Northern Ontario First Nations leaders and mayors recently held a summit to demonstrate solidarity in their belief that opportunities and benefits of resource development related to the Ring of Fire remain in the area.
Leaders from Lake Nipigon and Ring of Fire North/South Alliance First Nations met on April 14 with mayors of Greenstone, Nipigon, Hearst and Thunder Bay to discuss the area 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay that is rich in “globally-significant” minerals such as chromite and nickel.
The group’s Ring of Fire resolution supports Exton (between Aroland First Nation and Nakina) as the preferred refinery site and a north-south access route to Marten Falls. This resolution was signed by six First Nations —Marten Falls First Nation, Aroland First Nation, Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinabeek First Nation, Constance Lake First Nation, Animiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinabeek First Nation, and Red Rock Indian Band — and the four regional mayors.
Chief Elijah Moonias of Marten Falls First Nation, on whose traditional lands the Ring of Fire chromite deposits are located, said they want a company interested in studying the project in partnership with the communities.
“The companies want to come in and exploit the resources and leave nothing behind for local long-standing benefits such as electric grid connection and roads access — both a boost to the local economy,” he told the gathering held in Greenstone.
There was much discussion of the proposal to power the mine site with diesel.
“We have no patience with powering the mine site with polluting diesel generators. I believe the mining companies still do not understand that the minerals are located under our land. I have said before, if they wish to mine the ore, we want it processed in our territory. That means Exton, not Sudbury,” said Moonias.
Greenstone mayor Renald Beaulieu said there’s strength in numbers.
“In the future, today will be remembered as the day when a huge step forward was made in the on-going partnership between First Nations and other communities. The resolution we signed today states the ferrochrome processing facility should be in Greenstone so that all people of this region can benefit from the jobs and the revenues generated. ”
DCN NEWS SERVICES