Barrick can earn up to 80% of Hemlo East, adjacent to the major's operating Hemlo gold mine, under a deal announced a year ago.
MetalCorp said Barrick was advised of First Nations claims when preparing to file submissions for an exploration permit.
"As a result, on November 25, 2021, Barrick gave notice to MetalCorp of the occurrence of a ‘force majeure' based on those claims, including a claim of Aboriginal title, which claims prevent and make unattainable, on a practical basis in circumstances which are reasonably beyond Barrick's control, delaying the performance by Barrick of its obligations under the earn-in agreement," MetalCorp said.
It said the notice stated the delay would extend the timeframe for Barrick to perform its obligations under the earn-in.
Barrick is operator during the earn-in period.
Its Hemlo mine is expected to produced 200,000-220,000 ounces of gold this year.
MetalCorp shares (TSXV: MTC), which have spanned C3-7c over the past year, closed up 28.6% to 4.5c to value it at $5.4 million (US$4.2 million).