Unions and HD Mining now waiting for decision

Trent Ernst, Editor

On Friday, HD Mining laid out the last of its evidence, the Union made its final arguments, and the legal wrangling around the Murray River mine finally came to a close.

HD Mining lawyer Alex Stojicevic says he’s hopeful that the judge will reach a decision by the first week of May or so. “It’s with the judge, and he understands our timelines. He asked us what the work schedule is at the mine site, so he’s aware of our timeline.”

The case started on Tuesday, April 9, and the first day was entirely given over to motions, with both sides asking for certain bits of evidence to be removed from the record. “The unions made a motion to strike one of our affidavits which unfortunately was approved,” says Stojicevic.

Lawyers for the defendants, which included HD Mining, Canadian Dehua and the Government of Canada argued that the affadavits submitted by the union should also be struck, as they were full of “extraordinarily inflammatory language, accusing HD Mining of being a liar, of misrepresenting, of blowing hot and cold and all sort of other spurious allegations which we would submit are not found in evidence,”Dehua’s lawyer Laura Best was quoted in the Globe and Mail as saying.

Stojicevic says that some of the affidavits were dismissed, some were not and the judge reserved judgement on two, “until once he had heard all the arguments.”

“Since Tuesday we’ve just argued about the nuts and the bolts of the case,” says Stojicevic. “We feel that these decisions were reasonably done. The company met or exceeded what they were asked to do.”

On Wednesday, the unions argued that HD Mining gave conflicting statements to get permission to import foreign workers, union lawyers told a judicial review Wednesday.

Union Lawyer Charles Gordon says that HD told the BC Government they would only use room and pillar mining for the bulk sample, but “represented something different to the federal government.”

According to HD Mine, the court case has delayed the project by six months. The first group of workers who arrived last fall returned to China in January. The company is not planning on bringing over any more workers “HD Mining requires reasonable certainty before commencing with bulk sample work, which is why we are looking forward to completing the final stages of this litigation with the Judicial Review hearing,” says the company in an email.

Stojicevic says he’s limited in what he can say while the case is still being deliberated, but “I’m glad that we had a chance to present our arguments. We’re happy that it’s over. Now it’s with the judge.”