Government regulatory duplication slowing progress in the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – January 27, 2023)

Ring of Fire Metals CEO Steve Flewelling seeks balanced, faster approach to advance Far North nickel project

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson wants to avoid government duplication with the provinces in regulations and permitting in order to bring new critical mineral mines into production quicker. So does Ring of Fire Metals CEO Steve Flewelling.

But when it comes to proposed mine development in the James Bay region, Wilkinson insisted last month that no shortcuts will be taken in safeguarding the environment, protecting fragile peatlands, and in respecting the rights of Indigenous people and communities near any proposed mine site.

Given the glacial pace and indifference by Queen’s Park over the years in preparing for Far North development, Wilkinson’s remarks don’t inspire much hope that the stalled mine projects will move any faster than when nickel and chromite were first discovered in 2007-08.

Is there a balance to be struck? Flewelling thinks so. “We’re going to have to learn that responsible environmental assessment and permitting doesn’t have to be slow and doesn’t have to exclude the communities.” Inclement weather grounded Flewelling in Toronto, who spoke virtually to a business crowd at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon on Jan. 26.

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