Mining company Strateco Resources has filed a C$189.9m ($190m) lawsuit against the Quebec Government, seeking damages for the loss of its investment in the Matoush project.
According to the company, the loss occurred due to wrongful actions by the government and the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change.
Strateco’s lawsuit criticised the government for having encouraged it to invest in Quebec, and later on suddenly announcing a moratorium on uranium exploration and mining in March 2013.
The government also refused to authorise the advanced exploration of the Matoush project, in which the company invested an average of $20m annually from 2006 to 2012, taking for granted that the government would comply with its own laws, the company said.
Strateco was granted some 30 permits by the government under its laws, regulations and guidelines, in the full knowledge that the activities in question were linked to uranium exploration and a planned uranium mining operation.
The government sent positive signals to Strateco on the Matoush project and constructed a legislative framework allowing uranium exploration and mining, by including it among the 11 mining projects announced in the government’s Northern Plan.
On 7 November 2013, the minister refused to grant Strateco the certificate of authorisation required to start the advanced exploration phase of the Matoush project, alleging a lack of social acceptability.
Strateco said that the company was placed in a situation where it was no longer able to attract the interest of investors for the Matoush project.
The company will now have to close the Matoush camp, which could lead to permanent job losses.