The nine Matawa-member First Nations and the Province of Ontario
signed a "framework agreement" said to establish ground
rules for negotiations between the Province and the Matawa-member
First Nations to advance Ring of Fire opportunities.
Following a long period of false starts and little progress, the
Province of Ontario appointed former Justice of the Supreme Court
of Canada Frank Iacobucci to lead discussions in 2013 on behalf of
the Province with the Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council on
proposed resource development in the Ring of Fire. The Chiefs
appointed Bob Rae as their negotiator. These negotiations are
intended to address these priorities:
Environmental protection and monitoring,
Regional infrastructure planning and development,
Resource revenue sharing, and
Social and economic supports.
The Ring of Fire has mineral potential thought to be worth tens
of billions of dollars and includes the largest deposit of chromite
ever discovered in North America; however, development
opportunities have been hampered by lack of infrastructure and
difficulties in establishing dialogue amongst key stakeholders.
Cliffs Natural Resources cited a lack of progress between the
government and First Nations as a major reason behind its decision
to suspend its $3.3 billion Black Thor chromite project last year.
Last month, however, Noront Resources initiated the co-ordinated
environmental assessment process for its Eagles Nest project which
includes nickel, copper and platinum group elements.
In a press release, the Province announced:
The agreement ensures First Nations and Ontario can work
together to advance Ring of Fire opportunities, including regional
long-term environmental monitoring and enhanced participation in
environmental assessment processes, resource revenue sharing,
economic supports, regional and community infrastructure.
While this may be characterized as an agreement to a process, it
is a critical first step toward resolving uncertainties regarding
development in the Ring of Fire.
For further information on this development, please contact any
member of our Mining and Natural Resources Law Group.
The content of this article does not constitute legal advice
and should not be relied on in that way. Specific advice should be
sought about your specific circumstances.
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Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
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