THUNDER BAY – The move by First Nations across the region to realize economic benefits as a result of the “Ring of Fire” are continuing.
Webequie First Nation introduced Michael Fox, President of Fox High Impact Consulting, as Webequie’s Ring of Fire Senior Director. Fox will be working to ensure a community-driven approach and community-based opportunities related to the development of the Ring of Fire are recognized and realized by companies and governments.
Michael Fox has a wealth of experience in community initiatives, enterprise development, and government relations. He is well known locally, regionally, and nationally as a board member of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and of the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business (CCAB). He obtained a post-secondary education in business administration and an honours degree in political science, primarily focused on natural resource development in Ontario and Aboriginal law.
“The Webequie First Nation Council welcomes Michael in his new and important role,” says Chief Cornelius Wabasse. “His strategic thinking, business acumen, and community focus will definitely be an asset for Webequie as it continues to develop its role in the Ring of Fire. Michael recognizes that agreements with companies and governments are premised on the community’s Aboriginal and Treaty rights and that any Impact and Benefits Agreement has to be ratified by the community members. He brings this critical community-based approach to the business process.”
The Ring of Fire mineral development activities in Ontario have progressed with two of the main operators, Noront Resources Ltd. and Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., making their submissions of project descriptions to the appropriate government agencies. These project submissions trigger a legal process and will now formalize Webequie First Nation’s engagement with both companies and governments.
“We will be assembling our negotiating team and executing our community-based strategy with both companies in the very near future,” says Michael Fox. “We will also be engaging with Marten Falls First Nation at a Council-to-Council level for the Mine Sites developments. And we definitely look forward to continued discussions with regional First Nations on infrastructure corridor initiatives.”
In his new role as Webequie Ring of Fire Senior Director, Michael Fox will facilitate community initiatives such as land use planning, partnership development with Webequie LP, and agreements with exploration companies. In cooperation with municipal, provincial and federal governments, Webequie First Nation seeks to work on a positive and progressive agenda that will bring benefits for all stakeholders in the Ring of Fire.