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Ring of Fire News – August 15, 2013

  • Federal Ring of Fire Lead Minister Greg Rickford, speaking in Thunder Bay this week, talked about “putting aside political partisanship” and aiming for the “politics of collaboration” when it comes to developing the Ring of Fire.  He also highlighted his new political advisor on the North, Mark Wright (more here on LinkedIn), as someone from the North advising him about the North and the Ring of Fire.  This and more on video of the full speech here via netnewsledger.com – worth watching to read the tea leaves.  You can read a bit more on the speech (via a CBC reporter’s Twitter feed) here
  • Meanwhile, while Rickford was speaking inside…. “…. Outside of the centre around a dozen people stood with placards denouncing the Conservative government’s decision and questioning Cliffs’ environmental record in other places. Alex Boulet said a comprehensive review is the wrong way to go given the size of the proposed mining project.  “One of the main issues is there’s a lot less community consultation and also ironically it’s not as comprehensive of an environmental assessment,” Boulet said.  Mining is important to the region but with so much at stake, Boulet said there’s a right way to develop the project.  “It’s a really great opportunity and we just want to make sure that it’s done right and in order to do it right I think that the Ring of Fire needs to have the highest level of environmental assessment possible,” he said.  Cliffs environmental affairs director Jason Aagenes said the company is committed to a thorough environmental review ….”
  • Before he spoke to Chamber of Commerce folks, though ….  “The Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science and Technology, and FedNor, and Minister Responsible for the Ring of Fire, today announced a Harper Government investment to help the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund create jobs, enhance entrepreneurial and business planning skills, and promote business development and growth in Northwestern Ontario …. With a FedNor investment of $4,427,212 over three years, Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) will offer a variety of business development services, including marketing and communications, strategic planning, and project management. Resources will be available to First Nation communities serviced by NADF, with a strong focus on the nine Matawa communities, to help them successfully develop business opportunities and derive long-term economic benefit from mining-related developments ….” – more on this funding here, here, here and here
  • Rickford also spent some time talking to Ontario’s Mines Minister Michael Gravelle while in the neighbourhood ….  “Ontario’s minister responsible for northern development, Michael Gravelle, emphasizes decisions around the foreign worker program are made by the federal government. However, he recognizes the importance of gaps related to mining developments planned in the northwest.  This is particularly true, after he joined with Kenora MP Greg Rickford last week, as they talked about training programs for the Ring of Fire, as one of many mining opportunities in the region.  “One of the realities is that there’s a lack of skilled workers for the mining sector, and there will be for years to come,” said the minister, before referring to programs by the province ….”
  • …. as well as speaking to Chiefs at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s annual Keewaywin Conference at Kasabonika Lake First Nation – follow some highlights from NAN Deputy Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler’s Twitter feed here, here, here, here and here 
  • Mines Minister Gravelle also spoke at the NAN annual conference – catch Deputy Grand Chief Fiddler’s Twitter highlights here, here, here, here and here (with a reminder from Grand Chief Havey Yesno that NAN still thinks the Far North Act sucks – more on why here
  • Column calls for Ontario to get moving on consultation, revenue sharing ….  “…. Successive governments in Ontario simply “have not” got it. They have not been able to connect the dots to realize that the future of resource development in this province must be based not only on sound and constructive consultation policies and practises, but also on a commitment to share in the revenues that those developments will create ….”
  • …. as well as an all-weather road  “…. The construction and operation of an all-weather road will certainly improve the economics of most mine projects (and will fatten the provincial royalty wallet when the mines are producing). An all-weather road will also improve the conditions, and reduce the costs of services to the now-isolated First Nation communities.  Is it time to think about building an all-weather road, a road system that would start in Greenstone and head north? A road system is often the precursor to the provision of hydropower and broadband. Those with a business mind will see an opportunity where an all-weather road could be constructed using some variation of a public-private partnership. Those people will also see an opportunity to include the First Nations as part of the ownership of the road during construction and as part of the long-term operations of the road ….”
  • Latest on talking, and waiting  “Talks are continuing around the future of the Ring of Fire chromite project.  Frank Iacobucci and Bob Rae have been representing the province and First Nations in on-going discussions.  Mining company Cliffs Natural Resources said it’s happy with the progress that’s been made, but still can’t say when it may resume its environmental assessment.  “I think it’s encouraging to have those kinds of discussions and certainly those kind of people involved in that,” Bill Boor, Cliffs vice president said.  “So certainly, it gives me some optimism that we will be able to find a good path forward and get things started like we talked about.”  The company temporarily put its environmental assessment process on hold in June, citing unfinished agreements with the province as one of the reasons for the delay.  Speaking on the CBC television program Power and Politics earlier this month, Bob Rae said he had very specific goals for the ongoing negotiations.  “We’re trying to get to a place where all of the environmental issues can be addressed, that we can actually be certain that whatever developments take place are going to be sustainable,” he said. “That’s a very critical issue.”  But, Boor said until terms of reference with the province are finalized, the future of the ferrochrome smelter north of Capreol in Greater Sudbury also remains up in the air ….”
  • Matawa negotiator Bob Rae on balancing the need for meaningful input with the need for moving forward  “…. We’d like to get the framework done sooner rather than later. My view is that we have to operate in real time. There are a number of companies that are engaging with the province, and if we’re going to be successful, we need to be taken seriously right away. At the same time, there’s no desire on anybody’s part to simply throw a monkey wrench into the proceedings, but we do want to be heard. And I think that’s the challenge: to create the opportunity to be heard ….”
  • Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett also calling for better work with First Nations  “…. the government seems to have opted for a confrontational approach with Aboriginal communities regarding resource development. Last summer, Treasury Board President Tony Clement was said to have alienated First Nations in Northern Ontario by dismissing their calls for a Joint Review Panel of the Ring of Fire resource developments; his critics suggested he had characterized their concerns as bringing up “irrelevant issues.” Government documents have also labelled Indigenous people as “adversaries” who impede resource and energy development. This is both untrue and insulting ….”
  • KWG Resources Inc. announce(d) that a continuous pilot smelting campaign on Black Horse chromite drill core has been successfully completed with excellent results. A bulk sample comprised of 1186 kilograms of drill core collected from two holes drilled in 2010 was used for the test …. The test demonstrated that Black Horse massive chromite can be efficiently smelted in a DC furnace using moderate flux and reductant additions and manageable operating temperatures. Moe Lavigne, KWG VP of Exploration & Development stated, “These are the highest grade ferrochrome results we’ve seen from Ring of Fire chromites.” ….”
  • A Noront executive raises an interesting point via Twitter  “Funny what media miss. No mention by CBC radio news on Noront’s Eagles Nest project moving along ….”
  • This also from Noront via Twitter  “Mining Movie Making Youth Camp coming to Matawa communities ….”

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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