Public wants mining road to connect First Nations [and Ring of Fire] (CBC News-Thunder Bay – February 24, 2012)

This article is from the CBC website:

Noront Resources holds Thunder Bay open house to gauge opinion on Eagle’s Nest project

Many people at a mining information session Thursday night wanted to know how local communities will benefit from the roads planned for the Ring of Fire. More than 150 people came out to a Noront Resources open house in Thunder Bay.

They had questions about jobs and the environmental impact of the Eagle’s Nest project, but many also wanted to know more about the proposed new road to get to the mine.

Local Noront investor Don Paglaro said the road shouldn’t be just the company’s responsibility.

“I think the government should not only put in some funding, but should maybe decide on a good route … one that benefits northwestern Ontario, which is Thunder Bay,” he said.

Paglaro said he is excited about the Eagle’s Nest project, but he said he wants to make sure the road built to reach the mine also benefits isolated First Nations.

“Not necessarily the closest or the cheapest way in, but one that is gonna perhaps connect to all the reserves and communities up there,” Paglaro said.

Currently, Noront plans an east-west route between Pickle Lake and Webequie.

Cliffs Natural Resources is planning a road extension north of Nakina for its Black Thor mining property.

Yan Yan, who works for a First Nations organization, wondered if the two mining companies could join forces when it comes to building roads.

“If we have the regional plan … I think that is more cost-effective,” she said.

A regional infrastructure plan is exactly what Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Bruce Hyer wants to see.

The NDP MP said it’s up to government — not individual companies — to plan transportation.

“In the past we have always allowed the forest companies to decide where our road network was gonna go,” he said.

Hyer added the provincial government needs to step in and help co-ordinate Noront and Cliffs’ road proposals for the Ring of Fire.