Platinex Surrenders Big Trout Lake Claims

Platinex has surrendered its mining claims and leases on KI homeland and dropped its lawsuits.  Ontario is withdrawing the lands from mining exploration and is paying Platinex $5 million in settlement.

Read KI's Press release.

Read Ontario's explanation.

See KI archive of releases and letters from the Platinex dispute.

Read a blog about the dispute with Platinex by friends of KI.

 

 

 

Ontario settles long-running land-claims dispute

karen howlett

Globe and Mail Update

Published Monday, Dec. 14, 2009

The Ontario government has settled a long-running land-claims saga that pitted a remote, First Nation reserve against a tiny exploration company and the province's mining laws.

The government announced on Monday that it will pay Platinex Inc. $5-million. In return, the Toronto-based exploration company will drop its lawsuit against the province and the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation and surrender all of its mining claims near Big Trout Lake.

The fly-in community 600 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, also known as KI, has waged an 11-year fight to stop Platinex from drilling for platinum on its traditional lands. The dispute was between rights granted exploration companies under the province's 136-year-old Mining Act and treaty rights for natives.

KI chief Donny Morris and five other residents were sentenced to six months in jail last year for civil contempt of court after disobeying a court order to allow Platinex to explore on their territory.

After serving almost 10 weeks in jail, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled in May, 2008 that the six-month sentences were too harsh and reduced them to time served.

Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, said in a statement on Monday that the government has responded to the community's concerns by withdrawing lands at Big Trout Lake from mineral exploration.

“This is a unique situation, and I am pleased that we were able to reach a fair and reasonable negotiated settlement that will provide greater certainty to Platinex while allowing our government to continue working with KI to strengthen our relationship and to pursue future opportunities,” Mr. Gravelle said.

In addition to the financial payment, Platinex would also receive royalties totalling 2.5 per cent of mining revenues if the province issues new exploration claims and a mine is developed on the property in the next 25 years.

Mr. Morris has said he went to jail because his community wanted the government to adhere to numerous Supreme Court of Canada decisions that said governments have a duty to consult over development on native lands.

The Ontario government has since reformed the province's mining laws, which it says introduce a new vehicle for addressing disputes.

Platinex drops lawsuits, surrenders mining claims in KI traditional territory

Monday December 14, 2009

Rick Garrick, Wawatay News

 

Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug Chief Donny Morris said Platinex Inc.'s agreement to drop its lawsuits and surrender its mining claims is a "good Christmas present for the community."

"I have to say I'm feeling happy about it," Morris said, about 10 minutes after reading the Dec. 14 press release issued by the Ontario government stating Ontario had reached an agreement to settle litigation with Platinex that will provide greater certainty to the company and allow the Province to continue to build its relationship with KI.

Morris said his community has always been concerned about possible environmental issues stemming from the development of a mine so near to the lake from which they have always derived their livelihood.

"Our concern was the site contaminating the (Big Trout) Lake," Morris said, noting the community uses the lake for fishing and hunting. "It was too close. It was more of an environmental issue."

Ontario reached the agreement with Platinex to settle on-going litigation over the company's Big Trout Lake Property in return for $5 million and potential future royalty interest on the property. In addition, the government will withdraw those lands from staking and mineral exploration.

"This is a unique situation, and I am pleased that we were able to reach a fair and reasonable negotiated settlement that will provide greater certainty to Platinex while allowing our government to continue working with KI to strengthen our relationship and to pursue future opportunities," said Michael Gravelle, minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry.

The settlement will assist Platinex in moving forward with exploration and development of its other mining properties in Ontario, and responds to KI's past concerns.

Should the province, at its discretion, issue new mineral tenure on the lands in the next 25 years and a mine be developed, Platinex would be entitled to receive a royalty of 2.5 per cent of the mine revenues paid by the mine operator if a mine is developed. This kind of royalty is common industry practice.