Copper One Responds to Quebec Ministry of Forests' Letter of Their Intention to Deny Its Access Permits in the Lac Barriere Area
TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 8, 2017) - Copper One Inc. (TSX VENTURE:CUO) ("Copper One" or the "Company") reports that on May 1, 2017, the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Fauna and Parks (the "MFFP") issued a letter (the "MFFP Letter") to the Company wherein it announced its intention to deny Copper One's forest management permit to allow for the drilling on 11 locations on the Company's Rivière Doré project. The forestry permit was expected to be issued following the end of the consultation period with the Algonquins of Barrier Lake, on December 18, 2016.
The MFFP issued the MFFP Letter six months after the permit was required to be issued to the Company and only five days prior to the first case management hearing on the Company's mandamus proceeding in the Superior Court of Quebec to force the issuance of the permit by the MFFP. A translated English excerpt of the MFFP Letter is copied below.
The MFFP gives the following reasons for denying the issuance of the Permit:
- "First, issuing the permit could compromise negotiations currently underway with that community. One of the aims of those negotiations is to put in place the conditions needed to ensure harmony in the carrying out of forestry and wildlife activities under our jurisdiction."
- "Second, issuing the requested management permit could over the short term provoke protests by the ALB community, which could result in a disruption of the supply of timber to mills that source their timber on the territory under discussion. Jeopardizing timber supplies would have dramatic consequences for the region."
- "Finally, on February 8, the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources decided to suspend the term of the claims that were issued to Copper One Inc. The refusal to issue the permit requested is also justified by the uncertainty regarding the possibility for the mining rights holder of exercising its rights."
In Copper One's opinion, these three reasons do not justify the MFFP's refusal to issue the permit requested on October 21, 2016, as per the Sustainable Forest Development Act (Quebec) and the Regulation respecting standards of forest management for forests in the domain of the State (Quebec).
G. Scott Moore, Chairman and CEO of Copper One, commented: "Not a single argument put forth by the MFFP is grounded in the law. Their letter demonstrates the MFFP's illegal preference to logging companies. This should be a wake-up call to all mining companies to the risks now being imposed for mineral exploration by the Province of Quebec."
Copper One has provided the following response to the MFFP in a letter dated May 4, 2017 from their external legal counsel:
"The three reasons given to refuse to issue the forest management permit are so unrelated to the permit application in question and the applicable law and regulations that they demonstrate a lack of good faith regarding the decision about to be rendered regarding our client's application.
We would ask you to reconsider the decision which your client, the MFFP, is about to render, particularly in view of what is mentioned above. If the permit in question is issued, the suspension of the term of the claims lifted and the other party in the negotiations allegedly underway carries out illegal protests, our client would apply to the courts to have the illegal conduct stopped, as Resolute FP Canada Inc. did in October 2012."
The Company continues to pursue the mandamus proceedings with the next hearing due to occur on June 9th, 2017.
With respect to the appeal of the Ministère de l'Énergie et des Ressources naturelles' (the "MERN") decision filed on February 20th, 2017, Copper One is awaiting for a judge to be assigned to the case management hearings. The Company expects a case management hearing to be held in the next few days.
Copper One has created a new tab on its website titled "Litigation" where all relevant letters from the MFFP, the MERN and Copper One are posted for investors to review. Copper One has followed all the requirements of the various legislation regarding its proposed exploration drill campaign on the Rivière Doré project and it will continue to defend its rights as granted under the law regarding the project.
About Copper One
Copper One is focused on developing the Rivière Doré property located near Val d'Or, Quebec covering the base of the Bouchette anorthositic complex which spans over 80 km.