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

Ring of Fire News – June 29, 2014

  • (Somewhat) New Ontario CabinetGravelle still NorDev Minister, Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro new Minister of Natural Resources – check out the Parliamentary Assistants list here
  • “(Nipissing Tory MPP Vic) Fedeli seeks to meet new ministers”
  • Supreme Court of Canada (SCOC) rulingNative groups across Canada hailed as a “game-changer” the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision to grant aboriginal title to a B.C. native group over a large tract of land — the first award of its kind …. Despite the euphoria, however, others say the 8-0 ruling does not bar economic development.  The ruling said provincial and federal governments may still regulate economic activity like forestry practices on aboriginal title lands as long as legislators win consent of the affected group, or can show “a pressing and substantial” public purpose for activity that must also be compatible with the Crown’s obligation to act in good faith for the benefit of aboriginal peoples ….” – more from media here
  • Chiefs of Ontario on SCOC ruling:  “Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy congratulates the Tsilhqot’in Nation today on being granted a historic declaration of Aboriginal title in a long-fought court case. It expands on the interpretation and application of the law in a way that promotes reconciliation holding up First Nations’ interests with respect to title. Most importantly, consent of the Aboriginal title holders will be required before any development moves forward.  “This precedent will have implications for major projects being planned in Ontario like the Ring of Fire, Energy East and Line 9B,” Regional Chief Stan Beardy said. “The case is important for clearer relations between First Nations, private business and the government and will further provide opportunity for First Nations to participate in the global economy. We are optimistic that this will have a positive impact on the Keewatin case in Ontario which is now before the Supreme Court of Canada.” ….”
  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation on SCOC ruling (PDF):  “This unanimous decision by the Supreme Court sends a very strong message that the Crown, as represented by the Government of Canada, must recognize and respect Aboriginal title and deal honourably with First Nations.  The written ruling by Chief Justice McLachlin takes a broad view of Aboriginal title and supports the ownership of lands that have been occupied and used for centuries by First Nations. This has widespread implications and provides useful guidance for all NAN First Nations engaged in land claims and various stages of economic and resource development projects.  We expect that the principles laid out by this decision will have a significant impact on resource development in Nishnawbe Aski, including the Ring of Fire, as it supports First Nation rights to control development in our traditional territories.”
  • One mining analyst‘s view  “A landmark Supreme Court of Canada ruling recognizing a First Nation’s title to a large tract of land in the B.C. interior doesn’t hold much relevance to any future development in Ontario’s North, especially the Ring of Fire, said a strategist, lawyer, and author on Native involvement in the resource sector.  This “seismic event” on the West Coast that granted the Tsilhqot’in Nation formal title to 1,700-square-kilometres of its traditional territory, said Bill Gallagher, likely won’t apply in Ontario since the issue of title was already settled when the numbered treaties were signed ….”
  • Questions from a First Nation minerals analyst/activist about government’s ulterior motives behind seeing training and other benefits flow to First Nations from the Ring of Fire “…. On the surface, these strategies seem progressive in the sense that they are focused on the redistribution of wealth though revenue sharing, but they are really a containment strategy akin to the transition from wildcat strikes to national labour legislation in the 1930s.  Just as the the right to strike was contained within the right to labour peace in collective bargaining, the demands of First Nation for sovereignty, and all the land rights and decision-making power that go with sovereignty, have been contained in the new social contract.  The enlightened Canadian elites, fearing indigenous resistance — most famously represented in the Idle No More movement — are creating a First Nation social contract reform agenda that includes resource revenue sharing, project equity and an elaborate consultation process.  It is all designed to blunt the more radical demands of indigenous sovereignty movements for real decision-making and control of natural resources on their lands ….”
  • One lawyer‘s overview of the duty to consult in mining projects
  • “Better career options are the goal for many of the Matawa First Nations trainees currently pursuing Ring of Fire Training Alliance (RoFATA) Tier 2 and 3 training.  “(My goal is) to eventually get a really good career where I can support my family and move out of Thunder Bay into a different community,” said Caitlin Cheechoo, mother of a three-year-old son and one of about 60 Tier 3 RoFATA trainees who have completed about three weeks of their 12-week program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay ….”
  • Some federal money going into chambers of commerce studying mining opportunities  “The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (FedNor), announced today an investment to assist the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce (NOACC) explore options for maximizing the potential of Northwestern Ontario’s mining supply and services companies.  The Harper Government investment is helping NOACC in reviewing and analysing successful business models from across Canada that could be used to further develop and grow the region’s mining supply and service sector, as well as assessing the financial viability of a regional association …. The Harper Government investment of $22,500 …. is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region.”
  • “In an Order dated June 24, 2014 the Provincial Mining Recorder for Ontario has confirmed that KWG Resources Inc. was the first to stake two 16-unit claim blocks after they came open on the morning of June 17, 2011. The two claim blocks are contiguous to the southern two claim blocks of the Fancamp Exploration Ltd. Koper Lake claims where KWG is assessing the economic potential of the Black Horse chromite deposit under an option agreement with Bold Ventures Inc. and Fancamp. The Mining Recorder’s Order provides that KWG will have until June 24, 2016 to perform and file the first unit of assessment work ….”
  • Pre-election, but some questions in the alternative media about what the province should be thinking about in the Ring of Fire  “…. What are the likely benefits of a $1-billion investment in a transportation corridor to the Ring of Fire compared to other equivalent investments in northern Ontario? …. What infrastructure? What route and to service what projects? …. How will mining infrastructure benefit First Nations? …. What are the companies willing to invest for infrastructure and what conditions will the government put on its financial investment? ….”

 

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