[Matawa] Chiefs rain on Ring parade – Editorial (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – March 27, 2015)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

What is the basis for this allegation? Because, “the chiefs were informed of the deal at the same time as the public . . . .” Perhaps the chiefs would prefer to have been jointly accused with Noront of insider trading by insisting on advance knowledge of a purchase plan by publicly traded companies. … Matawa needs to re-think its hasty and inappropriate response to the first good news about the Ring of Fire in a while. (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Editorial)

WHILE many people viewed Noront Resources’ plan this week to acquire the vast chromite properties of Cliffs Natural Resources as a welcome shot in the arm of the stalled Ring of Fire mining project, Matawa First Nation Chiefs are grumpy.

When Cliffs pulled out of the project, a sense of gloom settled over this region. With the biggest player gone, so too seemed the hopes of communities across the region for the new mining boom the Ring had promised.

Noront has always been a smaller player, with nickel interests. By planning to pick up Cliffs’ properties, Noront signalled renewed industry faith in the project said to be the North’s economic salvation. Billions of dollars are on the line.

Raining on this parade are the Matawa chiefs who have been enjoying new respect and attention from all players, including government, who unanimously agree that First Nations must be primary participants and beneficiaries in the Ring of Fire. Who wouldn’t want that? The Ring provides the assurance of lifting adjacent First Nations out of poverty by providing jobs and a share in the wealth.

Rather than express optimism at Noront’s move, the chiefs said in a statement Wednesday that the company “seems intent on driving this agenda rather than working together.”

What is the basis for this allegation? Because, “the chiefs were informed of the deal at the same time as the public . . . .”

Perhaps the chiefs would prefer to have been jointly accused with Noront of insider trading by insisting on advance knowledge of a purchase plan by publicly traded companies.

The chiefs say they are “examining legal and political options on both the purchase agreement and the rumoured advancing of the Environmental Assessment process . . . .” So now rumours are legitimate fodder for official Matawa statements threatening legal action and alleging Noront is abusing the First Nations’ trust.

Here is what Noront president and CEO Alan Coutts had to say in a 2014 statement about going slowly so that “the local people have a good feeling about mining and how it’s unfolding, and how it can manage the environment. Our preference is always to deal first with our friends in Matawa because they are the traditional lands of the Matawa people,” he said.

Matawa needs to re-think its hasty and inappropriate response to the first good news about the Ring of Fire in a while.

For the original source of this editorial click here: http://www.chroniclejournal.com/editorial/daily_editorial/2015-03-27/chiefs-rain-ring-parade

 

 

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