Impact Assessment Agency opens up public comments on contentious highway that will lead to First Nations, Ring of Fire – by Matteo Cimellaro (National Observer – February 22, 2023)

Public consultations are now open to determine if a highway leading to two First Nations in northern Ontario will require a federal environmental assessment.

The proposal to the Impact Assessment Agency from Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations was accepted and public comments will be accepted until March 23. The proposed highway will begin 400 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and will cross the Attawapiskat River. It could end up being anywhere between 117 kilometres and 164 kilometres long.

The contentious highway is needed to transport materials to and from the proposed Ring of Fire mining region, which the Ontario government has pushed to develop since Doug Ford was elected.

The Ring of Fire is identified as one of Canada’s nine major critical mineral regions in the federal government’s critical mineral strategy. The region holds chromium, copper and nickel, three of the 31 minerals needed for the energy transition, with nickel as a central mineral in the development of electric vehicle batteries.

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