HD Mining Releases Documents to Public

Trent Ernst, Editor

The legal positioning and wrangling continues in the curious case of the unions versus HD Mining. In the most recent decision, handed down by Judge Michael Manson, upholds the decision of an earlier court ordering the Canadian government to procure documents from HD Mining and hand them over to the court. 
Less than a month after HD Mining refused to turn over the documents, they are now doing so, albeit reluctantly. 
Lawyers for the Federal government asked the court to change the request after HD refused the original motion. However, Judge Manson refused the motion to set aside the requirement. In the decision, Judge Manson says “The Minister, in her discretion, shall further consider the scope and nature of her compliance with the Production Order, and if any further demands or actions to compel are to be made, the Minister will do so by 21 Jan, 2013.”
A day after the court refused the request, HD Mining handed over the documents, including resumes of Canadians who applied for advertized positions with the company. 
This is just the latest in what promises to be a long series of suit and countersuit in the case. An earlier motion, made by the two unions, to prevent any further miners from coming over until after the case was finished was also dismissed. 
About a hundred additional miners were expected to arrive in BC in mid-December, but they have not yet shown up in Tumbler Ridge, nor has the longwall mining equipment that they are expected to use. It is expected that once the equipment clears all the regulatory paperwork, the workers will begin to arrive. 
There is no word on how the government will gain access to the documents. The original ruling says that the Respondent Minister of HRSDC must provide “any documents in the possession of HD Mining that form the basis of attestations it made to the HRSDC in its LMO Applications, but which were not submitted to HRSDC as part of those Applications.” 
HD Mining maintains the documents have no bearing on the case, but says it will hand them over, probably early this week. 
“We do not understand why the unions are continuing to press this litigation,” HD Mining chair Penggui Yan said in a statement. “HD Mining believes that all parties need to move beyond this litigation and work toward the constructive development of this project.”
Nearly lost in the din of the legal proceedings was the news that the BC Environmental Assessment Office had issued an order under Section 11 just before Christmas. The order establishes the scope, procedures and methods for how the environmental assessment for the Murray River Project will be undertaken.