Archive | Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Doug Ford still chasing Ring of Fire mining dream – by Alastair Sharp (National Observer – March 4, 2020)

https://www.nationalobserver.com/

Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives are doggedly pursuing the dream of developing the Ring of Fire mining region in northern Ontario, despite a shaky economic foundation and likely tricky talks ahead with nearby First Nations.

Ford and his energy minister, Greg Rickford, were joined by the elected chiefs of two of those communities at the annual PDAC mining conference in Toronto this week. They were there to tout an agreement that will see those communities — the Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations — lead the environmental assessment for the middle part of a planned north-south road to connect the largely inaccessible region to highways further south.

“It’s historic news that is a real game changer,” said Ford, calling the agreement “a crucial step forward in unlocking the multi, and I say, multi-billion dollar opportunity that is northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire.” Continue Reading →

Column: Historic Ontario road agreement puts First Nations in driver’s seat – by Brian Lilley (Sudbury Star – March 3, 2020)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

It’s been labelled a historic agreement, an actual memorandum of understanding, a commitment of funds and the launch of an indigenous-led environmental assessment to build a road into one of the most remote parts of Ontario. Premier Doug Ford signed the agreement alongside Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and Chief Cornelius Wabasse in Toronto on Monday.

The agreement will see the Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations lead an environmental assessment of the proposed building of a year-round, paved road linking the two communities to points further south.

It’s a brave move these days when people in cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver — far from the development — can hold protests to shut down major infrastructure while claiming they are standing in solidarity with First Nations. Continue Reading →

Province, First Nations sign critical road agreement – by Staff (Sudbury Star – March 3, 2020)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

It will help open up the Ring of Fire to development

The province says it is moving forward on the Ring of Fire. The government of Ontario, Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation took a major step forward Monday in unlocking jobs and opportunity in the Ring of Fire region by entering into what they called a historic agreement to advance the planning and development of a proposed road to the site.

The 5,000-square-kilometre Ring of Fire is a major mineral deposit in Northern Ontario approximately 500 km northeast of Thunder Bay. Currently, there are no roads to the area, rendering access to the site and transportation of goods difficult. Estimates “suggest multi-generational potential for chromite production, as well as the production of nickel, copper and platinum,” the government said Monday.

Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation and Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation joined Premier Doug Ford and Greg Rickford, minister of energy, northern development and mines and the minister of Indigenous affairs, at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention for a signing ceremony. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: MATAWA FIRST NATIONS FORGE NEW WAY FORWARD LOOKING TO MAJOR COMPANIES TO ASSIST IN CONTROLLING DEVELOPMENT OF COMMUNITY INFRASTRUCTURE (March 2, 2020)

[Toronto, ON:] – Chiefs of the Matawa First Nations in Northern Ontario announced Monday they are creating a New Way Forward in developing community infrastructure in their traditional territory. Discussions are ongoing with PCL Construction, Enterprise Canada, Ontario Power Generation and EPCOR Canada to determine how best to meet the infrastructure needs in Matawa communities.

Matawa First Nations will play a lead role in developing Northern infrastructure and guiding the Emerging Northern Economy. Through new relationships with leading Canadian companies, an innovative new approach to financing and managing the construction the needs of these communities can be defined for Matawa communities who have long waited for crucial infrastructure that will bring their people the stability and hope that they deserve.

The announcement at PDAC 2020 in Toronto is the result of months of work looking at the control of development in the Matawa region while also preparing for future development needs. Matawa and these partner companies are discussing the creation of a corporation to oversee construction and financing of infrastructure across the region. Continue Reading →

Ontario, First Nations agree to study road to Ring of Fire – by Jeff Gray and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 2, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Ontario Premier Doug Ford sat alongside two First Nations chiefs at a Toronto mining conference on Monday, pledging support for an environmental study of a road that would connect to their remote Northern communities and the region known as the Ring of Fire.

Mr. Ford has repeatedly promised to open up the purported mineral riches of the Ring of Fire, 550 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, by hopping on a bulldozer himself. But Monday’s announcement included no cash for the road, last estimated to cost $1.6-billion – only a pledge to study it.

Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford also acknowledged that any move to break ground on the construction of the road’s southernmost leg is still as much as two years away. Environmental assessments for the entire route, he said, would take five years to complete. Continue Reading →

The road to the Ring of Fire needs to go east-west, say northwest communities – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – March 2, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Road coalition wants Queen’s Park to consider “all access routes” into Far North mineral camp

A forgotten path into the Ring of Fire still remains on the radar for a group of northwestern Ontario community leaders and businesses. The East-West Ring of Fire Coalition went to Queen’s Park during mining week in Toronto to lobby government for support of a permanent road into the Ring of Fire.

The group claims an east-west route will deliver greater spinoffs and social benefits to area communities, compared to the north-south road being championed by the provincial government and the mining industry.

It’s the second consecutive year the group has journeyed to Toronto during the Prospectors and Developers mining conference to make their case for government to consider a less-environmentally invasive alternate route into the James Bay mineral belt. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Moving Forward with Road Access to the Ring of Fire (March 2, 2020)

Ontario and First Nations Working Together to Create Jobs and Prosperity for the North

March 2, 2020 12:30 P.M. – Office of the Premier

TORONTO — The Government of Ontario, Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation are taking a major step forward in unlocking jobs and opportunity in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire region by entering into a historic agreement to advance the planning and development of a proposed Northern Road Link.

Premier Doug Ford and Greg Rickford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs, were joined by Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation and Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention today for a signing ceremony.

The government is delivering on its promise to move forward with the development of the Ring of Fire with willing partners, including Indigenous groups and Northern communities. Continue Reading →

Hasty development of Ontario’s Ring of Fire could have devastating impacts – by Justina Ray and Cheryl Chetkiewicz (Toronto Star – February 26, 2020)

https://www.thestar.com/

Dr. Justina Ray and Dr. Cheryl Chetkiewicz are scientists with Wildlife Conservation Society Canada who have worked in the far north in Ontario 25 years collectively.

The current wave of protests in support of the Wet’suwet’en is about respecting Indigenous rights, but also about responsibility — our collective responsibility to protect increasingly endangered ecosystems and some of Canada’s most intact natural areas.

Failing to consider the value of such areas — for people, for biodiversity, and for our climate — before making development decisions is increasingly leading to conflict.

We are on the cusp of a similar situation in Ontario, where plans to build roads to the Ring of Fire in the far north are being pursued in a way that similarly ignores the big picture. Continue Reading →

The thin white line: How Northern Ontario’s winter roads are built and kept safe to drive – by Marcus Gee (Globe and Mail – February 24, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Roy Moonias stands on a rise overlooking a frozen lake bathed in wintry moonlight. In the distance, the headlights of a big fuel truck appear. “It’s coming,” he shouts, holding up his phone to shoot some video.

Mr. Moonias has a professional interest in the truck’s progress: His men built the road it is travelling on. Open for only a few weeks a year, the winter road to his remote Indigenous community passes over muskeg, swamps, eskers, creeks and, finally, this lake. His crew has been striving since November to get it ready: Plowing, smoothing, flooding and clearing fallen timber until everything is just right, or as right as it can be on a road constructed of ice and snow on a foundation of muck.

Now, the road is set for its big test. Snowplows have cleared the ice on the lake, leaving a wide corridor lined by snowbanks that stretches a kilometre and a half from shore to shore. Crews have set up log posts fixed with reflectors to mark the way. Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay: Federal government orders regional impact assessment in Ring of Fire – by Heather Kitching (CBC News Thunder Bay – February 19, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay

The federal minister of environment and climate change has ordered a regional impact assessment in the Ring of Fire, the mineral-rich region around 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont, which is targeted for mining development.

Jonathan Wilkinson issued the order in response to requests from three parties: Aroland First Nation, the Wildlife Conservation Society of Canada and the Osgoode Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic.

It was issued under Canada’s new Impact Assessment Act, which came into force on Aug. 28, 2019 as part of the government’s overhaul of environmental assessment legislation – which it said was aimed at streamlining the approvals process for natural resource projects and improving consultation with Indigenous peoples. Continue Reading →

Canada steps into ‘Ring of Fire’ debate with Ontario Premier Doug Ford – by Dayna Nadine Scott and David Peerla (The Conversation – February 17, 2020)

https://theconversation.com/

Dayna Nadine Scott is the York Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice in the Green Economy, York University, Canada. This article is co-authored with David Peerla, advisor to Neskantaga First Nation.

The struggle over the mineral deposits in Ontario’s Ring of Fire has taken a surprising turn. With all eyes on British Columbia as events unfold in Unist’ot’en, the federal minister of environment and climate change has said the agency will establish a major regional assessment process for the Ring of Fire.

The region, 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, is said to hold one of the world’s richest chromite deposits, as well as nickel, copper and platinum. While some First Nations communities support the roads that would lead to the mines, other Indigenous people across the region are concerned they are losing control over the pace and scale of development in their homelands.

Those who support the development of the Ring of Fire will undoubtedly cast the federal decision as meddling by environmentalists and a disaffected First Nation. We see it as Canada finally stepping into the ring with Ontario Premier Doug Ford to restore some integrity to the environmental assessment process. Continue Reading →

Poor winter road conditions a growing concern for NAN – by Doug Diaczuk (tbnewswatch.com – January 31, 2020)

https://www.tbnewswatch.com/

Many winter roads throughout the region are still not safe and communities that rely on the network for supplies like fuel are worried about financial impacts

THUNDER BAY – Poor winter road conditions throughout the north are becoming a growing concern for remote First Nation communities that rely on the seasonal transportation network to bring in crucial supplies.

“It’s becoming more and more concerning,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief, Alvin Fiddler. “Now that we are at the end of January, the fact that many of our communities still can’t haul big loads, so fuel or other supplies to the communities, is something we need to raise now with both Ontario and Canada.”

Work on winter roads normally begins in November and December, with trucks transporting full loads by mid to late January. “This year they are not even close,” Fiddler said. “Some communities need another 12 inches of ice before they can haul full loads of fuel to their communities.” Continue Reading →

Martin Falls delivers all-season road study update – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – January 24, 2020)

http://www.wawataynews.ca/

http://www.martenfallsaccessroad.ca/

Marten Falls delivered an update on its proposed all-season Community Access Road during a Public Information Centre session at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay. “Marten Falls has been wanting an all-season road to the community for a long time and they’ve been working on it for a number of years now,” says Bob Baxter, Marten Falls citizen and member of the Community Access Road project team.

“We’re just in the environmental assessment stage and consulting stage right now to collect feedback from the public and the communities that will be affected.” Baxter says there has been mixed feedback from the community about the Community Access Road. “There’s problems like drug issues that they’re concerned about and the fluctuation of people coming up there to hunt,” Baxter says.

“On the positive side the cost of living would be brought down — the prices would somewhat come down so people would be able to purchase a lot more than they are purchasing now.” Lawrence Baxter, senior community advisor with Marten Falls, says the Community Access Road would be “very beneficial” for the community. Continue Reading →

Column: Stalled Ring of Fire worth more than $117 billion – by Dr. James Mungall (Sudbury Star – January 24, 2020)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Dr. James Mungall is a professor of economic geology at Carleton University. He was Noront’s Chief Geologist during the discovery phase of exploration, but has no financial conflict of interest related to the Ring of Fire. He is considered the top specialist in magmatic ore deposits in Canada and is well-respected globally. Both the Ring of Fire and the Sudbury Basin are magmatic ore deposits.

How much is the Ring of Fire really worth?

Why has mining still not begun in Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral deposit belt a decade after its discovery? Are the deposits worthless, or are there factors beyond the control of the mining industry that are blocking progress?

The value of recoverable contained metal “in the ground” represents the sum of wealth that can be generated through the eventual sale of the commodity to the marketplace. This wealth is distributed over costs of labour, energy, equipment, taxes, profits and interest payments, adding to economic activity by many actors.

Alternatively, the value of the deposit to investors is represented by the profit they hope to make after paying all costs. The need to apply a discount to future earnings shortens the time window on a company’s investment decision to just a few years and may forbid large initial capital expenditures even if the potential for long-term wealth generation is very great.

A third consideration is the intangible value of the deposit to society at large, such as the desire to secure a local supply of a strategic metal or to increase long-term economic activity in an underdeveloped region. Continue Reading →

“Equitable” partnerships with First Nations will make the Ring of Fire go smoothly – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – January 24, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Improving community conditions should create investor-friendly mining environment, say Matawa chiefs

Chiefs from two economically-depressed communities near the Ring of Fire told Queen’s Park politicians they want to be “equitable partners” to share in the benefits of Far North development.

“Matawa First Nations are not opposed to development, however First Nations require a seat at the able,” said Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse in his remarks before the provincial Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, Jan. 21.

He was joined in the pre-budget hearings by Eabametoong Chief Harvey Yesno. Both spoke on behalf of the Matawa Chiefs Council. Five of the nine communities in the Matawa Tribal Council are fly-in, reached only by land during the winter road season. Continue Reading →