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Ring of Fire News – August 26, 2014

  • Canada’s mines & energy ministers gathering in Sudbury  “The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, is co-chairing the annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC) from August 24 to 26. This conference brings together federal, provincial and territorial ministers to discuss cooperation and opportunities related to energy and mines. This year’s EMMC is also co-chaired by Ontario’s Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy ….”
  • Canada’s NatRes Minister Greg Rickford: Not ready to pitch money into RoF infrastructure  “The federal government is not ready to make a $1-billion commitment to Ring of Fire infrastructure, said Greg Rickford, Canada’s minister of natural resources and FedNor. He made the statement in French, responding to a question from French media in Sudbury. Rickford said the feds have already made investments in the nearby First Nations to increase their educational opportunities. He said future federal funding for the Ring of Fire will need to be tied to specific projects with precise goals. “We’re obviously quite hopeful about what the Ring of Fire offers,” he said. “Not just in terms of its extraction activities, but the actual legacy of creating the infrastructure required to support this.” ….”
  • More from Rickford:  The Ontario Government should stay focused on deciding on a transportation corridor to get to the Ring of Fire and reaching revenue agreements with first nations before worrying about striking deals with the federal government on infrastructure projects. Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford says the federal government is already involved in training and local infrastructure programs on first nations that will get people and communities ready when the area is opened to development ….”
  • Ontario’s mines minister Michael Gravelle: We’re still working on that Development Corporation thingy (even if the deadline’s September 1, 2014)   “While Michael Gravelle wasn’t ready to unveil a development corporation for the Ring of Fire yesterday, the Northern Development and Mines minister did tell an audience of policymakers and industry leaders from across Canada that action on this front is looming. “We are working very hard, right now, to get a corporation established and I will have an update on that very, very soon,” said Gravelle, during a keynote address at the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference at College Boreal. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne earlier promised her government would create a corporation to guide development of the James Bay chromite deposits within 60 days of the July 3 throne speech — in other words, by early September — and Gravelle said this remains the plan. “We will meet the commitment,” he pledged. Addressing federal colleague Greg Rickford, the Natural Resources minister and minister for FedNor, Gravelle said he looked forward “to having a more substantive conversation with you once we have the details in place on a development corporation.” ….”
  • (Not much) more on the RoF dev corp  “Mines Minister says province will meet early September deadline to establish corporation. Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said the province is not yet ready to announce a development corporation to lead infrastructure decisions around the Ring of Fire, despite a nearing self-imposed deadline. Gravelle was not able to share new information regarding the long-awaited development corporation at the 2014 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference in Sudbury ….” 
  • Webequie First Nation, one of the communities closest to the dormant Ring of Fire mineral camps, has reached an agreement with the Ontario government to do a community-based land use plan. A news release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said a signing ceremony for the terms of reference was signed in the community on Aug. 21. The ministry’s land use planning process involves identifying areas that are both suitable and off-limits for resource development. In a statement, Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse wants a partnership with the government that respect their Aboriginal and treaty rights, including having a say on how their lands and resources will be developed. “Webequie’s primary objective is to ensure our community’s interests are protected now and for the future, including our traditional activities and values. We’re hopeful this process will help achieve these goals.” ….”
  • More environmental assessment training for First Nations  “This week, over 35 delegates from the Matawa and Mushkegowuk Nations will gather in Wahnapitae First Nation. The delegates are participating in a workshop organized by the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) and Four Rivers, Matawa’s environment office. The environmental training builds on the Chiefs of Ontario’s 2013 Environmental Assessment toolkit which offers high-level technical staff the opportunity to work with leading industry professionals and enable community experts to learn more about mining and environmental assessment processes. Participants will visit several mining sites in the area, attend workshops focused on negotiating skills and learn more about the job opportunities, training, and environmental considerations central to development in the Ring of Fire region ….”
  • James Bay area First Nations trying for a piece of the action  “The Mushkegowuk Council has announced they will coordinate the development of their business case in support of a Ring of Fire rail, sea port, fibre-optic, and energy transportation corridor through an Aboriginal-led-alliance. “We now have the experience, people, credibility and knowledge to take an active role in leading the development of infrastructure corridors. We have learned from our mistakes and we have the confidence from our successes” said Deputy Grand Chief Leo Friday. Deputy Grand Chief Leo Friday, on behalf of Mushkegowuk Council, announced to the Matawa Council of Chiefs at their annual general meeting on July 31st, 2014 that Mushkegowuk is fully supportive of Matawa’s interests in the Ring of Fire …. In the spirit of our joint declaration between Matawa and Mushkegowuk Chiefs, Mushkegowuk Council offered the Matawa Council of Chiefs to jointly develop sustainable infrastructure opportunities to unlock the economic potential of the Ring of Fire while safeguard ing the historic rivers of the Matawa and Mushkegowuk homelands ….”
  • Lawyer’s commentary on who can help bring together all the players, given how governments have been doing so far  “…. it is easy to see why governments and project proponents are at a standstill to lead the development of providing access to the Ring of Fire. Who can co-ordinate such a politically and legally complicated process? The mayors of northern Ontario municipalities are trying their best to coalesce an alliance of regional stakeholders but their clout is limited. A solution may lie with First Nations leadership ….”

 

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