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Ring of Fire News – 31 Oct 11


  • The Toronto Star highlights the engineering work and challenges the key players face to exploit the  Ring of Fire. “Since the discovery of chromite was announced in northern Ontario in 2007 – nickel and copper were found three years earlier – engineers and miners have been looking at how to develop these deposits, which have been declared the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century. But there’s a problem: the site is a vast subarctic muskeg bog in the remote James Bay Lowlands, 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. For thousands of square kilometres, the terrain is difficult to walk on, let alone haul thousands of tonnes of heavy ore-with one lucky exception …. None of it will be easy-or cheap-but as (KWG Resources VP Moe) Lavigne describes the hurdles at the mine sites, “It’s just engineering. It’s all doable.” ”  Source

  • “…. (Cliffs Natural Resources) expects to incur cash outflows of approximately $85 million to support future growth, comprised of approximately $40 million related to its global exploration activities and approximately $45 million related to its chromite project in Ontario, Canada ….”  Sourcealternative download site (PDF)

  • KWG Resources Inc. is pleased to report that a 12,000 metre core drilling program is underway on its Big Daddy Chromite deposit in the Ring of Fire, James Bay Lowlands. KWG has earned 28% interest in these mineral claims and will increase this to 30% by funding 50% of this $5 million program. The goal of this program is to collect a chromitite sample of sufficient size for pyro-metallurgical testing and to complete resource definition drilling on that portion of the deposit that is amenable to open pit mining. Cliffs Natural Resources is the project operator, and it is anticipated that the metallurgical testing and drilling will be completed during the first quarter of 2012 ….”  Source

  • James Bay First Nation leaders join call for Joint Review Panel for Ring of Fire projects.  “Mushkegowuk First Nations say their concerns are being ignored with the recent announcement that an environmental study of proposed mines in the Ring of Fire won’t allow First Nations to fully participate. Mushkegowuk Council said the projects in the Ring of Fire in the James Bay lowlands, are at the head of two major river systems, the Attawapiskat River and Ekwan River, which flow into Mushekgowuk territory. One of the projects headed by Cliffs Natural Resources is now under a comprehensive environmental assessment, announced Oct. 17 by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency …. But Mushkegowuk expected more. “I am extremely disappointed at the total lack of respect shown by the federal government and Cliffs to the desires of the Mushkegowuk leadership,” said Grand Chief Stan Louttit of Mushkegowuk Council ….”  Source

  • Chiefs of Ontario (COO) supports Matawa in call for Joint Review Panel. “…. “I stand with the Matawa leadership in this assertion of their jurisdiction”, Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse confirmed today, “The health of our people and all people, and the health of the environment are too important to be ignored.” Regional Chief Toulouse also noted, “A respectful dialogue amongst First Nations, and Canada is the best way forward. We, First Nations and settler peoples alike, have duties and responsibilities to future generations, to the land, and to the waters – these considerations must inform our decisions and conduct.” ….” Source (COO news release) – more

  • Meanwhile, a Joint Review Panel in place outside the Ring of Fire is already facing criticism.  “The absence of Aboriginal representation on an expert panel reviewing a proposal for a new Marathon-area mine, combined with a perception of bias in favour of the proponent, continues to be a source of frustration and anxiety at Pic River First Nation. The uncertainty was aired Wednesday night inside a candle-lit spiritual lodge, where federal officials were grilled about the quality and integrity of an ongoing joint provincial-federal review into Stillwater Canada’s plan for a copper and palladium mine north of Marathon’s airport. Pic River school principal Lisa Michano-Courchene told the gathering she is troubled that the all-male panel’s two scientists and one engineer are unknown to reserve residents. The panellists are from New Brunswick, Toronto and Sudbury. Pic River’s formal request for the panel to have at least one Aboriginal representative wasn’t granted. “We are expected to have trust in this panel, but I can’t have trust in people who have no connection to our land,” Michano-Courchene said. Panel co-manager Colette Spagnuolo said the panellists were chosen by the provincial and federal governments ….”  SourceMarathon Platinum Group Metals and Copper Mine Project Review Panel information (via CEAA)

  • Lone Northern Ontario Conservative MPP starts the fight to repeal or change the Far North Act ” “Let’s hit the re-set button on this job killing act,” states Vic Fedeli the Progressive Conservative MP for Nippising. “Repealing this means that Ontario’s North is open for business.” The provincial Progressive Conservatives are looking for changes to the Far North Act. Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing, is calling “For Dalton McGuinty to undo his damaging, out-of-touch legislation and repeal Bill 191, also known as the Far North Act”. The Ontario PCs have opposed Bill 191 since its inception. During the provincial election the party promised to repeal it. Fedeli today, once again called on Dalton McGuinty to repeal this bad bill and instead focus on the fundamentals of job creation and a strong economy – competitive taxes, affordable energy and red tape reduction. Fedeli is the former Mayor of North Bay, and recently was elected to the Ontario Legislature representing the Nipissing riding. Fedeli points to the Ring of Fire as reason enough to repeal the Far North Act. “We would never have found the Ring of Fire,” the MPP stated. The investments and money being spent in the North is massive states Fedeli. “Flying into one mining camp during the election, I saw countless Blue and White canvas tents, which are made here in North Bay”. The massive drill rods are manufactured across the north, the MPP adds. Fedeli points to the Far North Act as a focal point that has soured relations between the North and the rest of Ontario. “Absolutely not one Northern First Nations leader, or Northern Mayor supports this legislation” ….”  Source more


All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 25 Oct 11

  • RECAP – Federal environmental assessment process under way for Cliffs Natural Resources project “The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) is starting a comprehensive study type of environmental assessment for the proposed Cliffs Chromite Project located in northern Ontario. The Agency invites the public to comment on the project and the conduct of the comprehensive study.  The Agency has prepared the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines that identify potential environmental effects to be addressed and information that needs to be included in the proponent’s EIS. Public comments on the draft EIS Guidelines are invited and will be reviewed and considered before the document is finalized and issued to the proponent.  The draft EIS Guidelines and more information on this project are available on the Agency’s website at http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca (Registry reference number 11-03-63927). The document is available in paper copy by request as well.  All comments received by November 16, 2011 will be considered.  The Agency is also making available $40,000 under its Participant Funding Program to assist groups and individuals to participate in the federal environmental assessment of this project. Funding applications received by November 16, 2011 will be considered.  This is the first of several public comment periods that will occur during the environmental assessment of the project ….”    CEAA news releaseCEAA project pageCEAA list of project documentsSudbury Star (1) – Sudbury Star (2) – Northern Ontario Business
  • RECAP – Matawa Chiefs:  No joint environmental assessment = no Ring of Fire development.  “Matawa Chiefs withdrew their support for development in the Ring of Fire (ROF) (21 Oct 11).  The Chiefs and the 8,000 people they represent are calling on Premier McGuinty and Prime Minister Harper to intervene in the Environmental Assessment (EA) process.  “We will be forced to resort to alternative measures if Canada and Ontario continue to ignore the First Nations that are being impacted by Ring of Fire developments,” said Chief Roger Wesley of Constance Lake First Nation.  Matawa Chiefs are outraged that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is proceeding with a Comprehensive Study EA. The Chiefs and their people have been calling for a Joint Review Panel EA for five months but the government is still not listening. Both the provincial and the federal governments are failing in their constitutional duty to consult and accommodate First Nations. According to the Chiefs, the government is telling them what they plan to do, but it is not consulting or accommodating them about how they want to be involved. The Chiefs maintain that the manner in which the government is proceeding with development in Northern Ontario is going to slowly destroy their traditional way of life, extinguish their treaty rights and destroy their homelands and their children’s future ….”  Matawa news release (PDF) – alternate news release download site (PDF) – Sudbury StarThunder Bay Chronicle-Journal (PDF) – Northern Ontario Businesstbnewswatch.comWawatay News
  • Cliffs on Matawa Chiefs’ announcement:  disappointed, but willing to keep working with First Nations.   “Cliffs Natural Resources says it’s committed to “working hand-in-hand” with nine remote First Nations that could benefit from the company’s proposed chromite mine in the Ring of Fire.  But the company said it’s disappointed over last week’s all-or-nothing demand by Matawa First Nations for a higher level environmental review into the mine proposal.  “It’s unfortunate that the focus is over the panel (review) versus comprehensive approaches,” Cliffs said in a statement.  “The comprehensive review process provides a clear and thorough path, as well as the flexibility to address the specific concerns of impacted communities,” the statement said ….”  Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal
  • Ontario Ring of Fire Co-ordinator on Matawa Chiefs’ announcement:  we’re committed to keeping the dialogue going.  “…. On (20 Oct 11), the Matawa Chiefs met with Christine Kaszycki, an assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and the ministry’s Ring of Fire co-ordinator.  Kaszycki said she met with the Matawa chiefs (20 Oct 11), but (the 22 Oct 11) scheduled meeting did not go ahead.  “The purpose … was to engage in a more comprehensive discussion concerning the Environmental Assessment process — share some information and determining what the First Nation concerns are. We did have a discussion on that.  “The consultation has opened the issue … They want to be a more integral part of the process going forward and it’s not just with respect to the environmental assessment, but all areas.”  Kaszycki said there will be more meetings with the chiefs, but none are scheduled at this time.  “We are committed to having ongoing dialogue with the (First Nation) communities,” she said. “I think there is a lot of room to move forward in a very satisfactory way. We are committed to keeping the dialogue going.”  ….”  Sudbury Star
  • Environmental groups are also underwhelmed about no joint assessment of Cliffs project.   “…. The Matawa and Mushkegowuk First Nations representing 13 individual communities as well as MiningWatch Canada, Ecojustice, Wildlands League, and the Wildlife Conservation Society have all recommended that the project be evaluated through a joint federal-provincial review panel. Friday’s announcement indicated that this will not be the case and that the project will be reviewed through the less rigorous – and less participatory – comprehensive study process.  Cliffs’ project is the most advanced of several projects being developed in the much-touted “Ring of Fire” ….”
    If approved, Cliffs’ project would open the entire region and establish the infrastructure for future developments. Located on the border between the Hudson Bay Lowlands and the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield, the “Ring of Fire” is ecologically sensitive and a valued part of the traditional territories of the Matawa and Mushkegowuk First Nations who have travelled, hunted, and fished throughout the area for millennia. The First Nations expect the federal and provincial governments to honour their obligations to share both the decision making process and any benefits that may come from development in the area.  The decision to undertake a so-called “comprehensive study” instead of a review panel fell to Environment Minister Peter Kent. The decision threatens already-strained relationships with affected First Nations. Comments Ramsey Hart of MiningWatch, “It is infuriating that our government is not meeting its obligations under the constitution, under our Treaties, and under international norms like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” Hart also doubts that the decision will actually speed up development ….” 
    Mining Watch Canada news releaseCBC Thunder Bay
  • Cabinet Shuffle (1)  New Ministers of Northern Development and Mines (Rick Bartolucci of Sudbury) and Minister of Natural Resources (Michael Gravelle of Thunder Bay).   Government of Ontario news releaseChronicle-JournalNorthern Ontario Business
  • Cabinet Shuffle (2)  Editorial:  will new Northern Development Minister = preference for Sudbury smelter site?   “…. Sudbury’s Rick Bartolucci, one less thing to look after in Gravelle’s place. It also suggests Premier Dalton McGuinty believes that mining needs undivided attention as exploration increases across the Far North. Bartolucci is also cabinet chair, adding to his stature …. Bartolucci now gets to make his mark directly on a resurgent mining sector. This is a challenge, to say the least. Relations between the mining industry and First Nations near exploration sites are often troubled over consultation and territorial claims on Crown land …. Bartolucci’s appointment also suggests that Cliffs Natural Resources, the biggest player in the huge Ring of Fire minerals deposit, may choose Sudbury for its ferrochrome processing facility. Bartolucci’s hometown is already Cliffs’ “test case” location. With considerable mining infrastructure already in place, the appointment of its MPP as Mines Minister signals that Sudbury may have a lock on the processor.  We still think that Thunder Bay’s status as a seaway port gives it a shipping advantage as Cliffs considers its global marketing strategy for the key ingredient in stainless steel.  Gravelle caught grief for insisting he couldn’t advocate for his riding in the Cliffs matter because he had to respect the entire region in his job as Northern Development Minister. Does Bartolucci think the same way? If so, Thunder Bay and Greenstone might still have a chance at the processor. If Bartolucci goes to bat for Sudbury, the minister will hold all the cards.”  Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal
  • Cabinet Shuffle (3)  If Bartolucci is quoted correctly, he may continue pushing for Sudbury as the smelter site.  “…. (Bartolucci) said he expects MPPs in northwestern ridings “to be advocating and helping their communities to try to secure the processing plant up there. I think that’s fair game.”  He said “the way the (Sudbury) mayor and the community have engaged me in this process, I can still act as the MPP, and will.”  The priority will be to ensure that Cliffs Resources builds its processing plant “right here, in Northern Ontario.” ….”  Sudbury Star
  • Meanwhile, Sudbury officials still waiting to hear from road trip to Cleveland to twist arms to get chromite smelter built near Capreol.  “Greater Sudbury officials are still awaiting word on whether an American company will build a smelter in the area to process chromite mined in the Ring of Fire.  However, they’ve already identified a site for the facility.  It’s the site of the old Moose Mountain iron mine, north of Capreol.  The mine shut down in the 1970s.  Ward 7 city councillor Dave Kilgour said that history makes it a good spot for the smelter.  “It’s a brownfield already,” he noted.  “You’re not going into fresh green virgin forest and trying to do something. It’s already been used as a mine site for a considerable length of time, so I think some of the permits… might be easier to get.”  Kilgour said he thinks hydro rates will be the key factor in whether the smelter is built in Sudbury.  The company with all the answers, Cliffs Natural Resources, has not said when it will make a decision ….”  CBC Sudbury
  • Thunder Bay also hitting the road to lobby for chromite smelter.  “Mayor Keith Hobbs remains optimistic he can help convince Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. to locate a ferrochrome processing plant in Thunder Bay.  Hobbs will venture next month to company headquarters in Cleveland, along with a Northwestern Ontario contingent, in a last-ditch effort to convince Cliffs officials to choose Thunder Bay over Sudbury.  A working group readying for the delegation is in place, and includes officials from the city, Community Economic Development Corporation, the port authority, Fort William First Nation and Thunder Bay Hydro.  Hobbs said the traveling group will be pared down before the November departure, but will be fully prepared to defend Thunder Bay’s claim to the plant, needed to process the estimated $30-billion Ring of Fire chromite deposit ….”  tbnewswatch.com
  • Timmins wants the smelter, too.  “…. Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren said he has also been meeting with officials from Cliffs Natural Resources, the company looking at building a smelting facility for its proposed northwestern Ontario mine.  “Do we think we’re part of the running? Absolutely,” said Laughren. “Would I be as confident as Sudbury, probably not. But again, I think there’s many places in northern Ontario that this could happen in.”  Laughren said what’s most important is that the smelter is built somewhere in northern Ontario.  He said northern leaders should not fight with each other, but rather lobby the province to offer lower hydro rates than Quebec and Manitoba.”  CBC Sudbury
  • Timmins Mayor also renews call for lower electricity rates.  “…. Laughren said he is hopeful that even with a Liberal government in Queen’s Park, the minority situation may be able to convince the Liberals to bring in an electrical energy rate that would allow resource-based businesses to thrive …. Laughren said the city and the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) have been working together for the last 18 months to do whatever it takes to make Timmins look attractive for the construction of a ferrochrome smelter that could process chromite from the Ring of Fire properties located near Webequie, Ontario …. Laughren said Timmins has been lobbying hard to become to site of such a refinery.  “The ferrochrome processing facility would create approximately 500 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs,” said Laughren.  The mayor said the Ring of Fire is important not only for Northern Ontario, but for the whole province.  “If we do not get energy costs down to where we can compete with Quebec and Manitoba, this will be an opportunity gone for us,” said Laughren. “The actual ferrochrome facility will not be in Ontario.” ….”  Timmins Times
  • Ring of Fire expected to be discussed at national Aboriginal business conference in Ottawa.   “…. On Oct. 24-25, Ottawa will host the Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Tradeshow. Co-Chaired by federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan and yours truly, this unique event will bring together business leaders to discuss the incredible opportunities that exist for Aboriginal entrepreneurs from coast to coast. They will be looking at some of the mega-projects that will drive Canada’s economy for years to come — Plan Nord in Quebec, the Ring of Fire in Ontario and potash mining in Saskatchewan. The conference will also offer insight and expertise on the necessary tools for Aboriginal entrepreneurs to be successful. Renowned leaders such as Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile, Dr. Leslie Roberts of the GoForth Institute and Keith Martell, chairman and chief executive of First Nations Bank will address timely issues in business such as social media, innovation and competitiveness ….”  Financial Post
  • “Rencore Resources Ltd. announces the completion of the first diamond drilling program on its wholly owned mining claims in the James Bay Lowlands of Northeastern Ontario (Ring of Fire Area) within the Webequie First Nation Traditional Lands.  The Rencore mining claims, subject of this initial drill program, are located between 30 and 60 km northwest of the Webequie First Nation community along the postulated western extension of the main Ring of Fire structure. This structure hosts a number of Chromite Deposits as well as Nickel-Copper-PGE MMS and Copper-Zinc-Lead VMS deposits presently undergoing economic mining studies by their owners …. The second half of the project drilling will commence upon the satisfactory execution of an Exploration Agreement with the Kasabonika Lake First Nation (“KLFN”). Negotiations are at an advanced stage and a positive relationship with the KLFN has been established ….”  Rencore news release

Summary of more open source information and sources cited over the past six months (1 Sept – 24 Oct 11) also downloadable here (38 page PDF).
All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.
Ring of Fire News is not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Matawa: No Joint Panel = No Ring of Fire Development

Matawa Chiefs withdrew their support for development in the Ring of Fire (ROF) today. The Chiefs and the 8000 people they represent are calling on Premier McGuinty and Prime Minister Harper to intervene in the Environmental Assessment (EA) process.

“We are done with repeating ourselves. The province needs our cooperation and the people of Ontario and Canada need our cooperation. Government is creating conflict between First Nations and industry because they are failing in their duty to consult and accommodate,” said Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie First Nation.

“The government is failing in this whole Ring of Fire and northern development initiative. It is failing First Nations again. We need the Ontario Premier and the Prime Minister to intervene and come to the table. We need a government-to-government dialogue here. Visits from junior ministerial representatives telling us what is happening instead of asking us how we want to participate is not consultation or accommodation. Government departments and ministries are not listening to us. Cliffs is already advertising its inappropriate consultation schedule, and the CEAA posted its public invitation to comment with a map of Northern Ontario that makes it look like no one lives near these projects. The map didn’t have a single First Nation community on it! We aren’t even on their radar. That is offensive to our people. That is exactly the way government views the people who live where these developments are happening, like we don’t exist,” continued Chief Eli Moonias of Marten Fall First Nation.

“We will be forced to resort to alternative measures if Canada and Ontario continue to ignore the First Nations that are being impacted by Ring of Fire developments,” said Chief Roger Wesley of Constance Lake First Nation.

Matawa Chiefs are outraged that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is proceeding with a Comprehensive Study EA. The Chiefs and their people have been calling for a Joint Review Panel EA for five months but the government is still not listening. Both the provincial and the federal governments are failing in their constitutional duty to consult and accommodate First Nations. According to the Chiefs, the government is telling them what they plan to do, but it is not consulting or accommodating them about how they want to be involved ….”

More here.

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Federal Environmental Assessment on Cliffs Project Now Under Way

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) has posted its material for an environmental assessment of the proposed Cliffs Natural Resources project at McFaulds Lake:

…. Based on information it has received, the Agency has determined that the project is described in the comprehensive study list and that an environmental assessment of the project is required. As a result, the Agency commenced a comprehensive study on October 7, 2011.

The proposed project consists of constructing, operating and eventually decommissioning an open pit/underground chromite ore mine (30 year mine life at predicted extraction rate of 6,000 to 12,000 tonnes/day) and ore processing facility. The proposal also includes an integrated transportation system consisting of a new north-south all-season road corridor and a new ferrochrome production facility, which would be located at a different location than the mine site. The project mine site is located approximately 540 km north of the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario and 240 km west of James Bay in an area known as the “Ring of Fire”.

Under section 5 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, an environmental assessment is required because, for the purpose of enabling the project to be carried out in whole or in part, Fisheries and Oceans Canada may take action in relation to paragraphs 36(5)(a) to (e), where the regulation made pursuant to those paragraphs contains a provision that limits the application of the regulation to a named site of the Fisheries Act and may take action in relation to subsection 35(2) of the Fisheries Act; Natural Resources Canada may take action in relation to paragraph 7(1)(a) of the Explosives Act and Transport Canada may take action in relation to section 5 of the Navigable Waters Protection Act.

This project is also subject to the environmental assessment requirements of the Government of Ontario ….

More info from CEAA here and here, the Sudbury Star‘s version here, CBC Thunder Bay’s take here and more company details on its proposed project here and here.

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Ring of Fire News – 11 Oct 11

  • Newly-elected North Bay Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli says he to organize “a trade mission involving local mining firms to the ring of fire chromite deposit near James Bay”  Source
  • “…. Denis Shank, Executive Director of the Sudbury Construction Association and Harold Lindstrom manager of the Construction Association of Thunder Bay are each responsible for areas larger than Southern Ontario …. Both Shank and Lindstrom said it’s important that the smelter processing of ore chromite deposits in northwestern Ontario (also known as the Ring of Fire) stays in the province instead of going to Manitoba, Quebec or overseas. “The government has committed to give that the go-ahead, depending on the party who’s going to be in power, we’ll see whether that happens or not,” said Lindstrom. Thomas said there needs to be a strong economic policy that recognizes both job growth and deficit reduction. “Everybody has to step up. I think that it’s clear that not any single form of medicine any longer is the answer, it’s going to have to be a broad approach,” he said. “People have to be careful because we don’t want to choke off what we’ve already got in front of us, but certainly finding a way to maintain and continue economic steady growth is important and reduces some of the fluctuations.” “  Source
  • Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. today announced it intends to release unaudited 2011 third-quarter financial results after the U.S.-market close Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. The Company invites interested parties to listen to a live broadcast of a conference call with institutional analysts and investors to discuss the results ….”  Source
  • Mineral exploration company says it’ll defy Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) eviction order. “God’s Lake Resources intends to defy an eviction notice from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation (KI) but the First Nation is not backing down. The company claims multiple requests to identify cultural sites have been unanswered by the First Nation, who declared 13,000 square kilometres in its community’s watershed off-limits to development by referendum until it completes its own assessment. Ontario has not acknowledged KI’s declaration and God’s Lake Resources intends to push on with its provincially-issued licence to explore. “Consultation protocols adopted in the referendum make outrageous demands of any mining company wishing to explore on their traditional homeland,” God’s Lake said in a release. “It can be interpreted as being a deterrent for any exploration or development and is a combination of religion, rhetoric, bureaucracy and some business and is not a workable document in today’s modern business world.” The company insisted it is operating under Ontario law and the First Nation is overstepping its legal boundaries. “The obligation to consult has been interpreted by many First Nation communities to mean ‘obtain their permission.’ Under the new Mining Act, claimholders in Ontario do not require permission from First Nations — rather they are required to consult with First Nations.” According to the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, the company is “entitled to access those properties under Ontario’s Mining Act.” In a Sept. 28 letter the ministry addressed to KI Chief Donny Morris, it rejected KI’s claims the company may be disturbing the graves of ancestors, stating to its knowledge, God’s Lake Resources has not engaged in any activities “likely to disturb any spiritually or culturally significant sites.” ….” Source more more (company news release)
  • Meanwhile, the First Nation is “…. calling on Ontario to honour a promise made by the McGuinty government in 2008 and create a joint panel to resolve longstanding issues regarding mining exploration on their homelands. “In 2008, just before we were jailed, Ontario promised us a joint panel to resolve our outstanding issues with mining companies. We are still waiting for them to honour that promise” said KI Chief Donny Morris. Minister Michael Gravelle has been reported as saying that he has accepted an invitation to visit the community and discuss matters, but he has made no clear commitment to the promised joint panel, he may no longer be Minister following the election, and the Ontario government has yet to ensure that our sacred burials will not be further disturbed. “In 2008, the joint panel Ontario promised was never created, we went to jail, no discussions took place following our release by the Court of Appeal and now we find ourselves in the same situation with Gods Lake Resources threatening a sacred area and Ontario nowhere to be seen,” stated Chief Morris ….”  Source
  • From open letter from KI to Minister Gravelle dated January 2008, published on First Nation blog March 2008:  “…. Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug will suspend our occupation of the disputed area for the duration of this agreement. In return, Ontario will agree to a moratorium on exploration and mining in the disputed area …. During the moratorium a Joint Panel will investigate issues relating to mineral exploration and mining within our traditional territory. The panel will make recommendations to Ontario and KI concerning the future of the moratorium, the reform of Ontario’s Mining Act in order to prevent similar conflicts in the future, and other related issues.  The Joint Panel will be comprised of 5 members: one appointed by AAFN, one by KI, and two appointed by Ontario, one of whom would be appointed by yourself and the other appointed by the office of the Premier. A Chairperson would be the 5th member of the panel. The Chair would be chosen on the basis of his/her qualifications to address technical, environmental and socio-economic issues, as well as the rights, perspectives and concerns of First Nations ….”  Source
  • From an April 2008 First Nation statement:  “…. Both KI and Ardoch remain committed to the proposal which we made in January for a Joint Panel to examine the causes of these disputes and make recommendations for preventing similar disputes in the future. Although Mr. Bryant has not yet responded to the proposal, both communities have told him that we are still prepared to work with Ontario to set up the Joint Panel, as soon as all of the prisoners are released from jail and a moratorium on mining and exploration in the disputed territories is implemented ….”  Source
  • Another version of events, from June 2008 article:  “…. A possible way forward was spelled out a few months ago in a joint proposal from the KI and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations that called for a moratorium on mining exploration pending the recommendations of a joint panel to be set up with representatives from the government and the two communities. That would lead to negotiation of an interim measures agreement that would provide for land withdrawals and joint decision-making on resource extraction. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant agreed to a joint panel with KI, but refused to include the Ardoch Algonquins in the deal – which meant that KI refused to be part of it. Michael Gravelle, minister of Northern Development and Mines, has refused to heed calls for a moratorium while new rules are worked out ….”  Source (archived article also downloadable as PDF here) – more

Summary of more open source information and sources cited over the past six months (1 – 11 Oct 11) also downloadable here (5 page PDF).  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ring of Fire News – 3 Oct 11

  • Is the City of Thunder Bay considering offering land to a company willing to set up a chromite smelter here?  On August 15, the City’s Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee (consisting of the Mayor, some city councillors and staff) held one of its regular meetings to discuss issues associated with dealing with other levels of government.  Part of the meeting was closed to the public to discuss “a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board.” (the Municipal Act says municipal councils and committees, as well as local boards, have to explain why meetings are closed to the public when convening them).  What was the only item of business discussed during the closed part of the meeting?  An update from the City Manager on “Ferrochrome Facility Update”.  CBC Radio Thunder Bay said last week that the City of Thunder Bay continues to work on its “business case” for having a smelter built here, and will present it to the company when the plan is complete.  Sourcemore (PDF)
  • Meanwhile, Sudbury, Cliffs mum after their meeting in Cleveland.  “The City of Greater Sudbury has made its initial case to Cliffs Natural Resources to land a proposed ferrochrome production facility, but neither side will get into specifics about how things went at a meeting at the mining company’s head offices in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday. “The meeting was productive and it was a great opportunity to meet with the Cliffs team,” Mayor Marianne Matichuk said in a release Tuesday. The release went on to say the “very preliminary meeting” was an information exchange and that the mayor and her staff team will continue to work with Cliffs as they continue their deliberations …. Pat Persico, Cliffs Natural Resources’ senior manager of media relations and marketing, said in a statement Tuesday that the company will not comment on the ferrochrome production facility issue until a decision on a location is made. “Cliffs understands that there are many interested stakeholders following this project,” she said in an email. “At this time, we do not have updated information to share publicly about Cliffs Chromite Project located in the Ring of Fire nor any business meetings with various cities …. “When we arrive at a decision for the (ferrochrome production facility) site, we will make a public announcement.” ….”  Source
  • Aboriginal media outlet Wawatay News collects and shares party positions on the Ring of Fire and the Far North Act.  My only observation:  funny how some parties had a candidate speaking, and others just a party spokesperson.  Source alternative download (PDF)
  • ANOTHER call for a joint federal-provincial environmental assessment of proposed Ring of Fire projects.  “Matawa Chiefs are deeply concerned about the type of Environmental Assessment (EA) process that will be used to determine the impacts of two resource development projects in their traditional territories. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is expected to announce the formal start of the EA process for the Cliffs Chromite Project in early October and for the Noront Eagle’s Nest Project in early November. Concerns over the EA have prompted the Matawa First Nations Chiefs to demand that a “Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment” process be adopted in order to safeguard the sustainability and integrity of their lands ….”  Source (PDF) – Matawa’s Ring of Fire Environmental Assessment Process Facebook page
  • Previous calls, mentions of a call for a joint environmental assessment of Ring of Fire projects:  9 Aug 11 – Wawatay News story; 11 Jul 11 – blog entry by KI spokesperson, environmental organization rep; 31 May 11 – Matawa  First Nations Chiefs resolution and letter to Canada’s, Ontario’s environment ministers (PDF); 3 May 11 – Environmental group letter to Canada’s Environment Minister (PDF)
  • Precedent for joint panel?  9 Aug 11:  “Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent and Ontario’s Minister of the Environment John Wilkinson announced today the establishment of a three-member joint review panel for the environmental assessment of the proposed Marathon Platinum Group Metals and Copper Mine Project in Ontario ….” (more info here)
  • Matawa, James Bay Chiefs call for honouring the spoken (not just the written) word of the Treaties. “There are changes coming, on an increasingly frequent level as many First Nations across Northern Ontario are working closer together. There are agreements on sharing information, and on mining and exploration rights being signed. Now, First Nations are uniting to implement the Oral Treaty. Seven Matawa First Nations and Seven Mushkegowuk First Nations have signed a declaration to work together to achieve the implementation of the Oral Treaty. The Chiefs Declaration states that we are “…committed to exercising our inherent and treaty rights, without limitations imposed by others. We will consider the use of any options to ensure that the development of our homelands occurs only with the free, informed and prior consent of our First Nations.” ….”  Source
  • Remember the Keewatin court decision which how could have a huge impact on Ontario’s power to license forestry and/or mining in Treaty areas?  Canada and Ontario are appealing the decision.  Source
  • Matawa hiring a charitable organization fundraiser for “education, social, health and community living” work in member First Nations.  “Established in 2011, The Gathering of Rivers for Community Care (GORFCC) is a Registered Charity dedicated to assisting the Matawa First Nations youth and families to achieve their goals in the areas of education, health and social and community living. GORFCC requires a Development Coordinator who will responsible for the day-to-day operations as well as the launch of the foundation, fundraising initiatives, stewardship, donor relations, and data collection. The Development Coordinator Internship will be reporting to the Chief Executive Officer of Matawa and GORFCC Board of Directors …. Application deadline is Friday October 7, 2011 by 4:30 P.M. ….”  Job posting (PDF) – Alternate download site (PDF)
  • New partnership between one of the Ring of Fire First Nations and B.C.-based communications, logistics company. “Webequie First Nations and INDI Indigenous Development Inc. (INDI) (more on company here) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which will see the provision of communications, safety and security services to communities and commercial clients alike in the Ring of Fire. Chief Cornelious Wabasse says “I am excited about this MOU with INDI. Their core competencies of communications, safety, and security are three important dimensions for our community and for the future developments in the Ring of Fire. One of the exciting elements is that our own members can be trained in these areas for future employment and be part of the eventual full scale operations. We look forward to contractual opportunities with the main operators in the Ring of Fire.” ….”  Source
  • One commentator’s take on Ring of Fire development:  “…. It makes no sense to go to war and start huge conflicts merely for the almighty dollar in developing these pristine traditional lands. Nobody would really win in this scenario. However, make no mistake about it no matter what government is in place or how much money or power industry has, if fair deals are not made with the First Nations of the “Ring Of Fire” nothing will ever be developed in this area. There will be a conflict that we will all have to endure for decades and we will waste a lot of energy, time and good will in a pointless fight ….”  Source
  • Big Trout Lake (aka Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, or KI) is back in the news re:  trying to block mining exploration in their traditional territory.  “The chief of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation is calling on (Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty) to stop a gold exploration company from working on a KI ancestral burial site. “Our ancestors deserve a place where they can rest undisturbed,” Chief Donny Morris said Wednesday. “People everywhere understand that cemeteries are sacred places. But in Sherman Lake, they want to put a gold mine on one.” The band claims that mining exploration company God’s Lake Resources has staked new claims despite KI’s well-publicized moratorium, and that the company has worked the site in spite of being informed that multiple grave sites are within the claim area. Government officials have told the band that they are powerless to stop God’s Lake from working their claims in spite of bands indigenous title, and spiritual connection to the area …. “  Source more more more (First Nation’s news releases, background information)
  • The company’s side on the latest Big Trout Lake/KI situation:  “A junior exploration company that Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation is trying to kick off its traditional territory says its attempts to consult with the band have been met with silence.  God’s Lake Resources CEO Ed Ludwig said Thursday that the company has tried to meet with the band, without success, about the existence of sacred burial sites near where the company is exploring for gold in the Sherman Lake area. “We were told about (the potential of grave sites in the area) and have asked the chief and elders to locate them,” said Ludwig, adding that the province has made the same request. “We’ve asked that they please come and show us . . . we want to show the proper respect. “I want to respect that avenue and develop a boundary, but when questioned about where there might be grave sites, the band has provided no response,” he said. Ludwig added that company employees have so far found “no evidence of any grave sites up there” ….”  Source more (PDF, Company’s latest Management’s Discussion and Analysis document, 29 Aug 11)
  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s behind KI:  “Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy supports Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation in the community’s call for the Premier of Ontario to step in to halt mining activity within their traditional territory. “Ontario must take action to preserve its relationship with the First Nations in Ontario’s far north,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “Ontario must respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, supported by Canada, which states that free, prior, and informed consent is required from First Nations …. “ Source (NAN news release)
  • Some editorial support for KI:  Three years later and it looks like it’s business as usual in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation. For the people who live there, it’s not a good thing. Earlier this week band leaders publicly demanded the province – in the midst of an election campaign – force mining companies to stop exploration work on their traditional territory. The community has set aside about 13,000 square kilometres of traditional land and said no exploration will be allowed until they’ve finished identifying where sacred burial sites are located. All they’ve asked for at this point is time …. While no one wants to halt development of Ontario’s north, First Nations do have the right to be consulted and negotiate before companies are allowed to stake their land. It’s the right thing to do.”  Source
  • Some editorial questions for KI:  “Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation has a reputation for making demands. But what does it want? …. If KI wants this thing resolved, it has to participate. It cannot expect God’s Lake to put its plans on hold indefinitely …. “We have full intentions of exploring this property,” Ludwig said, and the province has said it has no reason to order God’s Lake to stop, though that is another thing that KI is demanding.  “Our door is always open,” said (company CEO Ed)Ludwig, “and we would welcome (KI) as a partner, providing jobs for community members — without all the political rhetoric.” What is KI waiting for? Get the elders up there and show the exploration personnel what land is off-limits.  What more does it want? The mining industry, the provincial government and the people of Northern Ontario want to know.” Source

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