Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Ontario wrestles to revamp mining law (IHT)

Ontario wrestles to revamp mining law

SOUTH FRONTENAC, Ontario: When Peter Griesbach discovered someone had chopped down trees at his weekend house to make crude posts staking out a mining claim, he assumed he could rid his land of the uninvited prospector relatively quickly. He was wrong.
Indeed, seven years later Griesbach is still campaigning to change the provincial law that allows anyone who pays the equivalent of $26.50 to dig for pretty much any mineral on private property in much of rural Ontario.
Historically high mineral prices have set off a new wave of prospecting in Canada, and with it new battles over mineral laws, some of which date to the 19th century. Under the so-called free entry system, effective in much of Ontario, prospectors and miners have had relatively unfettered access to private land in many areas.
Now, after decades of promises to modify the law from successive governments, Griesbach and other landowners may finally find some measure of relief.
After a highly publicized clash between an Indian tribe and a mining company this year, which led to the jailing of one native leader, Ontario's government said it would alter the law by December. But change is so controversial that even the broad details of any modification will not be worked out for some time.

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