The Wahgoshig First Nation (“WFN”) in Northern Ontario has obtained an injunction to temporarily stop Solid Gold Resources Corp. (“Solid Gold”), a junior mining company, from drilling on their First Nation Treaty lands. In a decision released last week (2011 ONSC 7708 (CanLII)), Justice Brown of the Ontario Superior Court halted all exploration activities for at least 120 days after finding that Solid Gold had repeatedly failed to respond to consultation requests from both WFN and the Ontario Government.
While this decision should not come as a surprise to knowledgeable observers, it is important for three reasons:
1. It confirms that as yet there is no Aboriginal veto over mining exploration activities;
2. It highlights problems with the Crown’s practice of delegating the consultation to proponents and
3. It reiterates that the “free entry” mining system in Ontario is limited by Aboriginal consultation.
Companies that are not mindful of Aboriginal concerns will see their business plans delayed or cancelled.
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