Mining Stories Productions produces meaningful stories in a visual format about cultural, social and environmental issues that move individuals and audiences. Relying on solid research, we mine stories that speak to the human and planetary condition with passion and thoughtfulness, and with a view to engaging audiences through multi-media platforms. Our creative team is made up of award winning producers, directors, writers and technical talent who are committed to excellence and care deeply about the subjects and issues that inspire our stories.
Mining Stories Productions has produced a one hour documentary commissioned by Witness, , Al Jazeera English titled In This Heaven, with a broadcast version titled Rings of Fire. The broadcast will be launched on July 29, 2015 at 8pm/20:00 GMT.
In This Heaven/Rings of Fire, documents the tireless efforts of Mae Katt, a First Nations nurse practitioner who runs a mobile drug addiction treatment program in the remote underserved Matawa First Nations communities of Northern Ontario. Read the rest of this entry »
Opiate addiction and mining developments are threatening the future of Canada’s First Nations rural communities.
In the far north of Canada’s Ontario province, where opiate addiction afflicts the First Nation population, nurse practitioner Mae Katt runs a mobile drug treatment programme.
Her urgent mission is to set up effective programmes to treat this devastated population in the hopes that they will be able to shape their future, on their territory, and become the employment workforce backbone of the coming “Ring of Fire” mining operations.
It is a mammoth challenge, especially as up to 80 percent of the adult population of some communities negotiating the mining developments are addicted to opiates.
TheSudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Ontario has formally asked the federal government to match the $1 billion it has committed to infrastructure for the Ring of Fire with $1 billion from its Building Canada Fund.
Brad Duguid, Ontario’s minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure, nominated the Ring of Fire project under the national infrastructure component (NIC) of the fund.
The $4-billion NIC supports projects of national significance that have broad public benefits and contribute to Canada’s long-term economic growth and prosperity.
Ontario’s Northern Development and Mines Minister, Michael Gravelle, said the Ring of Fire offers tremendous opportunity. By developing a transportation corridor and building hydroelectric systems, many First Nations will be able to “get off diesel,” said Gravelle.
“We can open up all kinds of economic development opportunities and that’s where the contribution from the federal government is so important.” Read the rest of this entry »
When Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. suspended development on its chromite project in Ontario’s remote Ring of Fire in November 2013, many saw it as an opportunity for the province to get serious about addressing critical infrastructure and Aboriginal issues.
The Ring of Fire region, located in northwestern Ontario near the Manitoba border, is believed to possess between C$30 billion and C$50 billion in mineral resources, with Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines estimating its value as high as C$60 billion. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce argued that development will generate as much as C$9.4 billion in GDP and create up to 5,500 jobs on an annual basis, all within the first 10 years of development.
This would be a substantial boon for the region, which is home to numerous First Nations communities but with very little business development or opportunity, due to its lack of transportation infrastructure connecting it to the rest of the province.
In May 2014, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne pledged C$1 billion for infrastructure spending to encourage mineral development in the region if she were re-elected. Wynne also pledged to create a development corporation to encourage and oversee development there. Read the rest of this entry »
The Harper Conservatives are failing to work with Treaty 3 and Nishnawbe Aski Nation First Nations, causing an economic delay in creating good jobs and a better economy in Northwestern Ontario, according to Howard Hampton, federal NDP candidate in the Kenora riding.
“The Harper Conservatives’ refusal to cooperate with First Nations is delaying vital development projects for the Northwest,” said Hampton. “The Ring of Fire, four-laning the Trans-Canada from Manitoba to Kenora, and building a hydro transmission line to the Far North could all be a reality if the Conservatives would stop ignoring the First Nations in the region.”
Hampton noted that many mining, forestry and pipeline companies understand the importance of working in partnership with First Nations to move their projects forward.
“There is a clear connection between working in partnership with Shoal Lake 40 First Nation to build the ‘Freedom Road’ and a water treatment facility and moving forward with the four-laning of the Trans-Canada Highway from Manitoba to Kenora,” said Hampton. Read the rest of this entry »
Toronto, Canada, July 14, 2015 – With respect to the appeal of the decision of the Divisional Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released July 30, 2014, counsel for the parties have agreed with the Registrar of the Court of Appeal for Ontario to conduct the hearing previously scheduled for October 20th, 2015 on November 25th, 2015 instead.
Factums filed by the Appellant KWG Resources Inc. (CSE: KWG; Frankfurt: KW6) (“KWG”) subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation, by the Respondent 2274659 Ontario Inc., and by the Intervenor Minister of Northern Development and Mines are posted on KWG’s website: www.kwgresources.com.
In the appeal by Noront Resources Ltd. of the Mining Recorder’s order made June 24, 2014 granting to KWG and Canada Chrome Corporation claims staked and recorded on June 21, 2011, the Mining and Lands Commissioner ordered on June 19, 2015 that the Appellant file its material by no later than July 20, 2015 following which the Respondent must file its material by August 20, 2015. A copy of the Order to File is also posted on the KWG website.
TheSudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Editor’s note: This is the second part of a two-part story.
Roads, the best way to find new deposits
One of the first priorities is road transportation. Last March at the PDAC mining convention, the federal and provincial governments jointly announced roughly $800,000 in funding for four of the five isolated First Nations – Webequie, Nibinamik, Neskantaga and Eabametoong – to begin consultations on an east-west road that will connect their communities and the Ring of Fire camp to the provincial highway system. A small baby step of progress.
However, Marten Falls is currently not part of this initiative. While this community is the smallest populated of the Matawa Tribal Council, it probably has the most clout as its traditional territory encompasses the Ring of Fire. Although Webequie is considerably closer to the mining camp, it didn’t receive full-reserve status until 2001. Hence it is critical that Martin Falls be strongly encouraged to join the consortium discussing the road connection.
Manitoba is currently undertaking a visionary initiative to build all-season roads on the east side of Lake Winnipeg (which has similar Canadian Shield geography as in Northwestern Ontario) to connect isolated First Nations communities. The primary reason for the establishment of the East Side Transportation Initiative is to lower travel costs for essential supplies to 13 Aboriginal communities. In addition, winter roads are becoming less dependable due to climate change. Read the rest of this entry »
TheSudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Editor’s Note: This is first installment of a two-part story. The second will appear in the Monday edition of The Star.
There has been much commentary about healing and rapprochement with Canada’s First Nations due to the recent Truth and Reconciliation Commission report on the horrific abuse Aboriginal children experienced at residential schools during the last century.
However, if Ontario, which has the largest population of First Nations people in the country, truly wants to make amends for the sins of the past, then we need to look at “economic and social reconciliation” as our primary vehicle for restitution.
Until every First Nation community in the province has the same level of infrastructure and social services as non-Aboriginal towns and cities, most of the remorseful speeches by guilty white politicians are nothing more than hot air.
Without a doubt, some of the most destitute and impoverished First Nations communities are located in Ontario’s mineral-rich but isolated northwest, near the Ring of Fire – the most significant Canadian mineral discovery in almost a century – and in the regions to the west. Read the rest of this entry »
Southern Ontario environmental groups should lobby more extensively in their own backyard before briefly flying over and criticizing development in ours.
Last week, Toronto-based Wildlands League said that mining exploration in the Ring of Fire has already caused damage to the Far North’s ecosystem. It released aerial photos showing exploration activity — rudimentary mining camps and a runway.
Wildlands claims that the photos challenge the idea of mining exploration having little impact on the area. What would Wildlands have exploration companies do — drop their employees into the bush by helicopter to sleep on the ground and conduct staking operations without cutting a single tree? The “impact” is a minor intrusion on a massive area of the Far North.
Meanwhile, one has only to look at the constant expansion of urbanization north of Toronto to see what new housing and strip malls can do for the environment — destroy it. The steady advance of development has gobbled up thousands of acres of once productive farmland and wildlife habitat. Read the rest of this entry »
Wildlands League asks for environmental review process for exploration
An environmental organization based in Toronto says it worries about the environmental restoration in the Ring of Fire after exploration work concludes.
Representatives with Wildlands League, a chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, flew over parts of the Ring of Fire development in northwestern Ontario in March 2015 and took aerial photos of exploration camps in the region.
One image showed more than 25 drill pads – cleared circular areas that host two or three drill holes each – along a one-kilometre stretch of land. In the photo, the drill pads were connected by an horizontal trail cut through the woods, and a series of vertical lines.
“Exploration is a necessary part of the mining cycle, but it’s not benign,” said Anna Baggio, Wildlands League’s director of conservation planning.
Baggio said there is no environmental review process for mining exploration, and has advocated for a regional environmental assessment in the Ring of Fire, that would provide a blueprint for future exploration activities. Read the rest of this entry »
A Toronto-based environmental group is claiming mining exploration in the Ring of Fire has already caused damaged to the Far North’s ecosystem.
The Wildlands League, which is a not-for-profit charity, released a series of aerial photos on Monday showing some of the exploration in the Ring of Fire area. The photos were taken last March when the group was heading to a First Nations community for a visit. One of the photos was of Esker Camp, which is about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, as well as some of the camps that were once held by Cliffs Natural Resources and a runway.
The group claims that the photos challenge the idea of early mining exploration having little impact to the area.
Anna Baggio, the director of conservation planning with Wildlands League, said they have shown the pictures to First Nations advisors and government officials including the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines and all have been surprised by what they have seen.
TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – June 29, 2015) – KWG Resources Inc. (CSE:KWG)(FRANKFURT:KWG6) (“KWG”) has now acquired one hundred percent of the ownership rights in two United States provisional patent applications relating to the production of chromium iron alloys directly from chromite ore, and the production of low carbon chromium iron alloys directly from chromite concentrates (the “Chromium IP”) announced on April 21, 2014.
The vendor assigned its remaining fifty-percent interest in the Chromium IP in exchange for 25 million units of KWG (each, a “Unit”), with each Unit comprising one common share of KWG and one common share purchase warrant of KWG exercisable at a price of $0.10 for 5 years from closing. The Chromium IP includes the right to use these provisional patent applications as the basis for filing additional patent applications in the United States, Canada and elsewhere worldwide.
“With the support recently demonstrated by Minister Rickford and the scientists of Natural Resources Canada it became clear that owning all of this intellectual property now would put us into a better situation for further investment into testing and commercialization,” said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “It was very encouraging to learn that our national government was so well-informed on the economic potential of the Ring of Fire chromite resources and the reduction technology that we are developing, in workshops held in Ottawa last week.” Read the rest of this entry »
Environmental group takes photos to show landscape is ‘disturbed and disrupted’
Photos released Monday by the Wildlands League are proof that mining activity is causing permanent damage in a fragile ecosystem in northern Ontario, according to the environmental group.
The pictures of a snowy boreal forest patterned with grid lines and pockmarked by drill rig indentations were taken during a March flight across the mineral-rich area, known as the Ring of Fire, in the James Bay lowlands.
The images challenge the idea that early mining exploration is benign, said Wildlands League director of conservation planning, Anna Baggio.
“I don’t think people fully grasp how much activity has happened just at the exploration stage and what is being done to the land here,” Baggio said. “If all the claims were to be developed at a similar level of intensity, it would modify the entire landscape.”
Nearly two dozen companies hold claims, spending more than $278 million on exploration in an area that has yielded “significant discoveries” of chromite, nickel and copper-zinc, according to the province’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines. Read the rest of this entry »
“I’d like to throw this out to industry: if you want to work with First nations, resource them enough so that we work together. We’re not in opposition, we’re pro-development. We want to make sure that when the mine is gone, we’re still going to be there.” (Aroland First Nation Chief Sonny Gagnon)
Terms of reference are in place for how the first mining project in the Ring Of Fire will work with nearby communities on environmental assessment.
The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change approved the plan for the Eagle’s Nest nickel mine on Friday, nearly three years after proponent, Noront made its first submission.
Noront continued social and technical work over that time, meeting with First Nations and operating with the best information available.
“We said, ‘we’re going to assume our terms of reference are right and we’re going to do the environmental work that supports those terms of reference,’ which we did over those three years,” said Noront CEO Alan Coutts, on Tuesday.
“If there were amendments, we’d deal with them when they came.” The final draft commits the company to supporting the collection of Aboriginal traditional knowledge and incorporating it into environmental planning. Read the rest of this entry »
The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.
The real Ring of Fire wealth sits untouched at Queen’s Park.
Experts say there are untold riches in the Ring of Fire but the real pot of gold sits untouched at Queen’s Park.
Not a dime of the $1 billion the provincial government has set aside to develop the mineral-rich area in northwestern Ontario has been spent. And it may not for a few years yet.
Last summer, Premier Kathleen Wynne made Ring of Fire development a central part of her election platform. However, the money is not officially booked until 2018-19, which is after the next provincial election.
“There is nothing preventing this provincial government to start building those roads to those communities and electrifying them . . . the government is in the driver’s seat here,” NDP MPP Michael Mantha (Algoma-Manitoulin) said. Read the rest of this entry »