First Nation groups ask for Ring of Fire moratorium

Gold & Silver

Ontario’s massive effort to unlock minerals in the James Bay lowlands through roads and infrastructure hit a snag.

Monday, the Attawapiskat, Fort Albany, and Neskantaga First Nations in the James Bay lowlands declared a moratorium on any development in or to facilitate access to the Ring of Fire mining area.

The groups released a news release stating that their territories stand to be “…seriously and permanently desecrated by massive scale mining in the Ring of Fire.”

The groups said the moratorium will stay in place unless there is a regional impact assessment is agreed to. Terms include various sustainability clauses and joint consent of development.

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Ontario’s mines ministry describes the Ring of Fire as “…the most promising mineral development opportunities in Ontario in over a century.” Road-building in the area would make many projects viable, reducing the cost of fuel and construction materials.

“Activities in the Ring of Fire are in the exploration stage, with spending on exploration to date totaling more than $278 million. There are currently approximately 13,296 active mining claim units held by 18 companies and individuals, covering approximately 2,127 square kilometres in the Ring of Fire,” writes the ministry.

Some First Nation groups support current studies in the area.

In February, SNC Lavalin and Dillon Consulting to Conduct Environmental Assessment for the Northern Road Link with the support of the Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation. The two First Nations said the Ring of Fire will bring economic development to their communities.

In December Fortescue Metals’ former CEO and billionaire, Andrew Forrest, announced that it would buy a 22% stake in Noront Resources (TSXV:NOT), the Canadian-based mining company that has the largest land position in the Ring of Fire.

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