Liberals push through Far North bill despite First Nations outcry – by Tanya Talaga (Toronto Star-September 24, 2010)

Tanya Talaga is the Queen’s Park (Ontario Provincial Government) reporter for the Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This article was originally published September 24, 2010.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Liberals push through Far North bill despite First Nations outcry

A controversial bill aimed at protecting 225,000 square kilometres in northern Ontario and opening the rest up to development passed Thursday despite fierce First Nations objections. The provincial Liberals argue Bill 191 is a “first in Ontario’s history,” because it calls for First Nations’ approval of land-use plans.

Until now, there were essentially no rules, the government says. But natives say their approval is ultimately meaningless because the government has the power to override their land use decisions. And that, they say, is a violation of their treaty rights.

Many who live and work in the North – from the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce to the Ontario Forestry Association and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) – say the bill will slow down mining and resource development. The Nishnawbe Aski Nation is a political organization that represents the 49 First Nations that cover two-thirds of the province’s land mass.

However, land-use plans are needed to guide economic development, said Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey. For instance, Jeffrey told reporters, Bill 191 is key to establishing rules to manage development in the resource-rich region known as the Ring of Fire.

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Enviro-Babble Threatens Ontario – by Toronto Sun Columnist Christina Blizzard (Originally Published September 22, 2010)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Commissioner’s annual report highlights how no one can, or should, live up to eco lobby’s standards

It’s pathetic the way we cling slavishly to every utterance of the eco lobby. When the Great Green Gods speak, we all nod our heads like so many Bobblehead dolls.

So it was Wednesday, when Environment Commissioner Gord Miller released his annual report. The problem with self-styled enviro gurus is no government, anywhere, can live up to their standards.

No matter what the government does, it will be slammed for not doing enough. Miller warned there aren’t enough controls over the siting of gas-powered generation plants.

Northern Ontario is “on the verge” of becoming the Wild West — or Wild North, I guess — with mining companies building airstrips and rail lines willy-nilly.

Except, hold on. There’s a flip side.

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Ring of Fire Mining Practices Under Attack by Environmental Commissioner of Ontario

The following excerpts are from the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario’s 2009/2010 Annual Report Redefining Conservation

Business News Network Anchor Reporter Andrew Bell interviews Ontario’s Environmental Comissioner Gord Miller (September 22, 2010) about the government’s conflicting goals of protecting half of the boreal forest while encouraging mine development in the red hot Ring of Fire in Northwestern Ontario: http://watch.bnn.ca/commodities/september-2010/commodities-september-22-2010/#clip351264

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

5.1.2. Ring of Fire: Illegal Construction of Mining-related Projects

The Ring of Fire is a roughly 5,120 square kilometre crescent-shaped area of Ontario’s boreal forest that has been subject to intense claim staking, prospecting and exploration ever since copper and zinc were discovered in the area in the late 1990s. After a flurry of exploration activity, the area is now known also to contain nickel, gold, diamonds and potentially the single largest source of chromite in North America. Interest in chromite is extremely high as it is used to make stainless steel. Chromite is also a strategic mineral used in the production of missile components and armour plating. A U.S. mining company reportedly intends to invest approximately $800 million (US) to develop a large open pit mine to extract high-grade chromite near McFauld’s Lake in the Ring of Fire. In March 2010, the Premier noted that this find is the “most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century.”

In September 2009, a company submitted an application to MNR seeking approval to construct a mining camp and permanent airstrip 18 km west of McFauld’s Lake. The proponent sought permission to develop 81 hectares of Crown land to build an 1,830-metre airstrip, four helicopter pads, a fuelling area, storage facilities and staff accommodations. The key approvals process for this proposed project is the Class Environmental Assessment (Class EA) for MNR Resource Stewardship and Facility Development Projects. Under this approvals process, the proposal was evaluated as a “category B” project in which there is the “potential for low to medium negative environmental effects, and/or public or agency concern.”

Several days after the Class EA process began, MNR staff flew over the site to inspect it. To their surprise, the proponent had already cleared the forest and constructed the mining work camp and airstrip, which appeared to be in active use. MNR halted the Class EA process and issued a warrant under the Public Lands Act to stop the unauthorized occupation and use of Crown land. MNR then began investigating whether any other laws had been broken.

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Part Five of the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario Annual Report 2009/2010 – Modernizing Mining in Ontario

For the entire annual report go to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario website: Redefining Conservation: Annual Report 2009/2010

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

2010 Amendments to the Mining Act

From Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO) Issues

In the 1800s, miners used picks and shovels to find and extract minerals. Embarking out into the wilderness of Ontario, prospectors had “free entry” to access any land that contained Crown-owned minerals. They could stake their claims with wooden posts and acquire mineral leases with no need to consider the interests of property owners or the public. This right of free entry was a fundamental feature of Ontario’s first mining laws and was designed to promote mining activity, create wealth in the province and encourage the settlement of the northern lands.

Much has changed in Ontario since the Mining Act (the “Act”) was enacted in 1869. First, there are many more recognized uses for Ontario’s land than mining. Second, early mines were generally small in scale with a relatively small ecological footprint; modern day mining often involves large-scale and mechanized digging, drilling and blasting, with the potential to have significant environmental impacts. Finally, the public has grown more concerned about our natural environment and the impacts of human activities, expecting environmental risks to be mitigated and mining lands restored.

Although the Mining Act and the concept of free entry may have worked in the 19th century, it is clearly at odds with 21st century land uses and values. Free entry assumes that mineral development is appropriate almost everywhere and that it is the “best” use of Crown land in almost all circumstances, giving mining priority over forestry, commercial development, recreation and tourism, the interests of Aboriginal communities, and the conservation of ecologically significant species and landscape features.

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Balance in Far North Bill – Toronto Star September 19, 2010 Editorial Comment on McGuinty Liberal’s “Far North Bill”

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This editorial was originally published on September 19, 2010.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Beyond romantic notions of caribou running wild across endless tundra, most Ontarians know very little about the northernmost 40 per cent of our province.

Much of the land is barren and beautiful, but it is also facing increasing pressure for development; logging, mining and power companies all see great potential there. The First Nations, who have long called the region home, need a say in determining the future of the land and an assurance that they will benefit economically from its development.

The province, on the other hand, needs to balance these interests with environmental protections for the northern boreal region, a globally significant ecosystem. The provincial government’s Far North Act, Bill 191, would achieve that balance.

So it is unfortunate that the chiefs of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) territory are threatening that there will be “no peace on the land” if the government passes the bill in the coming days.

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McGuinty Headed for a Northern [Ontario] Showdown – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun-September 16, 2010)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The Liberals’ Far North Act will kill the ‘economic equivalent of another Sudbury’

When mayors, chambers of commerce and aboriginal groups from across the north all converge on Queen’s Park, you know there’s trouble brewing.

That happened Wednesday, as anger over the government’s Far North Act boiled over from the wide landscapes of the north, its boreal forests and mines to the manicured southern lawns of Queen’s Park.

New Democrat Gilles Bisson stormed out of a committee hearing on Bill 191, calling the process a “sham.” He’d asked that the bill not be called for third reading and the government go back to the drawing board.

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy, usually a moderate, angrily declared aboriginal people will take “direct action” to protect their rights.

“We will do whatever is necessary to protect our interests, and if that calls for direct action, that’s what’s going to take place,” Beardy said.

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Liberals should rethink the [Ontario’s] Far North Act – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun-August 19, 2010)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Northerners don’t expect government hand-outs, or intrusive legislation from a remote provincial government in the south

The road to hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. Similarly, it seems the highway to God’s country ends in a dead-end created by well-meaning but wrong-headed do-gooders.

Northern Ontario has spectacular landscapes, vast mineral riches, untold tourism potential and resilient, self-reliant folk.

While northerners don’t expect government hand-outs, they also don’t expect intrusive legislation from a remote provincial government in the south.

Yet that’s what’s happening with the Far North Act, which would put half the land north of the 51st parallel out of bounds for development. Worse, the government hasn’t said which 50% of land is off the table.
That uncertainty means mining companies are thinking twice before they invest in the north.

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Study Begins on Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire Railroad – by Ian Ross

This article was originally published in Northern Ontario Business in the June, 2010 issue. Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ontario Northland Could Play a Role in the James Bay Rail Link

The first tentative steps toward building an ore haul railway to the James Bay lowlands began this past winter. Helicopters moved drills into place as geologists tested frozen riverbanks north of Nakina taking core samples to determine where bridges can be built to haul ore from a chromite open pit in the Far North’s ‘Ring of Fire’ exploration camp.

Building a railroad through the Canadian Shield and into vast boggy plain of the lowlands will be a huge and complex feat of engineering and construction. The railway engineers have already begun studying the footing and economics of how to move millions of tonnes of chromite out of McFaulds Lake in time for mining operations to begin by 2016.

About $100 million will be spent by KWG Resources and their mining partners in environmental and other consulting studies before any approval for mining is ever given.

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Honourable Michael Gravelle – Minister Northern Development, Mines and Forestry – Speech at Ontario Mining Association Annual Meeting (Ring of Fire and Aboriginal Mining References), North Bay, Ontario – June 15, 2010

Honourable Michael Gravelle – Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry

 

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

Thank you, Steve [Steve Wood, Vale / OMA Director] and good day, everyone.
 
I am very pleased to address members and guests of the Ontario Mining Association this afternoon. It’s a pleasure to be back in North Bay, and to enjoy your hospitality.
 
First let me give my heartiest congratulations to Chris Hodgson and his staff on OMA’s milestone 90th anniversary.

I’m very proud of the longstanding positive working relationship between the Ontario Mining Association and my ministry.

We share a passionate for working collaboratively to build on the strengths of mining for the good of all Ontarians.

That collaboration is also reflected in the OMA’s own positive relationships with First Nations and Métis communities, the supplies and services sector, and mining-sector stakeholders overall.

And my Ministry appreciates your valuable input to our government’s initiatives and programs.

The last decade has been record breaking for Ontario, with one of the best mining cycles in our history. By the same token, the industry has also had a couple of very tough years.

But there are signs of recovery, progress and opportunity:

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Ring of Fire Mine, Railway Will Bring Economic Development to Northern Ontario and Aboriginal Communities – by Ian Ross

This article was orginally published in Northern Ontario Business on December 23, 2009. Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Bob Middleton likens the discovery of chromite in the James Bay Lowlands to the 1903 Cobalt silver discovery that opened up Northern Ontario and created the great mining camps of Timmins and Kirkland Lake.

The potential impact of a massive open-pit mine, ore processing facilities and a railway into McFauld’s Lake, as proposed by Cliffs Natural Recources, will be a life-style changer for many living in remote First Nation communities, said the exploration industry veteran.

“It’s going to change the economy of this whole region,” said Middleton, director of Aboriginal and regulatory affairs with Canada Chrome Corp.
Cliffs’ $240 million stock offer to Freewest Resources, which together with KWG and Spider Resources, found some of the richest chromite deposits in the world, will be voted on by Freewest shareholders in January. The Freewest board is recommending approval of the Cliffs offer.

Middleton outlined his company’s role in a high-grade chromite resource in the area now called the Ring of Fire during a presentation at the Ontario Exploration and Geoscience Symposium, Dec. 16, 2009 in Sudbury.

Canada Chrome is a subsidiary of KWG Resources Inc., one of the companies involved in the $1.5 billion development, which includes an $800-million mine scheduled to go into production by 2015.

Cleveland, Ohio-based Cliffs, a global iron ore pellet and coal producer and an established industrial railway builder, is expanding into the stainless steel market with the development of North America’s first chromite mine.

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Rails to Riches in the Ring of Fire – by Edgar J. Lavoie

This article was orginally published in Northern Ontario Business on April 19, 2010. Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investers with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

A man from North Carolina is standing on the north bank of the frozen Ogoki River in Northern Ontario. His job is to find bedrock that could support a bridge foundation for a Class 3 heavy-haul railway. The railway, currently under feasibility review, would transport 4 million tonnes of chromite every year from the Ring of Fire to the CN mainline near Nakina.

On Feb. 19, Colin Langford, geologist, is overdressed for the weather -2C. The sun is shining, the sky is clear. As the crew extracts two-inch rock core from the drill hole, Langford identifies the rock. “Granite,” he says. Good solid stuff.

Matthew Krzewinski, field program manager for Golder Associates, has dropped from the sky to check on the work. A helicopter is the transport of choice in this country. The company is performing geotechnical drilling on the proposed route.

Only a third of the 340-kilometre route runs through the rock, sand, and gravel of the Canadian Shield. The James Bay Lowlands, in which the Big Daddy chromite discovery is located, is wet – a wilderness of lakes and bogs. KWG Resources Inc. (TSX-V: KWG), in joint venture with Spider Resources Inc. (TSX-V: SPQ), created a subsidiary to do feasibility studies for a railway. In turn, Canada Chrome Corp. engaged Krech Ojard & Associates, PA, of Duluth, who hired Golder Associates, also of Duluth, with support from offices throughout Canada and the USA.

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Ring of Fire: A Chance to Remake, or Ruin, the North – by Tanya Talaga [Toronto Star-March 27, 2010]

Tanya Talaga is the Queen’s Park (Ontario Provincial Government) reporter for the Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This article was originally published on Saturday, March 27, 2010 on the front page of the Insight section.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

A massive ore deposit has prospectors drooling, native groups worried about a raw deal and greens warning of an ecological disaster. With $30 billion at stake, the government is struggling to strike the right balance

MARTEN FALLS FIRST NATION, ONT.–Children sprint into the school gym to feast on the grapes, apples and oranges laid out on long tables – the first fresh fruit they’ve seen in months.

The fruit, all 90 kilos of it, is a gift to the 300 people living in this impoverished, fly-in-only reserve from Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle.

He’s flown to Marten Falls, where the water is not clean enough to drink, on a diplomatic mission to soothe tensions among the Indians, government and mining companies over the proposed development of the Ring of Fire.

The Ring is a massive, 5,120-square-kilometre area of pristine wilderness that happens to be on Marten Falls’ traditional land and is said to hold one of the richest ore deposits in the world.

The buzz around the potential jackpot has prospectors jockeying for position as everyone lines up to stake their claim in this modern-day gold rush.

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Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire, Ring of Fire – by David Robinson

Dr. David Robinson is an economist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. His column was originally published in May 2010 issue of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal a magazine that showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury.  drobinson@laurentian.ca

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

One way to get attention in the mining world is to mention the Ring of Fire. Apparently, it doesn’t matter whether your column is really about the Ring of Fire. Just mention this new wonder of the world and you get noticed.

I am far too proud to use such a sleazy technique, but the Ring of Fire (three mentions so far) is an enormous opportunity for the mining supply and services sector.  In fact, the Ring of Fire offers a chance to move Northern Ontario’s mining supply and services sector to a new level.

Cliffs Natural Resources intends to process as much as 800,000 tons of chromite annually, which would place the company in fifth place among producing countries – between Russia and Brazil. Production at that rate could continue for a hundred years. At 2007 prices, the annual value would exceed $250 million. Current prices are lower but expected to rise as demand for stainless steel surges.

For the province, developing the Ring of Fire will produce a huge building boom. It will provide jobs for miners and for the 1,200 people in three small First Nation communities: Webequie, Neskantaga and Marten Falls.  Since these are fly-in communities, the new mines will have to pay for all-weather roads and a rail line.

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Ontario Premier McGuinty Welcomes U.S. to OUR Ring of Fire – by Gregory Reynolds (Part 2 of 2)

This column was originally published in the Spring, 2010 issue of Highgrader Magazine which is committed to serve the interests of northerners by bringing the issues, concerns and culture of the north to the world through the writings and art of award-winning journalists as well as talented freelance artists, writers and photographers.

Gregory Reynolds is a Timmins, Canada-based columnist who writes extensively about mining and northern Ontario issues.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Using a subsidiary of KWG Resources, Canadian Chrome Corporation, (Cliffs had quietly became KWG’s principal shareholder before the project leaked out in a one paragraph item in a monthly magazine in September 2009) Cliffs was able to avoid publicity.

What people should be asking McGuinty is two things: when did he become aware of the project and more importantly, what did he promise Cliffs to get it to commit to a project where native groups were likely to block it for many years, perhaps decades?

Cliff has said it expects to put the $800-million mine into production by 2015. It plans to spend $10 million this year on the project.

The original plan was to have Cliff’s railway link up with the Canadian National Railway main line and transport ore to Thunder Bay where a smelter and electric arc furnace complex would be built.

The 400,000 to 800,000 tonnes of ferrochrome produced per year would be shipped to U.S. steel companies.

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Ontario Premier McGuinty Welcomes U.S. to OUR Ring of Fire – by Gregory Reynolds (Part 1 of 2)

This column was originally published in the Spring, 2010 issue of Highgrader Magazine which is committed to serve the interests of northerners by bringing the issues, concerns and culture of the north to the world through the writings and art of award-winning journalists as well as talented freelance artists, writers and photographers.

Gregory Reynolds is a Timmins, Canada-based columnist who writes extensively about mining and northern Ontario issues.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is a man whose word is worthless. There is no question about his string of broken promises; as a politician, he considers his word merely another election tool.

Thus the question to be considered is this: Was he being dishonest in 2008 when he promised to freeze all development, that mainly being mining and forestry projects, in a 225,000 square km swathe of the Boreal Forest; Or was he being dishonest on March 8 this year when he put a promise to allow development of the Ring of Fire into his government’s Throne Speech?

The Ring of Fire is located about 500 km northeast of Thunder Bay and about 100 km directly west of the De Beers Victor diamond mine in the James Bay Lowlands. It is in the middle of the Northern Boreal Forest.

The Ring is believed to be a huge basin, perhaps created by an asteroid, even bigger at 5,120 square km than the fabled Sudbury Nickel Basin.

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