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Ring of Fire News – 7 Jul 12

  • HUDAK:  RING O’ FIRE=ONTARIO’S OIL SANDS ….  “The Ring of Fire has the potential to be a game changer. That’s what Ontario PC Tim Hudak thinks, and after his visit to the (area) …. he is completely convinced. “This could change our province forever for the better,” he said in a phone interview. The Ring of Fire is not a Johnny Cash song, but rather one of the most promising mineral development opportunities in recent history. Located in the James Bay Lowlands, the area is home to nickel, iron ore and copper deposits. In addition, it is thought to have possibly the largest chromite deposit in North America. Chromite is used in making stainless steel, and this deposit could make Ontario a key player in the global steel industry. “This could be Ontario’s oil sands,” Hudak said. But there are many things that stand in the way. Hudak made the trip to James Bay with Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, PC Northern Development Critic Norm Miller, and PC Natural Resources Critic Laurie Scott …. ” Source More more more more  – more
  • …. WHILE MINING BLOGGER IS UNDERWHELMED WITH THE COMPARISON  “…. I fear Hudak’s ill-timed comparison to the oil sands might be the spark that causes an escalation of anti-Ring of Fire activity …. his strategic ineptitude was akin to waving a red flag in front of the south’s powerful environmental movement. Most southerners know very little of mining and are generally very uncomfortable with the images from northern Alberta of ravaged landscapes, toxic waste ponds and dying ducks. Mining in northern Ontario, whether it is open pit or underground is not remotely similar to the oil sands developments. The ecological footprints of the Cliffs Natural Resources open pit chromite project and Noront Resources nickel/copper/PGM underground mine – the other proposed development in the Ring of Fire – will be very small and environmentally sustainable ….”  Source
  • RING O’ FIRE “EVICTIONS” ….  “Six Ring of Fire First Nations communities have warned the companies hoping to develop the area’s rich chromite and nickel-PGM deposits, including international iron ore and coal miner Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF-N), that they’re about to be evicted. In a press release on June 22, several communities warned that they were in the “final stages of issuing a 30-day eviction notice to all mining companies with exploration and development camps in the region” of northern Ontario’s James Bay lowlands. “We are sending a strong message to Ontario and Canada that we need to negotiate a process for First Nation participation in the mining projects that will be changing our lives forever,” said Neskantaga First Nation Chief Peter Moonias in a statement. “Unless and until we have a table for government to government negotiations we will evict the intruders from our lands.” Asked if the eviction could be avoided, Moonias said yes, and outlined several issues that first need to be addressed by government. First, Moonias says that the relationship between governments and First Nations must be treated as a government to government relationship, adding that First Nations are not “stakeholders.” “We are a treaty nation. We’re not cottage holders or stakeholders of any kind, we are a government, we have authority over our lands. That’s why we need to create a table where we can sit across from the government on a tripartite level.” Moonias also wants the province to embrace the principle of free, prior informed consent, something that isn’t included in the recently revised Ontario Mining Act. …. ”  Source List of Companies issued “eviction notices”   
  • …. WITH AFN SUPPORT ….  “Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo …. continued to urge the Ontario and federal governments to fulfill their obligation to fully engage and consult with First Nations prior to development. “Just as I stood with Matawa First Nations at a press conference last November, I stand in full support of all First Nations asserting their rights and in favour of the implementation of free, prior and informed consent as a basic standard when it comes to development,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “Development opportunities must not come at a cost to First Nation Treaty and rights. In accordance with the standard of free, prior and informed consent, as articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, First Nation rights holders and their leaders must be fully engaged in any development in their territories so they can drive the solutions that will grow the communities where their peoples can learn, work and grow. True partnership is about achieving an understanding and agreement on the way the way forward. Governments and industry must engage early and engage often. This is the bare minimum and I urge both Ontario and Canada to act now.” Six First Nation communities part of Matawa Tribal Council announced June 22 they would be issuing a 30 day eviction notice to all mining companies with exploration and development camps in their territories. The eviction notice also called for a moratorium on all Ring of Fire mining activity …. ”  Source More
  • …. BUT NOT EVERYBODY’S BEING “KICKED OUT”  “Northern Superior Resources Inc. and Neskantaga First Nation wish to assure the Northern Superior shareholders that both the Company and Neskantaga remain committed to advancing the Ti-pa-haa-kaa-ning (TPK), New Growth and New Growth Annex gold properties within Neskantaga’s traditional territory in northwestern Ontario. This, after Northern Superior’s name inadvertently appeared on a list of Company’s slated to receive eviction notices from the “Ring of Fire” of Northwestern Ontario, by a group of First Nations (including Neskantaga) opposed to the development of a chromite deposit in that area. Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation comments: “Northern Superior and Neskantaga have a long-standing tradition of working closely towards the exploration and potential development of resources in Neskantaga’s traditional territory. We regret Northern Superior’s name appearing on this eviction list. Under the current agreement we have with Northern Superior, Neskantaga looks forward to their continued progress of exploration within our Traditional Lands.” Dr. T.F. Morris, President and CEO of Northern Superior states: “Northern Superior has worked hard to ensure that proper consultation has occurred between the Company and Neskantaga through all phases of exploration thus far. The positive working relationship between Northern Superior and Neskantaga resulting from this effort has facilitated numerous and important discoveries on all three properties to date. Northern Superior looks forward to continued exploration on these properties with Neskantaga’s support, once market conditions improve.” …. ”  Source  – More from In Support of Mining
  • NORONT: ONTARIO NEEDS TO DO MORE  “…. “I think the root of the problem, is that the First Nations are seeking a greater amount of consultation. Our hope is that the government would lead those discussions,” Noront Resources president and CEO Wes Hanson said …. Hanson said that during the latest talks with most of the six First Nation leaders, “this issue of eviction wasn’t brought to the forefront. “All these communities want to see economic development. They want to be included in all discussions, and many have valid concerns,” he said ….  Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci said Wednesday that “we continue to take our duty to consult very seriously.  “Our staff have been working for days to set up meetings with Aroland and Neskantaga, and those efforts will continue,” Laura Blondeau said. “Our government wants to ensure First Nations communities benefit from the many opportunities that would be presented through Ring of Fire development …. ”  Source
  • MINING COMMISSION RAIL/ROAD CLAIMS HEARING  “Neskantaga First Nation (Lansdowne House) is throwing up a legal stop sign on the proposed road into the Ring of Fire. The First Nation filed a legal intervention with the Mining and Lands Commissioner on Thursday, claiming the province has delayed consultation while it makes announcements on the 400-kilometre route into the chromite deposit on Neskantaga’s traditional lands. If the legal challenge is accepted, it could halt construction on the only road into the Ring of Fire, delaying the entire project. The band’s legal counsel, Matthew Kirchner, said his clients are entitled to consultation before the government approves projects in their traditional territory. “They have constitutional rights to respect the land. That’s confirmed under Treaty 9. The Neskantaga also assert that they didn’t extinguish their rights under the Treaty,” he said. “Because of the constitutional protection of those rights under Section 35 of the constitution, they’re entitled to be consulted before there’s a crown decision made that might affect those rights. It’s a constitutional duty on behalf of the crown to consult and if appropriate, accommodate them.” ….”  Source (Kenora Daily Miner & News) More  – more (Chronicle-Journal) NAN news release supporting Neskantaga (PDF) CBC.ca Wawatay News More
  • THE WEB SITE THAT IS NO MORE?  Remember the “Friends of the Neskantaga First Nation” web page inviting folks to the July 5th road/rail claims hearing in Toronto?  It appears to be gone.
  • NEW ONTARIO REGIONAL CHIEF ON PROTECTING ABORIGINAL RIGHTS (INCLUDING IN THE RING O’ FIRE)  “Grand Chief Stan Beardy of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) was elected as Ontario Regional Chief through a traditional stand up election ceremony at the 38th All Ontario Chiefs Conference …. The incoming Regional Chief promised a new form of engagement with First Nations in which all citizens would become as informed as possible about their inherent and Treaty rights and would be effectively mobilized to press the government to finally honour the spirit and intent of the Treaties. He also emphasized the need to stand behind First Nations youth so they could have the fullest opportunity to defend their communities and reach their full potential ….” Source (Chiefs of Ontario news release) Moremore
  • BEFORE THE ONTARIO CHIEFS ELECTION, NAN LEADER SENDS A BILL TO ONTARIO  “Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy presented the Ontario government today with an invoice for $127-million for benefits derived from natural resources extracted from Nishnawbe Aski Nation territories. The annual billing invoice is calculated over 100 years at current day values and represents only a portion of the $32 billion owed. A NAN Chiefs Resolution was passed in May 2012 where the Chiefs authorized NAN to set up a negotiation committee with a clear mandate to negotiate a resource-revenue sharing agreement on behalf of all NAN First Nations …. “  Source (NAN news release)PDF of news release
  • SPEAKING OF RESOURCE REVENUE SHARING:  NISHNAWBE ASKI NATION TO SHARE PROPOSAL ….  “Revenue sharing models are under discussion for the Ring of Fire and NAN territory. “There are various revenue sharing models that are being examined, in fact as we talk there are discussions taking place between Ontario and First Nation organizations and individual First Nations on revenue resource sharing models,” said Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Les Louttit during his keynote address at the 2nd Annual Ontario Mining Forum, held June 19 at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay. Louttit cited profit sharing and giving First Nations a stake in ownership of the mining companies as examples of what First Nations might be looking for. “In the very near future we will be making a proposal to the government to consider, particularly in terms of the Ring of Fire,” Louttit said. “Those options may include equity interests in mining companies — that’s been done before. But what has not been successfully done to a large degree is profit sharing.” Source  
  • …. WHILE PROVINCE-WIDE TALKS WITH FIRST NATIONS ON HOLD  “The province tried earlier to reach an agreement with Ontario’s First Nations on how to share revenue from natural resources development on traditional lands, but those talks are on hold. “Ontario was in discussions with First Nations for over two years, with intensive discussions in 2010-11 focussed on developing the terms of a proposed revenue sharing arrangement,” Ontario Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson Flavia Mussio said Thursday in an e-mail. Mussio said the talks broke off when Ontario chiefs “determined they would like to carry out further internal work before advancing any further discussions with the province on this initiative.” “Although the province is disappointed that an agreement on resource revenue sharing hasn’t been reached,” Mussio added, “Ontario respects the chiefs’ decision to step back, review and conduct further internal work.” Last week, Nishnawbe Aski Nation said the province owes it $32 billion – the amount it says should have been paid to its member First Nations if resource-sharing agreements had been in place for the past 100 years….”  Source 
  • MINING BLOGGER DIGS INTO THE “POLITICS AND INTRIGUE” OF THE RING O’ FIRE (AND THIS IS ONLY PART 1)  “On May 9th Cliffs Natural Resources announced that the company was advancing its massive $3.2 billion chromite project in the isolated and infrastructure-challenge Ring of Fire region to the feasibility stage. Sudbury was selected as the best location for the proposed $1.8 billion smelter for a wide range of reasons including rail, transportation, power supply and skilled workforce. If you think that such a positive announcement should bring collective cheers across the north and an economically imploding southern Ontario, you would be wrong. The ensuing flurry of anguished and angry news releases from First Nations, environmental organizations, and some politicians was enough to make any reader despair that the Ring of Fire will ever be developed! …. “  Source more from the In Support of Mining blog
  • EDITORIAL:  ONE READ OF THE TREATIES  “…. government is on solid legal ground when it comes to the treaty rights that many First Nations leaders say are being abused. Here is some of what Treaty 9, covering this territory, has to say. First Nations “shall have the right to pursue their usual vocations of hunting, trapping and fishing throughout the tract surrendered . . . subject to such regulations as may from time to time be made by the government of the country . . . and saving and excepting such tracts as may be required or taken up from time to time for settlement, mining, lumbering, trading or other purposes.” Another section says “that such portions of the reserves and lands above indicated as may at any time be required for public works, buildings, railways, or roads of whatsoever nature may be appropriated for that purpose by His Majesty’s government of the Dominion of Canada, due compensation being made to the Indians for the value of improvements thereon, and an equivalent in land, money or other consideration for the area of the reserve so appropriated.” If there is a way into this matter that lays out a fair process for compensation, that appears to be it. Can we get started?”  SourceText of Treaty 9
  • CLIFFS Q2 OUT 25 JUL  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) today said it intends to announce unaudited 2012 second-quarter financial results after the U.S.-market close Wednesday, July 25, 2012 ….” Source (Company news release) 

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 15 Jun-6 Jul 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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