VANCOUVER (miningweekly.com) – The Mining and Lands Commission of Ontario has made a final order, paving the way for an application to the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, which was made by Cliffs Natural Resources in early 2012, for the grant of an easement over the claims of KWG subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation (CCC), to proceed.
The court ordered the "pending proceedings" notation be removed from the abstracts of the mining claims of CCC, that the time during which they were the subject of pending proceedings be excluded and that a new anniversary date for the filing of prescribed assessment work be established.
The final order also provided that no costs shall be paid by any party to the application.
The final order follows the Supreme Court of Canada's (SCC's) dismissal of CCC's application for leave to appeal the decision of Ontario's Court of Appeal.
KWG pointed out that, should the application proceed, the issue being decided does not deprive CCC of its ability at the next stage to oppose Cliffs' easement application or to ask for conditions that would protect its legitimate interests in its mining claims.
However, KWG president Frank Smeenk said there was no indication that the easement application would be continued.
“At the time of the Divisional Court decision, the possibility of CCC building a railroad to transport ore over its claims from the Ring of Fire was dismissed. We believe that our engagement of China Railway First Survey & Design Institute Group Company to complete a bankable feasibility study substantially overcomes that incredulity,” Smeenk stated.
"It is unfortunate that our exploration industry has generally come to believe that the court decisions in this contest mean that anyone can use our 'railroad claims' for their own competing purpose. We had hoped that the SCC might address that kind of issue by reviewing the decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal and confirming the 'finders-keepers' nature of mining claims staking in doing so. As that was not to be, we are pleased that this gratuitous attack on our company's assets has now been exhausted and dissipated."
Junior project developer Noront Resources had early in 2015 scooped up a majority land position in the Ring of Fire district when Cliffs agreed to bow out of the prospective region by selling its subsidiary and claims for $20-million. The deal included a 100% interest in Cliffs' prized Black Thor chromite deposit and a 100% interest in the Black Label chromite deposit.
Noront, which now holds the subsidiary as a numbered company, has not indicated whether it will proceed with the application.