| Feb 07, 2008

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Feature Article - February 7, 2008 Mediation breaks down: company denied entry By Jeff Green

A mediation process that had been ongoing since December in an attempt to resolve a dispute between members of the Ardoch and Shabot Obaadjiwaan First Nations and the Government of Ontario has broken down, and crew members from Frontenac Ventures Corporation were refused entry at the gate of the Robertsville mine on the morning of February 4, according the Shabot Obaadjiwaan Chief Doreen Davis.

The mine is the access point for the company’s 30,000 acre mining claim on land that is included in the Algonquin Land Claim.

Negotiations had been headed in the direction of establishing a comprehensive consultation process before uranium exploration could proceed, according to an email report from Robert Lovelace of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation.

Lovelace wrote, “Both Ardoch and Shabot also conceded that after an extensive consultation which included research, information sharing and identification of community values that there might be the possibility of continued exploration including drilling.”

Things changed last Wednesday, when, according to Lovelace, Ontario negotiator Cam Clark insisted that some drilling would need to happen even during the consultation process.

A telephone conference between Clark and Shabot Obaadjiwaan Chief Doreen Davis last Thursday, (January 31) wherein Clark again insisted that drilling would have to take place during consultation, effectively ended the mediation process.

The two First Nations communities, along with their non-aboriginal allies, have blocked Frontenac Ventures crews from approaching the Robertsville mine site, which is the access point the company has used to their mining claim, on two occasions this morning (February 4).

They were turned back on Hwy. 509 north of the Ardoch Road and on the Robertsville Road just east of Hwy. 509, according to Chief Davis.

Security crews hired by the company remain behind the mine gate, and Chief Davis told the News that the protesters are planning to work out an arrangement with Frontenac Ventures which will enable the security crews to be relieved at the end of their shift.

“We would like the security crews to remain,” she said. “It is only the exploration that concerns us.”

Court proceedings are scheduled for February 14 to deal with a previous charge of contempt of court against the two First Nations and their non-aboriginal allies, although Davis said the matter may go to court earlier, given today’s events.

A court injunction by Justice Thomson of the Kingston Superior Court in August, confirmed in September by Justice Cunningham, granted Frontenac Ventures Corporation “unfettered access to the site.”

(More on this story as it develops)

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