Jeff Green | Jun 19, 2008
Jun 19/08 - Breakthrough in Uranium Consultation
Back toHomeFeature Article - June 19, 2008 Shabot Obaadjiwan claim breakthrough in consultation, While Frontenac Ventures remains committed to explorationby Jeff GreenIn a press statement released on Friday of last week, the Shabot Obbadjiwaan First Nation said it had won “a key concession from Ontario in its efforts to protect the environment and citizens of their traditional territory. Ontario, the Shabot Obaadjiwan Algonquin, and the Algonquin of Ontario, with the support of Frontenac Ventures Corporation, are developing a consultation process that will allow them to share information and engage in dialogue towards resolving the issues regarding the uranium exploration project.”
A meeting was scheduled in Toronto on Tuesday of this week to hammer out the details of the agreement.
When contacted by phone on Tuesday, George White, the president of Frontenac Ventures, said that Tracy Pratt, a lawyer representing Frontenac Ventures, was indeed meeting with officials from government ministries, Doreen Davis, and officials from the Algonquin Land claim table, but he said the company “has not agreed to anything yet. Our ultimate desire is to get a letter of understanding with them [the Algonquins] to the mutual benefit of both parties.”
White also said that Frontenac Ventures is “not going to sign anything that undermines what Justice Cunningham said in his order of September 27, 2007.”
That order included a 40-week exploration schedule which gives Frontenac Ventures the right to drill up to 106 test holes in specific locations on the 30,000 acre parcel of land in North and Central Frontenac that they have obtained the mining rights to.
The mining rights were disputed by members of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation, who together asserted their aboriginal claim to title over the land when they occupied the property a year ago next week.
The occupation ended in November, and was followed by a mediation process which collapsed in mid-February over the issue of test drill holes. A consultation protocol had reportedly been hammered out, but the two Algonquin communities walked away when the representative from the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines said that drilling would have to take place during the consultation.
Ardoch Algonquin spokesperson, and retired chief, Bob Lovelace, eventually served 100 days of a six month sentence for contempt of court over his refusal to undertake to the court that he would not act to impede Frontenac Venutres’ exploration program.
The meetings this week seem to be hinged on the same point as those in February, except that the Ardoch Algonquns are not at the negotiation table.
At a public meeting near the Robertsville mine site entrance last Sunday, Doreen Davis reportedly told a group of supporters that the negotiations are at a delicate stage, and that Frontenac Ventures had been convinced to refrain from commencing its drilling program before Thursday, June 19.
George White said he had not authorised this, but added that his legal team has enough leeway to make this sort of minor commitment. “For a few days I don’t think it’s going to upset anybody,” he said.
In related news, Kyle Cachagee, an enforcement supervisor with the Bancroft MNR office, confirmed last week that “The Ministry of Narural Resources has recently laid charges for work conducted on Crown Land in Palmerston Township [North Frontenac] in the vicinity of the area known as Robertsville. Frontenac Ventures Corporation and Gemmill Sand and Gravel Limited will appear in Provincial Court in Kingston on August 7, 2008 to answer these charges.”
George White said Frontenac Ventures will be able to answer the charges, and pointed out that they were not accompanied by a stop work order. “They would love to have a stop work order issued because we broke the law but that has never been the case and never will be the case,” he said