THUNDER BAY – The Ontario government and two First Nations in proximity of the Ring of Fire in Ontario’s Far North have reaffirmed their commitment to addressing issues related to the development of the mineral-rich deposit.
“The fact that we remain engaged with our First Nation partners to address issues around mineral exploration and development on their traditional land use areas speaks to the commitment of all parties to achieving a consensus with respect to benefiting from this enormously promising mineral find. I commend Chief Moonias and Chief Wabasse for taking an important leadership role in securing a more prosperous future for their people,” remarked Michael Gravelle, the Minister for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry.
Marten Falls First Nation Chief Eli Moonias and Webequie First Nation Chief Cornelius Wabasse joined Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle and Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey to sign a Letter of Intent, the first formal step towards a Memorandum of Cooperation for mineral development issues, including land use planning in their traditional land use areas.
The Letter of Intent comes as there are growing calls from Northern Ontario groups, including the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) and the Northern Ontario Municipal Association are all expressing serious concern to outright rejection of the proposed Far North Act proposed by the McGuinty Liberals.
The Letter of Intent acknowledges the need to develop a working relationship between the First Nations and the Ontario government, as it relates to potential impacts of the proposed developments on their traditional areas. It builds on previous and ongoing dialogue between the parties to address outstanding concerns around development in the McFaulds Lake area.