First Nations, Ontario Advance Plans for Ring of Fire All-Season Roads

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New agreement boosts community infrastructure in support of unlocking critical mineral resources

TORONTO, ON – March 05, 2024 – A landmark agreement signed between the Ontario government, Marten Falls First Nation, and Webequie First Nation accelerates the development of all-season roads into the Ring of Fire. This critical infrastructure will support major economic growth in the region, particularly through mining potential.

The agreement prioritizes “shovel-ready” community projects, including essential healthcare, skills training, and commercial infrastructure, aimed at enhancing First Nations’ readiness and capacity to benefit from construction and resource development in the Ring of Fire.

“This partnership demonstrates strong vision and leadership,” said Mines Minister George Pirie. “These roads are the ‘corridor to prosperity,’ providing needed services to communities while paving the way for Ontario-based electric vehicle and battery manufacturing.”

The Ring of Fire holds significant critical mineral deposits.

Here’s what First Nations leaders had to say:

Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum welcomes the investment
Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum

Chief Bruce Achneepineskum, Marten Falls First Nation: “Our commitment to both economic opportunity and environmental stewardship remains unwavering. This agreement will help our community thrive as we participate in the responsible development of the Ring of Fire.”

Chief Cornelius Wabasse, Webequie First Nation: “This collaboration is about building a sustainable future for our people. We are taking a leadership role in shaping a development model that respects our lands and ensures prosperity for generations to come.”

The three parties are all committed to ensuring their collaboration will continue to be grounded in the foundational principles of Bimachiiowin. For Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations, that means enhancing the communities’ well-being and livelihoods, including a focus on long-term sustainability to protect the land and the people’s future in a good way.

Both Ontario and these two lead First Nations acknowledge the critical importance of further developing relationships and partnerships with neighbouring First Nations and to incorporate their interests into the plans for road construction.

Key Points

  • First Nations-led environmental assessments are underway for the roads.
  • Collaboration is key to accelerating timelines and ensuring First Nations participation.
  • The Ring of Fire could be a cornerstone of made-in-Ontario EV supply chains.
  • Ontario’s mining sector is a major economic engine, supporting thousands of jobs.
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