For the better part of 15 years, the Ring of Fire, the biggest mining prize in a generation, or more, has confounded those who would develop it. One of the key issues is how to get to and from the remote area. But the province may have presented a solution with a recently announced agreement on the terms of reference for a First Nations-led plan for a permanent road to the Ring of Fire.
Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery
The Drift: Sudbury-raised CEO picked to plot the path in the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 22, 2023)
Groomed at Glencore, Kristan Straub now helms Ring of Fire Metals
Talk of a weekend snowstorm about to hit Sudbury rings up pangs of jealousy from Kristan Straub. A weather forecast calling for 30 to 50 centimetres of fresh powder is cause for impending calamity in the ‘burbs of the GTA where the newly appointed CEO of Ring of Fire Metals now resides.
But to Straub, 48, it’s a siren call to the snowmobile trails for the Sudbury-raised outdoor enthusiast. For now, those recreational pursuits will have to be put on hold. On March 1, Straub was introduced as the new boss of the Australian-owned James Bay mine developer, just days prior to the start of the PDAC mining conference in Toronto, one of the industry’s biggest global get-togethers. He was recruited from Glencore where was vice-president of exploration with the nickel team.
OPINION: To develop Ontario’s Ring of Fire, we must develop trust with First Nations – by Virginia Heffernan (Globe and Mail – March 17, 2023)
Virginia Heffernan is a mining writer and the author of Ring of Fire: High-Stakes Mining in a Lowlands Wilderness.
One of the barriers to development in the Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich area in Ontario’s far north, is lack of trust. The Ring of Fire metal deposits lie within Treaty Nine lands.
Signed by the Crown and the region’s First Nations at the beginning of the 20th century, the treaty allowed the Crown to acquire land from Cree and Ojibway peoples in the James Bay Lowlands for white settlement and resource development. In exchange, Indigenous peoples were promised cash payments, reserves to live on, education for their children and hunting, fishing and trapping rights.
Ontario mines minister says Ring of Fire could be worth $1 trillion, a figure critics call exaggerated – by Logan Turner (CBC News Thunder Bay – March 17, 2023)
Wyloo Metals, which owns majority of known claims in area, estimates value of ‘defined ore bodies’ at $90B
From the time the Ring of Fire was discovered in 2007, politicians and industry leaders have emphasized the potential economic value of the remote, mineral-rich area in northern Ontario. That has intensified in recent weeks, with Ontario Mines Minister George Pirie saying recently: “Anecdotally, mining people are saying this is a trillion-dollar project.”
Pirie told Global News in a recent documentary that the $1-trillion amount was “not a formal valuation,” but was “based on the increased value of critical minerals that are already established being in the ground.”
A Modern Klondike: Northern Ontario’s fiery ring – by David Marks Shribman (Literary Review of Canada – April 2023)
To purchase Ring of Fire book: https://www.amazon.ca/Ring-Fire-High-Stakes-Lowlands-Wilderness/dp/1770416749
Consider the major collisions of contemporary life in North America: the tensions between financial investments and social ideals; the threat of climate change in conflict with the thirst for energy sources; the rights of Indigenous people versus the prerogatives of elected governments; the rivalries with trading partners in competition with the hunger for goods from abroad; and the impulses of the regulatory state in full combat with the appeal of free markets.
Then consider that all of these clashes — the stuff of debate in Ottawa and provincial capitals, the topics of animated conversation in universities and coffee shops across the country — are playing out, every one of them and all at once, in a remote 5,000-square-kilometre swath of northern Canada. It’s a place that’s home to the second-largest temperate wetland in the world, that’s packed with nickel and copper, and that’s known as the Ring of Fire.
Northwestern MPP jumps on proposed changes to the Mining Act – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 10, 2023)
Sol Mamakwa accuses Ford government of not consulting with First Nations
Kiiwetinoong MPP Sol Mamakwa took the Ford government to task in the Ontario Legislature March 9 for proposing changes to the provincial Mining Act, accusing them of not consulting with First Nations.
Mines Minister George Pirie announced the first of an upcoming raft of amendments to the act with more industry-friendly measures designed to put into new mines into commercial production faster.
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.
Incoming chief demands meeting with Ford on Ring of Fire – by Aidan Chamandy (Timmins Today – March 9, 2023)
‘I’m only going to talk to the individual that wants to drive that bulldozer and run over my homelands,’ says Chris Moonias
Incoming Neskantaga Chief Chris Moonias was at Queen’s Park on Thursday demanding a meeting with Premier Doug Ford — and only Ford — over what he considers a lack of adequate consultations on the government’s latest mining bill and the push to develop the Ring of Fire.
“I’m only going to talk to the individual that wants to drive that bulldozer and run over my homelands,” said Moonias, who is set to take over as the first nation’s chief on April 1. “I ain’t talking to anybody else, except him.”
PDAC 2023: Focus on Ring of Fire overshadows ‘several other’ more advanced projects, says Wilkinson – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – March 8, 2023)
‘Enormously bullish on the mining sector,’ natural resources minister tells conference
The fascination with the Ring of Fire region in northern Ontario is quite evident in the country’s business pages.
Few mining zones receive more press, even though no mine yet exists in the region 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is anxious to change that, asserting a number of times in the last few years that it was time to “hop on a bulldozer” and start building roads to what have been described as one of the “most promising” critical minerals deposits in Canada.
Scratch that: feds to rethink Ring of Fire environmental assessment after First Nations criticism – by Emma McIntosh (TheNarwhal – March 7, 2023)
‘There is no access to critical minerals in Canada without Indigenous Peoples being at the table in a decision-making position,’ Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said
Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has agreed to scrap a draft framework for a regional assessment in the Ontario Ring of Fire region and start over, working with First Nations.
For over a decade, governments and companies have sought to mine in the remote and environmentally-sensitive area known as the Ring of Fire. Accessible only by plane, or ice road in the winter, it’s located in the James Bay Lowlands and has deposits of key minerals that some people want to mine to fuel the production of electric vehicles.
Ontario approves environmental assessment terms of reference for 3rd and final road to Ring of Fire – by Logan Turner (CBC New Thunder Bay – March 6, 2023)
Plan co-developed and submitted by 2 First Nations in the area, but faces pushback from others in region
The province has approved the terms of reference for an environmental assessment (EA) on the third and final road leading to the mineral-rich Ring of Fire in northern Ontario.
The terms of reference lay out the work plan — including the scope and issues to be considered — for the EA on the Northern Road Link, a proposed two-lane, all-weather road.
Ring of Fire takes next step over some First Nations’ objections – by Aidan Chamandy (Timmins Today – March 7, 2023)
The environmental assessment on a portion of the road to the Ring of Fire is being led by two First Nations, but another affected community isn’t pleased with the announcement
A plan by two First Nations to build a road to Ontario’s Ring of Fire has been approved by the provincial government — but another First Nations community affected by the project is not on board.
Last year, Webequie First Nation and Marten Falls First Nation published a 253-page document outlining the terms of reference for an assessment of Ontario’s proposed road to the Ring of Fire. On Monday, Ontario approved the terms at the massive Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) mining conference in downtown Toronto.
Curiosity spurred Virginia Heffernan to write a Ring of Fire book – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 4, 2023)
Toronto mining journalist hits PDAC 2023 with a primer on arrested development in the Far North
“Keep the faith.” It was an oft-used phrase by Richard “Dick” Nemis, a Sudbury native and colourful mining promoter whose company, Noront Resources, secured one of the largest land positions in the mineral-rich area of the James Bay known as the Ring of Fire.
Nemis clung to that motto even as he was being ousted by shareholders as the president of the junior mining company he helped establish in October 2008. It was personal blow since the exploration outfit was named after his father’s industrial fabrication company, started in the Nickel City in 1945, and still in operation today.
‘It shouldn’t take 15 years to open a mine’ – by Staff (Sudbury Star – March 4, 2023)
Vale and Glencore officials say they support changes the government says will make it easier and quicker to open a mine
Saying it takes too long to get a new mine approved, the Ontario government on Thursday introduced legislation to speed up the process.
“It shouldn’t take 15 years to open a mine. This process is too time-consuming and costly, leading to project delays and lost opportunities for Ontario’s mineral exploration and mining sector,” George Pirie, the province’s minister of Mines, said in a release. “We need to get building.
Treasure, conflict, and survival in Canada’s peatlands – by Krista Hessey (Global News – March 4, 2023)
iking in the Hudson Bay Lowlands is like a game of hopscotch — in a swamp. A tapestry of colourful mosses indicates where it’s safe to step: the green and white spots are drier, while the rich red and copper patches can swallow you whole.
Aside from the stunted black spruce trees that dot the watery landscape, it doesn’t look like there’s much here. It’s quiet, except for the constant buzzing of mosquitoes and black flies. But Michelle Kalamandeen didn’t come all this way for what’s on the surface.