Monday, 24 December 2012

Rubicon Minerals says legal action by First Nation group "without merit"

Rubicon Minerals Corp (TSE:RMX) (NYSE-MKT:RBY) said late Friday that it considers the legal action brought upon the company by the Wabauskang First Nation (WFN) group to be without merit. 
The gold explorer, which is focused on its Phoneix gold project in Red Lake, Ontario, has been named in a petition for judicial review, focused on the Province of Ontario's authority to approve a production closure plan.
"While we remain committed to the consultation process and invite WFN  back to the negotiating table to discuss the terms of a benefits  agreement, we will vigorously defend our record and this petition which  we believe to be without merit," Rubicon said in a statement on Friday. 
Construction activities, including  shaft sinking and mill construction continue to progress at the Phoenix  project, the company added. 
Earlier this month, Rubicon said it had learned via press reports that WFN instructed its lawyers to file a lawsuit related to the company's Phoenix gold project in Red Lake. 
The gold exploration and development company has been engaged in discussions with the First Nation group since January 2009. 
The company said that it had confirmed its intention to continue to consult with WFN with respect to the Phoenix project as part of its closure plan. 
On Friday, Rubicon reiterated that it is "proud of its record of its consultations with Aboriginal Communities and of its actions in the Red Lake district including its commitment to safe  and responsible resource development and the successful provision of  contracting and employment opportunities for Aboriginal Communities".
The Toronto-based company will deal with the legal proceedings with new chief Mike Lalonde at the helm, who will assume the position of president and CEO at the start of the new year, replacing prior chief David Adamson. 
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 earlier this year with a bought deal equity financing of just over C$200 million.
The company is carrying out a 12-month, $82.8 million program designed to optimize certain aspects of its preliminary economic assessment, accelerate site infrastructure and expand on current engineering studies.
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.
Lalonde said in June that Rubicon is looking to begin “producing gold bars” in early 2014 under the existing PEA.

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