Imperial Metals has just won in the British Columbia Federal Court of Appeal in the case of the Red Chris mine in northern BC.
In summary the upper court set aside a lower court ruling that found that the environmental impact for the mine was not done properly, mainly because it was broken up into smaller pieces that did not quite involve all the community relations work that a big environmental study would have.
The key finding of the upper court is that federal officials have discretion to define and redefine the scope of a project for the purposes of tracking an environmental assessment.
EcoJustice and MiningWatch brought the case, contending that local knowledge of the area was not properly used and that federal official incorrectly broke the process up into small pieces to expedite the process.
While we have much sympathy with the NGOs who keep politicians and regulators honest, if for no other reason that politicians and regulators need to be kept honest, we must in this instance applaud the upper court ruling that found that nothing wrong was done. Afterall somebody has to decide how to proceed, the law gives guidance and power and it appears that those who acted followed the law.
It seems that Imperial Metals probably erred in some measure in letting things come to such a pass that they did not hear out the elders and got sued. It would surely have been cheaper and better for shareholders to sit and listen to elders, however distorted their scientific basis of fact may be than to have been sued by smart lawyers.
I opine that this is just another of those failures where everybody looses because management let it go to law. Makes you wonder if this is the kind of company you need to invest in.
Now they have to get power to the mine, and at the present that seems to be a triumph of hope over reason. So maybe the 10c a share increase on news of the court victory is just fine enough. They have a long way to go yet. You will have to decide if you want to share in the excitement of more appeals and politics to get power to the mine to gain another 10c share value increase.