It was announced yesterday that Noront Resources Ltd. chose Sault Ste. Marie as the future home of its ferrochrome processing facility.
The announcement was held at City Hall with various speakers including Mayor Provenzano and City Council representatives. Absent from the event was leadership from Batchewana First Nation, the reason was lack of consultation.
Chief Dean Sayers of Batchewana First Nation (BFN) acknowledged that discussions had been initiated back in January of 2018 with the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation but noted that they didn’t go far beyond a simple introduction to the project.
After that meeting BFN leadership issued a letter to the City detailing the First Nations inherent jurisdiction to the territory (outlined for the proposed project) and specified the necessary steps forward to secure consent for the project. Those steps included adhering to BFN’s permitting processes and ensuring that economic gain would not supersede the integrity of the environment and its protections.
There were no further discussions following the initial meeting and there was no response to the letter issued from BFN leadership.
“Reading yesterday’s announcement definitely came as a shock to us. Our First Nation prides itself on forging a positive path forward with resource developers, governments and stakeholders as long as our principled approach is applied and meaningful engagement is maintained throughout the entirety of the project. The City of Sault Ste. Marie, Noront and other governments are well versed with our Notice of Assertions which details BFN’s position on our rightful jurisdiction” said Chief Dean Sayers.