Jeff Green | Sep 11, 2008
Sept 11, 2008 - Changing face of uranium in North Frontenac
Back toHomeFeature Article - September 11, 2008 alienated Lands and leases: the changing face of uranium exploration in North FrontenacBy Jeff Green
A seemingly innocuous statement by Frontenac Ventures President George White has touched a nerve with negotiators from the Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nation, who have cut off negotiations with the company.
As reported in the News last week, White said his company was negotiating a memorandum of understanding with the Shabot Obaadjiwaan, which will set the stage for the company to pursue a drilling program in search of uranium deposits on property they have staked in Frontenac County.
This led to an angry response from Chief Doreen Davis and War Chief Earl Badour of the Shabot Obaadjiwaan (Click here for full statement)
Steve Reynolds, the lawyer for the Shabot Obaadjiwaan, told the News that for several months the First Nation has been involved in a consultation process with the provincial Ministries of Northern Development and Mines and Aboriginal Affairs as well as Frontenac Ventures Corporation, but that, “We never got further than talking about a negotiation framework. A memorandum of understanding was never something that we considered, and we made that clear to everyone,” Reynolds said.
In late August, the Shabot Obaadjiwaan informed the parties they would no longer meet with Frontenac Ventures, but they were still ready to talk to the province.
“We have said all along that we are willing to consult, we are willing to talk,” said Reynolds, “but that does not mean we are ready to sign anything. We are merely holding the government to their duty to consult with us.”
Throughout the summer, a committee from the 16-member Algonquin Negotiation Representatives (ANR), the group that is charged with negotiating a comprehensive land claim in the Ottawa Valley, has been participating in the talks. Shabot Obaadjiwaan Chief Doreen Davis is one of the ANRs.
While the political ground has shifted as these negotiations/consultations have stumbled along, and led to an impasse, the physical ground has shifted as well.
Several of the Frontenac Ventures mining claims have lapsed because the company failed to file paperwork with the Provincial Mining Recorder outlining the exploration work that has been done - a large number lapsed on May 12, and one more on June 27. On May 12, two claims in the Palmerston District of North Frontenac, as well as four claims in Olden and two in Oso district of Central Frontenac lapsed, and were re-opened to staking. However, much of that territory is now marked off as “alienated” or “pending alienation”, which means the lands have been withdrawn from staking by the Government of Ontario and cannot be explored for mining purposes.
According to Dale Messenger from the Ontario Mining Recorder’s Office in Sudbury, “Lands can be alienated for a variety of reasons; they can be reserved for parkland, wind generation, or other purposes. In this case the surface and subsurface rights are included in the alienation”.
The alienated lands are adjacent to the western shore of Crotch Lake. They abut a 443 hectare swath of land for which Frontenac Ventures has been granted a mining lease until 2028.
There are also mining leases pending at locations north of the Crotch Lake area and in the Lavant District of Lanark Highlands Township.