Result Excerpt

Platinex Inc. v Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, 2006

Note: while there are a series of decisions in this dispute, this decision was not appealed.

 

Case Overview:

In 1999, Platinex approached the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation (KI) to discuss early exploration proposals on mining claims it held in the community’s traditional territory. KI informed Platinex that it was planning to file a Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) claim, and did so in 2000. In 2001, after community discussions, KI placed a moratorium on mining in its traditional territory.

In February 2006, Platinex set up an exploration camp on its mining claims. KI community leaders went to the camp and demanded that Platinex stop its exploration activities. Several community members protested peacefully at the road into the camp. After several days, Platinex left the camp, and then sued KI for $10 billion in damages and an interim injunction to prevent the community from interfering with its exploration activities. KI countersued for an injunction stopping Platinex from exploration and for a declaration that parts of Ontario’s Mining Act were unconstitutional.

In order to grant an injunction the court must find that there is a serious question to be tried, that without an injunction irreparable harm will occur,


Jump to resource

Resource Types

Result Full Resource

Platinex Inc. v Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, 2006

Note: while there are a series of decisions in this dispute, this decision was not appealed.

 

Case Overview:

In 1999, Platinex approached the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation (KI) to discuss early exploration proposals on mining claims it held in the community’s traditional territory. KI informed Platinex that it was planning to file a Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) claim, and did so in 2000. In 2001, after community discussions, KI placed a moratorium on mining in its traditional territory.

In February 2006, Platinex set up an exploration camp on its mining claims. KI community leaders went to the camp and demanded that Platinex stop its exploration activities. Several community members protested peacefully at the road into the camp. After several days, Platinex left the camp, and then sued KI for $10 billion in damages and an interim injunction to prevent the community from interfering with its exploration activities. KI countersued for an injunction stopping Platinex from exploration and for a declaration that parts of Ontario’s Mining Act were unconstitutional.

In order to grant an injunction the court must find that there is a serious question to be tried, that without an injunction irreparable harm will occur, and that the balance of convenience supports the injunction.

The court found that KI may suffer irreparable harm through a loss of culturally and spiritually significant land. The court stated that there was a public interest in the Crown fulfilling its duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples when impacting their rights, and thus, the balance of convenience favoured KI. The judge granted a five-month injunction on the condition that the parties meet with Ontario in order to come to an agreement allowing Platinex to conduct its early exploration activities.

 

Why is this decision important?

1)  This decision was the first to grant an injunction that stopped development because the Crown had failed to perform its duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal rights and that it was in the public interest that the Crown fulfill the duty.

2)  The judge stated very clearly the importance of KI’s relationship to the land: “Irreparable harm may be caused to KI not only because it may lose a valuable tract of land in the resolution of its TLE Claim, but also, and more importantly, because it may lose land that is important from a cultural and spiritual perspective. No award of damages could possibly compensate KI for this loss. It is critical to consider the nature of the potential loss from an Aboriginal perspective. From that perspective, the relationship that Aboriginal peoples have with the land cannot be understated. The land is the very essence of their being. It is their very heart and soul. No amount of money can compensate for its loss. Aboriginal identity, spirituality, laws, traditions, culture, and rights are connected to and arise from this relationship to the land.” (paras 79-80).

3)  In directing the parties to consult towards an agreement on early exploration, the judge limited the outcome. The judge could not imagine that through consultation with KI, the Crown may have found that Aboriginal rights could not be properly accommodated in this situation.

 

Main Contributor: Dr. Rachel Ariss, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Platinex Inc. v Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation 2006 CanLII 26171 (ONSC) (Justice Smith)