QUEBEC – Strateco Resources of Boucherville, QC, has filed a claim seeking $189.99 million from the Quebec government for the loss of its investment in the Matoush uranium project in the Otish Mountains. Strateco began exploring the property almost 10 years ago, and as work continued, high grades and good news became the norm.
Strateco’s statement of claim says that it was granted 30 permits for work at the property in the full knowledge that Matoush was a uranium project. The province has a legislative framework that allows uranium exploration and mining, and the company said it received many positive signs that the province would support and allow such development. The company said it invested an average of $20 million per year at Matoush project in the full expectation that the province would comply with its own laws.
Strateco spent an average of $20 million per year at Matoush until everything came to a screeching halt in August 2010 when the Cree Nation declared a three-year moratorium on uranium exploration and development on its lands.
When Strateco went to the Quebec government in November 2013, the certificate of authorization it needed to start advanced exploration was withheld on the grounds that the project lacked “social acceptability”.
The refusal came even after the Canadian Nuclear Safety commissions, the federal environmental minister and the federal administrate of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement and a provincial evaluation committee had all approved underground exploration at Matoush.
Strateco filed the suit against Quebec for, among other things, having encouraged it to invest in Quebec, and then suddenly changing course by announcing a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in March 2013, and finally wrongfully and arbitrarily refusing to authorize the advanced exploration of the Matoush project. Strateco claims it was placed in a situation where it was no longer realistically able to interest investors in the Matoush project, was obliged to close the Matoush camp and cause permanent job losses, and lost any real opportunity to benefit from its mineral claims and its investment in the Matoush project.
None of these claims have been proven in court.
The motion to institute proceedings (unofficial translation) is available on Strateco’s website, Strateco.ca.