On April 21st 2008, Boss Power filed a notice of work for a prospective uranium property in Kelowna. Three days later the government decided to ban all uranium and thorium exploration in British Columbia. Faced with this decision Greg Reimer, deputy energy and mines minister, and John Cavanagh, assistant deputy minister, told Douglas Sweeney, the then active B.C. inspector of mines, to ignore the notice of work filed by Boss, which would have let them drill at the Blizzard exploration property, near Big White Ski resort.
Here are the events as they unraveled:
According to court filings, on April 21 2008, Boss Power filed a notice of work (NOW) for a prospective uranium property near Kelowna. Three days later the B.C. government decided to ban all uranium and thorium exploration in British Columbia. In July 2008, Greg Reimer, deputy energy and mines minister, instructed John Cavanagh, the assistant deputy minister, to instruct Douglas Sweeney, the then active B.C. inspector of mines, not to consider the NOW and approval was not to be granted.
Cavanagh sought legal advice from the Ministry of the Attorney General who advised Cavanagh that Sweeney had a statutory obligation to check the NOW and failing to do so would be a breach of Sweeney’s statutory duty: “Sweeney had a statutory obligation to consider the [notice of work] on its merits and that a failure to do so would be a breach of Sweeney’s statutory duty.”
In an “unconditional” court filing, the BC government admitted that, despite receiving this advice, Cavanagh instructed Sweeney that he was not to consider the NOW and that approval for the work was not to be granted. However, Sweeney hesitated to follow this advice and at that point his superiors decided to move him to a regional office. Cavanagh then gave the same instructions to other ministry employees, who gave no consideration to the merits of the NOW.
Needless to say, Boss Power was not a happy miner. Boss Power CEO Randy Rogers felt that the treatment given to him by the government was unfair. According to him, the government had been pretty open to the idea of uranium exploration and gave him no signs that they were planning on banning the projects.
He stated that the government “could have put us rightly into an environmental review or they could have expropriated us and put us into a park if they wanted, but what they chose to do was to do nothing and as a taxpayer and a citizen that’s what concerns me as well. What a negligent thing to do.”
The BC government chose to settle the matter out of court for $30 million, even though Boss Power had only invested 7 million when the ban on uranium exploration was announced.
On Monday October 24 during Question Period the Liberals ignored questions regarding the $30 million settlement. When asked: “Who decided to ignore the law in this matter?”, the then Minister of State for Mining Kevin Krueger, responded: “Nobody, that never happened”
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Click here for the legal proceedings of the Boss Power case