This week articles highlighted the importance of respecting First Nations in Treaty Nine and the possibility that the value of mineral reserves in the Ring of Fire deposit are over-estimated. The Globe and Mail article argued that the deposit is worth very little without the infrastructure to bring it to market and that in order for this to happen there needs to be trust and clarity around Impact Benefit Agreements. The Ontario minister of mines claimed that the deposit could be worth $1 trillion and that the potential is limitless, a claim which geologists have criticized and said could potentially be fraudulent.
March 17, 2023 (CBC)
Ontario mines minister says Ring of Fire could be worth $1 trillion, a figure critics call exaggerated
Wyloo Metals, which owns majority of known claims in area, estimates value of ‘defined ore bodies’ at $90B
“From the time the Ring of Fire was discovered in 2007, politicians and industry leaders have emphasized the potential economic value of the remote, mineral-rich area in northern Ontario.” Read more here…
March 17, 2023 (Globe and Mail):
To develop Ontario’s Ring of Fire, we must develop trust with First Nations
“One of the barriers to development in the Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich area in Ontario’s far north, is lack of trust. The Ring of Fire metal deposits lie within Treaty Nine lands. Signed by the Crown and the region’s First Nations at the beginning of the 20th century, the treaty allowed the Crown to acquire land from Cree and Ojibway peoples in the James Bay Lowlands for white settlement and resource development. In exchange, Indigenous peoples were promised cash payments, reserves to live on, education for their children and hunting, fishing and trapping rights.
But the Crown established the reserves on the least desirable land. It sent Indigenous children to residential schools, where they were stripped of their language and culture and often abused. It granted private entities the right to exploit the region’s natural resources with little to no compensation for – and certainly no revenue sharing with – Indigenous communities. As a result, many of the residents of the James Bay Lowlands live in poverty, deprived of some of the most basic human rights, including clean drinking water and housing. Is it any wonder many distrust promises made by government and industry?” Read more here…