nation communities when they granted exploration permits to Frontenac Ventures, but a date for starting the mediation is as of yet undetermined.

Speaking on behalf of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation, Bob Lovelace said that an agenda for mediation has been agreed to by the two First Nations communities and the governments of Ontario and Canada, and “a mediator who is acceptable to all parties has been found.”

The agreement to mediation is itself a victory of sorts for the First Nations communities, which are non-status communities under the Canadian Indian Act. On several occasions, Owen Young, a lawyer for the Ontario government, flatly stated in open court that the Government of Ontario had no duty to consult with the two First Nations communities before accepting the Frontenac Ventures mining claims.

“We are still waiting to hear from Ontario regarding a date for the talks to start,” Lovelace said, “and from our point of view the agreed-upon work at the site by Frontenac Ventures cannot begin until a date is set.”

George White, the President of Frontenac Ventures Corporation, told the News that the company is working on “rounding up geologists, and retaining some local people, bushmen, etc., in preparation for getting the operation up and running.”

According to Jamie Fairchild the company plans to do some geological work and trail preparation, but no more roadwork, when the work starts up in earnest over the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile the contempt of court proceedings that precipitated the agreement for mediation, are still set to begin on November 14.

Frontenac Ventures initiated a contempt of court motion against 8 people. These people agreed not to contest the company’s assertion that they were behind the gate at the Robertsville mine after a court injunction ordering all protesters to leave the site was served on August 31.

The company has been seeking court-ordered fines against these individuals and any others that are found to be in contempt of the injunction.

An agreement was hammered out in the Kingston Court in early October that set up the mediation process, paving the way for Frontenac Ventures to regain access to the site.

If the government of Ontario has not set a date for mediation by November 14, their lawyer will likely be asked to explain the delay by Justice Cunningham on November 14.

At the very least, the court date will be used to further the progress of the $77 million lawsuit that Frontenac Ventures filed against the Shabot Obaadjiwaan and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations in late July.

The First Nation communities have since filed a counter suit of $10 million against Frontenac Ventures, naming the Government of Ontario in a cross claim to the tune of $1.03 billion.

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