Canadian first nation sues for $10 billion over potash and oil properties

The George Gordon First Nation is seeking $10 billion from the provincial and Canadian governments over potash and oil properties the Saskatchewan first nation says it is owed.

The properties in question include BHP Billiton's Jansen potash project in which BHP has invested some $1.2 billion including half a billion in new spending announced in June. Also in play are large potassium deposits bordering the George Gordon reserve lands, which are majority-owned by Acron Joint Stock Company.

Postmedia News reports the native group  is alleging "Canada and Saskatchewan improperly denied it access to billions of dollars worth of potash and oil and gas lands through misconduct by both levels of government throughout the George Gordon Treaty Land Entitlement Settlement Agreement process" entered into by all three parties in 2008:

"The general tenor of the lawsuit is that George Gordon First Nation, like many First Nations in Saskatchewan, are still owed land by Canada and Saskatchewan and before disposing of valuable oil and gas or potash lands to third parties . . . that there's an obligation on the governments to find out from the First Nations whether they are interested in acquiring those lands first, which they did not do," said Jeffrey R. W. Rath, an Alberta-based lawyer, who is representing the First Nation.

The province intends to dispute the action, the article states.