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 – September 28, 2012

  • New Report out of Lakehead University:  Governments Need to Work on Infrastructure, “Aboriginal Involvement” to Get Mining Going Better  “Northwestern Ontario stands to reap huge financial rewards when the region’s developing mining sector matures, but a great deal of time and money must be invested to ensure the region is ready, a new study states.  “Mining in Northwestern Ontario: Opportunities and Challenges” examined several in-development mining projects, and found that when up and running, thy have the potential to create more than 13,000 jobs in the region alone, and the yet-to-be mined minerals and metals found here have a value of around $136 billion.  In addition, more than $16 billion in tax revenue is expected to be collected by the provincial, federal and relevant municipal governments during the average 17.5-year lifetime of the mines.  “There are a few objectives we had for this report,” Bahram Dadgostar, dean of Lakehead University’s faculty of business and one of the study’s authors, said Thursday after the release of the report.  “One is to make sure that communities are aware of the wealth that we have underground here, and the opportunities that we can have when we explore that.  “And second is (to) make government aware of the wealth here and the profit that they can get out of it if they . . . effectively contribute to the process.” ….”   Source – “Mining in Northwestern Ontario: Opportunities and Challenges” (106 page PDF)
  • Editorial:  Gov’t Better Do What Needs to be Done  “The Ring of Fire is on many minds these days. As miners prepare to dig into the James Bay lowlands, Northern Ontario communities jockey to provide services and employees. But the North’s new mining boom extends well beyond the Ring. A new analysis, commissioned by Ambassadors Northwest, showcases stunning opportunities that will transform the region. Billions of dollars are at stake. Communities will share handsomely if governments do what they must do to make it happen …. Political will is what will turn issues of aboriginal involvement, labour market dynamics and infrastructure deficiencies around …. This study puts all stakeholders — “especially the federal and provincial governments” — on notice that what can be realized is extensive. It can transform the Northwest and has been said to provide the province with security on the scale of oil-rich Alberta. We look forward to the determination of all players to get it right.”  Source
  • Risk Management Expert:  May Be Good Not to Rush Things  “The assets from the Ring of Fire mining development will make Thunder Bay and the region competitive on the global market.  That’s the message Keith McCullough, CEO of Hedgeye Risk Management, gave at the third Prosperity Northwest conference held at the Valhalla Inn on Wednesday. McCullough, who was the keynote speaker at the conference, focused his speech on the cycle the mining industry goes through as well as the risks and benefits for Thunder Bay …. with a development such as this there’s always risks involved.  McCullough said the biggest risks will be environmental and political risks. Those risks are the reasons why mining development has to be done right and not rushed, he said.  “One of these things goes wrong politically then the region looks really, really badly,” he said.  “When you look at a three to 10 year mine, timing is everything. Lots of people map the costs out of these mines relative to what the price of gold, platinum or whatever people are doing and that’s really the big risk. Prices go up and down, there is a cycle within the super cycle and you don’t want to be caught with high costs.” ….”  Source
  • Commentary Questions Whether First Nations Should Back an “Industry-Only” All Season Toll Road to the Ring of Fire  “With the Ontario government now acknowledging that the north-south access road into the Ring of Fire is solely going to be for industrial users – “for developers to go in and get ore and minerals back out”, as a government spokesperson said – it is time to look at whether a road is actually in the best interests of the north ….  Now that any last hopes of using the Ring of Fire road to connect First Nations to the highway system seem to be gone, the very idea of building a road should be put up to consideration ….  Ontario has refused to consider transportation options that would have connected First Nations to the grid, and is now planning to limit who can use the road it is planning to help build, all in the name of helping a multi-billion dollar company get its project off the ground. The minimum that the decision makers can do now is mitigate the environmental effects of the transportation corridor. If local people cannot use the infrastructure being built, at least the local environment should not have to needlessly suffer too.”  Source
  • Environmental Types Raise the Usual Questions (Again)  “…. While Ontario might dream of the dollars developing the Ring of Fire will bring, what about the costs we will all bear?  Scientists have long warned that poorly-placed infrastructure in the Far North will cause irreversible harm to aquatic systems and wildlife. In the meantime, the first major Ring of Fire mining proposal is barrelling ahead ….  The decision by the government to support and invest in this road for Cliffs, made behind closed doors and before the completion of a proper environmental assessment, raises extremely troubling questions for all Ontario taxpayers. What will it cost citizens to subsidize Cliffs Natural Resources’ plans to exploit the Ring of Fire? What are we going to get in return for investing public funds in this road? What is our reward for giving Cliffs a break on electricity rates for its smelter?  And those are just questions about money. Where is the comprehensive regional land use plan for this highly coveted area? Without a plan that incorporates conservation science and traditional knowledge, how can we ensure protection of its fresh, free-flowing rivers and wildlife such as Boreal woodland caribou and fish? ….  We’re at a crossroads. Ontario can either continue to let individual companies launch projects that will shape the future of the region — with the help of our tax dollars — or it can bring all interested parties together to build a long term plan that takes everyone’s needs and concerns into account, based on the best available science. We hope they pick the latter. It’s not too late. The first thing the government needs to do is shed some light on whatever plans exist now. The next thing it needs to do is to begin long-term planning for the Ring of Fire.”  Source
  • A Reminder of a Court Decision Coming re:  Whether Ontario can Download the Duty to Consult to Companies (and what proposed changes to Ontario’s Mining Act mean in this respect)  “As a legal decision, the Sept. 4 finding that Solid Gold Resources will be allowed to appeal its case against Wahgoshig First Nation over mineral exploration on Wahgoshig’s traditional land was hardly remarkable. It was simply a matter of a company asking for and receiving approval to take its appeal to a higher, precedent-setting court.  The finding of the judge, however, has the potential to have far-reaching consequences on whether mining companies have the duty to consult First Nations before conducting exploration on traditional lands.  Justice H.P. Wilton-Siegel’s ruling to give Solid Gold Resources leave to appeal took aim at the duty to consult – specifically, whether Ontario can pass its duty to consult with First Nations to a mining company …. ”  Source
  • (Not Just Ring of Fire, but….)  Canadian Legal Beagle Group Calls for All New Laywers to Know Aboriginal Rights to be Accredited  “The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is recommending in its first-ever set of national standards for admission to the bar that all new Canadian lawyers possess knowledge of aboriginal rights.  Approved over the weekend in Vancouver, the move by the federation — the coordinating body for Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial law societies — is part of a push to ensure Canada’s lawyers are knowledgeable in aboriginal law, an area that some legal experts say is becoming more important and plays into everything from natural resources development to drafting or changing government policies.  Aboriginal law is the law relating to the content and application of the constitutional protection of aboriginal and treaty rights that was affirmed in the 1982 Constitution Act.  “It’s something that can arise in a whole number of areas of the law and lawyers, as the protectors of rights, need to be aware of the rights that exist so they can identify areas where they’re being infringed,” said Tom Molloy, a Saskatoon lawyer with Miller Thomson LLP and a leading expert in aboriginal law.  “It affects every department and agency of government if the changes that they’re making have an impact on aboriginal rights and title, and they have an obligation to consult with the First Nation.” …. “  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-28 Sept 12 (57 page 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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