Moosonee railway extension gaining momentum – by Len Gillis (Timmins Times – February 25, 2015)

Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Lawrence Martin will be joining the chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council at the annual prospectors’ convention in Toronto next week to outline his plans for a new railway line running from Moosonee to the Ring Of Fire mining project.

Martin said he met with Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias earlier this week to outline the idea, but Martin said Moonias could not make any sort of a commitment on behalf of the Matawa First Nations, which is claiming territorial jurisdiction over the mining area. Martin said however there is growing support for Mushkegowuk.

Regardless, grand chief Martin said the idea is gaining momentum and more people are willing to listen to the idea. He said he expects mining executives at the Prospectors and Developers Convention next week will be interested in hearing the proposal, given the overall interest in the mining project.

The Ring of Fire is the name give to a huge deposit of chromite located in the McFauld’s Lake and Webequie area, about 600 kilometres north west of Timmins. Chromite is an important mineral element in manufacturing stainless steel. The Ring of Fire area could become the largest chromite mining site in North America, a venture measured in the tens of billions of dollars.

In January, Martin revealed the idea of creating a rail link across Mushkegowuk territory into the Ring Of Fire area with a two-pronged objective; one to bring in a rail link and secondly to bring in a high-voltage energy transmission line. Martin said both would be significant economic development initiatives for the Mushkegowuk First Nations of Moosonee, Kashechewan, Fort Albany, Attawapiskat and Peawanuck.

In previous interviews with The Timmins Times, Martin revealed that private funding is ready and available for the venture through TGR Rail Canada Ltd. out of Toronto. He added that consultation funding also came through this week.


“And we just got funding from the NAN (Nishnawbe Aski Nation) Development Fund so we can do our consultations in the communities. This is one of the things my chiefs have been asking me to do, but we didn’t have the money until yesterday. So we received word yesterday, we’re getting funded about $250,000,” said Martin. He said the consultation work is expected to begin in the first week of April.

“This thing is really starting to catch on fire,” said Martin, adding that he is now being booked for speaking engagements in Thunder Bay and Toronto in the coming weeks and months. He said he will also be meeting with Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle when he is in Toronto next week.

“What I will be speaking about is having this east to west corridor, from Moosonee to the Ring Of Fire. So it is all good news. Everyone is being supportive. We just have to make sure we’re being cautious in terms of the environment. That’s the big thing for everybody in James Bay. That’s the big caution,” said Martin.

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