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

Ring of Fire News – 19 Mar 12

  • Ontario develops proposed rules laying out exactly what consultation needs to be done (by companies, not the provincial government) with First Nations  “…. The Exploration Regulation proposes a graduated system of Aboriginal consultation requirements for early exploration mining activities. The graduated system is based on two classes of early exploration activities requirements: Exploration Plans and Exploration Permits.  Both classes of requirements require the exponent of the exploration activities to provide information about all Aboriginal consultation that has taken place or is planned to take place. For Exploration Plans this would be noted in a Consultation Report and this would be contained in the Application for an Exploration Permit.  Exploration Plans involve lower impact activities and can be approved within 30 days of being submitted to the Ministry.  An Exploration Permit involves low to moderate impact activities and can be approved within 31-50 days of filing the application but not before. Exploration Permits would be posted on the EBR and have a provision for alternative dispute resolution (ADR) provision between Aboriginal group and the exponent ….”  Source more more more (CAVEAT:  The changes are proposed by Ontario, not the prospectors’ association as suggested in this piece) – Description of proposed regulation (via Environmental Bill of Rights registry) more more
  • Column:  First Nations need to be really consulted, not just considered  “…. If development in northern Ontario is going to proceed, First Nations have to benefit in meaningful and long-term ways. And for that to happen, First Nations need to be involved in all stages of the development. They need to have a say in how and where mining takes place, how environmental monitoring happens, and how and where the spinoffs of mining – things like roads, power lines, airstrips and railways – get built.  Up to this point the debate over transportation in the Ring of Fire has focused on whether Cliff’s North-South route or Noront’s East-West route was best. Both options were being led by’industry. Both options placed the needs of communities second to moving tonnes of ore from the mines to market.  By signing the East-West transportation corridor agreement the chiefs have gone well beyond simply asking industry to take their interests into account ….”  Source
  • Column:  Ontario better develop the Ring of Fire quickly before all those special interests start to slow things down  “…. The Ring of Fire is being developed in a time of unprecedented sensitivities for environmental and First Nations concerns, which have caught the attention of the United Nations and a few movie stars, to boot. The whole world is watching and when it does, it can be a serious problem, as Alberta is finding out.  Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci, whose ministry is spearheading development in the Ring of Fire, says Ontario is still the first choice of industry for investment in mining. The province drew $1 billion in exploration for the first time in 2011 and the value of mineral production was $11 billion, up from $5.7 billion in 2003 – both No. 1 in Canada.  There is no advantage for the Liberals in delaying development of the Ring of Fire. Even economist Don Drummond urged the province to take full advantage of the deposit. But, says Bartolucci, the province will proceed “methodically,” working with private companies and First Nations and addressing environmental issues.  The Ring of Fire can’t be developed in the same fashion as the oilsands. And even if it could be, it wouldn’t be wise.”  Source
  • Cliffs:  We’re strong enough to keep growing AND pay bigger dividends  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. today announced a new strategic capital allocation plan intended to drive Total Shareholder Return (TSR). As part of the plan, the Company’s Board of Directors approved a 123% increase in the quarterly dividend to $0.625, from the previous quarterly rate of $0.28. The next quarterly dividend at the new rate will be payable on June 1, 2012, to shareholders of record on the close of business on April 29, 2012. The substantial dividend increase reinforces Cliffs’ strong outlook for cash generation and commitment to using disciplined capital allocation to drive TSR.  Joseph Carrabba, Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, “Cliffs has experienced tremendous growth through M&A in recent years and, with that, has also acquired a diverse and strong pipeline of attractive organic growth projects. As a result, we are refocusing our strategic priority to execution. Cliffs has matured to a point where our strong financial profile and cash flow generation will allow us to increasingly return large amounts of capital to our shareholders, while at the same time, fund capacity expansions already underway in Eastern Canada and other geographies.” ….”  Source
  • Noront helping young people in Webequie  “…. DAREarts, a charity that works with youth in challenging circumstances, began its relationship with Webequie four years ago when youth and elders from the First Nation community exposed to DAREarts programming at a Junior Ranger camp asked for help.  “There wasn’t any money in the budget for Webequie, but I couldn’t say no to them,” said DAREarts founder and president Marilyn Field. “I put in some of my own seed money for the first few years until we eventually found some funding.”  The organization uses the arts, including storytelling, photography, dance, drama and music, to help young people build confidence and leadership skills.  A DAREarts team visits Webequie once a year for between a week to three weeks at a time, usually in the fall “to set the kids up for success in the school year,” said Field ….  The dropout rate is high, but in the DAREarts program this year, said Fields, “we had 27 kids on the first day and a month later we had 27 kids.”  Webequie youth want to modernize their community and find a balance between their traditions and the modern world, said Field. “They’re the generation that will have to do this. These kids want jobs and it*s up to us to help them find ways to bring employment to the community.” ….”  Source
  • Letter to the Editor:  Yeah, SURE the north will get provincial revenues from the Ring of Fire  “…. I appreciate (Thunder Bay Mayor) Keith Hobbs’s enthusiasm and certainly agree with him that Thunder Bay is the true capital of Northern Ontario, but the reality is that the Ring of Fire project will be another case of Southern Ontario taking resources out of the North and giving nothing back.  Ontario produces about $10 billion worth of minerals per year. Why then are Northern taxpayers treated like second class citizens, forced to resort to begging for doctors and money for roads and bridges? I have zero confidence that there will be any provincial money put back into our area as a result of this project. I’ll believe it when I see it ….”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-16 Mar 12 (PDF) here. All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act. The blog is not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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