Archive | Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Romano plans to pen private member’s bill designed to better educate Ontarians – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – October 20, 2017)

Sault MPP Ross Romano said he got a hard life lesson during his two-week trip to First Nation communities in Ontario’s far north.

So much so, he said, that he’s already drafting a private member’s bill that he hopes will enlighten Ontarians and provide future generations with a better understanding of how some First Nation communities live. That education also needs to include a better understanding of treaties and how they work and teach youth, at a younger age, to better appreciate relationships with Indigenous people.

“The prejudices and discrimination that exist are very obvious and something that I really learned a lot about by spending time in these communities,” Romano told The Sault Star. “I was told I may be the only politician that has ever spent a night in these communities.” Continue Reading →

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli ‘excited’ Northern passenger rail has been proposed – by Gord Young (North Bay Nugget – October 13, 2017)

he return of passenger rail service to Northern Ontario is among the many policy proposals Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives will be voting on early next month. “I’m very excited about this proposal,” says Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, noting the return of a viable passenger rail service is a “key piece” for the North.

He stresses, however, that a “viable plan” is required, noting the Ontario Northland Railway’s former Northlander passenger train is gone. “The Northlander was stripped by the Liberal government,” says Fedeli, suggesting the cars are no longer available and that a new train service be built from the ground up using Northern rail experts.

The provincial Tories have oft been criticized for advocating on issues related to the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) because of a proposal by the Mike Harris government to cancel the Northlander and a subsequent proposal to privatize other divisions of the Crown agency. Continue Reading →

High-speed Internet, low-grade water – Editorial (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – October 12, 2017)

TOP-OF-THE-LINE Internet service, taken for granted in many other parts of Canada, is coming to the Far North of Ontario. Not all of Northern Ontario is so lucky. The federal and Ontario governments will spend $67 million to install 880 kilometres of fibre-optic cable to five remote First Nation communities surrounding the Ring of Fire mineral zone.

Once mining exploration leads to the major developments to produce chromite and a host of other minerals, reliable high-speed Internet will be seen as the essential service that it is. Nearby First Nations will enjoy enormous improvements in their own ability to grow and develop and participate in the economic boom – once they find a way to negotiate ways into it. The province has forced the issue with plans for an all-season road. Three First Nations are on board; the rest remain undecided.

Ironically, parts of the North’s biggest city, Thunder Bay, and a large swath of the region surrounding it, do not enjoy the same level of Internet reliability. There are customers of TBaytel, the city-owned telecommunications company, that still do not have access to consistent high-speed Internet connections. Continue Reading →

Romano visits Ring of Fire – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – October 5, 2017)

As Sault MPP Ross Romano is headed to the far north to visit the Ring of Fire area and meet with First Nation communities, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. is keeping its line of communication open Noront Resources.

Romano left Thursday for the far north and is expected to return home Oct. 15. His plan, which he had talked about during the provincial byelection campaign, was to visit the region, tour the area and learn more about issues facing First Nation communities in the area.

His goals are to tour the area to get a full appreciation of the challenges the provincial government faces to develop the road and how to properly address the relationship with Indigenous communities. Continue Reading →

New Roads to Riches – by Sheldon Gordon (Lexpert Business of Law – September 22, 2017)

In a depressed market for commodities, mining companies will have to rely on government funding, P3s and the ambition of local communities to get their projects off the ground.

THE CANADIAN MINING INDUSTRY’S success depends on its capacity to move its output to markets efficiently, at competitive prices and via modern infrastructure such as railways, roads and ports. Power generation is also critical. Mines in northern Canada face a special challenge because of the lack of electrical grid capacity.

The slump in world commodity prices from their peaks of 2011 has put a damper on the mining sector in general and on mining infrastructure procurement in particular. There is cautious optimism regarding mining plays in 2017, but nothing like the exuberance that would be triggered by a sustained rally in precious and base metals.

“I think prices need to go up a little bit more and hold for a little bit longer,” says Erik Goldsilver, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto. “The increase in prices we’ve seen over the past six to 12 months is positive, but there’s still some room to grow.” Continue Reading →

Aroland anxious for ‘gateway’ role in Ring of Fire – by Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – September 7, 2017)

As efforts continue to obtain unanimous indigenous consent for two major access roads into Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining belt, at least one First Nation is sounding reassured that its interests are being met.

Aroland First Nation Chief Dorothy Towedo said Wednesday the province has agreed to work with the band and fulfil its goal of becoming the Ring of Fire’s “gateway.” “Ontario is now clear,” Towedo said in a news release. “It is committed to working with Aroland and other First Nations for planning potential mining and related infrastructure developments.”

She added: “This commitment is a necessary part of obtaining consent.” Towedo said her community, located adjacent to an existing provincial highway near Nakina, felt assured after receiving a supportive letter from Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle. Continue Reading →

Fast is slow: Will Ontario really build a road to the Ring of Fire? – by Jon Thompson (TV Ontario Northwestern – August 31, 2017)

ANALYSIS: Kathleen Wynne said she’d take her time to get the road right. Jon Thompson asks what took her off course

Kathleen Wynne’s government says it likes to get relationships right: It pledged to get things right with the feds in the 2016 Ontario budget. In a 2015 address to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Wynne herself committed to “getting it right” when it comes to Queen’s Park’s relationship with cities.

Wynne often uses the phrase when discussing Ontario’s relationship with the Matawa tribal council, whose lands and lifestyles the proposed Ring of Fire mining development — consisting of huge chromite and nickel deposits nearly 600 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay — could alter considerably.

When critics allege progress on that file has stagnated, Wynne again stresses the importance of “getting it right.”

However, in recent months the premier has tried to speed up the Ring of Fire’s development and events from last week suggest “getting it right” may have been a sound approach after all. Continue Reading →

Should Ontario Northland be the railroader for the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 6, 2017)

Regional railway says it has the smarts, capability to serve James Bay mining camp

The Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) is ready to be a logistical player in the Ring of Fire, if and when an ore haul railroad is required.

Now that Queen’s Park has unveiled a road-building timetable to reach the Far North mineral deposits, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission president-CEO Corina Moore said the North Bay-headquartered Crown railroader has the ability to do the job.

“Ontario Northland remains interested in providing input on how we can provide rail support in the future with regards to the Ring of Fire,” said Moore in an email. She was responding to comments made by Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts, who hinted that the ONR could serve as the exclusive railroader to the Ring.

“When the Ring of Fire chromite market grows to a level requiring rail, Ontario Northland has the experience, technology, and capabilities to safely operate and maintain the rail infrastructure,” replied Moore. Continue Reading →

North-south road offers way out of poverty, isolation for Martin Falls First Nation – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – September 1, 2017)

Marten Falls will collaborate with province on first stage of Ring of Fire road

One isolated First Nation community near the Ring of Fire declares that a year-round access road will bring a “prosperous, sustainable, and more inclusive future for its elders, youth and families.” In an Aug. 31 news release, Marten Falls said the time has come to finally be connected to the provincial highway system after “years of negotiating and planning” for a community access road.

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s two-corridor Ring of Fire road proposal unveiled in Thunder Bay on Aug. 21 was initially being celebrated as a breakthrough in finally making progress on development in the stalled Far North mineral camp.

Within days, the chiefs of four of the five communities closest to the Ring of Fire either backtracked on their support for a east-west shared community/industrial road, or vowed to stop its planned construction in early 2019. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Marten Falls First Nation’s North-South Road Goes to the Community and Eventually to Ring of Fire

THUNDER BAY, Ontario, Aug. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Marten Falls First Nation was pleased to participate in the August 21st media announcement of the government of Ontario. What is most important for Marten Falls and has been overlooked in the announcement is the reality that the First Nation will finally, after years of negotiating and planning, get a community access road. The road to the community will follow a north-south alignment from around Aroland/Nakina and construction of the road is planned to start in 2019.

Marten Falls views the access road as a means to food security and to improving housing, education and economic opportunities. The First Nation experiences poverty, drug addiction, and social and economic challenges and has also been denied development and employment opportunities due to remoteness.

Marten Falls has been looking for options to connect the community to the provincial highway for a while and although four other remote regional First Nations received $785,000 in March 2015 from the federal and provincial governments for studying an all-weather road, Marten Falls only started work on road options with the province late last year. Continue Reading →

Editorial: Ontario gov’t to fund road to Ring of Fire, nearby First Nations – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – August 30, 2017)

It’s the first bit of genuinely good news about Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral district in five years: the Ontario government has pledged “support” and provincial funding to build two roads into the fledgling mining camp in the James Bay lowlands that would also link previously isolated First Nations communities in the area to the province’s all-season road network.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made the statement on Aug. 21 in Thunder Bay, Ont., flanked by three of her ministers: Indigenous Relations Minister David Zimmer; Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle; and Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro.

The announcement was made with the chiefs of the Marten Falls, Webequie and Nibinamik First Nations, which would be most affected by the roads. Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse attended the announcement, as did Noront Resources president and CEO Alan Coutts. Continue Reading →

[Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario] City continues ferrochrome plant pitch – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – August 30, 2017)

Mayor Christian Provenzano said he’s met twice with representatives of NorOnt to push Sault Ste. Marie’s attributes to house a ferrochrome plant. “Both times NorOnt came to the Sault they told me their priority was the road,” Provenzano said. “I asked how to help and they told me to lobby for the road so I did that.”

The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. has also been keeping in close contact with NorOnt Resources and has been gathering the data and information it believes will be required for its request for proposal submission. In addition, NOLAN also lobbied collectively for the importance of the road, considering the vast impact the development could have on the region’s economy.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on Aug. 21 that an agreement has been reached with three First Nation communities closest to the mineral deposit site and that environmental work would begin with road construction expected to begin in 2019. The road will allow year-round access to the remote mineral deposit, believed to be the largest of its kind. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire road ‘a huge win for northern Ontario’ – by Angela Gismondi (Daily Commercial News – August 29, 2017)

“I think it’s a huge win for northern Ontario as a whole,” said Adam Pinder, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association.

“That level of development will certainly impact construction companies either directly or indirectly across the north. A road of that size, an investment of that size, just to get the project underway is a big deal, let alone the potential of the actual Ring of Fire area. We’re happy to hear it and look forward to what the future holds.”

Wynne was joined by Michael Gravelle, minister of northern development and mines, in Thunder Bay Aug. 21 to announce agreements are in place with First Nation communities in northern Ontario to begin constructing an all-season access road to the mineral-rich region. Continue Reading →

Ontario Premier Wynne cut “backroom” Ring of Fire deals: Chief – by Jorge Barrera (APTN National News – August 25, 2017)

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne cut a side deal with three Ring of Fire First Nations after her negotiators failed to force through a wider agreement with other communities involved in long-running talks on the future of the chromite and nickel-rich region in the James Bay lowlands of Treaty 9 territory, according to Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias.

Moonias, whose community is one of nine First Nations involved in negotiations on the Ring of Fire development in northern Ontario, said he received notice through an email late last week that the province wanted to sign an agreement with all nine First Nations on jurisdiction this past Tuesday. Provincial officials did not provide the text of the proposed accord until they were pushed to cough up a copy, he said.

The text of the agreement was vague on planned legislative and regulatory changes to guarantee First Nation input and involvement in the Ring of Fire development, but it offered concrete timelines on construction of roads and the development of a mine by Noront Resources Ltd., said Moonias. Continue Reading →

Essar restructuring delaying Ring of Fire smelter decision – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 25, 2017)

Noront boss waits on CCAA resolution to determine if Sault stays in the mix

The head of Noront Resources wants to see how the restructuring process at Essar Steel Algoma shakes out before deciding whether or not to drop Sault Ste. Marie as a location for a Ring of Fire ferrochrome smelter.

The Sault is one of four Northern Ontario cities that Noront president-CEO Alan Coutts and his team are considering for a furnace operation to process chromite into ferrochrome, which is used in stainless steel manufacturing.

The mining company had hoped to make an announcement by the end of this summer, but the ongoing CCAA process (Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act) with the Sault steelmaker is dragging out Noront’s decision. “There is some complexity around the CCAA process in the Sault and we’d like to really understand that and see some outcomes before committing or dismissing that site,” said Coutts. Continue Reading →