MISSISSAUGA, Ontario, March 26, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Canada Carbon Inc. (the “Company”) (TSX-V: CCB) announces that Grenville-sur-la-Rouge (“GSLR”) and the MRC d'Argenteuil (“MRC”) both submitted requests to the Commission de la protection du territoire agricole du Québec (“CPTAQ”) to suspend the Miller file as a result of the inability of GSLR’s experts to complete drilling on the Miller site. CPTAQ considered the submissions, and on Monday March 22, 2021, notified all parties in writing that there was no basis for a suspension and that the public meetings would proceed.
Yesterday, GSLR’s lawyers filed for an injunction to stop the CPTAQ meeting which is scheduled for March 31, 2021 and April 1, 2021. The Injunction application is to be heard in Superior Court on March 30, 2021.
The main arguments GSLR offers as a basis of the injunction are:
GSLR’s experts were not allowed on the Miller site to conduct their own drilling which they feel is a necessity to evaluate the Project;
GSLR felt that Canada Carbon was not in compliance with the Settlement Agreement signed in February 2020 because it would not let their experts onto the property to conduct drilling; and
GSLR did not feel that the 2 hours allotted to each of the opposing lawyers for the first day of the CPTAQ hearings was sufficient time for them to argue their position.
In July 2020, the CPTAQ issued a preliminary positive conditional orientation for the Miller Project. GSLR chose to commission three counter-expertise reports. In August 2020, Canada Carbon provided GSLR with all the source data pertaining to the hydrogeology of the site for analysis by GSLR’s experts.
GSLR’s counter-expertise studies were filed with the CPTAQ. The report carried out by the hydrogeological expert at the request of GSLR concludes in particular that:
Although drilling data to the base of the pits is still missing, we are of the opinion that the municipal wells of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge, Calumet and Village sectors will not be affected by the marble mining and quarrying project. This is because these two catchment systems do not tap the same aquifer and the recharge areas of these wells do not touch the watersheds of Lac Caron and the East Calumet River.
Two other hydrogeological reports completed in 2017, at GSLR's request, came to this same conclusion, in addition to the Company's own expert reports.
GSLR and MRC are now requesting that the CPTAQ analysis be suspended until GSLR's expert conducts drilling on the Miller property. According to Canada Carbon’s experts the preliminary studies conducted by CCB are more than sufficient for the purposes of the CPTAQ’s mandate and the requests of GSLR and MRC are premature at this stage of the Miller Project’s development and add no additional input to the CPTAQ analysis.
While GSLR contends that their expert noted several deficiencies in the BluMetric (an expert firm in the fields of water and wastewater treatment and professional environmental services) hydrogeology report, the deficiencies relate to the fact that BluMetric’s report was preliminary. BluMetric acknowledges that further work is required on the site, however that work will not commence until the final pit locations and designs are determined. In its own submission to CPTAQ, Canada Carbon indicated that the final location of the pits, quarry and infrastructure were still subject to change as further analysis and resource definition are carried out. Additional drilling and other environmental requirements will be carried out at a later date by Canada Carbon, with the assistance of BluMetric, as part of the authorization process that is subject to the jurisdiction of the MELCC and the MRN to ensure the protection of the environment.
In addition, Canada Carbon’s project will be subject to an environmental review which will consider the adequacy of its reports and analysis. The Company is aware and very sensitive to the various steps involved in obtaining the necessary permits to start a mining project in Quebec. Its goal is to jointly develop a project that will benefit all stakeholders. It understands that there are questions from the municipality of GSLR and the MRC. Canada Carbon has already committed, on January 10, 2020, to submit the Miller project to a review by the Bureau d'audiences publiques sur l'environnement (BAPE). While the size of its project did not require it to do so, the Company decided to submit to the BAPE to review and evaluate the Miller Project in an impartial and factual manner. What GSLR's expert proposes to do is premature and not necessary at this stage.
The Settlement Agreement, which was signed in February 2020, had two key paragraphs at issue in these proceedings. Section 18 states that, “GSLR and CCB agree to enter into a dialogue on the Miller Project and to put forward a process for that purpose with the assistance of the MERN, to the extent that the MERN agrees to act in that capacity”. Section 19 states that, “As part of this process, CCB agrees to collaborate with GSLR in the conduct of any study that GSLR may require, if necessary, on the recommendation of a professional under the Professional Code, in order to enable it to understand, analyze or participate in improving the Miller Project in terms of its social acceptability”.
As stated in a previous press release, the objective of these two sections was to ensure that through dialogue both parties would jointly determine what additional analysis would be required and that the collection of this additional information would be carried out by both parties jointly on a scientific, effective and transparent basis.
GSLR has chosen to solely focus on Section 19 and feels that Canada Carbon’s unwillingness to allow their experts on the site to carry out drilling constitutes non-compliance with the Settlement Agreement despite the fact that GSLR was unwilling to begin constructive dialogue in 2020.
The Company will contest GSLR’s legal demand vigorously.
For further information:
Canada Carbon Inc.
Director Public Affairs and Communications
Canada Carbon Inc.
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FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS: This news release contains forward-looking statements, which relate to future events or future performance and reflect management’s current expectations and assumptions. Such forward-looking statements reflect management’s current beliefs and are based on assumptions made by and information currently available to the Company. Investors are cautioned that these forward looking statements are neither promises nor guarantees, and are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause future results to differ materially from those expected. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date hereof and, except as required under applicable securities legislation, the Company does not assume any obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances. All of the forward-looking statements made in this press release are qualified by these cautionary statements and by those made in our filings with SEDAR in Canada (available at www.sedar.com).