Quebec pulls permits for Copper One’s exploration claims at Riviere Dore

In the latest chapter on the saga “Quebec versus junior miner Copper One” (TSX-V:CUO), the province’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MERN) suspended this week all exploration permits for the company’s Riviere Dore copper-nickel project.

According to the Toronto-based firm, the authority’s decision is clearly “abusive” and it evidences “an excess of jurisdiction,” reason why Copper One will appeal the resolution, it said in the statement.

On Monday, the miner announced it had begun proceedings against the Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks (MFFP) in the superior court over a denied permit.

The miner says the decision is clearly “abusive” and it evidences “an excess of jurisdiction,” reason why is taking the case to the Court of Quebec.

Copper One said it had reasons to believe the province’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources (MERN) influenced MFFP in order to delay or prevent the issuance of a forestry permit for the company.

The government of Quebec and the company first locked locked horns in Feb. 2012, when the company's permits were suspended retroactively to July 2011. Quebec lifted the moratorium last June and extended the permits for an additional two years. But last month the MERN announced its intentions to, once again, cancel the company's claims related to the project, 150 km southeast of Val d’Or.

The authority decided to do so after the Algonquin community said they were strongly opposed to further exploration work on their territory, and threatened to blockade the claims.

Copper One was supposed to have 15 days to respond to the minister’s decision expressed in a letter dated Jan. 17 and received by the firm on Jan. 20, but authorities made a public announcement on the suspension on Jan. 26, only nine days after the original notice, the company said.

“Copper One is a socially responsible company that is mindful of the environmental context in which it operates,” the statement reads, adding it has implemented measures to minimize impacts of its drilling program. “The proximity of logging roads and cutting areas was factored into the selection of drill targets so as to reduce the impact of exploration work on the environment,” the company said.

The Riviere Dore nickel-copper project spans 1,032 claims covering an area of 600 square km and it's Copper One’s only asset.