Like two drunken canoeists, each with half a paddle, Northcliff Resources of Vancouver and Todd Minerals of New Zealand are vying for control of the sinking Sisson canoe lying aground up the proverbial stream of pollution they seek to create in the Nashwaak Watershed.
With an infusion of $870,000 in cash on January 29, Todd Minerals has kept Northcliff afloat financially for possibly another quarter year. The infusion of cash ups Todd’s interest in Northcliff to 41%, still short of a majority share. Northcliff Resources is the proponent of the Sisson mine project.
However, given the corporate hocus pocus that financially buffers HDI Northcliff from the “Sisson Project” itself, Todd Minerals has effectively achieved a 47.8% interest in the “Sisson Project.” Todd also has the guaranteed ability to earn an additional 10% interest by investing $20 million any time up to commencement of construction of the Sisson mine. All this seems to indicate that if it so chooses, Todd Minerals can now assume a controlling interest in the mine. Why Todd would want to do this after losing a bundle by investing in the failed Drakelands Tungsten Mine in Plymouth UK is anybody’s guess.
The approximately $1 million in cash reserves that Vancouver based Northcliff Resources is reporting to the British Columbia Securities Commission is barely enough to cover their quarterly costs of maintaining their mineral claims, plus the office expenses for their highly-paid executives. Nowhere is Northcliff reporting sufficient resources to complete the additional core drilling and disaster modeling as required by their 2015 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Conditions of Approval for the Sisson mine.
Northcliff also lacks the cash to post required bonds for reclamation, and post-closure water treatment. In addition, Northcliff is in no position to post bonds for fish habitat compensation as required by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. These expenses and bonds run into the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.
Northcliff has not fulfilled a previous claim to investors that a final investment decision would be forthcoming in 2019. It appears that this sad saga will drag on until the New Brunswick government possibly pulls the plug as per its EIA Condition of Approval #2 that construction begin by December 2020, after which the EIA process must begin again.
However as with shale gas, the Higgs government shows no indication of being able to read and accept the handwriting on the wall that the Sisson mine project has no hope of succeeding. This latest bailout of the project by Todd Minerals should be all the evidence required to give Northcliff the boot. However. as usual, the provincial Minister of Environment may grant an exemption. The story continues…
Lawrence Wuest is an ecologist living in the Upper Nashwaak on unceded territory of the Wəlastəkwiyik, Mi’kmaq, and Peskotomuhkati.