Conflicts in eastern Canada arise every so often between owners of choice vacation properties and the mineral exploration industry, and there may be another next spring.
This thought popped into my mind upon learning that Stelmine Canada of Montreal signed an agreement to acquire up to 100% of six claims in the Wakefield alkaline complex, north of Gatineau, QC. Historic work identified rare earth (REE) anomalies, notably cesium, lanthanum, gadolinium, erbium and ytterbium. Concentrations are believed to total up to 4% REE.
Stelmine can earn its interest by paying the owner $24,000, issuing 300,000 shares and spending $100,000 on exploration at the site within 12 months, and granting a 2% net smelter royalty (NSR). Needless to say, the exploration activities will disturb some surface area and alarm property owners.
The outrage of cottages upon finding evidence of such activity on their lands is regularly reported in local newspapers. Proprietors are distraught to find they do not control the mineral rights. I have read of one junior company that hand delivered notices of its work plans to cottage doorsteps after the owners had closed them for the season. The following spring, the owners discovered open trenches on their land.
I want the mineral industry to have access to most lands for exploration purposes. Without it, Canada would be a poorer country.
But allow me to make two suggestions:
First, company representatives should develop a face-to-face method of notifying property owners of upcoming work.
Second, governments should require that any disturbance caused by trenching or exploration be remediated in a timely manner.
Together these suggestions represent a display of basic good manners, otherwise known as grassroots corporate social responsibility.