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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – March 10, 2015

  • Ontario’s Chamber of Commerce gives overall failing grade to government for (lack of?) RoF progress to date  “A new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce finds that permit delays, an absence of infrastructure, and intergovernmental quarrelling have stalled development in Ontario’s Ring of Fire, the mineral resource-rich region in the province’s Far North.  The report, Where are we Now? A Report Card on the Ring of Fire (PDF), evaluates progress against seven key barriers to development in the region. It finds that it will be years before a first mine is opened in the region.  The provincial government receives a failing grade when it comes to reducing the regulatory logjam. Delays in exploration permits and environmental assessments are preventing mining firms from breaking ground on their projects.  The federal government also earns a failing grade, as it has yet to demonstrate that the Ring of Fire is a national economic development priority. Ottawa has declined to match the provincial government’s commitment of $1 billion for the development of transportation infrastructure ….”moremoremore
  • Matawa RoF Negotiator:  First Nation consent, more than one road needed for RoF to proceed  “Moving ahead with the Ring of Fire will require not just consultation, but the consent of the First Nations nearest to the mining development area in northern Ontario, according to Bob Rae.  Rae is the negotiator for the nine Matawa First Nations in their discussions with Ontario about the proposed mining project …. Last week the province and the federal government announced they would jointly fund a $785,000 study to look at the viability of a road that would connect four fly-in First Nations to the provincial highway at Pickle Lake, Ont. The route being studied would also provide an industrial corridor for a nickel mine planned by Noront Resources.  “This can’t be a process that is driven exclusively on the interests of one project or another,” Rae said. “It has to be seen as responding to a broader concern which is the isolation, the poverty, the real needs of these communities.”  To that end, Rae said, more than one road will be needed.  First Nations envision a loop that begins near the provincial highway at Nakina, Ont. travels through Aroland  and Marten Falls First Nations, connects with the route currently under study and ends at Pickle Lake, he said ….”
  • “Confederation College’s presence at the annual four-day Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention in Toronto, Ontario has affirmed the College’s work within the industry.  During the convention, Confederation celebrated a successful alliance with Noront Resources Ltd. and confirmed a new alliance with the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja in Ecuador.  Noront Resources Ltd., Confederation’s partner in the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA), received PDAC’s Environmental & Social Responsibility Award for its work with the RoFATA program as well as its many other community initiatives.  The award recognizes outstanding leadership in environmental protection and/or good community relations ….”
  • An Aboriginal leader frames RoF debate around treaties  “Anishinabek Nation Lake Huron Regional Chief Isadore Day says that First Nation issues and interests will be more defined this year at the 15th Annual Prospectors and Developers Association (PDAC) meeting (held in Toronto last week) …. Despite the buzz around business development and the opportunities to generate wealth and employment, many First Nation leaders are suggesting that the mining industry must recognize the critical aspects of “treaties” and “sustainability”. Some First Nations chiefs are going as far as to say that the Ontario government must clearly draw the link between First Nation jurisdiction and provincial policy; and that this link must be the starting point of consultation to any mining development in regions where treaties were entered into with the crown. “Our First Nations and the treaties that our ancestors entered into have been left out of formal decision and policy-making for far too long,” says Chief Day. “This Ontario government can no longer have silo-style dialogue with us on the matter of treaty implementation – and leave the matter of treaty undefined in negotiations. This dialogue must be the basis for how mining evolves in this province – or it can’t go ahead at all, it’s that simple.” …. With developments in the Ring of Fire and in many other treaty jurisdictions throughout the province, “sustainability” will be an important policy discussion for many years to come, where First Nations and the Ontario government come to specific terms with matters around “treaty” and “First Nation jurisdiction” ….”
  • A tiny political shot from Canada’s RoF minister Greg Rickford following the announcement of funding for a road study  “…. Predictably, members of the federal NDP were publicly critical of our joint investment.  This is disappointing, but not surprising. If the NDP does not support the first step towards advancing development in the Ring of Fire, they certainly cannot claim they would support any others ….” (column also viewable here if previous link doesn’t work)

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