Two First Nations to start Ring of Fire environmental assessment – by Chelsea Papineau (CTV News Northern Ontario – April 14, 2022)

“It is important to remember why we are here and what this represents. We are leading the Northern Road Link because the project is in our traditional territory and we are exercising our right to self-determination. This represents a potentially bright future for our future generations, for our neighbours, and for the region,” Achneepineskum said.

Officials are celebrating what they are calling a ‘historic milestone’ for the Ring of Fire development in Ontario’s Far North. In an update on northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral deposit Thursday morning, the chiefs of Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation announced they have completed terms of reference – a document outlining how the groups will work together on a particular project — for the proposed Northern Road Link (NRL) Environmental Assessment.

The two chiefs signed an agreement with the Ontario government in March 2020 to start the project’s planning and development. The terms of reference will be released later this month, Marten Falls First Nation Chief Bruce Achneepineskum said in a live news conference. “It’s a start of a journey for us into economic reconciliation for Marten Falls First Nation and neighbouring Matawa First Nation communities,” Achneepineskum said.

“There’s a lot of work still to do. We’re going to be moving on to the actual work of the environmental assessment. Moving forward with the actual studies that are going to be happening.” The Northern Road Link would connect two proposed roads, the 200-kilometre Marten Falls to Aroland Community Access Road at the south end and the proposed 110-kilometre Webequie Supply Road to the Ring of Fire at the north end.

“This proposed road is the final piece of critical road infrastructure needed to ensure reliable, all-season road access to potential mining sites in the Ring of Fire and connect both First Nations communities to Ontario’s highway network,” the province said in a news release.

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