With recent austerity measures affecting many economic sectors within Quebec, the provincial government is desperately looking for new sources of income. The precious metal industry is still profitable, and mining developments such as Plan Nord could bring investors to the province, acting as a safety net to protect people from the ongoing cuts. However, this would not come without a cost that would be shouldered by current and future generations.
The benefits of invasive projects such as Plan Nord are often only measured by their immediate value, leaving out negative externalities. Plan Nord is expected to cause substantial environmental damage to the region, due both to the resource extraction the project would entail, as well as its magnitude. In addition to the environmental damage, however, the project will have significant negative impacts on the local communities in the North, particularly with regards to women.
Plan Nord was initially proposed by the Liberal government led by Jean Charest in 2011, but was shut down by Pauline Marois after the Parti Québécois (PQ) came into power in 2012. The PQ has traditionally held an antagonistic position toward the mining sector. Recently, however, with the comeback of the Liberals, a revised version of the project has started to gain steam once again.
This version, which encompasses 72 per cent of the land area of Quebec, an area twice the size of France, is expected to create significant economic benefits for the province, including the creation of 20,000 jobs. Read the rest of this entry »
Ontario should look to socialist Norway if it wants to capitalize on the rich mineral deposits of the far north’s Ring of Fire.
Like Canada, Norway has a resource-based economy, exploiting extensive reserves of oil, natural gas minerals and lumber. Half its export revenues come from oil and gas.
Unlike Canada, Norway is not in hock up to its eyeballs. In fact, it’s the second-wealthiest country in the world. Every Norwegian is, theoretically, a millionaire. That’s a million kroner, which translates to about $177,000 US apiece.
That’s because, unlike many other resource-rich countries and provinces, Norway put its oil revenues, from taxes, fees and ownership stakes, into a fund where politicians couldn’t get their spendthrift hands on them.
The money was invested in financial markets outside Norway. It grew. Their sovereign wealth fund, created a mere 20 years ago, now controls about one per cent of all publicly traded shares in the world. Read the rest of this entry »
Abe Tanha is owner and operator of Hooked On Juneau, a locally operated fishing tour company.
As owner of a sportfishing business based in Juneau, I join a large group of Alaskans including Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, Rep. Don Young, 11 municipalities including CBJ and the Southeast Conference of Mayors, tribes, fishermen and tourism operators who are deeply concerned with the scale and speed of mine development in British Columbia. Thank you, Juneau Empire, for a thorough job documenting this issue for your readers.
Last week the Empire responded to a litany of outrageous claims from B.C.’s Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, about the Mount Polley mine tailings dam failure and development in the transboundary region. Bennett’s remarks are a total mischaracterization of Alaskans’ concerns and the widespread call from Alaskans for International Joint Commission involvement.
As unprecedented as the Mount Polley catastrophe may have been, the tailings dam failed because of regulatory oversight. Bennett claimed government inspectors could not have detected the glacial silt layer; however, they did identify a plethora of issues related to poor design and maintenance of the dam. These went unaddressed by Imperial Metals. Read the rest of this entry »
THUNDER BAY – The president and CEO of Noront Natural Resources acknowledges the acquisition of the claims formerly held by Cliffs Natural Resources is a game changer for the Ring of Fire.
Alan Coutts was in Thunder Bay on Friday in hopes of meeting with Matawa chiefs regarding the announcement earlier this week of Noront now holding nearly 65 per cent of the Ring of Fire.
While he did not get to meet with the chiefs, he said the consultation process needs to be completely re-evaluated. “I think we’ll probably have to take a couple of steps backwards to change the relationship and dialogue but ultimately it will allow us to go forward a lot further,” Coutts said at the company’s Thunder Bay office.
“We’re potentially redefining the landscape of how industry, First Nations and government work together for the entire nation.”
Matawa chiefs expressed concern about the sale, accusing the company of working outside of the framework agreement that had been signed last year and objecting to First Nations not having any input in the transaction. Read the rest of this entry »
What is the basis for this allegation? Because, “the chiefs were informed of the deal at the same time as the public . . . .” Perhaps the chiefs would prefer to have been jointly accused with Noront of insider trading by insisting on advance knowledge of a purchase plan by publicly traded companies. … Matawa needs to re-think its hasty and inappropriate response to the first good news about the Ring of Fire in a while. (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Editorial)
WHILE many people viewed Noront Resources’ plan this week to acquire the vast chromite properties of Cliffs Natural Resources as a welcome shot in the arm of the stalled Ring of Fire mining project, Matawa First Nation Chiefs are grumpy.
When Cliffs pulled out of the project, a sense of gloom settled over this region. With the biggest player gone, so too seemed the hopes of communities across the region for the new mining boom the Ring had promised.
Noront has always been a smaller player, with nickel interests. By planning to pick up Cliffs’ properties, Noront signalled renewed industry faith in the project said to be the North’s economic salvation. Billions of dollars are on the line.
Raining on this parade are the Matawa chiefs who have been enjoying new respect and attention from all players, including government, who unanimously agree that First Nations must be primary participants and beneficiaries in the Ring of Fire. Read the rest of this entry »
THUNDER BAY — The Minister of Northern Development and Mines is taking the concerns of First Nation leaders seriously and says they have an important role to play in the development of the Ring of Fire.
“The province, our government, remains absolutely committed to continuing the work we are doing with the Matawa First Nations related to implemented the regional framework agreement,” said Michael Gravelle (Lib., Thunder Bay-Superior North) Thursday morning.
On Wednesday, chiefs of the Matawa First Nations held a press conference to speak out against the news earlier this week that Noront Resources Inc. was maneuvering to purchase 103 Ring of Fire claims from subsidiaries of Cliffs Natural Resources, meanwhile setting a March 31 deadline to reveal the terms of reference for its environmental assessment process for claims the company had already staked, mainly it’s Eagle’s Next nickel project.
The Matawa First Nation chiefs believe the company is operating beyond a framework agreement they signed last year with Ontario and that First Nations should have a say in the transaction. Gravelle said he heard the chiefs’ concerns and is taking them seriously, but he is also encouraged. Read the rest of this entry »
THUNDER BAY – MINING – Noront Resources CEO and President Al Coutts shares details on the company’s purchase of Cliffs Natural Resources properties in the Ring of Fire in Northwestern Ontario.
Noront Resources, Coutts explains has gone through a “game changing” process from being one of the very junior mining companies to a whole new status.
Coutts states that changes many things and he is looking to meet with First Nations leaders from Matawa First Nations, the Ontario and Federal Governments with an eye to seeing how this entire project can not move forward. Read the rest of this entry »
‘We’re not in such a rush. We’re willing to do this well,” Eabametoong Chief Elizabeth Atlookan says
Plans by Noront Resources to buy Cliffs’ chromite assets in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining area are a “barrier to future opportunities” and a “threat to aboriginal and treaty rights,” say First Nations chiefs opposed to the deal.
Noront announced the $20-million deal on Monday. The purchase requires court approval and won’t be finalized until at least mid-April because Cliffs’ Quebec subsidiary is in restructuring proceedings under the Companies’s Creditors Arrangement Act.
The Matawa Chiefs Council, representing the eight First Nations closest to the proposed mine sites, went public Wednesday with plans to stall the deal before it is finalized.
“Our rights to the chromite deposit are recognized by the fact that the province and mining companies have already made promises to share revenues and benefits from development,” said Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias. “We should have had a voice in the sale.” Read the rest of this entry »
Chief-elect Wayne Moonias says it feels like Noront Resources and the Ontario government have put a collective gun to the heads of Northern Ontario First Nations.
Moonias, who will take the reins of Neskantag First Nation on April 1, was reacting to news earlier this week that Noront Resources Inc. was maneuvering to purchase 103 Ring of Fire claims from subsidiaries of Cliffs Natural Resources, meanwhile setting a March 31 deadline to reveal the terms of reference for its environmental assessment process for claims the company had already staked.
Moonias added Matawa First Nation chiefs, who gathered Wednesday in Thunder Bay to unanimously speak out against the sale, believe the company is operating beyond a framework agreement his people signed last year with Ontario and that First Nations should have a say in the transaction.
“We’re trying to ensure that our rights are respected and protected,” Moonias said. “This is a critical time in our communities. Those days are gone when the government and industry came in and took all the resources in our community.”
The Ring of Fire, a multibillion-dollar mother-lode of chromite and other minerals, will never be developed if true partnerships aren’t formed, the chiefs said. That means First Nations must be involved every step of the way, said Aroland First Nation Chief Sonny Gagnon. Read the rest of this entry »
THUNDER BAY ON – BUSINESS – Matawa First Nation Chiefs re-affirmed their commitment to a community based processes for Ring of Fire Development, including creating environmental protections and economic opportunities which are driven by their community members, not just industry plans.
The recent purchase announcement by Noront goes against the Matawa First Nations Unity Declaration signed in Webequie First Nation July 13, 2011.
The Chiefs have repeatedly signalled that genuine partnership in development will be the only way forward in the Ring of Fire, and Noront seems intent on driving its agenda, rather than working together.
The Matawa Chiefs are examining legal and political options on both the purchase agreement and the rumored advancing of the Environmental Assessment process beyond the draft Terms of Reference phase. These moves are seen as a barrier to future opportunities with the First Nations as well as threatening Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The Chiefs were informed of the deal at the same time as the public, and while negotiating the next steps on an enhanced environmental assessment.
Chief Peter Moonias outlined the key reasons why the Chiefs are frustrated with Noront, “the Cliffs chromite is on our lands, we have jurisdiction here as well as Aboriginal Title and Treaty rights in the lands that hold the Cliffs chromite. Read the rest of this entry »
THUNDER BAY ON – MARCH 25, 2015: Matawa First Nation Chiefs re-affirmed their commitment to a community based processes for Ring of Fire Development, including creating environmental protections and economic opportunities which are driven by their community members, not just industry plans.
The recent purchase announcement by Noront goes against the Matawa First Nations Unity Declaration signed in Webequie First Nation June 2011. The Chiefs have repeatedly signalled that genuine partnership in development will be the only way forward in the Ring of Fire, and Noront seems intent on driving its agenda, rather than working together.
The Matawa Chiefs are examining legal and political options on both the purchase agreement and the rumored advancing of the Environmental Assessment process beyond the draft Terms of Reference phase. These moves are seen as a barrier to future opportunities with the First Nations as well as threatening Aboriginal and Treaty Rights. The Chiefs were informed of the deal at the same time as being told that the province has set an April 1 deadline for a decision on the next step in Noront’s environmental assessment for a proposed nickel mine in the Ring of Fire.
The Matawa Chiefs are well-aware that private investors are most interested in a stable and secure investment, and that none of the proposed projects will receive financing for development without the support of the First Nations. Media is invited to come speak with the nine MAtawa Chiefs at 4:00pm at the Matawa First Nation offices in Thunder Bay. Read the rest of this entry »
(L to R) Noront Team at PDAC Awards Ceremony: Glenn Nolan, Vice President, Aboriginal Affairs; Alan Coutts, P.Geo, President and CEO; Kaitlyn Ferris, Manager, Corporate Responsibility; Paul Semple, P.Eng, Chief Operating Officer; Gregory Rieveley, CPA, CA, Chief Financial Officer. (Photo by Stan Sudol)
TheSudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Just when I was ready to title my next Ring of Fire column, “Lost and sinking in the political muskeg of the James Bay lowlands,” a corporate bolt of lightning struck Monday, when Noront Resources, with the backing of Franco Nevada Corporation, announced the acquisition of Cliffs’ chromite properties.
This is a game changer in the Ring of Fire! A Canadian company is putting cold hard cash on the table – during one of the most severe mining busts in decades – in the long-term financial belief of the economic potential of the Ring of Fire.
Franco Nevada is lending Noront U.S. $22.5 million for five years at 7% interest in return for a 3% royalty for Cliffs’ Black Thor chomite deposit and a 2% royalty for all of Noront’s other Ring of Fire properties, with the exception of their Eagle’s Nest nickel/copper/PGM mine. The stock markets seemed to be pleased with this announcement, as Noront shares closed at 48.5 cents on Tuesday, the same as Monday, up almost 37% from their closing price the previous week.
Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias says Ontario has a ‘hidden agenda’ to support Noront Resources
The Ontario government has put ‘a gun to the head’ of First Nations leaders trying to negotiate a fair deal in the Ring of Fire mining area in the James Bay lowlands, Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias says. His comments came within hours of Noront Resources announcement on Monday that it had struck a deal to buy Cliffs Natural Resources assets in the area.
Chiefs were informed of the deal at the same time as being told that the province has set an April 1 deadline for a decision on the next step in Noront’s environmental assessment for a proposed nickel mine in the Ring of Fire, Moonias said.
“There’s a hidden agenda,” he said. “We are being targeted with a gun to our head. We have no more opportunity to study the process.” The deadline doesn’t allow enough time for community members in the nine First Nations closest to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits to be informed, Moonias said.
The Matawa First Nations are engaged in a negotiation process about the mining project under a framework agreement with Ontario. Moonias said the sudden announcement of the tight timeline left him disillusioned about the talks. Read the rest of this entry »