| Nov 15, 2007

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Feature Article - November 15, 2007 Last Minute NegotiationsBy Jeff Green

The backroom manoeuvring between lawyers for the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nations, the governments of Canada and Ontario, the OPP and Frontenac Ventures Corporation, has gone into overtime in an effort to strike an arrangement whereby contempt of court proceedings against 8 or more people will be suspended, enabling a mediation process to begin.

A hearing in Kingston under Justice Cunningham on the contempt charges against 8 individuals was scheduled for November 14, but has been adjourned for one day to give the parties a chance to resolve one final issue.


That issue, according to sources close to the negotiations, is a company demand that all protestors remain 200 metres away from the gate at the Robertsville mine. Otherwise, the company has said they will continue to aggressively push their case in court.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the protestors had apparently agreed to move all of their tents, trailers, and portable toilets away from the gate to allow the company easy access, and had agreed that only ten First Nations members will remain at the location at any one time while the mediation process is ongoing.

Neil Smitheman, the lawyer for Frontenac Ventures Corporation, reportedly told the other parties he would get back to them by the end of Tuesday or as soon as possible.

Whether a court session will take place today (Thursday) in the event a deal is reached, remains to be seen.

All other issues surrounding the mediation have been resolved, including who will mediate; what the agenda will be; what the company will undertake on the site while the mediation is ongoing; and how this will be verified.

Meanwhile, Frontenac Ventures Corporation and Peter Jorgensen, co-owner of the Robertsville mine, have been able to access the mine and the exploration territory.

Peter Jorgensen invited the News to view the property, pointing out a number of doors that had been forced, had hinges removed, or had been accessed in some other way. He said the doors had all been securely fastened before the occupation began in June.

“If they were only here to protest against uranium, why did they break into every one of my buildings?” he asked.

Although a refrigeration unit and a chest freezer were left by the protestors outside a building that contains a kitchen, bathrooms, and a meeting room, the building itself had been completely cleaned. The building is leased by Frontenac Ventures Corporation.

Members of the Ardoch Algonquins said that some of the road work done in the spring by Frontenac Ventures was in violation of environmental regulations. On a tour of the road, Jamie Fairchild from Frontenac Ventures pointed out one location where an official from the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority has said that rocks that were placed over top of some vegetation will have to be removed.

Fairchild said the company would remove the rocks. We also drove to one of the main exploration sites on the property, which is located on land where Frontenac Ventures has a mining lease that they have applied to extend. Most of the holes that were drilled between 20 and 40 years ago are marked by a shallow metal casing and some orange tape. They are not capped. The company has cleared trees from the location, and their original plan had been to strip all vegetation from the location, but those plans have been modified.

Because the situation at the site has calmed considerably over the past two weeks, hunters have been able to access their hunt camps behind the gate.

We met one hunter who said the hunting hasn’t been very good this year. “There are plenty of tracks but few deer,” he said. We’ve only shot a couple all week.”

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