Ontario has applied for intervenor status in a case involving two mining companies in the Ring of Fire.

Last year the province's Mining Commissioner rejected a request by Cliffs for an easement to build a road over claims held by KWG Resources.

Cliffs is appealing the decision in Divisional Court, arguing the decision undermines the public interest in the multiple use of Crown land — and will prevent the development of valuable mineral deposits.

According to a statement by KWG Resources, the Minister of the Attorney General will bring a motion in the Ontario Divisional Court “for leave to intervene in the appeal of the decision of the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner released last September.” The motion for leave will be heard on April 28 and the hearing of the appeal has been scheduled for June 16-17.

Ontario not taking sides

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines said the government's intervention would focus on the interpretation of the Mining Act.

“The Province seeks to intervene on questions of law and takes no position as between the Appellant and Respondent with respect to the facts, or findings of fact, that may be at issue in the Appeal,” the ministry told CBC News in an email.

“The Province’s interests in the matters on appeal are limited to the interpretation of sections 50 and 51 of the Mining Act.”

The ministry added the province “remains committed to continuing focused conversations with key partners, including Cliffs and KWG, through the development corporation and the regional process with the Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council, and their communities to ensure smart, sustainable and collaborative development in the Ring of Fire.”