Ring of Fire News


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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – September 10, 2017


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Ring of Fire News – 9 Jan 12

  • While not in the Ring of Fire area, another court decision giving First Nations more say in development in their back yards.  “In a decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, released January 3, Madam Justice Brown ordered that Solid Gold Resources Corp. cannot carry on any further exploration activity on its claims block for 120 days, and that during this time the company and the Ontario Crown must engage with Wahgoshig in a process of meaningful consultation and accommodation about any such further exploration. She ordered that if this process is not productive, Wahgoshig can go back to court to seek an extension of the injunction. Solid Gold’s mining claims block is in the heart of Wahgoshig’s traditional territory, on land that is of significant importance to Wahgoshig. Solid Gold came onto this land and started drilling without any consultation or accommodation occurring first. The court decision clearly finds this to be wrong ….” First Nation news releaseCourt decision (HTML) – Court decision (PDF) – More more more – more
  • Premier following latest court decision:  up to businesses to consult with First Nations.  “…. Premier Dalton McGuinty would not comment directly on the ruling Thursday but he waved aside questions about whether this would make relations between First Nations and exploration companies more difficult. “There is an important legal obligation now placed on businesses to consult in a formal and thorough way,” he said after an announcement in Waterloo, Ont. “We need to get beyond the times where First Nation communities and the interests that they had in resources were given short shrift and were disrespected.” That obligation to consult, he added, is there “for a good reason.” “We fully expect that if businesses have an interest in pursuing these kinds of explorations, that they will consult.” ….”  Sourcealternate source if first link doesn’t work (PDF)
  • A former provincial energy minister-turned-consultant said First Nations will have the ultimate say on how the Ring of Fire mineral developments will unfold, and that includes the location of a proposed ferrochrome smelter. George Smitherman is pitching for the furnaces to be located in the northwestern Ontario municipality of Greenstone, and the village of Exton, which is already designated as a future ore transloading junction. Cliffs Natural Resources has maintained Sudbury is the frontrunner among four Northern Ontario communities to land the processing plant, and its 400-plus jobs, but only if provincial power rates are competitive with neighbouring jurisdictions. The international miner is expected to name the site for the plant sometime this year. “If the company persists in seeing the decision narrowly on the basis of power, then this has great project risk.” ….”  Source – A reminder:  Smitherman is working for the Municipality of Greenstone and Aroland First Nation trying to get a smelter into that part of northwestern Ontario.
  • Lakehead University economist worried about implications of Conference Board of Canada report for Thunder Bay’s port, Ring of Fire.  “The new report by the Conference Board of Canada titled Northern Assets: Transportation Infrastructure in Remote Communities on transportation in northern Canada provides a case study of Churchill Manitoba as a potential international gateway that may give the Port of Thunder Bay some cause for concern. The Port of Churchill and its Bay Line rail line play a key role in what is referred to as the Government of Manitoba’s Churchill Gateway System. Churchill could increase its role as a shipping hub by diversifying the range of agricultural products it handles and by increasing its share of Nunavut-bound freight—especially for mining projects. As well, climate change and melting sea ice is opening up the possibility of developing polar shipping lanes between Churchill, Asia, and Europe …. Alarm bells should be ringing in Thunder Bay given that this new strategy is not just a Manitoba government lobbying strategy but now also seems to have been given the blessing of the Conference Board of Canada. What’s next? A call for Federal government funding to build a rail link from Churchill to the Ring of Fire?”  Source Conference Board reportalternate report link if first link isn’t working (PDF)
  • Predictions (1)  Lakehead University economist:  “As 2012 dawns, Ontario’s Northwest begins another year of change and anticipation of change …. Despite the new knowledge economy, rocks and trees will still be important to the regional economy in 2012. However, despite the promise of the Ring of Fire, nothing substantial will happen without the cooperation of the First Nations, competitive energy prices and new transportation infrastructure ….”  Source
  • Predictions (2)  “…. Patrick Dillon, Business Manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, said work is currently picking up in transportation, mining and utility projects. All areas of the province will be seeing growth, like the north, where mining is getting stronger, roads need to be built and the Ring of Fire has potential for huge growth. “We as industry partners are really going to have some forethought and discussion, basic understanding between us about the Ring of Fire. It’s pretty remote and it’s going to take a pretty major construction workforce to supply,” said Dillon ….”  Source
  • Ring of Fire junior miner, KWG Resources announced it’s raised $1.75 million through flow-through shares to help pay for exploration at its high grade chromium project in the James Bay lowlands. In a Dec. 30 release, the Montreal-based company said it’s using the proceeds to fund half of its current drilling program at the Big Daddy deposit, currently being conducted by Cliffs Chromite Far North, formerly Spider Resources. Of the 17,500,000 units issued at a price of $0.10 per unit, insiders of the company purchased 2,500,000 units, or 14 per cent of the offering.”  Source KWG news release
  • Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the completion of the private placement financing originally announced on November 29, 2011.  Noront has issued 4,073,800 total flow-through common shares (“Flow-Through Shares”) at a price of $0.86 per Flow-Through Share for gross proceeds of $3,503,468. Dundee Securities Ltd., acted as lead agent on behalf of a syndicate including Raymond James Ltd.  In connection with the Offering, the Agents received a cash commission equal to 5.0% of the gross proceeds raised under the Offering. All securities issued will be subject to a four month hold period under Canadian securities laws. The gross proceeds from the sale of the Flow-Through Shares will be used for Canadian Exploration Expenses (“CEE”), with the Company to use best efforts to qualify such CEE as “flow-through mining expenditures”, to fund ongoing exploration activities on the Company’s McFauld’s Lake project. Such CEE will be renounced in favour of the subscribers of the Flow-Through Shares effective on or before December 31, 2011 ….”  Source
  • Green Swan Capital Corp. has successfully secured financing to fund a mining joint venture it has been working on with Melkior Resources Inc.  The Ottawa capital pool company raised $647,019.98 via flow-through and cash financings. Flow-through financing included 1,807,846 shares at 13 cents per share, and the cash financing comprised 4,120,000 units at 10 cents a share. Last August, Green Swan announced it was looking to acquire an option to purchase up to a 70-per-cent interest in Melkior’s RiverBank and Broke Back claims in the Ring of Fire area of northern Ontario ….”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 Dec 11-6 Jan 12 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 14 Nov 11

  • More on Matawa’s court fight to get a federal-provincial environmental assessment for the proposed Cliffs chromite project.  “The Ring of Fire is coming under fire today in Ottawa, as the federal and provincial governments are being told that greater environmental assessments must be done before the project can move forward. Ecojustice and CPAWS Wildlands League are calling on Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent and Ontario’s Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley to appoint an independent joint review panel to assess a proposed mega-mine for chromite in northern Ontario by the American-based Cliffs Resources Company.  As well, the Matawa Chiefs withdrew their support from Ring of Fire development on October 20, 2011 until the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency implements a negotiated Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment instead of a Comprehensive Study EA Process. The Chiefs are launching a Judicial Review …..”  Sourcemoremore (PDF) – moremoremore

  • National Aboriginal support for the court fight.  “Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today expressed concern about plans to move forward on projects in British Columbia and Northern Ontario without respecting the rights and interests of First Nations.  “As we near the first anniversary of Canada’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we must achieve respectful, practical approaches that will lead to mutually-beneficial economic development,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo …. National Chief Atleo’s comments come after …. CEAA’s approval of an environmental assessment for the proposed “New Prosperity Mine” comes shortly after a controversial decision to allow a limited review of the Cliffs Chromite Project in Ontario.  In late October, CEAA turned down requests by Matawa First Nations Chiefs for a Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment of a proposed chromite mine in the Ring of Fire, an area in the James Bay lowlands of Ontario. Matawa Chiefs were in Ottawa yesterday announcing their launch of a judicial review which they hope will overturn this decision.  National Chief Atleo and Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse stood with Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy and Matawa Chiefs Sonny Gagnon from Aroland First Nation, Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation and Chief Roger Oshkineegish of Nibinimik First Nation as they continued calls for their full engagement.  “First Nations are not opposed to development, but not at any cost,” said National Chief Atleo.  “We want to see environmentally sound community development that respects our rights, reflects our relationship to our land, our resources, and our traditions. The international community recognizes that the path towards economic progress for everyone rests on the principles of respect, transparency, and consent. If Canada wants to promote new mining ventures, it must allow the environmental review process to do what it was designed to do by listening to the people who will inherit the costs and benefits of projects in their communities.” ….”  Source

  • Open house on the Cliffs Chromite Project in Thunder Bay today ….  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is hosting an open house on Monday, a requirement as part of the environmental assessment needed to proceed with a chromite mine in the Ring of Fire.  The project, as outlined by the Cleveland-based company, includes the mine site and the accompanying ore processing facility, a ferrachrome production facility which local officials are trying to secure for Thunder Bay, and the transportation infrastructure needed to move equipment, materials and people too and from the mine site.  “During the open house and its project consultants will provide information to the community as well as answer questions about the project,” the company says in a statement obtained by tbnewswatch.com. “In addition, the session is designed to garner community feedback.”  The open house will be staged Monday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Valhalla Inn.”  Source  – more details in ad (PDF) here

  • …. and Capreol, near Sudbury, tomorrow.  “Cliffs Natural Resources will hold an information session in Capreol next week about its chromite project’s environmental assessment.  And Coun. Dave Kilgour will be listening closely.  Kilgour, the Ward 7 councillor, has high hopes for Greater Sudbury’s chances of getting a ferrochrome production facility. The facility will process chromite ore from the Ring of Fire, a resource-rich site in northwestern Ontario.  “Right from the get go on this, right from the start, that site has been set down as their ‘base case,’ ” he said of Moose Mountain, a brown-field site about 14 miles north of Capreol.  Capreol is part of Kilgour’s ward.  The site is marked as the proposed ferrochrome production facility in a Cliffs Chormite Project advertisement focusing on the open house.  The ad also has the proposed transportation system marked, as well as the mine site …. The open house, which will take place Nov. 15 from 4-8 p.m. at the Capreol Community Centre, will include information on the federal environmental assessment with Cliffs representatives, said Pat Persico, senior manager of global communications at Cliffs ….”  Source
  • Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP is now Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines.  “…. When asked if it might affect his ability to fight for a ferrachrome processing plant for Thunder Bay, when American mining giant Cliffs Natural Resources appears to be leaning toward Sudbury for the Ring of Fire project, Mauro said he doesn’t see a conflict.  “I think that we can all do the best we can to entice a private-sector player locate where they’re going to locate,” he said.  “But at the end of the day clearly they’ll choose. I think the best we can do as a government is to ensure we have the macro pieces in place that will entice them to be in Ontario. Then we do the best selling job we can to encourage them to find Thunder Bay to be the location. I don’t feel restricted in my role at all, and have had meetings with Cliffs in the past … so that won’t change.” ….”  ( Source )  Compare and contrast with Minister Rick Bartolucci’s answer to a similar question:  “the way the (Sudbury) mayor and the community have engaged me in this process, I can still act as the MPP, and will.”  ( Source )

  • Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. …. announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend on the Company’s common shares of $0.28 per share. The cash dividend will be payable on Dec. 1, 2011, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Nov. 18, 2011 ….”  Source
  • UC wants to sell off it’s share of a major McFaulds Lake property it holds with other partners ….  “UC Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Freewest Resources Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., for Freewest to acquire 100% of the UC owned 55% Joint Venture Interest in the McFaulds Lake area property, subject to and in accordance with the Joint Venture Agreement dated as of July 26, 2011 between KWG Resources Inc. (“KWG”), Spider Resources Inc. (now named Cliffs Chromite Far North Inc.), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cliffs, and UC ….”  Source

  • …. and KWG says it’ll think about it.  “KWG Resources Inc. received last Friday evening a notice of the election by Cliffs Chromite Far North Inc. that it will exercise its pre-emptive right to acquire from UC Resources Inc. the Participating Joint Venture Interest which it had agreed to sell to Freewest Resources Inc. on November 9, 2011. KWG has 45 days from receipt of the notice to elect to participate in the exercise of the pre-emptive right, proportionally to its present interest in the Joint Venture.  “It would appear difficult to justify spending some millions of dollars to have a larger non-operating but contributing minority interest in another joint venture with Cliffs”, said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “But we will look at it closely”….”   Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-14 Nov 11 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 20 Sept 11

  • Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty rejects taking part in leaders’ debate in Thunder Bay (even by video conference connection) dealing (in part) with Ring of Fire issues.  “Ontario Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty (has) confirmed …. he won’t participate in a Sept. 23 Northern debate that he will not be participating in a leaders’ debate in Northern Ontario Sept. 23, despite an offer from the Progressive Conservatives to foot his bill. The Tories offered …. to cover the costs for the premier to appear via teleconference for the debate, but McGuinty — the lone holdout in the challenge — didn’t bite. During a tour of the Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay …. McGuinty said he received the invitation to participate in an the Northern debate in early August and said then that he couldn’t make it on Sept. 23. An alternative date wasn’t provided. McGuinty said he is looking forward to discussing Northern issues during the televised leaders’ debate in Toronto on Sept. 27. He added that he doesn’t want leaders saying one thing to a southern audience and another thing to a Northern audience. He used the example of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath who, he said, tells southern Ontario that she wants to shut down development north of 51, which would put a stop to the Ring of Fire development, but tells Northern Ontario a different story. “In order to eliminate those kinds of opportunities, I think we should all be there together talking about the province together, including an important focus on Northern issues,” McGuinty said ….”  Source more moremore
  • Industry helping deal with prescription drug abuse at one of the Ring of Fire First Nations  “Cliffs Natural Resources and the Marten Falls First Nation are working together to combat issues with drug abuse. Marten Falls or Ogoki Post is one of many northern First Nations dealing with an unprecedented rate of opiate addiction attributed to a misused prescription drug known as OxyContin …. Marten Falls First Nation Chief and Council today welcome members of an independent Treatment Team and Health Canada’s First Nation and Inuit Health representatives to initiate the planning for a community-based clinical withdrawal management program to help community members with opiate addiction. They are joined by Joe Gaboury, Director of Aboriginal Affairs for Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., an international mining company, who will cover the costs for the first program. Joe Gaboury stated, “We are so concerned that we have decided to invest some of our money in having a healthy, capable workforce coming from this northern community.  We have made this a priority for our business.” The team of health professionals will use a substitution drug known as Suboxone and taper the drug over 30 days until clients can be taken off completely or continue on short-term low-dose maintenance ….”  Source
  • More details being revealed today on how much power would be needed to build a smelter processing plant near Nakina. “…. There will be a presentation of theWhite Paper developed by G & G Global Solutions and Environmental Communication Options with a discussion of the Technical Appendix by Larry Doran Imperium Energy Inc. In attendance will be Greenstone Mayor Ron Beaulieu, Aroland First Nation Chief Sonny Gagnon and others. (It will be a) Technical Briefing on Greenstone’s findings related to the required electricity supply for a refinery at Exton in Greenstone (with) Project Advisors, George Smitherman of G& G Global Solutions and Don Huff, of Environmental Communication Options; Electricity Grid Consultant, Larry Doran of Imperium Energy Inc. (taking part)….”  Source
  • Sudbury officials to twist Cliffs Natural Resources arms in Cleveland?  “The city may be sending a team to Cleveland, the home base of Cliffs Natural Resources, to present Greater Sudbury’s case for landing a smelter to process ore from the company’s chromite deposits in northwestern Ontario. “There is something in the works,” Mayor Marianne Matichuk said when reached Thursday. “I can’t get into details. We don’t have everything firmed up.” The Star has learned a team that includes Matichuk and chief administrative officer Doug Nadorozny could be heading to Cleveland as early as Wednesday to present a study about a former industrial site just north of Capreol. “I will be fighting for our community and giving Cliffs a good case for our community,” Matichuk said ….”  Source

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-19 Sept 11) also available here (PDF).  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 12 Sept 11

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  • Ontario Liberal election plan:  “The Ring of Fire is one of the greatest economic development opportunities Ontario has seen in almost 100 years, said the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. MPPs Michael Gravelle (Lib., Thunder Bay-Superior North) and Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) announced the Ontario Liberals’ northern platform outside of AbitibiBowater Friday morning. The party’s commitment to the development of the Ring of Fire was one of the highlights. “We are going to commit to drive that development forward, working with all the partners in all of the sectors of the industry to make that happen, by working with the companies that are involved, with the First Nations, with the Métis Nation, with the communities to see that going forward,” said Gravelle. The party plans to open eight mines in the next 10 years ….”  (Sources: tbnewswath.com, 9 Sept 11)
  • Ontario NDP election plan:  “…. The NDP plan will protect and create jobs: Make it the law that resources that can be processed in Ontario won’t be shipped away …. Get electricity costs and bureaucracy under control and establish an industrial hydro rate that can be used by northern industries – Tackle the high cost of living in the North …. Eliminate duplication in Ontario’s electricity system, stop the private power deals and make hydro CEOs more accountable to consumers …. Respect for Northern decision-making: Ensuring First Nations benefit from resource development and are empowered to play a full role in improving their communities, give the north a voice at Queen’s Park by setting up a Northern Ontario Legislative Committee, Ensure Mining Tax revenue from new mines stays in the North with municipalities and First Nations ….”  (Source:  NDP news release, NDP northern Ontario platform (alternate download available here), 8 Sept 11; Chronicle-Journal, 9 Sept 11)
  • What “They’re” saying about NDP plan  “….  The Liberals took the first shot by accusing the NDP of proposing a “moratorium” on development north of the 51st parallel — the location of Ring of Fire and other promising mining projects. The NDP plan “would kill the Ring of Fire and destroy jobs in every Northern community,” Thunder Bay-Superior North Liberal candidate and current Mining Minister Michael Gravelle said in a news release. “I can think of nothing more ill-informed or reckless.” Not so, said the NDP. Former party leader Howard Hampton didn’t dispute the reference to a “moratorium” the Liberals found in what he said was a 2006 NDP document. But Hampton, who is not running for re-election in Kenora riding, said it was only meant as a temporary measure until a plan for Far North development had been put forward. “Back in 2006, the issue was: Are you going to make a plan for the North, or have a free-for-all? A lot has happened in five years.” A Liberal party spokeswoman said the NDP document remained “current” as of this week and it was fair to bring it to light. “The NDP only promises to get rid of the (Liberal) Far North Act — there is no detail as to what they will replace it with,” the spokeswoman said. “The document we provided is the only official information publicly available on their thinking on this issue,” she added. Hampton said focusing on a position that’s five year’s old is just playing politics. “That would be like us focusing on Dalton McGuinty saying he’d never raise our taxes,” said Hampton. Both the NDP and the Conservatives have promised to repeal the Far North Act. It was opposed by Northern aboriginal and mining groups who said it’s too restrictive on development and weakens aboriginal autonomy.”  (Source:  Chronicle-Journal, netnewsledger.com, 9 Sept 11)
  • More on the impact of a recent court decision on mining and other resource extraction.  “…. Murray Braithwaite works with Fasken Martineau, a law firm specializing in mining issues. He said the Ontario Superior Court’s Keewatin decision has changed the rules regarding resource extraction in the region. In August, the court ruled that the province cannot authorize timber and logging if those operations infringe on federal treaty promises that protect aboriginal rights to traditional hunting and trapping. It’s still unclear how that decision will affect mining operations. “Everyone is trying to digest the decision,” Braithwaite said. “The implications of leases being invalid are difficult to accept.” Braithwaite said he expects the decision will trigger an appeal and lead to years of legal wrangling. As a result, it may be a long time before the rules about doing business in Ontario’s Far North can be clarified ….” (Source: CBC.ca, 9 Sept 11; Fasken Martineau newsletter, 25 Aug 11)
  • Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo says First Nations have to be part of future mining developments. “Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of development projects across the country won’t ever break ground unless the federal government finally realizes First Nations have a final say over what happens on their territory, says Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo. With about $400 billion worth of resource-based activity expected across the country in the coming years that impacts traditional First Nations territories, Atleo said it was time for Ottawa and industry to get serious about respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples to have final word over what happens on their land. “We have much to gain by working together and a lot to lose if we don’t – because those projects cannot and will not take place without our agreement, without our involvement and without our active engagement from start to finish,” said Atleo Friday, during a Toronto speech to the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Indigenous Bar Association. Canada’s First Nations have the right to reject projects that impact their territories and continued attempts to minimize or ignore that right will lead to conflict, said Atleo. “We must not slide down the old slippery slope towards new conflicts. We must march forward on a new path,” he said ….”  (Source:  APTN, Postmedia News, 9 Sept 11)
  • Some north-shore First Nations banding together to work on areas of common concern“…. three Northern Ontario First Nations have signed a letter of intent to work together on common interests in shared traditional territories. Aroland, Ginoogaming, and Long Lake # 58 First Nations have committed to develop processes together to ensure that the First Nations are aware of activities occurring, or about to occur, within their traditional territories and that they jointly benefit from developments through proper consultations and consent. Chief Veronica Waboose of Long Lake #58 First Nation says; “Currently companies and industry are approaching our First Nations individually and we don’t have the resources. Working together as three First Nations, we can assist each other and guarantee we are all in the know about projects happening within our traditional territories.” All three communities are located approximately 350 kilometers Northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation says; “Our First Nations are all going to be impacted by development happening in the area- not just one of the communities. These are our shared territories…this isn’t about divide and conquer.” The three First Nations have identified that the absence of a government to government process for consultation and accommodation between First Nations and the Federal and Provincial governments as a major issue. The Matawa First Nations Chiefs signed a Unity Declaration in July to stand together to protect the natural resources and territories of member First Nations; The three Chiefs agree that signing the letter of intent, is the next step for the declaration ….”  (Sources:  First Nation news release (alternate sites for release here and here), Wawatay News, 7 Sept 11; Northern Ontario Business, 9 Sept 11)
  • Remember the group of First Nations signing a deal to work together on Ring of Fire issues?  Not everyone is signing on – this from a letter to the editor signed by Marten Falls Chief Elijah Moonias:   “…. Marten Falls is not signing this agreement. It is the north-south corridor we want, and we have actually started the road. We would prefer a gravel road, not a railroad. The problem with a railroad is, it will cross the Albany River 50 miles up and it will not bring traffic to town. If we could achieve some ownership of the rail line, whatever we could afford, then revenue could be achieved. Cliffs, the major proponent for the chromite deposit, wants the north-south route, by road or by rail. I understand the route will be decided by the government in consultation with the public. We are also in the process of planning with the government of Ontario for a land use plan of the area. This plan has not looked into the issue of the corridor. The east-west route is proposed by Noront, a junior company, not a mining development company. I find their proposal for this route not only environmentally unfeasible but economically impossible. They want to “slurry” the nickel, copper and palladium to the “Webequie junction.” This is a pipeline pumped by diesel generators through a thousand pristine lakes and creeks. Try getting environmental approvals for that, if the money could be had to actually do it. Land use plans should be completed before declaring where the corridor will go and what it might be, road or rail. The corridor issue was discussed at the Matawa AGM in Constance Lake. To request a corridor to the Ring of Fire through the east-west plan is contrary to the Unity Statement, because this plan leaves us watching on the sidelines as our territory is approached and encroached upon in a round-about way. We cannot allow that and will find a way to safeguard our interests other than relying on statements that do not mean anything ….”  (Source:  Chronicle-Journal, 9 Sept 11)
  • Former Constance Lake chief Arthur Moore is now district manager, First Nations relations with Cliffs Natural Resources, one of the mining companies in the Ring of Fire mineral exploration area. “With my experience and knowledge, I think I can provide good input,” Moore said of his new job. “So far it’s been good. It’s a good environment at the office.” …. Moore began his employment with Cliffs Aug. 2. His role is to work with First Nations and government agencies to prevent misunderstandings and ensure good communications are in place, especially in the environmental assessment process to ensure correct information is delivered to the communities. “We are planning to do bulletins with the First Nations,” Moore said. “We need that dialogue and the dynamics to have a good relationship.” Moore said it is important to prevent misunderstandings and improve relationships with First Nations. Moore had three good job offers before he decided to accept the offer from Cliffs. “I work with senior management from Cliffs’ headquarters,” Moore said. His immediate supervisor is Joe Gaboury, director of Aboriginal Affairs with Cliffs, and he also works with the company’s directors of environment and development at the new Cliffs office in Thunder Bay. “I hope to see growth in the communities and establishing of good relationships,” Moore said ….”  (Source:  Wawatay News, 2 Sept 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1 Jun-9 Sept 11) also available here (PDF).  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News, 18 Jul 11

The Ring of Fire News blog shares public information in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act, and is not responsible for the accuracy of the original material.  Inclusion of material or sources here should not imply endorsement or otherwise by the Ring of Fire News blog.

  • Matawa First Nation chiefs:  no development in our traditional territory without our say so.  “…. all nine Chiefs from Matawa First Nations communities signed a historic declaration, making the commitment to stand together to protect the natural resources and territories of member First Nations. The Mamow- Wecheekapawetahteewiin- “Unity Declaration”, states that the nine Matawa communities agree that they “must stand together in order to ensure our nation is protected. Therefore, we assert our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights to the land, water and resources by requiring our written consent before any development activity may proceed.” The “Unity Declaration” further states that; “Failure to consult, accommodate and receive the consent of the First Nation(s) to proceed with any work or activity is an unjustified infringement upon our Aboriginal, Treaty and Custodial rights as First Nations.” The declaration that was unanimously supported comes after a Matawa summit that was held in Neskantaga First Nation in early June, 2011, that focused on the development of a unified strategy to move forward on future developments and the protection of the First Nations lands, waters and resources. Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation says; “With this declaration, we hope to send a very powerful message to industry and government – Matawa First Nations are working as one. Any development occurring around any of our First Nations communities will impact us as one and this needs to be recognized”. Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation says; “The nine First Nations take the position that our traditional territories are under our control and approval to operate in our territories and cannot be given by the government or any other entities” ….” (Source:  Matawa news release, 14 Jul 11)
  • KWG backs the Matawa Chiefs’ declaration.  “KWG Resources Inc. welcomes the announcement yesterday of the Unity Declaration made by the Chiefs of the nine First Nations of the Matawa Council of First Nations. “This is an exceedingly encouraging development”, said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “There has been a lot of jockeying amongst all the players affected by the Ring of Fire discoveries, and the Chiefs are demonstrating their profound wisdom in determining to act together to confront those opportunities for all of their communities and people.” “We are in complete agreement with Chief Moonias of the Marten Falls First Nation when he observed, in the press release announcing the Unity Declaration: ‘Our First Nations do not oppose responsible development but as the people of the land, we want to benefit from these potential mining developments and negotiate meaningful employment and business opportunities for our communities, while ensuring the environment is not at risk’. …. “ (source: company news release, 15 Jul 11)
  • Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs and city officials visit Webequie First Nation seeking support for a smelter.  “…. The trip was also about making sure the First Nation community, near the Ring of Fire, knows that Thunder Bay wants to win the fight with Sudbury and Greenstone, as Hobbs calls it, for a ferrochrome processor. With 25,000 Aboriginal people in Thunder Bay, Hobbs said the processor would help all citizens in the city. “We want jobs for our people and Aboriginal people,” he said ….” (source: tbnewswatch.com, 14 Jul 11)
  • Calls for a “Mining Marshall Plan” for northern Ontario.  “…. Ontario needs to help build the necessary key transportation routes to develop the North’s enormous and strategic mineral potential. These include a railway to the Ring of Fire mining camp and all-weather highways to replace winter ice roads to isolated Aboriginal communities …. Ontario must provide more competitive power rates for mining and refining operations ….  Ensure that the processing of major mineral deposits mined in Ontario be done in the province ….  Allow the development of peat fuel as a power source for isolated First Nations communities, the Ring of Fire mining camp, and as a partial fuel for the two coal-fired power plants in Thunder Bay and Atikokan …. A thorough geoscience assessment must be conducted of any lands designated for parks and local Aboriginal communities must be consulted and allowed a veto …. A reasonably short provincial commission on mining regulation should be established ….  There must be an immediate provincial commitment to invest millions for building the necessary infrastructure (working water treatment plants, high quality schools and training facilities, medical centres, and perhaps even motels) in the five First Nations communities closest to the Ring of Fire mining camp. Then over the next decade repeat this development strategy in the other Aboriginal communities across the North. By increasing the capacity of First Nations communities to significantly benefit from mineral exploration and development – which should be a government, not industry, responsibility – resource conflicts will be less likely to rise up …..”  (source:  Canadian Mining Journal, 11 Jul 11)
  • Ontario Conservative Party election promise:  Minister of Northern Development, not the Ring of Fire Co-ordinator, will co-ordinate development in the area.  “…. We will turn the promise of the Ring of Fire into a job-creating reality. Ontario is sitting on a gigantic opportunity – tens of billions of dollars worth of jobs and prosperity. That’s bigger than the Sudbury Basin. It is a once-in-a-century opportunity for the North, for Ontario, and for Canada. Yet Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have dragged their feet, refusing to jump on the high-value jobs and investments that are waiting. We will not let this historic opportunity pass us by. We will champion the Ring of Fire, representing the voice of Northern Ontario throughout the entire province. We will convince people in Southern Ontario that the Ring of Fire matters to them. And wherever government policy is a barrier, we will be open to all options to remove those barriers. We will make the Minister of Northern Development and Mines the government point person for moving the Ring of Fire forward. It is far too important to leave to a single middle manager in the bureaucracy as Dalton McGuinty has done ….” (page a9, Changebook North, Ontario Conservative Party platform, downloadable – 4.2MB PDF – here)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited also available here (PDF).

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Ring of Fire News, Week ending 27 Jun 11

The Ring of Fire News blog shares public information in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act, and is not responsible for the accuracy of the original material.  Inclusion of material or sources here should not imply endorsement or otherwise by the Ring of Fire News blog.

  • The Matawa First Nation communities have been offered up to $9.6 million over three years to develop core capacity to participate in the Ring of Fire initiative. “The funding was intended to support whatever specific community needs were identified,” said Christine Kaszycki, Ontario’s Ring of Fire coordinator. “There are a range of things that are available and the communities have the opportunity to submit a funding request and through that identify the approach that they would be taking as part of their proposal.” The Ring of Fire has been a hotbed of mineral exploration activity in recent years, home to a potentially large deposit of chromite, a mineral used to make stainless steel. The area is located in the James Bay lowlands near the traditional territories of Webequie and Marten Falls. The five remote fly-in communities of Eabametoong, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, Nibinamik and Webequie have been offered $1.5 million over three years, the three communities along Hwy. 11, Constance Lake, Ginoogaming and Long Lake #58, have been offered $450,000 over three years and Aroland has been offered $750,000 over three years….” (Source:  Wawatay News, 24 Jun 11)
  • Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Michael Gravelle, told a Ring of Fire transportation conference in Thunder Bay that other governments, not just Ontario, will have to contribute to developing any transportation infrastructure into the Ring of Fire area.  (Source:  CBQ-FM Thunder Bay, 23 Jun 11)
  • Speaking at the same conference, Gravelle was quoted saying, “The decision on the location (of processing facilities) is ultimately production-driven, and will be made by the (mining) companies based on factors including sustainability, cost and profitability…. We expect the decisions we make on transportation, infrastructure and other considerations will support those production and community decisions.”   He is also quoted saying, “If I was specifying that it should be in one community I would be certainly in a position where it would be difficult for me to maintain the kind of credibility I need to continue our work with Cliff’s (Natural Resources) and with the other companies.” (Sources:  Chronicle-Journal, 24 Jun 11, clipping available here; Tbnewswatch.com, 24 Jun 11)
  • Mining camp workers employed by Cliffs (Natural Resources) and who walked off the job …. held a quiet demonstration outside (the ROF infrastructure conference mentioned above).  Representative Harry Baxter Sr. said they were there to show conference delegates, companies and the public that all is not well in the Ring of Fire. Baxter said the workers “have no benefits, no safety standards, no insurance.” He said more than two dozen camp workers walked off the job, protesting what Baxter said were unsafe conditions and a pay cut to $140 a day. Baxter said the pay is inadequate for those who live in the remote North where expenses are much higher than elsewhere. They are taking their concerns to a First Nations chiefs meeting at the Valhalla Inn on Friday, he said. Cliffs spokesmen have said the camp manager resigned amid the walkout and will be replaced. The other workers, they said, are welcome to return to their jobs. They also said the company would meet with the workers to discuss their concerns.”  Cliffs’ senior VP of ferralloys, Bill Boor, was also quoted saying he is contacting workers who left the work site to “discuss their problems directly with them.” Boor is also quoted saying “Their concern is that they’re going to now get taxed, and therefore their take-home pay will be reduced. We’re going to pay competitive wages, and in fact in this issue, we’re going to make sure people’s take-home pay does not go down. If that means we have to pay more because somebody who was a registered contractor, for example, is now subject to taxes, we’re going to take that on.” (Chronicle-Journal, 21 Jun 11, clipping available hereChronicle-Journal, 23 Jun 11)
  • KWG Resources Inc. advises that its subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation has acquired by staking, two 16-unit mineral claims adjoining to the south of the Fancamp Exploration Ltd claims 3012257 and 3012258. The north-eastern corner of the eastern-most claim is within Koper Lake. As such, the new claim encompasses that portion of the western shore of Koper Lake that has been the logistics hub for activities in the area. The claims are outside of the areas of interest provided for in KWG’s agreements with Spider Resources Inc., and UC Resources Limited. The companies are also pleased to announce the appointment of Bruce Hodgman as a Vice-President of Canada Chrome Corporation.”  (Source:  KWG news release, 21 Jun 11)
  • “A Lakehead University professor has suggested a Ring of Fire endowment fund for future generations in northern Ontario. “Natural resources in a sense are like a gift – it’s like winning a lottery,” said Livio Di Matteo, a professor of economics at Lakehead University. “When you win a lottery, it’s great to spend some of it and have a good time. But at the same time if you want to prepare for tomorrow, it’s also a good idea to save a large portion of it and then only spend the income.” ….”  (Source:  Wawatay News, 24 Jun 11)
  • A Lakehead University economist suggests blimps.  “…. Development of the Ring of Fire will require transportation infrastructure and the Ring of Fire Conference held in Thunder Bay yesterday discussed proposals for transportation infrastructure. Of course, the proposals have a familiar ring – building new all-weather roads as well as building a new rail line. These are expensive pieces of transportation infrastructure and will provide access to the Ring of Fire and immediately adjacent areas. There are many First Nations living in Ontario’s Far North who rely on winter roads for bringing in supplies and these ice roads have become increasingly fragile with the shorter winters brought about by climate change. A railroad or road to the Ring of Fire would not necessarily meet the needs of all remote First Nations. One solution that would be cost-effective in meeting the needs of First Nations as well as providing a means to transport heavy equipment and supplies for mining companies lies in an old technology that is receiving some updates – Lighter Than Air Vehicles, also known as airships ….”  (Source:  Netnewsledger.com, 24 Jun 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited also available here (PDF).

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