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Ring of Fire News – January 4, 2013

  • Welcome back – hope Santa was good to you, and here’s hoping for a great 2013!
  • Wawatay’s Man of the Year for 2012  “Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias burst into the national media’s attention in the spring when he announced to the world that he would stop a bridge to the Ring of Fire from being built over the Attawapiskat River, by any means possible.  “They’re going to have to cross that river, and I told them if they want to cross that river, they’re going to have to kill me first ….”  Source
  • Noront’s Holiday Works in Ontario’s North  “OMA member Noront Resources’ Ring of Fire Christmas Fund is once again helping ensure Santa visits three First Nations in the vicinity of its Eagle’s Nest project.   Noront’s Christmas Fund will be providing approximately 700 wrapped gifts to every child under the age of 13 in Webequie, Marten Falls and Neskantaga First Nations.   This will be the fourth year the Ring of Fire Christmas Fund, with the involvement of Noront employees and supplier volunteers, has assisted Santa’s transportation.  Along with visits to each of the communities, the Christmas Fund takes Santa to Thunder Bay for celebrations and gift giving to people from the Webequie, Marten Falls and Neskantaga First Nations living off reserve in that larger community.  “Every year our volunteers enjoy going above and beyond their tasks to spread the Christmas cheer to the youth of the communities we work with,” said Kaityln Ferris, Manager Corporate Responsibility for Noront.  “Judging by their smiling faces, we think providing a wrapped gift for each child at Christmas and providing individual recognition is very important.” …. Noronto thanks Nakina Airways, Intercity Canadian Tire in Thunder Bay, Carrick Express, Pennocks Nakina Country Kitchen, NUNA and Engage Learn for their generous donations of their time, services and financial support ….”  Source
  • Support for Aboriginal Hunger Striker Mentions Resources, Consultation as Grievance  “Indigenous and human rights organizations stand in solidarity with Chief Theresa Spence in her appeal for full respect for Aboriginal and Treaty rights by the government of Canada. There is an urgent need for Canada to demonstrate genuine respect and long-term commitment, initiated by a meeting between First Nations’ leadership, the Prime Minister and the Governor General …. Resource development projects on traditional lands of Indigenous peoples will be much less likely to be subject to rigorous public environmental impact assessment. These changes are on top of cutbacks on environmental safeguards already passed in the previous omnibus budget bill C-38. As concluded by the David Suzuki Foundation: “In reality, amendments to environmental laws account for about half of the 452-page bill. These amendments will weaken Canada’s capacity for environmental governance, threatening our land, climate and water.”  International human rights standards require that decisions affecting the rights of Indigenous peoples be made with their full and effective participation. In the face of very serious issues concerning lands and resources of Indigenous peoples, the appropriate standard is free, prior and informed consent.  Canada’s Supreme Court has said that the “Crown… cannot cavalierly run roughshod over Aboriginal interests”. There must be “reconciliation” between the power of the state and the pre-existing sovereignty of Indigenous peoples. “In all its dealings with Aboriginal peoples… the Crown must act honourably. Nothing less is required” …. “  Source – More on Theresa Spence’s hunger strike here (Google News) – More on Idle No More protests here (Google News)
  • The Canadian Press Visits Ring of Fire Communities, writing about the Ring of Fire overall, training needs, what the companies are doing to get communities on side, suicides, prescription drug abuse, the key players in the area, water treatment plants and better ways to make a point than protests.
  • China’s Eye on Canada’s Resources (Including in Ring of Fire)  “China’s designs for a greater role in the Arctic could be built on Canadian resources.  Chinese firms have invested over $400 million in northern Canada through various mineral and petroleum projects, while the Chinese government tries to simultaneously edge its way into the region’s key governance body, the Arctic Council.  While most of these deals are small, the resource sector is intiminately linked to the larger policy questions facing Arctic nations, which range from environmental protection to shipping corridors. If China gains influence in Artic affairs in the coming years, the impacts could be felt in Canada’s northern backyard …. In the controversial Ring of Fire region in northern Ontario, a subsidiary of the Baosteeel Group has invested in Noront Resources’ Eagle’s Nest project, despite the many social and regulatory hurdles facing mineral development in the region ….”  Source
  • Thunder Bay Mayor’s Year-end interviews, State of the City Address Mention Ring of Fire  “Thunder Bay’s Mayor says he believes 2012 has been a good year for the city, but feels dealing with crime needs more attention in the coming year.  While Keith Hobbs noted more housing starts and a growing mining industry contributed to a healthy economy, it’s “the safety piece — the crime piece — I’m not happy with,” the former police officer said …. On the economic front, he noted all the signs are encouraging, given the high number of building permits and the construction of the new courthouse.  Hobbs pointed to a slight population increase in the city as a positive sign. And there may be even more of an influx of people, he added, if development proceeds in the mining area known as the Ring of Fire, as well as expansions for the Resolute mill in Thunder Bay with new co-generation and pellet plants.”  SourceText of 2012 State of the City Address
  • Meanwhile, Can Thunder Bay Keep Up with Changing Demographics?  “…. With 7 per cent of its population aged 60 to 64, Thunder Bay has a greater proportion of people nearing the traditional retirement age than almost any other Canadian city. Rebecca Johnson, a local councillor who led the push to make Thunder Bay officially Age Friendly, has seen so many retirement parties she swears she won’t attend another.  But as the first wave of the baby-boom generation nears retirement, Thunder Bay is also on the cusp of a potential economic boom. There are 13 mines planned in the next six years for the region north of here, many in the area known as the Ring of Fire. Thunder Bay will be the hub for all that development, which includes building roads, camps, mines, as well as services for the influx of workers. An economic-impact study estimates that 16,000 new jobs will be created through the first nine mine projects.  With so many people poised to leave the work force, who will fill those jobs? Unemployment, slightly more than 5 per cent, is already lower than the national average. When the local economy crashed in the mid 2000s, many of those aged 25 to 45 went West; workers here tend be very experienced, mixed with a smattering of the relatively green. It’s also a region that has not attracted many newcomers lately. There was a time when the mix of Finns, Ukrainians and Italians made this a multicultural, blue-collar city. But from 2000 to 2010, Thunder Bay attracted an average of just 135 immigrants a year, third lowest among Canada’s 31 biggest cities. If demand for labour is high, wages should rise to attract workers. But that process unfolds slowly and even then it takes years to train an electrician or carpenter or plumber. Competition for those workers is also expected to continue to intensify as resource development accelerates in Western Canada and Northern Quebec ….”  Source
  • (Not in Ring of Fire, but relevant) Another First Nation Takes Another Mining Company to Court  “Rubicon Minerals Corporation has learned via press reports that, on December 17, 2012, Wabauskang First Nation instructed its lawyers to file a lawsuit related to Rubicon’s Phoenix Gold Project in Red Lake, Ontario. At this time, since it has received no notice from WFN, the details of its lawsuit are unknown to Rubicon.   By way of background, Rubicon has been engaged in discussions and consultation with WFN since January of 2009.  As part its Closure Plan obligations, Rubicon confirmed its intention to continue to consult with WFN with respect to the Phoenix Gold Project.   Rubicon has, in good faith, met with the community representatives of WFN and other Aboriginal Communities to ensure their interests have been heard and incorporated into the planning process …. Although Rubicon remains committed to the ongoing consultation process, if necessary, it is prepared to vigorously defend its consultation record in any legal dispute ….”  Source (Rubicon news release)

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 17 Dec 12 – 3 Jan 13 (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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One Response

  1. […] all the hints about some level of Chinese interest in the Rof here, here, here, here and here? Finally, a firm nibble …. “A Chinese railway design firm will examine the […]

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