Crees in northern Quebec are pleased with an interim court decision that denies Strateco Resources' request for the Quebec government to pay its operating costs during the uranium mining company's lawsuit against the province.

Strateco wants to build a uranium mine in the Otish Mountains, north of Mistissini, but the Crees who live there oppose the project.

In April, the company announced it would sue the Quebec government for at least $16 million — money the company said it lost while waiting for Quebec to decide whether to give the company the green light.

Strateco had asked the court to order the province's Minister of Environment to pay its monthly operating costs until the conclusion of the legal proceedings. Strateco seeks to force the minister to issue a permit for its Matoush uranium exploration project.

"I think it strengthens the opposition to the project itself," said Abel Bosum, a negotiator for the Crees.

"That's a huge monetary loss for Strateco. All these movements by the government and the court decision that came out yesterday really make it difficult for Strateco to go forward."

Strateco has already invested $123 million in the Matoush project.

The Quebec government is planning a province-wide consultation on uranium development that could take 18 months.