Federal funding set aside to build road through Ring of Fire – by Brian Kelly (Timmins Daily Press – April 5, 2023)


SAULT STE. MARIE — The federal government is in talks with Ontario about funding support for a road to the Ring of Fire, but Transport Minister Omar Alghabra isn’t committing to a specific date about when cash is coming to help gain access to the site’s critical minerals.

The Ring of Fire, located within the James Bay lowlands, contains chromite, copper, nickel and palladium. There is no road access. “Critical minerals are an integral part of the economy of the future and our government recognizes that,” Alghabra told The Sault Star following an announcement at PUC Services on Wednesday touting his government’s 2023 budget.

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Ontario calls on Ottawa to match $1-billion for Ring of Fire critical minerals in federal budget – by Laura Stone and Jeff Gray (Globe and Mail – March 25, 2023)


Ontario’s Finance Minister is calling on Ottawa to match $1-billion in investment in the Ring of Fire critical minerals sector in next week’s federal budget, urging Canada to send a message to visiting U.S. President Joe Biden that the province is a welcome place to invest in the mining industry.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy, who released his $204.7-billion budget Thursday, said Ontario is looking to further collaborate with the federal government to develop the country’s critical minerals sector and promote it abroad.

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Change in federal assessment won’t slow pace in the Ring of Fire, says mines minister – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 10, 2023)


Federal environment minister wants more Indigenous involvement in Far North industry impact assessment

Ottawa’s decision to scrap plans for a Ring of Fire regional assessment process won’t interfere with the province’s intentions to get new mines into production faster.

Provincial Mines Minister George Pirie said they have guarantees from the federal government that assessments for the proposed roads into the James Bay region to connect two remote communities to the Ontario highway system will not impact any timelines to put new mines into production.

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NEWS RELEASE: Ontario Approves First Nations-led Plan for the Road to the Ring of Fire (Ontario Government – March 6, 2023)

TORONTO – The Ontario government has approved the Terms of Reference designed and submitted by Webequie First Nation and Marten Falls First Nation for an all-season, multi-use road connecting to the proposed Ring of Fire mining development area. The Northern Road Link will connect the two First Nations communities, and the critical mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire to the Ontario highway network, helping to secure a supply chain for electric vehicle manufacturing in Ontario. The province made the announcement today at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention in Toronto.

“I want to thank Webequie First Nation and Marten Falls First Nation for leading the Environmental Assessment for this essential road corridor. I value our partnership with these strong leaders who are central to our government’s mandate to develop the Ring of Fire,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines.

“The Ring of Fire has the critical minerals we need to build our manufacturing supply chain, including nickel for electric vehicles and chromite for clean steel. Our government’s investments in innovation and infrastructure are creating jobs across the entire province, including northern and Indigenous communities.”

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In the remote communities of Northern Ontario, climate change has lit a fuse on reconciliation – by Tom Kehoe (CBC News Opinion – July 19, 2022)


These communities are already in a hole. Climate change is digging that hole deeper every season

Pickle Lake, Ont., is where the road ends. Put any community north of there into Google Maps and it returns “No Routes Found.” You are at the terminus of Highway 599 and the most northern point of the provincial highway system; almost 300 kilometres from where you turned off the Trans Canada Highway in Ignace. There is nowhere farther to drive. Except for one month of the year.

First the muskeg freezes, then the lakes and finally the many bridge-free rivers. At that point the province gives the green light and the ice roads open. It begins with light loads and, weather-dependent, increases as the ice thickens.

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PDAC 2022: NWT leaders ask Ottawa to help with infrastructure to benefit mining – by Blair McBride (Northern Miner – June 15, 2022)

Global mining news

In the Northwest Territories, infrastructure that lags behind southern Canada is limiting the potential of the territory’s mining development and increasing its costs as well, said leaders of the N.W.T. government at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference in Toronto on June 14.

Premier Caroline Cochrane and Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment Caroline Wawzonek told The Northern Miner in an interview that they want the federal government to step up and provide more support for the territory’s infrastructure needs.

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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.

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Sessions set for Ring of Fire roads – by Carl Clutchey (Toronto Star – February 16, 2022)


Northern Ontario — Information sessions regarding two proposed access roads in the Ring of Fire mineral belt are to be live-streamed next week.

The two routes that are part of what has been called the Northern Road Link project are currently being subject to an environmental reviews process overseen by the Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations. The first road under consideration is a 200-kilometre all-weather link running north-south between the Marten Falls and Aroland First Nations.

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North: N.W.T. gold mining project encouraged by Tłı̨chǫ Highway opening – by Herb Mathisen (CBC News North – December 30, 2021)


CEO of Nighthawk Gold project near Wekweètì, N.W.T. calls Tłı̨chǫ Highway a “smart investment”

When the Tłı̨chǫ Highway officially opened on Nov. 30, Fortune Minerals wasn’t the only mining company applauding the new road. Nighthawk Gold is currently advancing its Colomac Gold project, roughly 120 kilometres northeast of Whatì.

The new all-season highway, also called N.W.T. Highway 9, goes about halfway to Colomac. From a turnoff near the community of Whatì, a winter road goes the rest of the way. The seasonal road passes through Nighthawk’s 930-square-kilometre exploration property, before ending in Wekweètì.

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NEWS RELEASE: Marten Falls and Webequie Congratulate Mushkegowuk James Bay Coastal Communities on All-Season Road Commitment (December 15, 2021)

THUNDER BAY, ON, Dec. 15, 2021 /CNW/ – Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations extend their congratulations to the Mushkegowuk James Bay coastal communities and the Government of Ontario on their recent commitment to explore an all-season road to western James Bay.

Connecting isolated First Nations across northern Ontario with all-season roads will bring enormous economic opportunities, enhanced food security, lower shipping costs for bulk items, and the potential of environmentally responsible resource development and well-paying jobs for communities with high unemployment who are open to that possibility.

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NOBA 2021: Larissa Stevens of LBS Environmental Consulting is the Young Entrepreneur of the Year – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – December 13, 2021)


A decade of experience under her belt, Stevens is currently working as community consultation coordinator for the Marten Falls Community Access Road project

Larissa Stevens considers herself a bit of a “shapeshifter.” Whether it’s her natural ease in explaining a development project in a public engagement session or relaying the thoughts and concerns of a First Nation community to a group of engineers in a boardroom setting, the Thunder Bay-based environmental scientist is considered a trusted figure.

The 36-year-old Métis owner and president of LBS Environmental Consulting has spent a decade as a specialist in environmental consulting and Indigenous community engagement. One of her supporters wrote in a nomination letter about her expertise in the field and her prowess to operate and communicate effectively in any environment.

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Ontario commits to ‘explore’ permanent road to James Bay communities – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – December 8, 2021)


Mushkegowuk Council Chiefs want Indigenous-led environment assessment process to connect with provincial road network

Two provincial cabinets promised chiefs of Mushkegowuk Council that it will “explore” the idea of a permanent, all-season, road linking four remote communities on the James Bay coast to the start of the provincial road network.

That was one of the commitments that came out a Dec. 3 meeting, deemed “historic,” between Mushkegowuk leadership and the Ontario government held in Timmins.

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‘The opportunities are endless’: Tłı̨chǫ Highway opens, marking a new chapter for Whatì, N.W.T. – by John Van Dusen (CBC News North – November 30, 2021)


A fly-in community for most of the year now has all-season road access

The Chief of Whatì, N.W.T., will soon do something he’s never been able to do until today — get in a car and drive to Yellowknife on a road that’s open year-round. “As soon as they remove that barricade, I’ll be on the Whatì highway,” said Alfonz Nitsiza.

As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, that barricade came down, and the largely fly-in community located about 164 kilometres northwest of Yellowknife is a fly-in community no more. A 97-kilometre, two-lane gravel all-season highway is officially open to the public.

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N.W.T. mining projects eye roads to get them up and running (CBC News North – November 26, 2021)


Two mining projects in the Northwest Territories looking to cash in on the growing demand for batteries that are key in the battle against climate change are inching forward.

Robin Goad, the president and CEO of Fortune Minerals, the company that owns the NICO project, a cobalt, bismuth, gold and copper deposit about 50 kilometres northeast of Whatì, provided an update on the project during a virtual appearance at a geoscience conference held in Yellowknife Thursday.

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New road paves the way for Canada’s first primary cobalt mine – by Staff (Mining.com – November 7, 2021)


Fortune Minerals (TSX: FT) (OTCQX: FTMDF), the company behind what could become Canada’s first primary cobalt mine, said this week that its NICO project will greatly benefit from the about-to-be-open Tlicho all-season road, linking the community of Whati to the national highway system.

The Tlicho Highway is a 97-kilometre, two-lane gravel all-season road to Whati constructed by North Star Infrastructure under a 28-year, $400-million design-build-operate-maintain contract with the Government of the Northwest Territories. The capital costs include up to $53 million in federal government contributions through the Canada Infrastructure Fund.

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