Toronto-based Rubicon Minerals (TSE:RMX) (NYSE-MKT: RBY) says it has been notified that the Ontario Court of Appeal has overturned the decision of the Ontario Superior Court in "Keewatin versus Minister of Natural Resources", which the company sees as a "very positive" outcome despite not being a party to the case.
"The decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal in upholding the jurisdiction of the Province of Ontario to issue mining permits is very important for mining companies in Ontario," the company said in its statement on Monday.
Last week, Rubicon shares shot up as it said that it had consented, together with the Province of Ontario, to the request of Wabauskang First Nation (WFN) to postpone their application for judicial review of a production closure plan related to the company's Phoenix Gold project in the region.
WFN said they would not be able to perfect their application until 90 days after the Ontario Court of Appeal gave its decision in the Keewatin case. This gives Rubicon time to further negotiate with the First Nation group toward advancing its project.
The advanced stage gold development company, which is focused on its Phoneix gold project in Red Lake, Ontario, was named in the petition for judicial review last year, focused on the Province of Ontario's authority to approve a production closure plan.
"The company firmly believes the application filed by the Wabauskang First Nation for judicial review of Rubicon's production closure plan for its fully-permitted Phoenix Gold Project located in Red Lake, Ontario is without merit," Rubicon said today.
"Rubicon believes that it has properly consulted the WFN during the drafting of the production closure plan and its ultimate approval in December 2011 by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines."
Indeed, the gold development company has been engaged in discussions with the First Nation group since January 2009.
It said last week that it remains committed to the ongoing consultation and negotiation process, but if necessary, the company is prepared to "vigorously defend its consultation record" and its ability to continue development of the Phoenix Gold project, in any legal dispute.
The F2 gold deposit at Phoenix boasts an indicated resource of 1.02 million tonnes, grading 14.5 grams per tonne gold for a total of 477,000 ounces of gold, and an inferred resource of 4.23 million tonnes, grading 17.0 grams for a total of 2.31 million ounces of the precious metal.
The project produced a preliminary economic assessment that allowed the company to go to market last year with a bought deal equity financing of just over C$200 million.
The company is in the midst of carrying out studies designed to optimize certain aspects of its preliminary economic assessment, with these studies slated to be wrapped up in the second quarter of this year. An updated resource estimate is also expected this quarter.
Most importantly, based on this schedule, the company says it is planning to advance toward potential production in the second half of next year.
The Phoenix project, which is fully permitted and funded, is expected to produce 180,000 ounces of gold per year for the 12 years of mine life, with grades of roughly 14 grams per tonne (g/t) and a forecasted 92.5 per cent recovery.
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