Indigenous proceedings to prevent gold exploration at the Ontario site threaten Prospector’s 35-year investment in the project

The group claims infringement of UNDRIP’s rights.The state and junior miners say they have blocked more than a decade of support and involvement attempts in the talks.

Due to the invasion of sacred territories, indigenous peoples in northern Ontario have paid $ 80 million in damages to the state and prospectors, and further exploration and commercialization of the Hard Rock Gold Claim, which is said to contain tens of millions of ounces. I sued with an injunction to stop.

In response, the Government of Ontario cites the support it has provided since 2008 to enhance the consultative capacity of indigenous communities, including from a mineral development perspective.

Prospectors now in the mid-1970s also point out years of involvement efforts in the face of “non-engagement and delay” and “intensive logging and exploration activities” already underway on conflict-affected lands. I am.

The gold-rich area in question is near Geraldton, north of Lake Superior, in northwestern Ontario. This is a historic mining and logging area that has been explored and drilled since the 1930s. From then until around 1970, over 2 million ounces of gold were mined there.

This northwestern part of Ontario is also home to Matawa First Nations, a member community of Xenu Gaming First Nations (GFN).

In the proceedings, the GFN alleges a lack of exploration consultations that confused the sacred area and violated the rights of indigenous peoples protected by Article 35 of the Constitution. And while Ontario has accused it of breaking the recently enacted UN doctrine in BC, similar federal law is now underway at a rapid pace through Congress.

“… Damages from Ontario and Q4 [Mining & Exploration Company Ltd.] Unjustified infringement of the right to ginogaming, and breach of the obligation to consult and respond to permission [is] It is currently estimated at $ 80 million, “said the GFN claim statement filed with the Ontario Superior Court on November 4, 2020.

“Ontario violated the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples [UNDRIP]I added. “Both the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario have promised full implementation of UNDRIP.”

Canada’s adoption of UNDRIP has been advocated by the First Nations plenary session and others. However, it has also been criticized by various parties, including those advocating more resource sector development opportunities for indigenous communities and those concerned about infringement of Canada’s sovereignty issues if UN standards are adopted. ..

Epoch Times Photo
Minister of Justice David Rametti announced on December 3, 2020 the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Ottawa. (Canadian Press / Adrian Wild)


Quaternary and related Hardrock Extension Inc. For Michael Malouf, the president of Prospector, the “11-hour” proceeding means he lost 35 years of effort and about $ 12.4 million in today’s dollars invested in the project. ..

“35 years of hard work, passion, and a lot of money have been invested in hard rock real estate. If the plaintiff succeeds in stopping the exploration … until our proceedings are finally settled, I Our family and Hard Rock shareholders will lose our entire investment, “Malof said in an affidavit.

Malouf made the first gold discovery in the Geraldton region in 1982. His Hardrock Extension Inc. is a small business focused on “one-to-two exploration programs during the summer” when possible, and efforts to contact senior mining companies to generate investment. Interest in winter, according to his affidavit.

His latest permit to conduct further exploration at his company’s Ferrau project site, just south of the Ginogaming Indian Reserve, is at the heart of the proceedings. It was published by the Ministry of Energy Northern Development and Mines (ENDM) of Ontario in June 2019.

In fact on April 8, Mr. Malouf said, “I have been involved in the GFN since 2011 and have been unsuccessful in trying to work with ENDM since 2015,” contrary to the allegations of lack of consultation in the proceedings.

He quoted the 2011 presentation given to GFN and later stated that “concerns were not raised” when he asked. In May 2012, he sent a summary report of all work done on Ferrau’s claims since 1932, including reports and discoveries of historical gold values ​​as a result of drilling. Did not respond. “

Treaty land claim

In August 2012, the GFN filed a claim for treaty land rights (TLE) with the Government of Ontario and the federal government, stating that the treaty rights “received less Indian settlement than promised.” .. Malouf says the declaration is unknown to him.

According to the GFN claim statement, the Ferrau site is part of a traditional territory that meets TLE’s claims. A nearby site, also south of the GFN Reserve, but part of another proposed project called Caouette, has also been involved in the proceedings and its owner has been nominated as a respondent.

Malouf’s facts said he only learned of TLE’s claims in June 2020. Meanwhile, GFN said ENDM only forwarded notifications to them of their intention to start work in July in June 2020. Land “permits” involved in their TLE claims. The GFN then filed a proceeding in November.

The Government of Ontario has stated that it has fulfilled its obligations under the state’s mining law, and court documents state that Ginogaming has blocked multiple efforts by ENDM.

With the fact of April 8th. The government has also provided Matawa and GFN since 2008 to “support the capacity for consultation and involvement and develop economic opportunities and business partnerships,” including funding “mineral development advisors” since 2012. Citing the support that was made.

“Very important case”

Against this background, GFN is trying to develop its own mining interests in the region.

In April 2020, seven months before the proceedings, GFN partnered with two other First Nations to manage the financial opportunities expected from the agreement with Greenstone Gold Mines (GGM), Minodahmun Development Inc. Announced the launch of a company called. A joint venture between mining companies Canterra Gold and Premier Gold.

According to Malouf’s affidavit, GGM is located just south of Geraldton, west of Ferrausite, and four of the six sites owned by Malouf, the obsolete Hard Rock, Macleod-Kockshut, Mosher ( HMCM) owns an underground mine. Until around 1970, most of the more than 2 million ounces of gold mined in the area came from the HMCM mine.

The three indigenous people signed a contract with GGM in November 2019 to build and operate their own gold mine worth $ 1.3 billion on the HMCM site. According to the latest information of shareholders in October 2019, the owner at that time, Premier, said, [GGM] deposit. “

Premier Gold was acquired by Equinox Gold in April 2021. Marouf told The Epoch Times in an email that the gold content of his allegations would diminish GGM’s assets and the proceedings would cool future investments.

“Greenstone’s 7.2 million ounce development and our (Hardrock Extension Inc.) six major structures have the potential for 60 million ounces, all based on structural comparisons with past production. But it’s very possible, “writes Marouf. “If Ginogaming can win an injunction based on such a frivolous claim, it means that wise money doesn’t want any part of the camp, so that’s a very important case.”

“From 1982 to the present, GFN members have been able to exercise their protected rights in the region without problems and in peaceful coexistence with prospectors,” Marouf said. Abused. [Ontario’s consultation regime] To achieve the set goals. Comprehensive management and management of local natural resources. “

Sheri Taylor, GFN’s deputy chief, refused to comment on the proceedings. “I was informed that I shouldn’t comment on anything at this time. I’ll contact you when I decide to make a media release on this,” Taylor said.

Minodahmun Development Inc. Jason Rasevych, GFN Director of the Board of Directors of the Board, also refused to talk about the proceedings and rejected the idea of ​​working with Malouf.

“There are many reasons [for not working with Malouf].. I don’t want to go deep into it, “he told the Epoch Times. “There are expeditions that take place throughout traditional territories, and there are certainly more culturally sensitive targets, such as history and ancestral archeology,” he added.

GFN lawyer Kate Kempton declined to interview the story. Equinox Gold also did not provide comments.

ENDM Minister Greg Rickford, who also serves as the state’s Minister of Indigenous Affairs, did not answer the question from The Epoch Times.