Mushkegowuk Grand Chief raises concerns about new law that changes environmental assessment process (CBC News Sudbury – August 13, 2020)

As exploration activity starts up again in the mineral-rich Ring of Fire in northern Ontario, a First Nations group is raising concerns about recent legislative changes to environmental assessment they say erode their rights.

After being shut down due to COVID-19, Noront Resources is ramping up its search for new gold and nickel deposits.

During the pandemic, the provincial government pushed through Bill 197, called the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act. It included 20 pieces of legislation, including changes to the province’s building code act and the environmental assessment act.

Al Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources, says the change also means the company is making changes to its Eagle’s Nest Deposit plans in the Ring of Fire. He says initially, the terms of reference not only included the development of the mine, but also plans to build an all-season access road.

“We’re now modifying that,” he said. Coutts says the new legislation means that First Nations will be taking over the environmental assessment of the road through their territory, instead of the company.

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