Jeff Green | Jun 12, 2008
Feature Article - June 12, 2008
Back toHomeFeature Article - June 12, 2008 Uranium: Lots of speculation, but no Drilling, thus farBy Jeff Green
The rumour mill has been working on overdrive this week ever since it was reported that a pickup truck bearing the insignia of a drilling company was seen entering the gate at the Robertsville mine over the weekend.
A further report on Monday that a drill has been spotted behind the gate led to a strong reaction from both CCAMU (Community Coalition Against Mining Uranium) and the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation.
Both groups said they had independent confirmation that a drill has been brought onto the site.
A release from CCAMU on Tuesday said the group is “outraged that Frontenac Ventures Corporation (FVC) insists on proceeding with drilling for uranium, when the community will never allow the development of a mine at Robertsville.” The release also expressed support for the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation “in their effort to intervene through legal and political channels,” and to the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation “in their call for FVC to remove their personnel and equipment forthwith.”
However, in a telephone interview with the News on Tuesday morning, Frontenac Ventures President George White did not confirm that a drill has been brought onto the site.
“There have been drilling company people walking the site, and we have brought in some heavy equipment to carry out our extensive exploration program,” he said. “Maybe that’s what they saw.”
White would not however, categorically deny that a drill has been brought on to the site. “We have every right to carry out our exploration program, including drilling, according to Justice Cunningham’s ruling of September 27, 2007,” White said.
About a month ago, according to White, Frontenac Ventures conducted a new radiometric survey of the exploration property using flyovers at precise intervals over the site, and a team of geologists is continuing to analyse data to pinpoint the most likely locations of what he calls a “marketable resource”. He said, “We should have some very interesting results to announce shortly”.
As to the role of the drilling program that has been the focus of concern for the Algonquin communities, CCAMU supporters and others, White pointed that while the work schedule approved by the courts calls for 106 drill holes, “drilling costs $200 a foot, and it’s a real crap shoot. Drilling 106 150 metre holes would cost over $3 million. We are trying to pinpoint where we need to drill to confirm our other information so we aren’t spending money unwisely.”
He did confirm, however, that some drilling will be required to complete the exploration plans. “It’s a huge property, 30,000 acres, and although it was explored in the past no one ever did a systematic, complete job, which we are doing,” he said.
While George White continues to press on, the Shabot Obaadjiwan First Nation and their legal team have been meeting in person and electronically with representatives from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs to “try and set up a pilot project for genuine consultation,” said Doreen Davis.
A court date has been set before a judge in Kingston, on May 25, for Shabot Obaadjiwan lawyer Stephen Reynolds to ask for a stay of Justice Cunningham’s injunction so his own court motion, filed on June 2, can be heard. Reynolds’ motion is an attempt to force the province to consult with his client.
If the pilot project is confirmed, the court proceedings instigated by Shabot, including the June 25 hearing, will be withdrawn.
Davis remains adamant that no drilling can take place or the entire project will fall apart.
George White said he has not been involved in any negotiations with the province.
“Frontenac Ventures has had no meetings, directly or indirectly, with the Government of Ontario. They tried to set up a meeting about a month ago, but it never happened,” he said.