THUNDER BAY – On Thursday night at the Victoria Inn, the Neskantaga First Nation held a meeting briefing the people of the community on developments. Today the First Nation has released a letter to Minister of Natural Resources Michael Gravelle on the pending development of the Ring of Fire.
THE HONOURABLE MICHAEL GRAVELLE, MINISTER OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Ministry of Natural Resources
Suite 6630, 6th Floor, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street West
Dear Minister Gravelle:
RE: CLIFFS’ APPLICATIONS FOR LAND USE AND OTHER PERMITS
It has come to my attention that Cliffs Natural Resources and/or its wholly owned subsidiary Cliffs Chromite Ontario Inc. have applied for land use and other permits and are anticipating being granted these permits to allow Cliffs on to provincial Crown land to begin mobilizing for infrastructure development and commencement of construction, including the north-south transportation corridor. In particular, I understand that Cliffs sent a letter on 31 May 20 II to MNR to request that an easement be granted under of the Public Lands Act for its proposed road into the Ring of Fire, and submitted a formal application for the easement by letter of 15 December 20 II with the precise location of the proposed transportation corridor.
I reiterate the notice to Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci in my letter to him of 11 May, 20I2; and the letter of our legal counsel, Gregory J. McDade, Q.C., of 10 May, 2012, copies of which are enclosed, that Ontario is in breach of its constitutional duty to consult with Neskantaga First Nation and other aboriginal peoples regarding Cliffs’ mine and infrastructure development in and to the Ring of Fire.
You cannot lawfully consider these applications without fulfilling your constitutional duty of consultation, and the granting of an easement, issuance of any land use or other permits to Cliffs in support of its proposed developments would be a further breach of Ontario’s duty to consult.
I am seeking your assurance that no such permit applications by Cliffs or any sub-contractors will be considered or granted until there has been meaningful consultation with Neskantaga First Nation and other impacted First Nations. In addition, I am requesting copies of the Cliffs’ letters to MNR of 31 May and 15 December 2011.
Should you have any questions about this, please contact our legal counsel, Mr. McDade, whose contact information is on the attached letter. We look forward to receiving your response.
SIGNED ON BEHALF OF NESKANTAGA FIRST NATION
Chief Peter Moonias
cc: Gregory J. McDade, Q.C.
Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci