AURORA, ON, Dec. 20 /CNW/ - Representatives of Platinex,
Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, "KI", and Ontario engaged in a court endorsed
pre-trial in Thunder Bay, Ontario, before Mr. Justice Stephen O'Neill of the
Superior Court of Justice. After a full day of discussions, KI announced for
the very first time (after 1 1/2 years of litigation, preceded by seven years
of communications between Platinex and KI) that it was asserting a claim to
sovereignty over its traditional lands and that it wished to engage in
discussions with Ontario in respect of such claim. The stated position of KI
was that it would not dialogue with Platinex until such time as the issues
between KI and Ontario were resolved. As a result, the facilitation did not
result in any progress in the resolution of the Platinex-KI litigation.
Platinex is thankful for the dedication and commitment demonstrated by Mr.
Justice O'Neill in his handling of the facilitation. Platinex remains willing
to participate in good faith discussions and negotiations with KI and Ontario.
On Friday, December 7, 2007, Platinex's legal counsel proceeded with the
contempt of court hearing against KI. The hearing was necessitated by KI's
refusal to honour the October 25, 2007, Order of Mr. Justice Smith confirming
Platinex's legal right to proceed with its drill program (first ordered in Mr.
Justice Smith's ruling of May 22, 2007) and the archaeological pre-screening
of the drill hole sites. The motion also sought redress for KI's threat to
disrupt on a large scale Platinex's intended drill program.
KI did not defend the contempt motion. However, KI's legal counsel
advised the Court that, in KI's view, the current state of Canadian law did
not adequately provide redress for KI's grievances as against Ontario and
Canada and, as such, KI was not able to comply with the orders of the Court.
The Court was advised for the first time (after repeated appearances before
the Court since May, 2006) that KI wished to negotiate with Ontario the issue
of sovereignty over KI's traditional lands and that, in KI's view, the First
Nations who were signatories to James Bay Treaty No. 9, never intended to
relinquish their sovereignty to their traditional lands and that the express
terms of James Bay Treaty No. 9 did not set out the entire agreement and
understanding of the parties. This position is inconsistent with the Treaty
Land Entitlement ("TLE") claim that has been a focus of KI throughout the
The Court found KI and named members of KI including the Chief and
several Council members to be in contempt of Court. The Court will hear
submissions about the appropriate relief/sentence for the contempt on January
KI made it clear, for the very first time in these protracted and costly
legal proceedings, that KI's objection to the Platinex drill program was no
longer about Platinex and consultation respecting the Company's drill program.
KI now says that it will not engage in any discussions with Platinex until KI
has resolved its issues with Ontario.
Platinex is extremely disappointed with this unexpected new position
advanced by KI in the legal proceedings and expects that KI and Ontario will
move expeditiously to resolve the issues between them. Platinex had previously
made repeated requests for direct Ministerial involvement in the resolution of
this dispute; but to date, neither Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant
nor Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle has taken any
steps to be directly involved in the resolution of this dispute. The same is
also true of their predecessors, Minister Bartolucci and Minister Ramsay. This
lack of initiative has contributed to the ongoing costs, losses and damages to
Platinex for which Ontario, ultimately, may be held responsible.
Platinex has made it clear to KI and to the court that it takes no
position with respect to the merits of KI's TLE claim or with respect to KI's
recently asserted claim to sovereignty over its traditional lands. Platinex
had also made it clear that, in accordance with well established law and
government policy as reiterated in Section 4.5.2 (pages 92-94, Volume 2,
Policy Analysis) of the Ipperwash Report, any approval of KI's TLE claim or
any resolution of KI's claim of sovereignty over its traditional lands will
not in any way affect or impair, to any degree, the validity of Platinex's
mining claims and leases all of which were issued many, many years prior to
the filing of KI's TLE land claim.
The Ipperwash Report also profiles the KI-Platinex dispute (Section 5.3.2
at Page 110) and states on Page 111 "Although the KI First Nation is not
opposed to development on its traditional lands, the community fears that if
exploration is allowed to proceed, the area in question could be thereby
removed from land that might be added to their reserve". Platinex encourages
KI to accept the validity of Platinex's claims and leases, and to work towards
reconciling our respective rights.
Furthermore Mr. Justice Smith had stated in his October 25, 2007 ruling,
"But of great concern to me of course is the repute of the administration of
justice, the integrity of the system of justice.....And it is the rule of law
that is fundamentally the glue that keeps our society together. And we have to
all have respect for it. Once that respect is lost, chaos will happen. It is
fundamental to our democratic society that respect for the rule of law and the
orders of this court and other courts is maintained. That is something that is
not negotiable." Platinex encourages KI to heed the words of Justice Smith.
The nine years of effort to access and prove up the PGE-chromium deposits
at Big Trout Lake and assist in the fight against global warming have been
frustrated by KI and the Government of Ontario. Platinex has made every effort
to accommodate all of KI's stated concerns regarding the Platinex exploratory
drill program. The Company has repeatedly stated its desire to engage in
meaningful dialogue, and to foster a positive, mutually beneficial working
relationship, with KI. Platinex remains willing to reach an agreement with KI
that could include the dismissal of the legal action.
Platinex will not permit this further delay to interfere with its long
term objectives. Work continues on sampling of the 5,000 metres of core
drilled by INCO on Platinex's Big Trout Lake property. Initial results should
be available in early January, 2008. Several new property acquisitions and
strategic alliances are being reviewed and will be announced in the next few
About Platinex Inc.
Platinex is a Canadian exploration company based near Toronto. Platinex
focuses on carefully selected Platinum Group Element targets in settings
analogous to the JM reef (Stillwater Complex, Montana) and the Merensky and
UG2 reefs (Bushveld Complex, RSA). Platinex is determined to find platinum
sources to be used in the campaign reduce the production of atmospheric
greenhouse gases to eliminate the threat of global warming. Shares of Platinex
are listed for trading on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol PTX.
Except for statements of historical fact, all statements in this news
release - including, without limitation, statements regarding future plans and
objectives, are forward-looking statements that involve various risks and
uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be
accurate; actual results and future events could differ materially from those
anticipated in such statements.
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