The municipality of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge calls a directive from the Québec Court of Appeal regarding its legal dispute with Canada Carbon “astonishing.”
On May 17, the court requested that both the municipality and Canada Carbon submit written arguments which will be used to determine if the case should be heard.
The municipality is appealing a previous superior court ruling that declared Canada Carbon’s lawsuit seeking $96 million in damages from the municipality is not abusive.
The Vancouver-based mining company launched the case in 2018 after the municipality approved zoning changes designed to stop Canada Carbon from mining graphite and establishing a marble quarry at the Miller Mine.
“For us, this $96-million lawsuit is abusive and completely disproportionate and aims to intimidate municipal officials and citizens. We strongly hope the Court of Appeal can hear this case,” said Mayor Tom Arnold.
The municipality has criticized Canada Carbon for launching the lawsuit before the courts have decided if the municipality’s zoning changes are legal.
A recent, independent report prepared by Montana-based Mining Engineer Jim Kuipers stated that the Miller Mine project is not economically viable and is not worth the $96 million in damages Canada Carbon is seeking from the municipality.
In response to the report, Mining Watch Canada, an organization that closely monitors the mining industry, filed a complaint with the British Columbia Securities Commission on May 22 alleging Canada Carbon is not meeting securities standards because the report stated that the project is not worth what the company claimed it is worth and that the information used to justify the project is not sufficient.
The reason the complaint was filed with the BC Securities Commission is because Canada Carbon is headquartered in Vancouver and is traded on the Vancouver stock exchange.
Meanwhile, Canada Carbon released a statement on May 23 alleging that someone from Mining Watch Canada, a member of SOS-GSLR, which is composed of residents opposing the project, and an unspecified number of other individuals entered the Miller Mine property. Canada Carbon alleged the individuals tampered with packaged graphite it had on site and with drill cores. The company said it will have to test the packaged graphite to find out if it was contaminated and is “filing a complaint with the appropriate authorities” about the alleged incident.
“This is yet another example of how these parties continue to act in bad faith and without regard to the rule of law,” said Canada Carbon Executive Chairman and CEO Bruce Duncan in the company’s statement.
Grenville-sur-la-Rouge is also in the midst of a fundraising campaign to assist the municipality with its legal costs in the dispute with Canada Carbon.
On May 27, Duncan issued an open letter to Québec Premier François Legault and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Julien asserting the advantages of the Miller Mine project.
Duncan called the proposal a “relatively environmentally benign project” that could inject $189.7 million into the local economy and create 100 jobs.
The letter states that the company believes in social responsibility but that the municipal council has never shown an interest in meeting with Canada Carbon to discuss concerns it has.
Duncan said council and Ugo Lapointe of Mining Watch Canada are fear-mongering and spreading false information in order to turn citizens against the project.
The letter concludes with Duncan stating he wants to sit down with the Premier and Minister to “discuss the real facts related to Canada Carbon and Grenville-sur-la Rouge.