OPINION: Can Hudson Bay and James Bay territory be saved before it’s too late? – by Tanya Talaga (Globe and Mail – April 5, 2024)


Something hopeful is stirring among the Omushkego communities in Northern Ontario. The communities, along with Fort Severn and Weenusk First Nations, have hatched a plan to save one of the last vast, untouched areas of the planet from an industry quickly advancing northward to mine critical minerals, blasting through ecologically sensitive areas to do so. They know all too well how hard it is to stop the hungry mouths of the South, with their insatiable need for the resources of the North.

It’s a reflection of the weird contradiction in which the world finds itself: In order to cool a warming planet, the argument goes, we have to mine the Earth for critical minerals to make electric vehicles that will reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, destroying the peatlands of the far North – giant storehouses for an estimated 35 billion tonnes of carbon – in the process.

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Proponents see northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire opposition melting like ice roads – Colin McCelland (Northern Miner – April 4, 2024)


Construction timelines remain fuzzy but proponents are still optimistic two and half years into studying roads to serve the Ring of Fire critical minerals region in northern Ontario.

Three all-season roads totalling 362 km are planned for the area 540 km northeast of Thunder Bay. The main highway would start at the end of a forestry road north of Aroland First Nation and the village of Nakina and head to the Ring of Fire. One branch would run to the Marten Falls First Nation to the east while another would connect to the Webequie First Nation to the west.

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Indigenous consultation is key to the Ring of Fire becoming Canada’s economic superpower – by Andrew Grant, Badriyya Yusuf, Dimitrios Panagos and Matthew I. Mitchell (The Conversation – March 20, 2024)


Many of the 30,000 attendees of the March 2024 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention harbour a “wild desire” to extract the mineral riches of Canada’s $67 billion Ring of Fire, in the words of Johnny Cash’s well-known song of the same name.

While some might be attracted by the desire to make money, others could be driven by concern for our planet and the belief that the region’s minerals can help reduce carbon emissions and support a just energy transition. As some Indigenous groups have pointed out, however, the construction of roads and mining in the Ring of Fire represents a significant disruption to traditional ways of life and fragile ecosystems.

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NEWS RELEASE: Juno and Marten Falls First Nation Sign Exploration Agreement (March 7, 2024)

TORONTO, March 07, 2024 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Juno Corp. (“Juno” or the “Company”) and Marten Falls First Nation (“MFFN”) are pleased to announce a new cooperation agreement to foster economic participation opportunities and advance exploration and potential mining partnerships in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire. The Exploration Agreement (the “Agreement”) was signed on March 6, 2024, in Toronto, Ontario between Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and Jacob McKinnon, President & COO of Juno.

Chief Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation said, “Marten Falls First Nation Chief and Council are pleased to announce with Juno an exploration agreement on Marten Falls First Nation traditional territory. It is the start of a productive and beneficial agreement that fosters goodwill and open engagement on exploration initiatives and issues.”

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PDAC: Faster permitting key to advancing critical mineral projects, panel warns – by Blair McBride (Northern Miner – March 6, 2024)


Governments must help cut permitting and production timelines if Canada is to produce enough minerals to reach net zero goals by 2050, says the CEO of Ring of Fire project developer Wyloo Metals Canada.

“There are a lot of projects near to approval. The big ask is the shortening of the time frame,” Kristan Straub, CEO of Wyloo Metals Canada said on Monday at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto.

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Two First Nations sign Ring of Fire agreement as another launches court battle – by Jack Hauen (The Trillium – March 5, 2024)


Simultaneous press conferences outlined the promise of, and frustration with, Ontario’s mining boom

Four subway stops away from each other, three First Nations highlighted two very different experiences. At Queen’s Park Tuesday morning, Chief of Cat Lake First Nation Russell Wesley held a press conference to draw attention to an injunction his community has secured to prevent the commencement of road construction for a First Mining Gold project in its territory.

The community has initiated an Anishinaabe-led impact assessment on the project, which it expects will take a year, but the government wouldn’t wait and authorized the mining company to construct the road. Cat Lake First Nation won a temporary injunction to halt the project while its case alleging the government failed in its duty to consult the First Nation can be heard.

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Ontario poised to become community builders in the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 5, 2024)


Province doubles down on Far North roads, infrastructure during PDAC week

The Ontario government is prepared to jump into the community infrastructure construction business for those First Nations already on board with mine development in the Ring of Fire. Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations signed a Community Development Agreement with the province at the PDAC mining show in Toronto, March 5.

No monetary figures were included in a news release but a general list of “shovel-ready infrastructure projects” deemed eligible to receive provincial support included health and training facilities, recreation centres, grocery stores, upgrades to nursing stations, commercial buildings and labour force development programs.

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PDAC 2024: First Nations manage tricky work of Indigenous consultation on Ring of Fire road – by Blair McBride (Northern Miner – March 5, 2024)


Consultations continue with northern Ontario First Nations who are opposed to mining activity in the remote Ring of Fire region. The Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations are the only two in the region to voice support for road and mining projects, while others such as the Neskantaga, Grassy Narrows, Wapekeka, and Big Trout Lake First Nations oppose the projects due to environmental concerns.

“We need community support and for us to be ready for mining development and large projects in our area,” said Marten Falls First Nation chief Bruce Achneepineskum on Tuesday at a Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) seminar. “It’s all part of what we call meaningful participation and taking the lead on these large scale projects. (In the past) we were treated as minorities without significant say on our traditional lands.”

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Passing though the Ring of Fire: Recent developments – by Atherine Hercus (Canadian Mining Journal – March 2, 2024)


According to the Wildlands League website, a non-profit conservation group, the number of mining claims in the Ring of Fire has increased by over 28% since September 2022. The claims now cover approximately 626,000 hectares, nearly 10 times the size of the city of Toronto.

As of December 2023, there were 33,074 mining claims in the area according to the Ontario ministry of mines. As of September 2023, Juno Corp., a Toronto based mining company is the largest claim holder with more than 17,000 mining claims covering approximately 333,000 hectares. The company holds exploration drilling permits at two sites.

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‘The mining rush for green energy’: Why Ontario chiefs are asking for a moratorium on claims – by Matteo Cimellaro (National Observer – January 29, 2024)


Today, anybody can make a mining claim on the Ontario government’s website as long as they have a few minutes, a computer and $50. The mineral claims process happens in an electronic heartbeat, and claims are marked on a digitized map.

The result is a flood of claims on First Nations territories, huge administrative pileups and frustration among First Nations that say they are not being consulted and have no capacity to deal with the sheer volume of mineral claims.

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Neskantaga First Nation works to uplift community since suicide crisis 10 years ago – by Liam Casey (Toronto Star – January 30, 2024)


NESKANTAGA FIRST NATION, ONT. – Small, white crosses dot a graveyard just outside Neskantaga First Nation in northern Ontario. Some graves are marked with white picket fences, flowers have been placed at others. Most have no names or ages, but some do. A 16-year-old girl rests in one plot, a 13-year-old in another. Suicide brought them there.

Ten years ago, Neskantaga First Nation – a remote community with a population of about 450 – declared a state of emergency after four suicides and several attempted suicides by teens. The state of emergency officially remains, but the community quietly spoke about a small milestone this past summer: no one had killed themselves in Neskantaga in three years.

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Ontario First Nations want a year-long pause on mining claims. Will the Ford government listen? – by Emma McIntosh (The Narwhal – January 24, 2024)

The Narwhal

Thousands of online mining claims are being made on the territories of First Nations without their consent — and often they aren’t even told about it

The notices usually pour in on Sunday. One by one, they pile up in the email inbox of Cat Lake First Nation Chief Russell Wesley, each one about a mining claim someone has staked on his community’s territory. Sometimes, he receives up to 20 in a single day.

As the nation’s main point of contact for mining companies, ideally he’d be able to review them — make sure that if prospectors were to come in and start searching for minerals on the sites, the claims wouldn’t overlap with sites that are culturally important to Cat Lake or used by members of the remote, fly-in community in northwestern Ontario for hunting or gathering medicines.

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OPINION: End the runaround on the Ring of Fire – by Editorial Board (Globe and Mail – January 25, 2024)


More than 16 years have passed since a small mining company discovered a rich nickel deposit in a remote part of northern Ontario and christened the region with a name that has stuck: the Ring of Fire.

Successive governments and companies have touted the potential of the region, entranced by optimistic estimates of tens of billions of dollars of minerals – including those critical to electric vehicle battery production – buried in the wetlands.

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Ring of Fire Metals CEO provides update – by Austin Campbell (SNnewswatch.com – January 24, 2024)


Businesses and organizations from Thunder Bay and throughout the North heard a presentation from Ring of Fire Metals CEO Kristan Straub at the Italian Cultural Centre on Jan. 23.

THUNDER BAY — Kristan Straub provided an update on the proposed Eagle’s Nest mining project on Tuesday at the Italian Cultural Centre. The chief executive officer of Ring of Fire Metals delivered a presentation describing how far the project has come.

Ring of Fire Metals is the Canadian subsidiary of Australian company, Wyloo Metals. One concern about the Eagle’s Nest project is the fact that it is being built on treaty-protected lands, meaning any development in the region needs to happen in consultation with and approval from surrounding First Nations communities.

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Ford says Northern Ontario mines will help create economic boom – by Staff (Sudbury.com – January 24, 2024)


Premier addresses municipal leaders at the annual meeting of the Rural Ontario Municipal Association

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he is counting on the Northern Ontario mining industry to help build Ontario into an economic powerhouse for the battery electric vehicle (BEV) industry.

Ford was speaking Jan. 23 at the annual conference of the 2024 Rural Ontario Municipal Association(ROMA) when he spoke about the importance of the Ontario critical minerals strategy for the future of EVs in Ontario.

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