Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

In Planet’s Fastest-Warming Region, Jobs Come With Thaw – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – September 17, 2019)

The Canadian Arctic is melting, and two new gold mines are booming.

James Kalluk spent much of his childhood inside an igloo in Canada’s far north, close to the Arctic Circle. Building that kind of home requires temperatures low enough to freeze the region’s countless lakes, a particular consistency of snow and a long-bladed knife the Inuit call a pana.

“Today, there’s not much snow and it’s harder to make an igloo,” said Kalluk, now in his early 70s. “You may find a spot here or there that’s good, but the snow is very difficult now. It’s different.”

The loss of snow and ice are causing Canada to heat up much faster than the rest of the world—more than twice the global rate of warming, according to a national scientific assessment published in April. The farther north you go, the more accelerated the warming. Continue Reading →

First Nations need to take the lead on Far North development: Yesno – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 12, 2019)

Eabametoong chief regards “nation building” as key to developing local economies

Harvey Yesno wants Eabametoong to take the initiative when it comes to development in their traditional territory instead of constantly reacting to it. The respected former grand chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) was elected chief of the remote Far North community in mid-June, succeeding Elizabeth Atlookan.

“What has happened in our region is we’ve just been responding to what’s going on,whether it’s one permit and one explorer, or the Ring of Fire,” said Yesno. “I’d like to be in a position where we are engaging.”

Eabametoong, a remote Ojibway community of 1,500, is located 350 kilometres north of Thunder Bay on the Albany River system. It’s one of the nine-member Matawa First Nations tribal councils and one of the five remote communities closest to the Ring of Fire mineral belt. Continue Reading →

Ontario to work with First Nations to unlock Ring of Fire – by Jean Lian (Northern Miner – September 2019)

Global mining news

Rick Gregford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, announced in August that the province would work directly with First Nation communities to develop infrastructure that unlocks the mineral-rich region in northern Ontario.

Establishing bilateral agreements with individual First Nation communities to replace the previous Liberal government’s collective-negotiations approach under a 2014 framework agreement with nine Matawa First Nation communities will expedite the building of a north–south corridor to the Ring of Fire.

Noront Resources (TSXV: NOT) — which says it holds 85% of all claims staked in the Ring of Fire — and Marten Falls First Nation released a statement in late August applauding the provincial government’s move. Continue Reading →

Pre-election goodies for First Nation bridges, clean water projects – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – September 10, 2019)

Ahead of a federal election, Ottawa was rolling out funding and breaking ground on First Nation community infrastructure projects across Northern Ontario. Nipissing First Nation, west of North Bay, received $3.3 million to build a new road between the on-reserve communities of Yellek and Duchesnay.

The construction involves building a 2.1-kilometre paved road with shoulders, walkways and culverts. Local MP Anthony Rota said on Sept.6 that the road gives members “better access to critical services” and will improve community safety.

The province is chipping in $808,650 for the project while Nipissing First Nation is contributing $294,225. “In 2015, our citizens identified this linkage as a priority to address safety concerns stemming from both communities having only one access point,” said Chief Scott McLeod in a press release. “This critical new infrastructure will also open up land for development and lead to more centralized services to improve quality of life for our citizens.” Continue Reading →

Canada’s highest grade gold development launched (Resource World Magazine – September 9, 2019)

Pure Gold Mining Inc. [PGM-TSXV; LRTNF-OTC] said Monday September 9 that it has started construction at its flagship Madsen Red Lake Mine in northwestern Ontario.

“Today we hit yet another milestone on our road to near term cash flow,” said Pure Gold President and CEO Darin Labrenz. “I am incredibly proud of our team for what they have accomplished over the last five years.”

The announcement comes after Pure Gold recently completed a US$90 million project financing package with Sprott Resource Lending Corp. That followed an equity raise of $47.5 million that was backed by Eric Sprott and AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. [AU-NYSE; AGG-ASX; ANG-JSE]. AngloGold currently owns approximately 14.3% of Pure Gold on a non-diluted basis. Continue Reading →

Taseko Mines barred from work in Tsilhqot’in traditional territory until Indigenous rights case is heard – by Ainslie Cruickshank (Toronto Star – September 6, 2019)

VANCOUVER—The Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted an Indigenous nation a temporary respite from the threat of extensive mine exploration on its traditional lands.

Justice Sharon Matthews issued an injunction order Friday to prevent Vancouver-based Taseko Mines Limited from doing any work until the court rules whether the provincial permit for a drilling program infringes on Tsilhqot’in Indigenous rights.

“At the end of the day, this was our last hope,” said Jimmy Lulua, chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations, one of the six Tsilhqot’in Nation communities. Continue Reading →

The Tories are dissolving the Ring of Fire agreement. So what comes next? – by Jon Thompson ( – September 3, 2019) speaks with people close to the issue about why it’s proved so divisive — and what the future may hold for Indigenous-government relations in the north

Greg Rickford, Ontario’s minister of northern development, mines and energy, and Indigenous affairs, last week issued a 90-day notice to Matawa chiefs that the province is dissolving the Ring of Fire regional-framework agreement.

“Frankly, to this point, it’s been a little complicated and lengthy,” Rickford told reporters in Sault Ste. Marie. “It has not necessarily met the timelines that the market should expect a project to come on board.”

The Ring of Fire, a large mineral belt discovered in 2007, comprises 5,000 square kilometres in the James Bay lowlands. According to the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, establishing a mining development there could create as many as 5,500 jobs and more than $9 billion in economic activity over the course of a decade. Continue Reading →

[Aboriginal Issues] Column: Defending a ‘free speech’ hero in Sudbury – by Barbara Kay (Sudbury Star – September 4, 2019)

Last February the Sudbury branch of Chapters abruptly cancelled an upcoming book-signing event. A clue to their decision may be found in the politically incorrect title of the book in question, by area lawyer Peter Best: There Is No Difference: An Argument for the Abolition of the Indian Reserve System and Special Race-based Laws and Entitlements for Canada’s Indians.

Best is one of my free-speech Canadian heroes (full disclosure: I not only considered Best’s book a trenchantly-argued and comprehensively researched dissertation on this most important of national themes, I wrote a positive blurb for the cover).

Few and far between are disinterested scholars of Canada’s aboriginal history who have the tough hide and principled will to publicly depart from the approved Indigenous “nation-to-nation” narrative that keeps the guilt and money flowing, but perpetuates a dysfunctional status quo on many reserves. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire negotiation model has failed – by Ian Pattison (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – September 1, 2019)

THIS TIME nine years ago the potential of the Ring of Fire mineral belt in Northwestern Ontario was being realized. More than 30 mining exploration companies were digging around the James Bay lowlands and finding immense evidence of mineral deposits, chiefly chromite — the main ingredient in stainless steel.

People salivated over the economic impact and potential job creation. Then-premier Dalton McGuinty called the project key to Ontario economic recovery. His northern development minister, Thunder Bay’s Michael Gravelle, began the first of many meetings with First Nations in the region.

Initially, few in the business world took seriously the need to consult with First Nations before putting development plans in motion. This led to protests by those communities and eventually to a whole new legal framework ensuring such consultation would precede any development. Continue Reading →

Ontario government ends Ring of Fire regional agreement with Matawa First Nations – by Matt Prokopchuk (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 27, 2019)

Funding for regional talks between province, 9 Matawa First Nations ran out in late 2018

The provincial government has officially ended the regional framework agreement between Queen’s Park and the First Nations closest to the Ring of Fire, pledging to move forward with a series of bilateral agreements that the province’s Indigenous Affairs minister says will remove delays to completing projects that communities themselves want to see.

At the top of that list, Greg Rickford said in an interview with CBC News, is a north-south corridor that, not only could lead to road access to the mineral-rich James Bay lowlands, but can also connect by road, as well as add to the provincial power grid and expand modern telecommunications to, “at least four, five Indigenous communities.”

“That has additional health and social and economic benefits that move beyond the more obvious opportunities of creating mines,” he said. “To the extent that Noront [Resources] or other mining companies could build mines on that corridor, then we have a great value proposition.” Continue Reading →

Pitting communities against each other won’t work in the Ring of Fire: Horwath – by Leith Dunick ( – August 29, 2019)

Ontario NDP leader wraps up three days of caucus meetings in Thunder Bay with a question-and-answer luncheon with local community leaders.

THUNDER BAY – Ontario Opposition Leader Andrea Horwath doesn’t believe the Conservative government’s approach to develop the Ring of Fire is a workable solution.

Earlier this week Greg Rickford, the mines minister, said the province would end a framework agreement signed five years ago with nine Matawa First Nations communities, and instead work with communities “willing to work at the speed of business.”

Horwath said Ontario has a responsibility and an obligation to consult with First Nations communities about the potentially multi-billion dollar mineral extraction project in the province’s far north. Continue Reading →


Rapid City – With the Oglala Sioux Tribe set to argue Aug. 28-30 for its kind of protection of cultural resources from unprecedented uranium mining in the southern Black Hills, the tribal government and local groups urged members of the public to attend proceedings here and participate in a simultaneous outdoor cultural event to raise awareness about the issue.

A panel of administrative judges from the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) Atomic Safety and Licensing Board (ASLB) is supposed to be in town on these dates to hear from the tribe, the commission staff and intervenors in the case, which is focusing on the “reasonableness” of their divergent approaches to surveying tribal cultural, religious, and historical properties at the proposed 10,000-acre Dewey-Burdock in situ leach mine and mill.

“NRC staff is attempting to escape its obligation to consider cultural resources at the site, saying it is so expensive and they shouldn’t have to do a cultural survey,” the tribe’s lawyer Jeffrey Parsons told the Native Sun News Today. “The tribe is fighting back.” Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Why it’s time to cool the hype about the Ring of Fire – Globe and Mail – August 29, 2019)

The Ring of Fire mineral deposit in remote Northern Ontario was discovered a dozen years ago. Politicians across the political spectrum immediately began touting its potential – billed as tens of billions of dollars, just waiting to be tapped. It’s still waiting.

The decision this week by Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative provincial government to restart talks with local First Nations is the latest try at moving the project forward. It’s not clear this government will succeed where others have failed, and it raises the question of whether the dream of Ring of Fire riches is more fantasy than reality.

The Ring of Fire, named after the Johnny Cash song, is home to a large deposit of chromite ore, used to make stainless steel. South Africa is currently the world’s largest miner. Predicted future demand growth is modest, and the challenges of developing the Northern Ontario site are considerable. Continue Reading →

Province starts over on Ring of Fire consultation process – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 17, 2019)

Ford government finally ditches 2014 Regional Framework Agreement with Matawa First Nations

The Ford government is taking a “fresh start” with area First Nations toward building a road to the Ring of Fire.

With no results to show from the previous government’s attempt at a regional dialogue on how to do mine development in the Far North, the Ford government is scrapping the Regional Framework Agreement (RFA), started five years ago, and is reaching out to the communities for a new approach.

Greg Rickford, minister for Indigenous affairs, energy, Northern development and mines, made the announcement on Aug. 27 in Sault Ste. Marie at Algoma Steel, the future site of Noront Resources ferrochrome processing plant, which will process chromite ore from the Ring of Fire. Continue Reading →

Noront, Algoma Steel discussing ferrochrome plant tenancy fees – by Darren Taylor (Northern Ontario Business – August 27, 2019)

Construction of Ring of Fire road could begin in the spring thanks to co-operation with First Nations communities, minister says

Progress is being made on the Ring of Fire project, to be developed in northwestern Ontario.

That from Greg Rickford, Ontario’s minister of energy, Northern development and mines, who was in Sault Ste. Marie on Aug. 27 to deliver an update on the project to officials at Algoma Steel.

Toronto-based mining company Noront Resources announced May 7 it had chosen Sault Ste. Marie – after the city had engaged in a long, competitive bidding process with other communities – as the location for its new Ferrochrome Production Facility (FPF), to be located on Algoma Steel property. It will process chrome ore from deposits Noront will be drawing from the Ring of Fire region, to be converted into ferrochrome for the U.S. stainless steel market. Continue Reading →