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Ring of Fire News – December 15, 2012

  • A holiday note – I’m taking some time offline, so unless something HUGE happens in/around the Ring of Fire, I’ll be back online January 5.  In the meantime, feel free to hit some of the pages I have listed in the Blog Roll, enjoy, and have a great holiday season!
  • Ontario’s Chamber of Commerce:  who’s the lead federal Minister on the Ring of Fire file?  “The Ontario Chamber of Commerce has called on the federal government to support the development of infrastructure that is required to realize the potential of Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral zone. In a report released today, it says “massive investment is needed in electricity transmission, broadband, and all-weather roads. Addressing crumbling infrastructure on-reserve is a necessity as well.” As a first step, it recommends that the federal government designate a minister responsible for the Ring of Fire. The call for Ring of Fire support was part of A Federal Agenda for Ontario, released just prior to next week’s gathering of Canada’s finance ministers ….”  Source (In Support of Mining blog) – Ontario Chamber of Commerce news releaseA Federal Agenda for Ontario (PDF)
  • Northern First Nation waiting for Ontario to decide on mediator on Cliffs’ environmental assessment  “Cliffs Natural Resources has adjusted the terms of reference for its proposed Ring of Fire mine, meaning First Nations are again being asked to provide comments and concerns. Yet at least one First Nation argues that the government should deal with an outstanding Treaty issue before expecting it to comment on the new terms of reference. First Nations were provided with Cliffs’ amended terms of reference on Nov. 30, and given 15 days to respond. Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias said that while he wants to respond to the terms of reference, situations within his community and his family mean there is not time to do so before the date that Ontario has set. Moonias also said Ontario should deal with Neskantaga’s request for mediation on the terms of reference before expecting First Nations to respond to the amended version of the terms of reference. “The government is trying to give its mandate (to consult with First Nations) to Cliffs,” said Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias. “They are trying to make Cliffs look like the bad guy, but the government is the one that has a responsibility to come back to the table with First Nations.”  Neskantaga filed a request for mediation on Cliffs’ terms of reference on Sept. 27. The First Nation was requesting Ontario Ministry of Environment (MOE) Minister Jim Bradley refer the terms of reference to mediation where the company, First Nation and government would be at the table. “Our constitutionally protected aboriginal rights and title and treaty rights are not appropriately addressed in the terms of reference,” Neskantaga wrote. “Therefore, numerous fundamental issues of concern arise on the terms of reference as submitted. It is our strong view that these should be addressed in a mediation between Neskantaga and…Cliffs.” An Ontario Environment spokesperson told Wawatay News on Dec. 6 that the minister is still considering the request for mediation. “The Minister continues to review the request from Neskantaga to refer its concerns related to the Cliffs Chromite Project to mediation,” ….”  Source
  • Northeastern Ontario municipal leaders on board the “build a rail line to the Ring of Fire” train?  “The Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) had “full and frank” discussions on key issues of Northern significance at its November meeting, said the organization’s president …. Alan Spacek …. New Deal for ONTC members Roy Hains, Brian Kelly, Ron Marleau and Jay Aspin, MP for Nipissing-Timiskaming, updated FONOM members on the work being done to establish a James Bay and Lowlands Ports Authority to absorb the ONTC to be operated under the Canada Marine Act. The group is convinced that this Port Authority could save and create jobs in Northern Ontario. The creation of the new organization would mobilize the design and development of a rail link to the Ring of Fire discovery of chromium in the James Bay Lowlands. This would, in turn, promote a sustainable successor to the ONTC, Spacek said. “FONOM is willing to be part of any solution to save the ONTC and Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren, first vice-president of FONOM, will represent FONOM’s interests working with the ‘New Deal’ team,” Spacek said …. “  Source
  • You’ve probably heard about a Northern Ontario Chief holding a hunger strike in Ottawa to try to talk to the PM (and possibly a regal representative like the GG or Queen) about Treaty issues.  Here’s what other northern Chiefs have to say regarding how this links with the need for consultation:  “The Chiefs of Mushkegowuk Council are united in their support of fellow Chief Theresa Spence of the Attawapiskat First Nation. Chief Spence has commenced a hunger strike in Ottawa protesting the Harper government’s lack of respect for Treaties and the unilateral passing of legislation directly impacting First Nations. The Government of Canada is currently in the process of passing Bill C45, an omnibus bill that includes changes to the Indian Act as well as legislation affecting water and fisheries, areas that directly impact First Nations. Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit stated that “Treaties are Nation to Nation agreements recognized by Supreme Court of Canada cases and international law, but still the Harper government will not commit to any Treaty based discussions with First Nations.” Attawapiskat and the other Mushkegowuk First Nations are part of Treaty Number 9 or the James Bay Treaty. This Treaty was signed in 1905 and 1906 between the governments of Canada, Ontario and the Peoples of far northern Ontario. It recognizes the continued usage of all Cree lands for hunting, fishing and trapping “as in the days of yore.” Today, Canada and Ontario consider all lands outside of an ‘Indian Reserve’ as government or crown land. The Mushkegowuk Chiefs see this as a far cry from the intentions of Treaty.“When is the Prime Minister and the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs going to wake up?” questioned Grand Chief Louttit. “Canada continues to ignore the Treaties, as well as the provisions of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, both of which have been endorsed by Canada. Canada’s actions are unfair, paternalistic and extremely disrespectful of First Nations. This is why you will continue to see actions taken by First Nation leaders such as Chief Spence and others who are sick and tired of unilateral actionsand decision making by government on matters that directly impact their People and communities.” The Minister of Aboriginal Affairs has boasted about conducting 5,000 consultations with First Nations since 2010. That may sound like an impressive number but most of these so called “consultations” are done in the generic government way of “comment by such and such a date if you want your concerns considered” approach. The Mushkegowuk Chiefs feel that it is time to have serious and productive dialogue, not more exchanges of letters that lead nowhere. Many First Nations have developed their own processes for meaningful consultation which have largely been ignored by the Harper government ….”  Source (Chiefs’ news release) – moreMore on Chief Spence’s hunger strike (Google News)
  • What’re Ontario Liberal leadership wanna-be’s saying about giving Northern Ontario more (political) power?  “Ontario’s Liberal leadership contenders clashed Sunday over the question of whether northern Ontario should be given more independence to resolve its own economic and social issues. Facing off in Thunder Bay for the second official debate, the seven rivals tried to fight the perception that the governing Liberals are too Toronto-centric and neglecting a region that will likely become one of the toughest battlegrounds in the next provincial election. It may be a difficult sell, given the slow progress in building infrastructure to develop the Ring of Fire chromite deposit and the cash-strapped government’s decision to privatize the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission and freeze a key energy project …. While all agreed that northern Ontario needs a say, they disagreed on how much independence should be given to the region. Leveraging his experience as the former mayor of Winnipeg, Glen Murray pledged to give the north its own regional government so it can have more say over energy, infrastructure and natural resources. The promise has earned Murray the endorsement of four northern mayors, including Thunder Bay’s Keith Hobbs. “If you look at what’s happening in Britain with devolving power to Scotland andWales, why is this happening all over the world?” he said. “Because this new economy is regional and decisions have to be made much faster.” But former aboriginal affairs minister Kathleen Wynne, who promised to form a northern cabinet committee, said she has some reservations about the idea. “My only caveat and caution is that sometimes in this conversation, it starts to sound like we’re talking about a separation process, and I don’t think that’s where we should go,” she said. “I believe we’re one Ontario. I believe we should stay as one Ontario.” …. Many of the candidates, who also included Gerard Kennedy, Eric Hoskins and Sandra Pupatello, agreed that aboriginal issues must be a top priority for the next premier, who must forge a new relationship with First Nations in new mining ventures, find ways to fight poverty and improve education and housing. Wynne said she’ll partner with the federal government to  provide better education for aboriginal youth – a promise the provincial Liberals made in their last throne speech. Takhar proposed a First Nations and Metis bill of rights to help them harness the north’s economic potential. He also promised a $500,000 fund to promote the region for film and television projects – one of the more novel ideas for job creation ….”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 16 Nov-14 Dec 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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ring of Fire News – December 8, 2012

  • Cliffs raising $500M on the market ….  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced today that it has priced its registered public offering of $500 million 3.95% Senior Notes due January 2018 (the “Senior Notes”). Cliffs expects to close the offering on Dec.13, 2012, subject to customary closing conditions. The net proceeds from the issuance of the Senior Notes are expected to be used to repay Cliffs’ Private Placement Senior Notes due in 2013 and 2015, as well as for general corporate purposes ….”  Sourcemore
  • …. while S&P rates Cliffs’ performance ….  “Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it assigned its ‘BBB-‘ issue-level rating to Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s  proposed senior unsecured notes due 2018. The company is issuing the notes under its shelf registration for well-known and seasoned issuers filed on March 10, 2010.  The notes will be senior unsecured obligations and will rank equally with all of Cliffs’ existing and future senior unsecured indebtedness. The company  intends to use the proceeds from this offering to repay a portion of its existing debts, including its $270 million and $55 million private placement notes due 2013 and 2015, respectively, as well as for general corporate purposes including repayment of amounts outstanding under its term loan due 2016 and revolving credit facility due 2017. As of Sept. 30, 2012, $922.1 million was outstanding under the term loan, and $250.0 million was outstanding under the revolving credit facility The ‘BBB-‘ corporate credit rating and negative outlook on Cliffs reflect the combination of what we consider to be the company’s “satisfactory” business risk and “intermediate” financial risk profiles ….”  Source
  • …. And the company takes on a new director  “…. On December 3, 2012, the Board of Directors (“ Board ”) of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (the “ Company ”) elected Timothy W. Sullivan to the Board effective as of January 14, 2013. The Board has determined that Mr. Sullivan has no material relationship with the Company (directly or as a partner, shareholder or officer of an organization that has a relationship with the Company) and is independent within the Company’s director independence standards, which are consistent with the New York Stock Exchange’s director independence standards as currently in effect. Effective July 1, 2013, Mr. Sullivan will become a member of the Audit Committee ….”  Sourcemore
  • Some First Nations still wrestling with how to deal with mining, Ring of Fire in their backyards  “…. even with industry becoming more prevalent in resident’s daily life, (Webequie Chief Cornelius) Wabasse said people remain confused.  “They don’t know how to react to the development. They want to know more so that they have a base to make decisions on to how to adapt.”  His community signed a co-operation agreement with the Ontario government last June, a document that Wabasse said demonstrates “good faith” toward becoming a true partner in development on their traditional territory.“We’re starting to realize there’s going to be spinoffs with whatever’s happening out there with exploration agreements. We may put a clause (on companies) to employ our people to explore in our territory and to use whatever services we have in the community.”  With a 90 per cent unemployment rate and more than than half of its population under the age of 25, “young people are starting to realize there are going to be opportunities and they have to start thinking about education and moving forward,” said Wabasse.  “We’re trying to think what does mining encompass, what does it bring? Then we’ll be able to work out a plan on how we’re going to be part of the process.” “  Source
  • (Not exactly Ring of Fire, but….) Controversial mining CEO no longer mining CEO  “Solid Gold Resources has announced management changes that will result in the replacement of its controversial CEO Darryl Stretch.  “On an interim basis, Alan Myers, a director and the Chief Financial Officer of Solid Gold, has accepted the board’s request that he serve as interim CEO of Solid Gold while the board works towards finding a permanent solution,” the company said in a Monday release.  For the past year, Solid Gold has been embroiled in a high-profile legal dispute with Wahgoshig First Nation over the company’s exploration activities in the Lake Abitibi area. This fall, Solid Gold was granted leave to appeal an injunction that halted its drilling program near the First Nation community last January. A hearing on the appeal is scheduled for next month.  The dispute boiled over at last month’s exploration and geoscience symposium in Sudbury when Stretch delivered a presentation that pitched Solid Gold’s position to an audience of mining people, government officials and First Nation representatives. In it, he described First Nations as “hostile third-party governments” and castigated the government’s handling of its mining laws and Ontario’s constitutionally mandated consultation duties.  First Nations and their organizations reacted with anger and disappointment, characterizing the presentation as a racist attack on their Aboriginal and treaty rights ….”  Source (In Support of Mining blog) – Company news release

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 9 Nov-7 Dec 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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ring of Fire News – December 1, 2012

  • The In Support of Mining blog connects a lot of dots here  “Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral zone is intriguing for the groups it brings together and the machinations it reveals.  For instance, in an update on its Nakina project drilling program, Debut Diamonds, a KWG affiliate, has announced that Theresa Okimaw-Hall has resigned as a member of its board of directors “as a consequence of her recent employment by the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council as Ring of Fire manager.”  The former chief of Attawapiskat First Nation joined the extended KWG Resources family last year as executive director of Canada Chrome Corporation, a KWG offshoot dedicated to the development of a rail line that would serve future mines in Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral zone.  Her task was to work with the region’s First Nation communities “to reach an agreement for a shared ownership of the proposed railway,” the company said in announcing her appointment.  When coupled with other news coming out of the Ring, her appointment as Mushkegowuk’s Ring of Fire manager suggests there may be something positive afoot in the benighted mineral zone ….”  Source
  • Aboriginal leader on “toll road to the Ring of Fire” idea:  whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout Willis?  “Nishnawbe Aski Nation deputy grand chief says that First Nations will not allow Ontario and the companies involved in the Ring of Fire to build a private road to the development without connecting communities of the region.  Les Louttit called Ontario’s plan to subsidize a private road from Nakina to the Ring of Fire that would provide industry a way to get ore from the mines to market, but not connect to First Nations along the route, ‘totally wrong’.  “That cannot be allowed to happen and we will make sure as a political organization that we pressure the government and industry that any transportation corridor that is going to go into the Ring of Fire development will have to have open access to the communities,” Louttit told Wawatay News.   “It will be going close by Aroland, Eabametoong, Neskantaga, Marten Falls and Webequie,” he added. “It doesn’t make economic sense, it doesn’t make moral sense and it’s just not going to happen that way.”  ….” Sourcemoremore from the In Support of Mining blog
  • Sort and sweet advice from legal beagles on changes to Ontario’s Mining Act and dealing with First Nations  “Changes to Ontario’s Mining Act (“Act”)1 and regulations2 which came into force on November 1, 2012 will have a substantial impact on Ontario’s mining industry …. our advice remains: build a relationship with Aboriginal communities by engaging early and often, and when the time comes, be prepared to make a deal ….”  Source
  • Aboriginal columnist on consultation, sharing resource revenues and mining  “…. The Supreme Court has ruled that governments in Canada have a constitutional duty to consult and accommodate aboriginal groups when making decisions that could adversely affect lands and resources within a First Nation’s traditional territory.  The Harper government and First Nations are on a collision course. The government wants to make Canada a major exporter of natural resources. First Nations, however, are claiming title and want serious consultation and resource revenue sharing. The courts seem to be moving in that direction.  The federal government must follow up with public policy and legislation that implement the principles embodied in the court decisions. First Nations must be included as serious players in the resource industry.  This includes resource revenue sharing, meaningful consultation, equity in resource companies and seats on boards of directors.  The old days of limited consultation and the vague promise of jobs and training are long gone.  Unfortunately, most members of the public can’t or won’t accept the fact that aboriginal people hold tremendous power and are not afraid to use it. Court decisions have empowered our people, and we can expect more legal challenges and unrest in the future ….”  Source
  • Ontario’s spending money to hire mental health and addictions workers to help Ring of Fire communities  “Ontario is increasing access to culturally-appropriate mental health and addictions services for Aboriginal children and young people in the Ring of Fire communities through new mental health and addictions workers.  Through the Comprehensive Mental Health and Addictions Strategy, these new workers will provide counseling, individual and group therapy, crisis intervention, and a range of traditional health services, including traditional teachings and ceremonies to Eabametoong, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, Nibinamik and Webequie First Nations communities.  Investing in community and social supports is part of the McGuinty government’s commitment to ensuring that Ring of Fire communities have the social, community and economic development supports they need to benefit fully from mineral development opportunities.  Quick Facts – Ontario is investing $375,000 annually for mental health and addictions workers in Ring of Fire communities.  Ontario is adding more than 80 new mental health and addictions workers across the province to help almost 4,000 Aboriginal children and young people get better access to culturally appropriate mental health and addictions services ….”  Source – more details here (with a breakdown of how many workers are being deployed in the province-wide initiative) as part of a province-wide announcement heremoremore

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-30 Nov 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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

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