Ring of Fire Updates Uncategorized Weekly News Roundup

April 27-May 3, 2022: Weekly News Round-up

The Ontario government unveiled its 2022 budget, and the mining of so-called ‘critical minerals’ in the Ring of Fire features large. Despite purporting the importance of ‘green investment’ and ‘green jobs,’ the new budget fails to include a single policy related to the reduction of emissions; there is, in fact, no chapter on environmental issues. Instead, the Ontario government announced a five-year road map to enhance the province’s capacity to supply ‘green technology’ such as electrical vehicles.

This ‘smoke and mirrors’ approach to policy development makes developing the Ring of Fire appear like the magic bullet to resolving current economic, environmental and ‘geo-political’ crises – an argument emphasized in the Ontario finance minister’s budget speech. However, nothing was mentioned of the ongoing concerns in the region among some Indigenous communities about the direction this ‘development’ is taking or about the proposed projects’ impacts on the environment. And it makes no mention of Indigenous communities’ continued concerns related to access to clean drinking water.

As part of the settlement reached between the Canadian government and three First Nations – Neskantaga First Nation, Tataskweyak Cree Nation and Curve Lake First Nation -the Federal government announced that it would earmark $1.5 billion for compensation to Indigenous communities who have lived for decades without clean drinking water. Indigenous leaders have criticized the compensation as being limited in scope and failing to address ongoing issues, including a failed water treatment facility in Neskantaga.

Meanwhile, in the world of mining companies, it is business as usual…Noront CEO, Alan Coutts, spoke at a meeting of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce about his optimism that Wyloo Metals, the Australian mining giant that took over Noront, would have access to an all-seasons road by 2028. The construction of this road, according to Coutts, would move mineral production forward at the Eagle Nest project. Coutts also noted both the Federal and Ontario government’s seemingly renewed commitment to funding ‘critical mineral’ infrastructure.

April 28, 2022 (The Narwal):

Money talks, and the Ontario government’s pre-election budget doesn’t spend much on climate

For the first time, Doug Ford’s government has released an Ontario budget without a chapter dedicated to environment policy. What it does promise is mining, electric vehicles and even more highways

“The Progressive Conservative’s 2022 budget — and de facto campaign platform, since the government is expected to call a provincial election next week — lays out Premier Doug Ford’s vision for what his government wants to do if re-elected. It includes no new information or policies about efforts to address emissions reductions and the broader climate crisis…

Instead, the government repeats previously announced policies and funding, including for electric vehicles, highways and kickstarting mining in the Ring of Fire region. Few of these policies come with a calculated price tag for Ontario taxpayers.” Read more here…

April 28, 2022 (Global News):

Ontario budget 2022: Government unveils ‘Ring of Fire’ development plan

“Ontario Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy unveiled, as part of the budget, a five-year critical mineral strategy, which includes development of the “Ring of Fire” – a mineral and resources development area in northern Ontario. “It’s time to build the roads to the ring of fire,” he said. Watch news clip here…

April 28, 2022 (Financial Post):

Ontario budget promises billions for infrastructure, critical minerals; could eliminate deficit sooner than expected

Doug Ford’s government said the economic recovery plan could eliminate Ontario’s deficit two years earlier than projected

“In a budget delivered just over a month before voters head to the polls, in what amounts to an election platform, the Ontario government is promising to invest billions of dollars during the next three to five years to shore up infrastructure, boost the supply of critical minerals and commercialize promising technologies.” Read more here…

April 28, 2022 (National Observer):

Are ‘climate’ and ‘environment’ dirty words in Doug Ford’s Ontario?

Ontario’s budget is perhaps most notable for what isn’t contained within its 268 pages.

Among the big, frequently vague promises to build highways and subways and homes and infrastructure, there is hardly a mention of climate change or environment in the Progressive Conservatives’ financial plan.

Finance Minister Peter Bethlenfalvy told reporters the government’s “green plan” involves investing in “clean, green jobs” in electric vehicle manufacturing, developing small nuclear reactor capacity and executing a strategy to extract minerals critical to battery manufacturing from the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario.” Read more here…

April 29, 2022 (CBC):

Neskantaga First Nation’s chief says residents don’t support federal drinking water settlement

Ottawa, First Nations gave update on settlement process on Thursday

Residents of some First Nations affected by unsafe drinking water can now file claims under a settlement with the federal government, but the chief of one northwestern Ontario community says they don’t support the arrangement.

“I just want to say that I’m not in agreement with the settlement,” said Roy Moonias, a member of Neskantaga First Nation, which has been under a drinking-water advisory for nearly three decades.” Read more here…

May 2, 2022 (The Star):

Ontario car plants get $1B boost to build electric vehicles

On the eve of Ontario’s June 2 election call, Chrysler and Dodge factories in Brampton and Windsor are getting a $1-billion infusion from the federal and provincial governments to build the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles.

On the eve of Ontario’s June 2 election call, Chrysler and Dodge factories in Brampton and Windsor are getting a $1-billion infusion from the federal and provincial governments to build the next generation of hybrid and electric vehicles.

The money for the automakers’ parent company, Stellantis, will go toward flexible vehicle assembly lines as the 3,000-employee Brampton plant was preparing to lose production of muscle cars like the V-8 Dodge Challenger to a factory in Illinois, where new electric versions will be made.” Read more here…

May 3, 2022 (The Sudbury Star):

Wyloo takeover could be refresh needed for stalled Ring of Fire project: Noront CEO

Alan Coutts speaks to Sudbury chamber of commerce

“Fifteen years without material progress has made Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining project the source of much talk and scrutiny. But Noront Resources CEO Alan Coutts said Tuesday that the company’s recent acquisition by Australian company Wyloo Metal Ltd. may be the kick-start the project needs.” Read more here…

May 4, 2022 (Northern Ontario Business):

The Drift: Mining and movement in the Ring of Fire six years out, says Noront boss

Wyloo Metals preparing to put its stamp on James Bay mineral projects

Expect 2028 to be the year when the first truckloads of nickel concentrate will be rumbling out of the James Bay lowlands to market.

That was the best educated guess from Noront Resources CEO Alan Coutts on an approximate date when the Eagle’s Nest nickel mine in the Ring of Fire will go into production.

During a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce webinar on May 3, Coutts delivered an update to an online audience on the latest goings-on with the company and a basic primer on how Noront’s new Australian owners, Wyloo Metals, intend to approach development in Ontario’s Far North.” Read more here…

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