The back-and-forth legal proceedings continue between the municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge and Canada Carbon.

The Vancouver-based mining company is attempting to seek $96 million in damages from the municipality after it approved zoning changes unfavorable to the company’s plan to use the Miller Mine site to extract graphite and as a marble quarry.

On May 17, lawyers for Canada Carbon appeared in the Québec Court of Appeal to debate a previous ruling in Superior Court that stated that the company’s attempt to seek damages from Grenville-sur-la-Rouge is not abusive.  The municipality’s lawyers have been arguing that the lawsuit is abusive and appealed the previous ruling stating it was not.

The judge ruled on May 17 that before the appeal can be heard, the court must decide if it has the jurisdiction to hear it under Section 31 of the Québec Civil Code of Procedure.

Lawyers for both Canada Carbon and the municipality now must submit a 10-page argument to the Court of Appeal.  Grenville-sur-la-Rouge has until June 3 to do so, and Canada Carbon has been given a deadline of June 18.  The Court of Appeal will then examine those arguments and decide if it has the jurisdiction to hear the case.

If the court determines it does not have jurisdiction, the municipality’s appeal of the ruling declaring the lawsuit as not abusive will be dismissed.  If the court does have jurisdiction, the appeal will go ahead.

In the meantime, an independent report commissioned by Mining Watch Canada on the viability of the Miller Mine project has been published.

In his report, Professional Engineer John D. Kuipers of Montana-based Kuipers and Associates found that the proposal is not economically viable based on the information that was filed in Canada Carbon’s application, which is based on the estimated mineral resources, and not mineral reserves.

Kuipers stated that the market estimates for graphite demands by the nuclear reactor industry, and for marble are “speculative,” and do not demonstrate the viability of the proposed project.

The report also contends there is no valid basis for Canada Carbon’s effort to seek $96 million in damages from Grenville-sur-la-Rouge; the report says the company’s claims are unjusitifed because of the speculative nature of the evidence Canada Carbon has used to justify its plan.

According to Kuipers, Canada Carbon’s plan also does not conform to Section 101 of the Québec Mining Act which requires that an applicant complete a report by a qualified geologist that meets requirements set out for feasibility and market studies.