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Ring of Fire News – 12 Dec 11

  • Comparisons are being drawn between the situation in Attawapiskat and the Ring of Fire (1)  “…. In spite of our objections, the mine was approved and is now in operation. Life has clearly not improved for the citizens of Attawapiskat. We’ve continued our connection with the community by providing it with scientific information about the potential effects of the mine on mercury levels in lakes and rivers, boreal woodland caribou populations and the formation of sinkholes. But that does not fix the tremendous social and economic problems the community is facing.  Meanwhile, many more industrial developments are looming for Ontario’s north. Next up are mega-mines being proposed to extract valuable minerals in the Ring of Fire upstream from Attawapiskat ….”  Source
  • Comparisons are being drawn between the situation in Attawapiskat and the Ring of Fire (2)  “@politixgirl (Gina Cosentino)  Same question 4 FNs w/ chromite MT @NoLore @Knowledgewalker: any chance diamond folks want #Attawapiskat gone 4 better access to diamonds?”  Source
  • With Ring of Fire development needing provincial and federal money, some northern mayors want FedNor funding easier to access, especially if provincial Northern Ontario Heritage Fund money is not forthcoming.  “If a tight budget won’t allow the feds to add more money to FedNor, then Northern mayors want Ottawa to adjust how it doles out the cash.  The economic development program for Northern Ontario offers one-time, one-year funding, but that may not suit larger multi-year ventures, especially infrastructure projects, said North Bay Mayor Al McDonald during an interview on the weekend.  “If we can get that small adjustment made, that would help municipalities control their destiny,” he said.  McDonald and the city’s CEO Dave Linkie were among the Northern representatives including Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Jay Aspin to accept an invitation to meet with FedNor Minister Tony Clement on Thursday to hash out priorities for Northern Ontario.  FedNor’s budget is about $34 million for the year, compared to the $100-million Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, yet the two programs are linked in a way that makes it easier to access federal money if the provincial dollars are already committed.  Northern mayors want to uncouple the programs to make it easier to access FedNor money when Heritage funding isn’t in place ….”  Source
  • A column by an industry writer in the National Post points a finger at Ontario re:  consulting with First Nations under the Far North Act (PDF).  “…. It’s rather ironic that the supposedly “conservative mining industry” is consulting and making various agreements that ensure aboriginal communities get maximum benefits from mineral development of their traditional territories and that adhere to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples commitment to “prior and informed consent.”  Conversely, the Liberal-left McGuinty government and its environmental allies force unwanted parks on First Nations communities with a condescending colonial mindset from the past century ….”  Source
  • Some northwestern Ontario First Nations are working to improve electrical connectivity near the Ring of Fire (although not specifically for any ROF projects at this point).   “Numerous First Nation Communities are working to bring transmission line connectivity and green energy development to remote First Nation communities currently operating on expensive diesel generators in Northwestern Ontario.  Wataynikaneyap Power is being formed as a First Nation led company to design, permit, construct, own and operate a 230 kV transmission line to bring additional grid connection to Pickle Lake. The Company is proposing a two-phase planning and permitting process to bring connectivity to the remote First Nations. The first phase would reinforce the grid at Pickle Lake and the second phase would extend the grid north of Pickle Lake to service the remote communities.  Significant pre-development work has been completed, including a routing study for the new line to Pickle Lake (Phase 1). The Team engaged a transmission Consultant to evaluate five potential route options to connect to Pickle Lake. A preferred route has been identified and further studies will take place over the coming months. Community consultations and the commencement of an Environmental Assessment is planned in early 2012.  The need for this transmission line is supported by the Ministry of Energy as identified in the Long Term Energy Plan, released November 23, 2010 and the Ministry Directive to plan for remote First Nation community connectivity, February 3, 2011.  Early engagement and participation of all First Nation Communities will be key to successful development. Each community will have the choice to be an equal owner in Wataynikaneyap Power. Reliable power in the region is a direct benefit for all, while allowing those communities with renewable energy projects to sell their clean power to the provincial grid, further supporting regional economic development. The opportunity to turn off the diesel generators used in the region will result in a meaningful reduction of greenhouse gas generation while allowing First Nations significantly more power capacity to enable community development projects ….”  Source (alternate link to news release here)

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-11 Dec 11 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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