Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

September 29 – October 5, 2019 : Weekly News Roundup

The text "What's the Media Saying? Ring of Fire News Round-Up, September 29 - October 5 2019", overlaid on top of a photo of the Attawapiskat River as a storm approaches.

This week a petition in Sault Ste. Marie in opposition to the proposed smelter project gained over 8500 signatures and the City of Sault Ste. Marie stated that they will not move forward with the project if it puts the health of residents at risk. Despite this commitment, the city is moving forward with a multi-year environmental assessment and the City put out a public statement regarding the project announcing they will not determine the future of the project until that assessment is completed. An opinion piece was published criticizing Sault Ste. Marie’s City Council’s delay in addressing the environmental and health concerned regarding the project from the perspective that failing to address the potential health concerns may make it easier for Noront to gain approval for this project regardless of the outcome of the Environmental Assessment.

September 30, 2019 (Mining Weekly):

Noront secures site for ferrochrome plant to service Ring of Fire deposits

“TSX-V-listed Noront Resources has secured a property in Sault Ste Marie, Ontario, to build and operate a ferrochrome production facility to service its chromite deposits in the emerging metals camp known as the Ring of Fire. The company this month entered into a five-year option agreement to enter into a 99-year lease for a parcel of land next to primary steel producer Algoma Steel’s mill. The parties plan to repurpose the location with a view to sharing infrastructure.” Read more here…

September 30, 2019 (The Sudbury Star):

Opposition to ferrochrome plant in Sault growing; 7,500 sign online petition

“The ferrochrome debate is heating up in Sault Ste. Marie. During a Saturday meeting in the Sault, more than 300 people gathered to express concern about the city’s deal with Noront to develop a ferrochrome plant – a deal that occurred without any public consultation process. Peggy Lauzon, an instructor at Algoma University, facilitated the meeting for concerned citizens, explaining, “I think that we have a long history of being a steel industry, and I honour that and I understand that that’s important, but think that we need to rely on our experts to ensure the health and safety of our community.” Read more here…

October 2, 2019 (Soo Today):

Noront ferrochrome definitely not a sure thing, city clarifies

Agreements do not mean the facility will be built, and should not be interpreted as a final determination’, says a joint statement from the city and the EDC

“The City of Sault Ste. Marie and Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC) would like to address some of the concerns and misinformation regarding the proposed ferrochrome production facility project (FPF) by Noront Resources Ltd. The City/SSMEDC are providing the public with this background information as a means of offering clarity. The land and engineering agreements reached by Noront with Algoma Steel and Hatch Engineering that were announced to the public on Sept. 20, 2019 do not supersede community consultation, First Nation consultation or the environmental assessment processes. The agreements do not mean the facility will be built, and should not be interpreted as a final determination.” Read more here...

October 2, 2019 (CTV News: Northern Ontario):

Response to concern over proposed new Sault ferrochrome smelter

“The possibility of a ferrochrome smelter in Sault Ste. Marie has the city divided. While it promises to bring millions of dollars to the region, it has many up in arms. A petition titled ‘Say No to Ferrochrome Production in Sault Ste. Marie’ has gathered over 8,500 signatures since it was posted six months ago, having reached 8,000 supporters three days ago.” Read more here…

October 2, 2019 (Soo Today):

Will a real environmental assessment ever be done for the ferrochrome smelter?

Crane Institute for Sustainability wants to know

“A Sault-based non-profit dedicated to environmental sustainability is questioning whether a true, comprehensive, environmental assessment will ever be conducted for the ferrochrome processing facility proposed by NorOnt Resources Ltd. on land currently owned by Algoma Steel. The following media release, issued Wednesday by the Crane Institute for Sustainability, calls on NorOnt to clarify what kind of environmental assessment it’s planning for the controversial billion-dollar smelter.” Read more here…

October 2, 2019 (Northern Ontario Business):

The Ring of Fire bulldozer is here. Will it work?

It is possible, after all, to see the Ring of Fire as the only option for a new future for many communities

“During the provincial election, then candidate (now Premier) Doug Ford famously promised to come to the Ring of Fire and drive a bulldozer if that was what was needed to get the development moving. With the abandonment of the Framework Agreement and the return to individual nation-to-nation arrangements, he has done just that. It is clear that the province has determined, after years of effort by at least three different governments, that the way forward is in working with willing partners. In this way, key pieces of infrastructure can be put in place while negotiations continue in other parts of the region. In the end, the hope would be that the pieces fit together into a cohesive whole.” Read more here…

October 2, 2019 (Human Rights Watch):

Canada: Blind eye to First Nation water crisis

Neskantaga community needs compensation, assistance

“The next Canadian government needs to compensate Neskantaga First Nation for the costs associated with evacuating the community after a water infrastructure failure, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should also have a mechanism to deal with major infrastructure failures in remote First Nations communities. On September 12, 2019, the water pump at the community’s water treatment facility failed, leaving some homes completely without running water and others with water that was not safe to use except to flush toilets. The remote community – only accessible by plane or winter roads – declared a state of emergency on September 14 and began evacuation by air of the majority of community members to Thunder Bay, including chronically ill adults and infants. Indigenous Services Canada refused to provide evacuation assistance at the time.” Read more here…

October 4, 2019 (Sault Star):

Decision time on the ferrochrome plant should be right now

“But the question of whether the citizens of Sault Ste. Marie will accept whatever risks there might be from toxic emissions into the air and the water is a huge one. Really, it’s the only one. It makes sense to deal with it now. Right now. If substantial citizen opposition, after all of the environmental cards are on the table, could be the breaking point for this deal, let’s get this over with. Why the delay, during which Noront, the city and other business and governmental agencies will spend a lot of time, effort and money developing this project?” Read more here…

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