Ring of Fire News

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What's up with the biggest thing happening in mining in NW Ontario?

Ring of Fire News – 28 Nov 11

  • Ontario Throne Speech:  One brief mention of the Ring of Fire.  “…. your government will continue to aggressively pursue new investment in the Ontario economy …. In Ontario’s North, the mining sector is experiencing a historic and exciting boom. Your government remains fully committed to turning the vast, untapped potential of the Ring of Fire into good, leading-edge northern jobs ….”  Full Ontario Throne speech text
  • Assembly of First Nations Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse segues from Throne Speech mention to a reminder:  “…. Though the (Ontario) Throne Speech also highlighted the government`s commitment to develop the Ring of Fire area in an effort to bring new jobs to the north, Regional Chief emphasized that working with the First Nations located in the Ring of Fire area is imperative to realizing progress in developing the mining projects. “The provincial government has been clear – they view the development of the Ring of Fire area as a key economic driver for years to come. The First Nations in the Ring of Fire area have been equally clear that they expect to be directly involved in the development from beginning to end. It is important to understand that the mineral deposits are located on their traditional lands and they want their communities to benefit economically from this development and to make every effort to ensure the protection of the environment for existing and future generations,” said Chief Toulouse ….”  Source
  • Rookie Kenora MPP Sarah Campbell also underwhelmed with Throne Speech mention of Ring of Fire.  “Oversights of Northern Ontario in Tuesday’s speech from the throne opening the first session of Ontario’s 40th parliament are “disappointing, to say the least,” said NDP MPP Sarah Campbell. “It seems like the (Dalton) McGuinty government sees us as a nut that needs to be cracked and we need to just extrapolate as much of the wealth from our area as possible,” said the rookie member representing Kenora-Rainy River. “Of course, there was no mention of working with First Nations, which is also a concern, but all in all, I think we’re going to have to look at it line-by-line to see where we can go.” The speech set the agenda for McGuinty’s third term as premiere – first with minority status – and made no specific mention of the North except to say “your government remains fully committed to turning the vast, untapped potential of the Ring of Fire into good, leading-edge northern jobs” with respect to “a historic and exciting boom” in the mining sector.” An absence of any mention toward ironing out First Nation relations while communities like Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) and Matawa continue to grapple with consultations and developers is concerning, said Campbell. “It’s serious cause for concern for myself and other northern MPPs – I talked with a number of other northern MPPs, as you know most of the MPPs representing the north happen to be in the NDP caucus – and these were things we all were collectively concerned about,” she said. “But I’m trying to give (the government) the benefit of the doubt because, like I said, I’m trying to focus on working toward some common areas of interest but that doesn’t mean that we should just roll over and abandon some of our principles.” ….”  Source
  • Webequie First Nation:  Matawa doesn’t necessarily speak for us when it comes to dealing with companies in the Ring of Fire.  “….Webequie First Nation is one of the two northern First Nations that will be most directly impacted by the potential mining developments for the Ring of Fire area. Webequie First Nation is a member community of the Matawa First Nations Management Tribal Council, which was created to serve First Nations. In recent weeks, the Matawa First Nations Management Tribal Council has been promoting a stop order on development in the Ring of Fire and lobbying for a Joint Panel Review Environmental Assessment on behalf of all the regional Matawa First Nations. Webequie First Nation supports regional First Nations’ concerns over the current Environmental Assessment process but notes that the Matawa Tribal Council or any other third party, is not a decision-making authority or community voice for Webequie First Nation. Continues Wabasse; “Matawa First Nations Tribal Council provides our First Nations with important support services but it must be clearly understood that its staff do not represent our First Nation membership on community issues. Industry and government are required to engage directly with our First Nation and it is the Webequie Council through quorum who can legally commit Webequie First Nation to any type of process or agreement that affects its membership.” ….”  Sourcemore moremore
  • What’s Matawa got to say?  “…. Matawa First Nations support and respect all of its member communities and their governance and decision making processes. Each Matawa First Nation is autonomous. Government and industry need to consult with each First Nation according to their community protocols. For example, Matawa has an Interim Mineral Measures Process that provides guidelines for industry and government on community consultation, but it does not supercede community processes or decision making. First Nations are increasingly frustrated with the Federal and Provincial Government’s failure to consult on many issues including health, education, and economic development, but especially the environmental assessment process. The First Nation Chiefs of Matawa share their concern for the environment. Matawa First Nations supports Webequie in the development of their Community Position Paper and Consultation and Accommodation Protocol.”  Source
  • KWG Resources declares dibs on mining claims in (future railway?) corridor leading from Ring of Fire to Exton, near Nakina- exploration work on the claims continues, though.  “…. MNDM recently confirmed that it has accepted for filing $7.5 million of geotechnical data as assessment work completed on the claims constituting the transportation corridor from Exton to the Ring of Fire. The work distribution secures tenure in all of the claims, most into 2016. Corridor till sampling underway in JV between Debut and KWG – The geotechnical soil profile samples recovered at 500 meter intervals along the entire length of the railroad corridor claims constitute an unprecedented opportunity for the search for mineral deposits along this transect of the Canadian Shield. To facilitate the analysis, KWG and DDI have entered a joint venture under which DDI will conduct heavy minerals separation and analysis of the entire suite of samples. Diamond discoveries from this work, within the claims plus a 30 kilometer area of interest in all directions, will be the property of DDI ….” Source
  • Speaking of railways, KWG hires First Nation leader to sort out First Nation equity for a rail line running up to the Ring of Fire (around the time a Canadian government agency says, “show us more First Nation equity in this project).  “KWG Resources Inc. is very pleased to announce that Her Worship Chief Theresa Okimaw-Hall has been appointed Executive Director of Canada Chrome Corporation. CCC is the wholly-owned subsidiary of KWG which has staked a corridor of claims from the Ring of Fire to Exton, Ontario and is assessing those for the construction of a railroad. On June 30, 2011 the Greenstone Economic Development Corporation (“GEDC”) and CCC filed a proposal with PPP Canada in response to its Round 3 Request for Proposals, suggesting a loan guarantee for the last 25% of the estimated cost of constructing the railroad would lower the project’s funding costs. The proposal outlined a long term plan for the First Nations of the James Bay Lowlands to be vested with ownership of the railroad in consideration of their consent to its construction within their traditional lands. As the legal entities required for the vesting of such ownership have yet to be created by those First Nations, the GEDC Board agreed to be the proposal’s present proponent on their behalf. Recently, PPP Canada advised GEDC that its Round 3 funding would be allocated only to “shovel-ready” projects, and that the railroad funding support proposal would require identification of the First Nations’ enterprise in order to receive further consideration. As Executive Director of CCC, Theresa Okimaw-Hall will now pursue the opportunities CCC has identified amongst all of the First Nations affected by the Ring of Fire developments, to formulate the mechanisms for their participation in the equity of CCC ….”  At the time of application, the company said the project would cost around $1.984 billion, so they’re looking for just under $500 million from PPP Canada.  Source more
  • Defence Counsel:  Matawa’s court challenge could delay Ring of Fire development 18 months.  “…. Judith Rae, a lawyer with Toronto-based law firm Olthuis Kleer Townshend, was in Thunder Bay last week meeting with Matawa chiefs on the judicial review, which Matawa filed Nov. 7. Rae told Wawatay News that while Matawa’s judicial review does not put the existing EA on hold, it could result in Cliffs Resources and the provincial and federal governments having to redo the entire assessment if the federal judge rules in favour of Matawa. Rae said the project’s proponent and government officials could avoid that delay by agreeing to start a full joint review panel (JRP) right away. “We expect the judge to agree with Matawa’s position, but that may take anywhere from eight to 18 months for the decision,” Rae said. “The hope is that we start the right process as soon as possible. That is why Matawa is reaching out to (Cliffs Resources), to Canada and Ontario saying let’s not waste all this time and money, we can start the right process anytime.” ….”  Source
  • Remember Matawa’s brochure to northern First Nation communities mentioned here last week?  Here’s a link to the brochure (Scribd.com) – here’s another link (PDF download) if the first one doesn’t work.
  • Cliffs Natural Resources is planning to send at least some of their unprocessed chromite directly to China ….  “Cliffs Natural Resources said it plans to send some of the chromite it mines in the Ring of Fire to refineries in Asia, despite the Ontario Mining Act stipulation that ore mined in the province must be processed in Canada. Bill Boor, senior vice president with Cliffs, said the company will seek an exemption to the Act, if necessary. He said the economic viability of the project depends on being able to sell chromite to world markets in different forms — both ferrochrome and concentrate. “Selling concentrate is … an acknowledged value-added product within the world market that’s already existing,” Boor said. He added the company will process material at the mine site — upgrading the chromite ore to concentrate, and that most of what Cliffs mines will end up being refined at the ferrochrome smelter it plans to build in northern Ontario ….”    Source – more – more
  • …. which has some worried.  “…. Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas is opposed to Cliffs’ plan. “It’s completely unacceptable,” she said. “We do have an act that says it can not be processed outside of Canada … without a serious conversation with the provincial government.” Gelinas wants to see Ontario benefit from its own resources. ” This is our natural resources,” she said ….”  (source“Ottawa and Queen’s Park must maximize the huge potential benefits of the so-called “Ring of Fire” mining discovery in the James Bay lowlands by preventing all the raw materials being siphoned off and sent to China, says the head of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees. “Premier Dalton McGuinty’s government has called the Ring of Fire the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century and yet we understand the plan is to send the raw materials to China to be refined,” says William Brehl, president of the union representing maintenance workers on several short line railways in Northern Ontario. “As mining operations begin in the next couple years, the same care taken to protect the environment should be taken to protect and promote the economy of Northern Ontario and the thousands of workers who lost their jobs a year ago in Timmins when the former Falconbridge refinery was closed down,” he adds ….” (source)
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