THUNDER BAY – Solid Gold Resources Corp. is reporting that the Superior Court of Ontario has ordered that the company may not conduct exploratory work on its Lake Abitibi property for a period of 120 days. In a statement, the company shares, “During the 120-day period, Solid Gold, Wahgoshig First Nation and the Crown have been ordered to enter into a ‘process of bona fide meaningful consultation and accommodation’ regarding any future activity on the Lake Abitibi property”.
Solid Gold has successful incurred all required “flow-through” expenditures for the year ended December 31, 2011. Pursuant to the Mining Act, Solid Gold is entitled to, and is applying for, an extension to the time within which work on Solid Gold’s mining claims at Lake Abitibi must be performed to maintain the claims in good standing.
In the decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, released January 3, Madam Justice Brown ordered that Solid Gold Resources Corp. cannot carry on any further exploration activity on its claims block for 120 days, and that during this time the company and the Ontario Crown must engage with Wahgoshig in a process of meaningful consultation and accommodation about any such further exploration. She ordered that if this process is not productive, Wahgoshig can go back to court to seek an extension of the injunction.
The Wahgoshig First Nation states, “Solid Gold’s mining claims block is in the heart of Wahgoshig’s traditional territory, on land that is of significant importance to Wahgoshig. Solid Gold came onto this land and started drilling without any consultation or accommodation occurring first. The court decision clearly finds this to be wrong”.
“We are very pleased with this decision,” says Wahgoshig Chief David Babin. “We feel that justice has been done. Exploration and other companies across Canada will hopefully recognize that aboriginal and treaty rights really mean something and that courts will not let our rights be trampled on by unilateral actions and failures of industry and government.”
“This is an important precedent for First Nations,” says Wahgoshig’s lawyer Kate Kempton of Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP. “Justice Brown held that it is in the public interest to ensure that First Nations’ constitutionally-protected aboriginal and treaty rights, including the right to meaningful consultation and adequate accommodation, are honoured and respected.”
OKT states, “Justice Brown found that there had been a complete absence of consultation and accommodation before Solid Gold had started drilling in Wahgoshig’s traditional territory, part of the treaty 9 area. She found that it is in the public interest to ensure that the Constitution — section 35 which recognizes aboriginal and treaty rights — is honoured and respected. This is a very positive precedent for First Nations”.