Indigenous resistance challenges Ontario’s ‘mining boom’ – by Owen Schalk (Canadian Dimension – August 3, 2023)

Ring of Fire has become one of the most active regions in the world for lithium exploration

As Canada’s governments hungrily scour domestic and foreign territory in search of critical minerals—an essential part of Ottawa’s new Cold War on China—Ontario Premier Doug Ford is attempting to spin demand into a provincial mining boom.

Ontario’s first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy (CMS), announced alongside a federal initiative of the same name, proclaims that the province is “incredibly fortunate” and “blessed with exquisite deposits of nickel, lithium, platinum, cobalt and dozens of other strategically important raw materials.”

Ford’s economic policies are catering to mining companies that yearn for unfettered access to these resource supplies, even as Indigenous communities organize to resist the extractivist bonanza.

The geopolitical significance of Ontario minerals

The Ontario CMS acknowledges the “geopolitical significance” of the province’s minerals:

Many of these minerals [labelled ‘critical’ by the Canadian government] have been identified… as having geopolitical significance due to supply shortages or concentration of supply in very few countries. Global conflict has exacerbated these supply vulnerabilities… Over-reliance on a select few countries for critical minerals supply, processing and refining has historically led to supply chain disruptions, particularly when export limits are imposed or when geopolitical instability threatens supply.

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