Roughly 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont., lies one of the most carbon-rich peatlands on the planet. This water-logged landscape of lakes, ponds and rivers carpeted in moss is known as the Hudson Bay Lowlands — or the “breathing lands” to nearby First Nations.
But along with its status as an enormous stash of carbon, the area has become synonymous with a mining development known as the Ring of Fire, which the Ontario government has supported for more than a decade and included in a new “critical minerals” strategy announced by Ontario Premier Doug Ford today.
With this renewed push by the Ford government and Canadian mining company Noront Resources to extract the minerals needed for electric vehicles and clean energy, questions are surfacing about the impact of peatland mining on Canada’s climate goals.
The Hudson Bay Lowlands are often cited as the second-largest peatland complex in the world, after the Western Siberian Lowlands in Russia. Ontario’s lowlands squirrel away 30 billion tonnes of carbon and soak up more from the atmosphere every year.
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