Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

September 22-28, 2019 : Weekly News Roundup

The text "What's the Media Saying? Ring of Fire News Round-Up, September 22-28 2019", overlaid on top of a photo of the Attawapiskat River as a storm approaches.

This week Noront Resources signed a 99-year lease with Algoma Steel for a pacel of land a ferrochrome development plant in Sault Ste. Marie. In response to this proposed project, concerned residents held a large community meting (300+ people) in Sault Ste. Marie led by community members concerned about the proposed smelter. Local residents in Sault Ste. Marie are concerned that the City could approve the project despite the possible harmful health impacts that could be caused by the project and a group of local physicians submitted a letter of concern in regards to the project. At the same time, the First Nation community of Neskantaga continues to deal with the water crisis in their community.

September 22, 2019 (Net News Ledger):

Evacuees from Neskantaga set to return home

Immediate water crisis fixed

“Neskantaga First Nation community members can finally begin to return home after having been evacuated for more than a week due to a crisis with the remote community’s water supply. Analytical results of water samples collected on September 18 and September 19, 2019 from the various locations in the distribution system for microbiological testing indicate that all required conditions have been met to guarantee that the drinking water supply is of an acceptable microbiological quality.” Read more here…

September 23, 2019 (CBC News):

Neskantaga First Nation evacuees can return home, officials say

Remote First Nation declared state of emergency on Sept. 14 due to water pump breaking down

“Evacuees from Neskantaga First Nation started returning home Monday after recent water testing showed chlorine and microbiological levels were at acceptable levels after a new pump was installed in the local water system. The previous piece of equipment malfunctioned earlier in September, triggering a state of emergency. About 220 residents were in Thunder Bay for more than a week after the pump went down on Sept. 14. Chief Chris Moonias called for the evacuation himself, concerned about symptoms he said were showing up in community members, including skin rashes, stomach problems and headaches.” Read more here…

September 23, 2019 (Net News Ledger):

Bob Nault – “I am happy to learn Neskantaga Members are returning home”

“Today, the Hon. Bob Nault, Liberal candidate for the Kenora Riding, released the following statement regarding Neskantaga First Nation’s return home. “I was extremely happy to learn that community members of Neskantaga First Nation will be returning home beginning today, after evacuating due to a water emergency caused by a failure of the water pumps in the community. A little over a week ago, water testing in the community triggered a Do Not Consume advisory, but now that testing confirmed that the water quality is at acceptable levels, the Boil Water Advisory has been reinstated.” Read more here…

September 24, 2019 (Soo Today):

Physicians may leave if ferrochrome facility comes to the Sault, letter threatens

We are acutely aware of the highly toxic by-products of the proposed facility’, states a letter submitted on behalf of concerned physicians

“On behalf of concerned physicians in Sault Ste. Marie, we would like to raise our strong objection to the proposed Ferrochrome facility. As physicians concerned with the health of our community, we are acutely aware of the highly toxic by-products of the proposed facility. Such by-products include chromium 6 which is a well studied and proven carcinogen and genetic toxin, prone to contaminating air, water, and soil long after industrial operations have ceased. Such facilities are strongly associated with increased cancer rates, mortality, and poor health.” Read more here…

September 24, 2019 (TVO):

Hitting reset on the Ring of Fire

The Agenda with Steve Paikin: Watch full video here.

September 24, 2019 (Globe and Mail):

The lack of clean drinking water in Indigenous communities is unacceptable

“The current water crisis at Neskantaga First Nation in Northern Ontario has resulted in the shutdown of the community’s school, hundreds of evacuations and the declaration of a state of emergency. The situation draws attention to a continuing and unacceptable problem in Canada: the lack of access to clean drinking water in Indigenous communities across the country. The crisis at Neskantaga First Nation was caused by a treatment failure due to a broken-down pump system, resulting in unfiltered water flowing out into the community’s tap. These unaddressed operational concerns have resulted in a way of life that is unfamiliar to most Canadians; where obtaining safe water is energy intensive, safety is not guaranteed, and where people get sick from water-borne illnesses and skin rashes.” Read more here…

September 25, 2019 (SooToday):

Poll results: Noront is planning next steps to building a ferrochrome processing plant in our city. What is your position on the proposed facility?

See poll results here.

September 25, 2019 (Sault Online):

Mayor Provenzano’s response to physicians concerned over ferrochrome production facility

“I appreciate and respect the concerns that you have raised about a ferrochrome production facility (FPF) being constructed in Sault Ste. Marie.  In general, I assure you that I share them.  However, I note you advised that whatever assurance Noront is able to give, the project should not proceed.  While you may be able to take such a categorical position before receiving information that relates to this specific project, I cannot.  I do not think it would be responsible for me, in my role, to take the same approach. I believe the community at large would expect the City to thoroughly assess the project on its own independent merits.  This unquestionably includes understanding any potential harm to our environment, our health and our well – being, and the efforts to either mitigate, minimize or eliminate any identified risks.  If, after we have engaged in this assessment, the City is not comfortable with the project, we will not support the construction of the facility in our community.” Read more here…

September 27, 2019 (The Sudbury Star):

Opposition to ferrochrome plant in Sault Ste. Marie surfaces

“The City of Sault Ste. Marie will not provide support for a ferrochrome plant in the city if due diligence shows that it will be harmful to its residents. But any environmental assessment will take about five years to complete, along with a complete community engagement process that will outline processes to residents and answer their questions, says Sault Mayor Christian Provenzano. And the process hasn’t even begun yet, he said.” Read more here…

September 27, 2019 (TVO):

How to build Ontario: First Nations needs clean water

Sixteen First Nations in the riding of Kenora have no access to clean water. What is the federal government doing about it?

“On September 12, a pump at the water facility on Neskantaga First Nation broke, plunging the community — which has been under a boil-water advisory since 1994, longer than any other community in the country — into crisis. The supply slowed to a trickle; in some homes, it stopped entirely. The unchlorinated water that did flow was, according to residents, unsafe even for bathing: residents reported headaches, stomach problems, and rashes after contact. Two days later, the chief and council declared a state of emergency and organized an air evacuation of 219 residents to Thunder Bay, 450 kilometres to the west. “We had to [evacuate] because people were mostly scared. They’re traumatized already from the water,“ said Neskantaga councillor Allan Moonias. “Mostly everyone in Neskantaga has an illness, and that’s coming from the water. That’s what people have to understand: it’s the water causing our illness.” Read more here…

September 27, 2019 (Sault Online):

Let process unfold before jumping to hasty conclusions

A ferrochrome plant won’t come to Sault Ste. Marie unless the community decides all precautions are being taken to ensure it is not detrimental on resident’s health or the environment. Get the correct facts before coming to a conclusion.

“It can only be described as fearmongering. Between letters posted on social media from physicians, to academia and from online petitions and comparisons to movies that are just not accurate, the frenzy that has hit Sault Ste. Marie in some circles is alarming.” Read more here…

September 28, 2019 (Net News Ledger):

Noront Resources announces shares issued to Algoma Steel, extends debt arrangement with RCF

“Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront” or “the Company”) (TSX Venture: NOT) has received approval from the TSX Venture Exchange and has issued Algoma Steel Inc. (“Algoma”) 750,000 common shares of the Company and 750,000 warrants to purchase common share pursuant to the term sheet signed between the Company and Algoma as announced on September 20, 2019.  The term sheet gives the Company a 5-year option to enter into a 99-year ground lease agreement on a parcel of land owned by Algoma, west of its steel mill.  It is Noront’s intent to design, permit, construct and operate a Ferrochrome Production Facility on the property.” Read more here…

September 28, 2019 (CTV News: Northern Ontario):

Majority not in favour of new smelter

“The first citizen lead information session on the ferrochrome smelter plant took place on Saturday in Sault Ste. Marie. More than 300 people were in attendance to ask questions and voice their concerns about a possible smelter being built in the city. A majority of people in attendance say they are not in favour of the plant being built.” Read more here…

September 28, 2019 (Soo Today):

Ferrochrome facility opponents pack the Inn

Concerned citizens voice concerns, plan next steps at forum

“A large group of environmentally concerned citizens, opposed to mining company Noront’s plans to build a ferrochrome smelter in Sault Ste. Marie, packed a room at The Water Tower Inn Saturday to share their concerns and plan next steps in their campaign against the project. “How can we allow a ferrochrome facility in a city that has already been flagged as one of five cities in Ontario with the highest rates of cancer?” said Pedro Antunes, an Algoma University biologist, addressing the audience. “Why produce it in the middle of the city?” Antunes said (the facility to be built near Algoma Steel), challenging industrial claims the ferrochrome facility will be environmentally safe.” Read more here…

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