Ontario is taking an important next step toward developing the Ring of Fire, working with Webequie, Marten Falls and Nibinamik First Nations to plan and construct a year-round access road into the proposed mining development site being pursued by Noront Resources Ltd. As part of this project, the province is also working with First Nations to build all-season access roads to their communities.
Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Thunder Bay today with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle, to announce that Ontario will support First Nations to plan and construct an east-west road connecting the Webequie and Nibinamik communities to the provincial highway network north of Pickle Lake. This project would provide all-season access to both First Nations communities as well as into the Ring of Fire development.
The province is also supporting Marten Falls First Nation to plan and construct an access road connecting the community to the existing provincial highway network at Aroland/Nakina.
Communities are working to begin environmental assessments of these projects by January 2018 and plan to begin construction in 2019, pending all necessary approvals.
As a next phase, Ontario will continue to support Marten Falls to undertake further technical and environmental studies that could inform planning and development of a north-south access road tied to the development of, and business case for, chromite mining in the Ring of Fire.
Building these roads is a critical step in realizing the economic benefits of one of the biggest mineral-development opportunities in Ontario in almost a century. Funding for these roads is part of the government’s commitment to invest $1 billion in Ring of Fire infrastructure to create jobs, provide long-term benefits and improve quality of life for people in the region.
Ontario is working to support these First Nations as they address all regulatory requirements so that this unique environment is protected.
The province welcomes this merging of cultural considerations with regulatory requirements and will ensure First Nations and their perspectives, including traditional knowledge, are carefully considered in decision-making.
Investing in the development of the Ring of Fire while ensuring that First Nations participate in and benefit from this development is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.