Platinum mine legal row expands



Canadian Press

The Globe and Mail




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Planned development of a potentially lucrative platinum mine near a Northern Ontario reserve has prompted a First Nation band, which faces a lawsuit by an Aurora, Ont.-based exploration company, to sue the provincial government.


The cases centre around Platinex Inc.'s hopes to explore for platinum in an area populated by about 1,200 members of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, formerly known as the Big Trout Lake band. The drilling site is located about 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.


Platinex lawyer Neil Smitheman said a $10-billion value attached to the case may give a wrong impression of what Platinex is after, since it refers to the maximum value the company believes the mine could be worth, and not a sum being sought from the First Nation.


A Supreme Court ruling dictates the First Nation band should have been consulted before Platinex was cleared by the Ontario government to go forward, said deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which is providing assistance in the legal fight.