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 »
Provincial government makes 17 amendments to Noront’s nickel mining proposal
Noront Resources will need to enhance its consultation with First Nations and study more potential transportation routes after the provincial government made 17 amendments to the company’s plan for an environmental assessment for its nickel project in the Ring of Fire.
The Minister of Environment and Climate Change approved Noront’s terms of reference last week for the environmental assessment of its planned underground mine north of Pickle Lake, Ont.
The amendments include a requirement for Noront to study four potential transportation routes for moving its ore. The company was looking at two. There are also many amendments prescribing the level of consultation and engagement with First Nations.
“It’s a bit daunting, but at the same time we’ve got our future in our own hands, we know what is expected of us and so that clarity is a great thing to have,” said Noront president Alan Coutts. Read the rest of this entry »
TheSudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
The approval with amendments of the terms of reference for Noront Resources’ Eagle’s Nest Mine is a sign of real progress in developing the Ring of Fire asset, says company president and chief executive officer Alan Coutts.
Noront now has “the clarity and the endorsement” it was seeking from the Government of Ontario to move ahead with work on the project, Coutts said Monday.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray announced Friday his ministry was giving a qualified approval to Noront’s terms of reference, the first step in the environmental assessment for the nickel, copper and platinum group element mine.
Noront submitted the terms of reference to the ministry in 2012, revised them at the ministry’s request and resubmitted them in December 2013, and has been waiting for approval to move ahead since.
The new round of amendments wasn’t completely unexpected, especially the technical ones, said Coutts, who couldn’t say how long it would take Noront to do the work on those amendments. Read the rest of this entry »
Allows Provincial Permitting Process to Advance for First Mine in the Ring of Fire
TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – June 22, 2015) – Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront”) (TSX VENTURE: NOT) has received a Notice of Approval from the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change on the Terms of Reference for its Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum-palladium project. The Terms of Reference, approved with a number of amendments, allows the company to move forward on the environmental assessment process (EA) for what is expected to be the first mine in the Ring of Fire.
“This is an important step because it allows us to advance the provincial EA process for Eagle’s Nest and provides direction on how the province would like us to work with local communities,” stated Noront President and CEO, Alan Coutts. “We recognize the significant role First Nations will play in our mine development and we remain eager to sit down with the communities to discuss how we can work together in this important undertaking.”
Noront has been collecting baseline environmental data on its Eagle’s Nest mine, evaluating impacts and developing mitigation strategies for three years. A draft Environmental Impact Study/Environmental Assessment Report was completed and circulated for comment in December 2013. Going forward, the additional work defined by the Terms of Reference amendments will be integrated into our existing documentation to satisfy both the federal and provincial environmental assessment requirements. Read the rest of this entry »
(June 19, 2015) Toronto: Environment and Climate Change Minister Glen Murray has approved with amendments to the Terms of Reference for Noront’s proposed Eagle’s Nest multi-metal mine in the Ring of Fire.
The Terms of Reference is the first step in the company’s environmental assessment process and there is much work to be done before a decision on the project is made. It’s a work plan that outlines the types of studies and consultation Noront must undertake to demonstrate whether the proposed project can be done in a way that is protective of the environment and human health.
Some of the amendments to Noront’s Terms of Reference include ensuring potentially impacted First Nation communities can fully participate in and contribute to the company’s environmental assessment process. The amendments include:
• identifying and assessing alternative road alignments within their preferred road corridor
• providing specific opportunities for potentially impacted First Nations to fully participate in the company’s environmental assessment
• assessing impacts of aggregate extraction, and
• considering the impacts of climate change on the project and the impacts of the project on climate change. Read the rest of this entry »
That was then, this is now. Officials with Nishnawbe Ask Nation says mining and other developments in the Ontario’s far North won’t take place unless First Nations are the decision-makers at the forefront of that development.
“The days are long gone when industry or government can exploit our land and the resources it contains,” NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno declared in an address to the Ontario Mining Forum held in Thunder Bay on Wednesday.
As proof that NAN is determined to lead in the Ring of Fire development in the lower James Bay area, Yesno said the identification of key transportation corridors will be based on First Nation knowledge of local topography, sacred sites, cultural heritage and environment and resource development activities.
“This new approach will provide certainty for First Nations and the business community,” said Yesno. The lone main mining player in the Ring of Fire is Toronto-based Noront Resources. Noront is calling for an east-west transportation corridor that would link Pickle Lake to the main mining site, which is about 550 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Read the rest of this entry »
Infrastructure desperately needed in Aboriginal northwest
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 want to make amends for the “sins of the past” than 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.
Almost a decade of political inaction by both the provincial and federal governments has caused Cliffs Natural Resources – a major American multi-national mining company – to abandon its $3 billion private sector investment in northern Ontario and miss out on the first part of a multi-decade commodity super cycle. Read the rest of this entry »
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 Marten 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 – that has similar Canadian Shield geography as in northwestern Ontario – to connect isolated First Nations communities. Read the rest of this entry »
THUNDER BAY – June 17, 2015) – Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno outlined plans for a strategic approach for infrastructure and community development in NAN territory at the opening of the 5th Annual Ontario Mining Forum in Thunder Bay today.
“NAN is currently developing a strategic and innovative strategy that will position our 49 First Nations as active partners in delivering and financing comprehensive regional transportation infrastructure across our territory in Ontario’s remote north,” said Grand Chief Harvey Yesno during his keynote address. “The development of transportation infrastructure will help our communities diversify their direct reliance on the mining economy while maximizing socio-economic benefits and providing new business opportunities that will help develop local economies and strengthen our Nation.”
Mining accounts for 20 per cent of Canada’s exports to global markets, according to a 2013 Conference Board of Canada report, with Northern Ontario home to the largest mineral mining industry in Canada. Instead of waiting for infrastructure plans developed by industry and government, NAN is moving forward with the identification of corridor options based on First Nation knowledge of local topography, sacred sites, cultural heritage, and environment and resource development activities. This new approach will provide certainty for First Nations and the business community. Read the rest of this entry »
It was clear that Ontario’s premier had on her mind the slow-moving development of the Ring of Fire and the contentious sale of Hydro One during her visit to Thunder Bay on Monday.
Kathleen Wynne brought up the ownership of the massive electrical utility during a speech she gave in the city. “By broadening the ownership of Hydro One, we are able to make the infrastructure investments that communities across the North need to thrive,” she said.
“We are ensuring that the regulation that is in place now remains in place in terms of the setting of rates, in terms of the building of transmission, in terms of services across the province. That was very much a critical part of that decision to broaden the ownership of Hydro One.
“In terms of these investments in infrastructure there are consultations that are going to happen across the provinces. I believe there is one in July happening in Thunder Bay . . . because the decisions have not all been made how those investments are going to be made.” Read the rest of this entry »