First Nations in the Ring of Fire filed letters with the federal Impact Assessment Agency of Canada the first week of March in response to the proposed terms of reference that establish the goals and scope of the regional assessment.

A letter submitted by the chiefs of Attawapiskat, Eabametoong, Fort Albany, Kashechewan, and Neskantaga First Nations expressed concerns about the push to develop a mining complex in the Ring of Fire, a globally critical carbon sink known as the breathing lands, and the government’s lack of movement in including First Nations at the decision making table in the regional aassessment.

Webequie First Nation, one of the First Nations that has entered into an agreement with the Ontario government to develop access roads into the Ring of Fire region, submitted that it supports the proposed scope of the regional assessment and that it would seek a central role should there be any changes to the proposed assessment process.

The Ontario government issued Noront Resources eight mineral exploration permits in the Ring of Fire. Although the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines insists that it consulted with Attawapiskat First Nation, Attawapiskat continues to oppose the permits stating that no mining activity should occur until a First Nations-led probe has studied the potential environmental impacts.

March 10, 2022 (Toronto Star):

Group concerned over Ring of Fire

“An alliance of five First Nations in the remote Ring of Fire mineral belt says it’s still waiting to hear whether the federal government will re-think how it assesses potential environmental impacts in an area it considers “the world’s lungs.”

At the end of January, chiefs of the Attawapiskat, Eabametoong, Fort Albany, Kashechewan and Neskantaga First Nations wrote to federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault to express concerns that they are being left out of the proposed review process, including its terms of reference.” Read more here…

March 11, 2022 (Northern Ontario Business):

Webequie First Nation digs in against rebooting Ottawa’s Ring of Fire Regional Assessment

Community argues outlying First Nations are biased against mining development

“The closest community to the Ring of Fire mineral belt is pushing back against a campaign to reboot Ottawa’s Regional Assessment process.

“Webequie First Nation does not think there is a need for an Indigenous-led Regional Assessment,” said the leadership of the Ojibway community, situated more than 100 kilometres west of the mineral-rich area in the James Bay region.” Read more here…

March 11, 2022 (APTN):

Ontario authorizes exploratory drilling by Noront in Ring of Fire despite Attawapiskat objections

Province, mining firm forge ahead with early exploration as debate continues over regional environmental study

“The Ontario government has issued Noront Resources eight mineral exploration permits in the metal-rich Ring of Fire region, garnering objections and a warning from the James Bay Cree community of Attawapiskat.

Noront can now use existing trails to bring in a drill with a bulldozer, according to one permit. Where there are no trails, the permit says Noront plans to fly in heavy machinery via helicopter to begin testing for minerals.” Read more here…

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