Webequie First Nation digs in against rebooting Ottawa’s Ring of Fire Regional Assessment – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 11, 2022)


Community argues outlying First Nations are biased against mining development

The closest community to the Ring of Fire mineral belt is pushing back against a campaign to reboot Ottawa’s Regional Assessment process.

“Webequie First Nation does not think there is a need for an Indigenous-led Regional Assessment,” said the leadership of the Ojibway community, situated more than 100 kilometres west of the mineral-rich area in the James Bay region.

Webequie made those remarks in their submission to the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada, regarding the draft agreement and the terms of reference for the Regional Assessment in the Ring of Fire, initiated by the federal government two years ago.

Webequie, a community of 850, located 540 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, is one of two First Nations in the Far North, leading a provincially backed environmental assessment of the proposed access roads into this remote and undeveloped area. The roads will serve both the communities and the mining industry.

In Feb. 2020, Ottawa announced that instead of doing a series of one-off individual assessments on the impact of mining and mining-related infrastructure projects in the James Bay area, they would take a region-wide approach through this new and unproven process.

For the rest of this article: https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/regional-news/far-north-ring-of-fire/webequie-first-nation-digs-in-against-rebooting-ottawas-ring-of-fire-regional-assessment-5152180