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Ring of Fire News, 18 Jul 11

The Ring of Fire News blog shares public information in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act, and is not responsible for the accuracy of the original material.  Inclusion of material or sources here should not imply endorsement or otherwise by the Ring of Fire News blog.


  • Matawa First Nation chiefs:  no development in our traditional territory without our say so.  “…. all nine Chiefs from Matawa First Nations communities signed a historic declaration, making the commitment to stand together to protect the natural resources and territories of member First Nations. The Mamow- Wecheekapawetahteewiin- “Unity Declaration”, states that the nine Matawa communities agree that they “must stand together in order to ensure our nation is protected. Therefore, we assert our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights to the land, water and resources by requiring our written consent before any development activity may proceed.” The “Unity Declaration” further states that; “Failure to consult, accommodate and receive the consent of the First Nation(s) to proceed with any work or activity is an unjustified infringement upon our Aboriginal, Treaty and Custodial rights as First Nations.” The declaration that was unanimously supported comes after a Matawa summit that was held in Neskantaga First Nation in early June, 2011, that focused on the development of a unified strategy to move forward on future developments and the protection of the First Nations lands, waters and resources. Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation says; “With this declaration, we hope to send a very powerful message to industry and government – Matawa First Nations are working as one. Any development occurring around any of our First Nations communities will impact us as one and this needs to be recognized”. Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation says; “The nine First Nations take the position that our traditional territories are under our control and approval to operate in our territories and cannot be given by the government or any other entities” ….” (Source:  Matawa news release, 14 Jul 11)
  • KWG backs the Matawa Chiefs’ declaration.  “KWG Resources Inc. welcomes the announcement yesterday of the Unity Declaration made by the Chiefs of the nine First Nations of the Matawa Council of First Nations. “This is an exceedingly encouraging development”, said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “There has been a lot of jockeying amongst all the players affected by the Ring of Fire discoveries, and the Chiefs are demonstrating their profound wisdom in determining to act together to confront those opportunities for all of their communities and people.” “We are in complete agreement with Chief Moonias of the Marten Falls First Nation when he observed, in the press release announcing the Unity Declaration: ‘Our First Nations do not oppose responsible development but as the people of the land, we want to benefit from these potential mining developments and negotiate meaningful employment and business opportunities for our communities, while ensuring the environment is not at risk’. …. “ (source: company news release, 15 Jul 11)
  • Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs and city officials visit Webequie First Nation seeking support for a smelter.  “…. The trip was also about making sure the First Nation community, near the Ring of Fire, knows that Thunder Bay wants to win the fight with Sudbury and Greenstone, as Hobbs calls it, for a ferrochrome processor. With 25,000 Aboriginal people in Thunder Bay, Hobbs said the processor would help all citizens in the city. “We want jobs for our people and Aboriginal people,” he said ….” (source: tbnewswatch.com, 14 Jul 11)
  • Calls for a “Mining Marshall Plan” for northern Ontario.  “…. Ontario needs to help build the necessary key transportation routes to develop the North’s enormous and strategic mineral potential. These include a railway to the Ring of Fire mining camp and all-weather highways to replace winter ice roads to isolated Aboriginal communities …. Ontario must provide more competitive power rates for mining and refining operations ….  Ensure that the processing of major mineral deposits mined in Ontario be done in the province ….  Allow the development of peat fuel as a power source for isolated First Nations communities, the Ring of Fire mining camp, and as a partial fuel for the two coal-fired power plants in Thunder Bay and Atikokan …. A thorough geoscience assessment must be conducted of any lands designated for parks and local Aboriginal communities must be consulted and allowed a veto …. A reasonably short provincial commission on mining regulation should be established ….  There must be an immediate provincial commitment to invest millions for building the necessary infrastructure (working water treatment plants, high quality schools and training facilities, medical centres, and perhaps even motels) in the five First Nations communities closest to the Ring of Fire mining camp. Then over the next decade repeat this development strategy in the other Aboriginal communities across the North. By increasing the capacity of First Nations communities to significantly benefit from mineral exploration and development – which should be a government, not industry, responsibility – resource conflicts will be less likely to rise up …..”  (source:  Canadian Mining Journal, 11 Jul 11)
  • Ontario Conservative Party election promise:  Minister of Northern Development, not the Ring of Fire Co-ordinator, will co-ordinate development in the area.  “…. We will turn the promise of the Ring of Fire into a job-creating reality. Ontario is sitting on a gigantic opportunity – tens of billions of dollars worth of jobs and prosperity. That’s bigger than the Sudbury Basin. It is a once-in-a-century opportunity for the North, for Ontario, and for Canada. Yet Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have dragged their feet, refusing to jump on the high-value jobs and investments that are waiting. We will not let this historic opportunity pass us by. We will champion the Ring of Fire, representing the voice of Northern Ontario throughout the entire province. We will convince people in Southern Ontario that the Ring of Fire matters to them. And wherever government policy is a barrier, we will be open to all options to remove those barriers. We will make the Minister of Northern Development and Mines the government point person for moving the Ring of Fire forward. It is far too important to leave to a single middle manager in the bureaucracy as Dalton McGuinty has done ….” (page a9, Changebook North, Ontario Conservative Party platform, downloadable – 4.2MB PDF – here)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited also available here (PDF).

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