Ring of Fire News


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

Ring of Fire News – March 22, 2013

  • Budget 2013:  Ring of Fire mention …. “…. Responsible Resource Development – Major economic projects are an important source of development and job creation in all regions of Canada. Our diverse and abundant natural resource sector is an asset that benefits all Canadians. Natural resources account for 15 per cent of our gross domestic product and 50 per cent of our exports. Over the next 10 years, more than $650 billion in new investment is expected from more than 600 major resource projects planned across Canada. Meeting global demand for natural resources through responsible development will create jobs and benefit all Canadians. The resource sector offers particular benefits for Canada’s North. The Government is improving the Northern regulatory system and taking other important steps to support resource development in the North.   To maximize the value that Canada draws from our natural resources, Economic Action Plan 2012 introduced significant system-wide improvements to achieve the goal of “one project, one review” in a clearly defined time period, streamlined the review process for major economic projects, enhanced consultation with Aboriginal peoples, and strengthened environmental protection and pipeline and marine safety. As an example of this commitment to maximize the benefits derived from natural resources, the Government is providing $4.4 million over three years to the Ring of Fire Capacity Building Initiative, through the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario. This initiative will provide targeted support to communities directly adjacent to the Ring of Fire for activities such as business skills development, strategic business planning and Aboriginal youth engagement, to ensure that First Nations benefit fully from resource development opportunities associated with Ring of Fire projects. The Government’s comprehensive Responsible Resource Development plan will create jobs, growth and long-term prosperity while strengthening protection of the environment for future generations of Canadians ….”  http://www.budget.gc.ca/2013/doc/plan/chap3-2-eng.html#a0-Chapter-3.2:-Helping-Manufacturers-and-Businesses-Succeed-in-the-Global-Economy
  • ….. and reaction, from Thunder Bay-Atikokan independent MP Bruce Hyer, the Assembly of First Nations, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, the Mining Association of Canada, the Chiefs of Ontario, and Sudbury NDP MP Glenn Thibeault.
  • Federal Court:  judicial review of Ring of Fire environmental assessment can continue ….  “…. Cliffs is in the early stages of planning a mining project for chromite at a proposed location in northern Ontario. The project is currently undergoing a coordinated environmental assessment under both the federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. The proposed location of the mine is located within the traditional territory of the applicants and they expect to be impacted by the project.  A Comprehensive Study was commenced by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (Agency) on September 22, 2011. Section 25 of the CEAA provides the Agency with the discretion to recommend that the Minister refer the environmental assessment to a Review Panel; this can be done at any time during the process.  The applicants advocated for a Joint Review Panel as the best way to go forward with an assessment. At the commencement of the Comprehensive Study, no recommendation for a Review Panel was made. The applicants characterize the decision as an announcement that a Comprehensive Study process and not a Review Panel would be used to assess the project. That decision is the subject of the judicial review.  The First Nations applicants challenges the decision under review on two grounds: The first, is that the decision is contrary to the Crown’s constitutional duty to consult and accommodate the First Nations both in the process selected, and in how the process was selected. The second ground is that the Agency committed various errors of administrative law including, having failed to take relevant considerations into account, and made an unreasonable decision ….”  Federal Court Docket T-1820-11 (via miningwatch.ca)
  • ….. and reaction  “Matawa First Nations chiefs say they welcome the decision last week to deny motions filed by the federal government and Cliffs Natural Resources in the judicial review of the environmental assessment process in the Ring of Fire …. Chief Sonny Gagnon, of Aroland First Nation, said he and other chiefs want a full joint review panel at which members could speak and hear presentations about the impact on the environment of mining the Ring of Fire.  The federal government has agreed to a process called a comprehensive review, but Gagnon said that is essentially a review on paper, not a thorough assessment ….”  Sourcemore
  • Court of Appeal for Ontario:  Province, indeed, can take up lands in Treaty 3 territory for forestry  “…. Question One: Does Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario have the authority within that part of the lands subject to Treaty 3 that were added to Ontario in 1912, to exercise the right to “take up” tracts of land for forestry, within the meaning of Treaty 3, so as to limit the rights of the plaintiffs to hunt or fish as provided for in Treaty 3? …. The answer to Question One is “yes” ….”  Source (text of decision)
  • …. and the reaction, from the Chiefs of Ontario, Trapper J.B. Fobister, Grassy Narrows First Nation and Rubicon Minerals (with its own court proceedgings underway regarding consultation to access FN traditional territory)
  • …. as well as one lawyer’s “not necessarily a bad outcome”  “A strategist and lawyer argues the recent court ruling against Grassy Narrows should actually be considered a victory for First Nations.  On Monday, Ontario’s Court of Appeal said the provincial government has the authority to issue logging permits on Grassy Narrows traditional territory, overturning a previous Superior Court decision that had sided with the First Nation.   But lawyer Bill Gallagher said the ruling also defines Ontario’s duty to consult with First Nations on the use of traditional land, and sets out “major obligations” for the Crown — a clarification he said has been missing until now.  “I think it’s a significant win,” Gallagher said, pointing to the court decision’s wording about how the province must use “honourable management” when dealing with traditional First Nations territories.  The ruling states that Ontario “cannot take up lands so as to deprive the First Nation signatories of a meaningful right to harvest in their traditional territories.” It also says the government must consult with First Nations ….”  Source
  • Cliffs seeks deal with Ontario ASAP ….  “The point man for Cliffs Natural Resources’ holdings in the Ring of Fire understands a change of government can slow negotiations.  But Bill Boor is looking to sign a “definitive document” with the province soon so his company can begin developing its Black Thor deposit …. Last May, when Cliffs announced plans to build a $1.8-billion ferrochrome processing plant at the former Moose Mountain Mine, near Capreol, it signed an agreement of terms, which Boor calls “essentially a non-binding tertiary agreement.  “Cliffs said, ‘ You know what? We have enough confidence that we’ll be able to turn this into a definitive document, that we want to clear it up and say we’re going to Sudbury.’ ”  Cliffs worked with the province from May of last year until former Premier Dalton McGuinty announced his resignation in October to try to get that definitive document in place …. Boor and his company understand Wynne and her government need time to get settled in.  “In their new capacity, they haven’t been in the middle of the complexity of this project and this deal, and so they need to get a chance to get up to speed,” he said.  “However, it has become a bottleneck for moving the project forward.” ….”  Source
  • …. while Cliffs, KWG awaiting Office of Mining and Lands Commissioner on claims on land destined for a rail link to the Ring of Fire  “Two companies with high stakes in the rich Ring of Fire are awaiting a decision from a two-person tribunal that’s likely months away — and which could set a precedent when it is delivered.  The tribunal from the Mining and Lands Commissioner sat for seven days of hearings last month, listening to arguments from three lawyers from each of Cliffs Natural Resources and Canada Chrome Corporation, a subsidiary of KWG Resources Inc.  The application from Cliffs seeks an order for the Ministry of Natural Resources to grant an easement to Clevelandbased Cliffs, under the Public Lands Act, to lands claimed by CCC ….”  Source
  • Matawa Chiefs meet behind closed doors with Minister of Northern Development and Mines  “First Nation chiefs meeting in the city to discuss the Ring of Fire development are not speaking to the media.  Delegates at the annual Matawa First Nations gathering at the Valhalla Inn met with Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle Wednesday. After attempting to speak to officials about the meeting, local media were told that none of the chiefs wished to talk publicly about what was discussed.  Following the meeting, Gravelle said he was glad to sit down and meet the chiefs but wouldn’t go into any specifics of what was discussed.  He did reveal that the meeting focused heavily on the Ring of Fire development ….”  Source
  • Greenstone selling itself as a good way into the Ring of Fire  “The Grow Greenstone Expo, hosted by the Greenstone Labour Market Working Group will be taking place at the Victoria Inn, on Monday and Tuesday (March 25-26, 2013). Featuring over 60 exhibitor booths and an impressive lineup of speakers and dignitaries, the sold out Grow Greenstone Expo is the region’s first business-to-business, workforce attraction expo to date. Offering both individuals and businesses the opportunity to learn and discover where to position themselves for success in the expanding mining sector.  The opening ceremonies will feature addresses by Member of Parliament and former Ontario Premier Bob Rae, Mayor of Greenstone Renald Beaulieu, Ring of Fire Coordinator Dr. Christine Kaszycki, and Matawa Ring of Fire Coordinator Raymond Ferris ….”  News releaseConference pageAgenda
  • Matawa opens environmental research office  “The nine First Nations that make up the Matawa group in northern Ontario are moving ahead with their own environmental research about the impacts of mining.  The massive Ring of Fire mineral deposit is in their traditional territory — and people want to know what changes mining will bring, said David Paul Achneepineskum, Mattawa’s chief executive officer.  “We want to get our people ready,” Achneepineskum said at the grand opening of the Four Rivers Matawa Environmental Services Group office in Thunder Bay ….”  Source
  • Wawatay columnist:  Glass is half full  “There are many success stories across Canada when it comes to resource development agreements and partnerships between First Nations, companies and government. Most non-Native people don’t realize this. Even in my home community of Attawapiskat negotiations in general between my people and Debeers has benefited many. The process is obviously not perfect but at the very least, the company, First Nation leadership and governments have bargained in good faith to make a very large project happen in the middle of pristine wilderness.  This is a big change for my people considering that we were largely forgotten and through a process of assimilation and marginalization, my grandfathers and great grandfathers had little choice but to live off a limited amount of land and survive through hunting and gathering ….”  Source
  • ipolitics.ca columnist:  Glass is half empty  “Brace yourself for the Indian Wars, Stephen Harper style.  This federal government doesn’t give a flying fornication about indigenous issues, and the way the stars are lining up, there will be a price to pay for their disdain.  The Indian Wars of history were actually comprised of 40 major military actions against American aboriginals under the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Dropping the John Wayne factor from the chronicle, they amounted to a continental eviction notice. It was served on indigenous peoples by wave after wave of European settlers and squatters backed up by the U.S. Cavalry.  In those days, south-side, the gun-to-the-head choices facing indigenous peoples were assimilation, forced relocation to reservations, flight or resistance ….”  Source
  • (Speaking of protests) Judge tells Idle No More protesters blocking access to Manitoba mine to get outta there  ” A mining company in Manitoba has won an injunction against aboriginal Idle No More protesters.  HudBay Minerals Inc. is suing the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation over rallies held this year that it claims blocked the entrance to its Lalor Lake site.  Chief Justice Glenn Joyal of Court of Queen’s Bench has ruled protesters can’t block roads into the site, where a gold, zinc and copper mine is being developed.  Joyal says he’s confident RCMP will enforce the injunction with arrests, if necessary ….”   Sourcemoremoremore

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-22  Mar 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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