A researcher from the Yellowhead Institute and member of Eabametoong First Nation, Riley Yesno, argues that the Ontario government is using the pandemic to push forward with extractive industry projects. A May 2020 document distributed by the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs to other ministries indicates that Indigenous communities may not be able to participate in consultation processes during the pandemic.
Despite this warning, and a statement from the Neskantaga Chief indicating that the community has not received adequate information form the government on why the consultation needs to move forward, the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks decided to move forward with the consultation process for the supply road.
Meanwhile, in an October 16 press release from Noront expressing its satisfaction upon hearing that the Request for Proposal (RFP) has been launched for the Northern Road Link Environmental Assessment, a road which would connect the Marten Falls Community Access Road and the Webequie Supply Road to the Ring of Fire. Norton also announced that after reinitiating the permitting process for the Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum-palladium deposit in August and through preliminary sampling at its Esker Site has “identified known gold sources” at the Webequie Shear zone.
On October 19, the Impact Assessment of Canada announced that it would making funding available to the public and Indigenous groups to assist participation, during COVID, in the federal impact assessment for Webequie supply road project.
October 15, 2020 (CBC):
Ontario ignores its own advice, presses First Nations to consult on Ring of Fire road during COVID-19
‘Weaponization of health crisis’ a familiar strategy of government, industry, researcher says
“An ‘operational guide’ from Ontario’s Ministry of Indigenous Affairs tells other ministries to delay or defer non-urgent projects that impact First Nations treaty rights during the pandemic, but at least one mining-related project is moving ahead. On Oct. 13, the consultation period for part of the environmental assessment for a supply road in the Ring of Fire mineral development region in northern Ontario was set to close, despite concerns raised by Neskantaga First Nation. It told the provincial government in September that it could not engage in the process in a meaningful way because of the pandemic. Advancing resource extraction projects during a pandemic is an example of governments and industry using health crisis in First Nations to their advantage, according to Riley Yesno, a research fellow at the Yellowhead Institute.” Read more here…
October 16, 2020 (Financial Post):
Noront provides gold and nickel exploration and other activities updates
“Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront” or the “Company”) (TSX Venture: NOT) is pleased to provide an update of activities for interested stakeholders….” Read more here…
October 19, 2020 (Net News Ledger):
Webequie Supply Road Project – Participant funding available
“The Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (the Agency) is making funding available to assist the participation of the public and Indigenous groups in the federal impact assessment for the proposed Webequie Supply Road Project. The project would connect the Webequie Airport to the McFaulds Lake area in northern Ontario. The project could also become part of a future all-season road network connecting Webequie First Nation and the Ring of Fire area to the provincial highway system.
As part of the impact assessment for this project, funding is available for eligible individuals and groups to assist their participation in the upcoming steps of the impact assessment process. These steps include reviewing and providing comments on the proponent’s Impact Statement or the summary thereof, and the Agency’s draft Impact Assessment Report and potential conditions. Applications received by November 30, 2020,will be considered.” Read more here…