Archive | Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Mining push continues despite water crisis in Neskantaga First Nation and Ontario’s Ring of Fire – by Dayna Nadine Scott and Deborah Cowen (The Conversation – November 22, 2020)

David Peerla, advisor to the Neskantaga First Nation, co-authored this article.

Dayna Nadine Scott is the York Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice in the Green Economy, York University, Canada.

Deborah Cowen is the Professor, Geography and Planning, University of Toronto.

The infrastructure crises that have plagued Neskantaga First Nation for decades have reached a terrifying breaking point. On Oct. 21, the northern Anishinaabe community’s ailing water systems once again failed completely, and this time in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic.

With no running water flowing to homes, most of those living in the remote fly-in community were again forced to evacuate. Now a contractor working on repairing the water system has tested positive for COVID-19.

Residents are waiting in hotel rooms in Thunder Bay, worried about the rising number of positive cases around them. Continue Reading →

Ottawa wants you to wade in on the Ring of Fire environmental assessment – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 12, 2020)

Ottawa is inviting public feedback for how its new regional assessment process for the Ring of Fire should take shape.

The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (formerly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency) is inviting individuals, communities, and organizations to help them draft the terms of reference for this upcoming comprehensive study in the James Bay region.

They want stakeholder input on what should be the particular areas of focus in the assessment of the mineral-rich region slated for mine development as early as 2025. Continue Reading →

Mining consultations continue even as water stops flowing for Neskantaga First Nation – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 28, 2020)

Consultation on the environmental assessment for a road to mineral deposit in northern Ontario will proceed even as one of the First Nations affected has been emptied out by an emergency.

Neskantaga First Nation was evacuated last week after the community water supply was shut down when an oily substance was discovered in the reservoir. Nearly all of its 300 residents are staying in hotels, about 450 kilometres away, in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Meanwhile, consultations on the terms of reference that will set the stage for environmental assessment on a mining supply road through Neskantaga’s traditional territory continue. Ontario has a constitutional duty to consult First Nations when their treaty rights may be impacted. Continue Reading →

Ontario ignores its own advice, presses First Nations to consult on Ring of Fire road during COVID-19 – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 15, 2020)

An ‘operational guide’ from Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Affairs tells other ministries to delay or defer non-urgent projects that impact First Nations treaty rights during the pandemic, but at least one mining-related project is moving ahead.

On Oct. 13, the consultation period for part of the environmental assessment for a supply road in the Ring of Fire mineral development region in northern Ontario was set to close, despite concerns raised by Neskantaga First Nation. It told the provincial government in September that it could not engage in the process in a meaningful way because of the pandemic.

Advancing resource extraction projects during a pandemic is an example of governments and industry using health crisis in First Nations to their advantage, according to Riley Yesno, a research fellow at the Yellowhead Institute. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire supply road ownership, financing remain unclear as environmental assessment begins – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – October 6, 2020)

Webequie’s engineering consultants open virtual open houses to take the temperature of the James Bay region

It’s unclear if construction on a Ring of Fire supply road can proceed without consensus by First Nation communities across the James Bay region.

Don Parkinson, a consultation lead working for Webequie First Nation, didn’t directly answer that question posed to him in an Oct. 6 virtual community meeting over whether road development will be allowed to begin without approval by nearby and outlying communities, like Neskantaga First Nation, with publicly expressed opposition to the project.

“My response to that is: let’s talk openly about the project and get these issues on the table and then we can look at solutions,” he said, in invited those communities to come forward to share their issues and concerns. Continue Reading →

New program aims to boost Indigenous workforce in mining, construction industries (CBC News Thunder Bay – September 24, 2020)

A new program aims to boost the number of Indigenous workers in northern Ontario’s mining and construction sectors.

Minodahmun Development LP announced the launch of its new Readiness and Essential Skills for Employment Training (RESET) program on Wednesday.

The program will let members of Aroland, Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek and Ginoogaming First Nations to prepare for mining and construction developments in the Municipality of Greenstone and the Ring of Fire. Continue Reading →

Sudbury column: Time to reignite Ring of Fire – by Erin O’Toole (Sudbury Star – February 24, 2017)

Please note that this column was written in Feb/2017. However, it shows that Erin O’Toole, newly elected federal Conservative leader of the opposition has an indepth understanding of the Ring of Fire and its economic importance to Ontario and the entire country. –

The Ring of Fire has been heralded as not only a world-class deposit of chromite but also the only known deposit in the entire western hemisphere. Currently, all of North America’s stainless steel manufacturing is supplied by Asian and African sources. Canada has a unique opportunity to become a global leader in chromite mining and potentially revitalize manufacturing with proudly Canadian minerals.

According to a recent study by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, the current projected value of the Ring of Fire is more than $60 billion with known deposits significant enough to sustain a century of mineral development. Yet, after more than a decade of mineral exploration activity and findings of rich resources, no infrastructure has been developed.

The Wynne government recognized this potential enough to request $1 billion in infrastructure funding from the Government of Canada in 2014. But in the three years since, they have never provided the necessary plan to secure the funding. The Wynne and Trudeau governments have since allowed the Ring of Fire to all but go up in smoke. Continue Reading →

Noront samples Ring of Fire’s gold potential – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 17, 2020)

Nickel, chromite mine developer would entertain precious metal joint venture partner

Waiting years for a Ring of Fire access road to be built into the remote James Bay region has provided some unintended benefits for Noront Resources.

One advantage to babysitting a massive 156,352-hectare nickel and chromite-rich property is that there’s ample time and opportunity to better understand what else is beneath the surface..

With construction on a 300-kilometre North-South road expected to begin in the middle of 2021, kicking off a four-year build, Noront has been biding its time running a regional exploration program that’s turned up two promising gold and nickel prospects. Continue Reading →

Noront CEO expects no delays in Ring of Fire road construction and mine start – by Ian Ross – Northern Ontario Business – August 13, 2020)

Federal regional review of Far North mineral development will have no bearing on pace of progress, says Alan Coutts

Ottawa’s new region-wide approach to Far North development shouldn’t interfere with Noront Resources’ timetable to put the first mine in the Ring of Fire into production by the middle of 2025, said the company CEO.

Alan Coutts said he has no reason to believe that the federal Regional Assessment process will delay the start of operations at the Eagle’s Nest Mine based on his conversation with Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan.

“In talking to Minister O’Regan, we’re being led to believe this could get done over a two-year period.” Continue Reading →

Mushkegowuk Grand Chief raises concerns about new law that changes environmental assessment process (CBC News Sudbury – August 13, 2020)

As exploration activity starts up again in the mineral-rich Ring of Fire in northern Ontario, a First Nations group is raising concerns about recent legislative changes to environmental assessment they say erode their rights.

After being shut down due to COVID-19, Noront Resources is ramping up its search for new gold and nickel deposits.

During the pandemic, the provincial government pushed through Bill 197, called the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act. It included 20 pieces of legislation, including changes to the province’s building code act and the environmental assessment act. Continue Reading →

Noront to resume exploration in the Ring of Fire – by Darren MacDonald (CTV News Northern Ontario – August 6, 2020)

SUDBURY — Noront Resources Ltd. Announced Thursday it is reopening its Esker Site and mobilizing its team to resume exploration activities in the Ring of Fire.

The company’s Esker Site, which is located in the James Bay Lowlands, closed in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It normally has about 20 workers, the majority of whom are from the remote local First Nation communities of Marten Falls and Webequie.

“We are initiating a late summer field program that will require 12-15 people, during which we’ll employ soil sampling to explore for gold and airborne geophysical surveys to explore for nickel,” Noront president and CEO Alan Coutts said in a news release. Continue Reading →

Column: Elon Musk should invest in Sudbury – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – July 28, 2020)

Elon Musk is practically begging nickel miners to boost production as potential future shortages would severely impact his ability to manufacture electric vehicles as the metal is a key component for the batteries on which Tesla Inc. depends.

Historically, nickel has always been a boom/bust metal due to the fact the world only produces about 2.1 million metric tonnes of the material a year as opposed to a more commonly used metal like copper at 20 million metric tonnes. And roughly only half of nickel production is of the Class-1 type that is used in batteries that run electric vehicles.

Currently, the cost of nickel is nearing a cyclical bottom, hence the reluctance of nickel miners to invest the possible near billion dollars it takes to bring on a new mine. Continue Reading →

COLUMN: Advice to Elon Musk About Potential Nickel Shortages – Stan Sudol (July 23, 2020)

Elon Musk is practically begging nickel miners to boost production as potential future shortages would severely impact his ability to manufacture electric vehicles as the metal is a key component for the batteries Tesla Inc. depends on.

Historically, nickel has always been a boom/bust metal due to the fact the world only produces about 2.1 million metric tonnes of the material a year as opposed to a more commonly used metal like copper at 20 million metric tonnes. And roughly only half of nickel production is of the Class-1 type that is used in batteries that run electric vehicles.

Currently the cost of nickel is nearing a cyclical bottom, hence the reluctance of nickel miners to invest the possible near billion it takes to bring on a new mine.

Musk is a multi-billionaire and his company stock is at an all time high. Instead of whining to the mineral industry to invest “their shareholder money” in new nickel production at a time of low returns here are some suggestions to calm his fear of future shortages: Continue Reading →

IN-DEPTH: The battle for the ‘breathing lands’: Ontario’s Ring of Fire and the fate of its carbon-rich peatlands – by James Wilt (The Narwhal – July 11, 2020)

The Narwhal

Northern Ontario’s muskeg serves as home to dozens of First Nations, stores immense amounts of carbon and sits on top of vast mineral deposits. Whose vision for the bogs and fens will win out?

Compared to the Amazon or Great Bear Rainforest, the sprawling peatlands of Ontario’s Far North might seem a bit, well, boring. “People don’t wake up and go ‘oh yeah, woohoo, decomposing organic material is the best!’ says Anna Baggio, the director of conservation planning for Wildlands League, in an interview with The Narwhal. “It’s not sexy. But it’s hugely valuable and we can’t even begin to get our heads around it.”

It’s true: Ontario’s peatlands — or muskeg, as the wetland ecosystem is often called — offer a mind-boggling range of ecological benefits.

Like tropical and temperate rainforests, the peatlands sequester a huge amount of carbon, storing an estimated 35 billion tonnes of carbon in Ontario’s Far North alone (that’s equivalent to annual emissions from seven billion cars). The peatlands also serve as critical habitat for wildlife including caribou, wolverines and many migratory birds. Continue Reading →

Ginoogaming First Nation Chief Celia Echum won back land owed to her community – by Willow Fiddler (Globe and Mail – June 18, 2020)

At 5 foot 2, Ginoogaming First Nation Chief Celia Echum was below average in height. But despite her diminutive size, she held enormous influence in her community.

In 2016, Ms. Echum initiated a claim seeking compensation for land that Ginoogaming was entitled to under Treaty No. 9 but did not receive. Once settled, the claim will see the Anishinaabe community in northwestern Ontario gain almost 25 per cent more land.

Peter Rasevych, one of Ms. Echum’s nephews from Ginoogaming, was a boy when his Aunty Celia, as she was known to many, began serving the people of Ginoogaming. She received her community health representative (CHR) certificate from Laurentian University in the late 1970s. Continue Reading →