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Ring of Fire News – September 12, 2014

  • More complaints about no First Nation reps (yet) on Ontario’s RoF DevCorp  Some chiefs in the Ring of Fire are expressing disappointment after First Nations were excluded from a board that deals with infrastructure development in their territory. Chief Peter Moonias from the Neskantaga First Nation said the move was “not in good faith.” Especially, after a historic framework agreement was signed between the nine Matawa- member First Nations and the province just months ago. “The relationship part is what is important in that framework,” said Moonias. …. Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Grand Chief Harvey Yesno said he’s spoken to some chiefs in the region who have expressed concern over the province’s actions. “The (provincial) government is moving forward unilaterally, yet they keep saying that partnership with First Nations is a priority,” said Yesno ….”more
  • More about those First Nation concerns  “First Nations scold Mines Minister Michael Gravelle – CBC News has obtained letters from several First Nations in the Ring of Fire detailing a breakdown in the relationship with Ontario that could threaten the already fragile mining project ….”
  • Bob Rae heading to RoF First Nation for meetings, according to his Twitter feed
  • Some (tempered?) RoF optimism from the CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC)  “There are many reasons it’s taken longer to develop the Ring of Fire than expected, and there are lessons to be learned from that. One is when the mining industry tells government, “You’ve got to seize the opportunity,” it’s true, says the president and chief executive officer of the Mining Association of Canada. That’s what the industry told the government of Ontario several years ago when metal prices were really strong, said Pierre Gratton. It would be good to have some of those mines in production or at least going into construction now, Gratton told The Sudbury Star before speaking at the 2014 North America Mining Expo Gala Dinner on Tuesday night at the Caruso Club. “Now it’s more challenging for the Noronts of this world to raise capital,” said Gratton, “and it’s all been because we’ve struggled with issues we ought not to be struggling with.” They include roads, who owns what land, protracted government issues and uncertainty around First Nations and their level of participation in developing the area. On a more positive note, Gratton said some of the building blocks for real long-term success in the Ring of Fire are being put into place ….”
  • More from the MAC CEO  “The high cost of doing business in Canada, especially in the Far North, is the biggest challenge the mining sector faces nationally, said Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. Gratton, who was the keynote speaker at a Chamber of Commerce event for the North America Mining Expo in Sudbury on Sept. 9, said according to Mining Association of Canada research, it can cost up to two and a half times as much to build a remote mine there, than a mine near a populated urban centre in the south …. To address the high cost of doing business in remote regions, like northwestern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral deposits, government needs to partner with mining companies, Gratton said. Building infrastructure in those regions, which often benefits remote First Nations by connecting them to transportation routes and electrical grids, constitutes a public good, Gratton said ….”
  • A think tank’s take on recent First Nation court decisions on extraction  “A pair of recent Supreme Court decisions delivered earlier this year changes Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples, but the consequences are by no means as drastic as some of the overheated commentary suggests, a new study from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute finds. While some believed the Tsilhqot’in and Grassy Narrows decisions would cause chaos in the natural resource sector, the impact of the two landmark rulings is in fact far more nuanced. At their core, the decisions continue a balancing act between empowering and limiting the authority of both Aboriginal peoples and governments. Far from a tilting of the playing field, they are more a rewritten rule book. ”What the Supreme Court of Canada has highlighted at a fundamental level is that Aboriginal communities have a right to an equitable place at the table in relation to natural resource development in Canada”, reads the report, titled “The End is Not Nigh: Reason over alarmism in analysing the Tsilhqot’in decision (PDF) ….”

 

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