July 12th, 2024

4 First Nations sign deal with Ontario to build roads near Ring of Fire

By The Canadian Press on June 18, 2024.

Four First Nations have signed a deal with Ontario for new roads, other infrastructure projects and skills training as the province lays a foundation for plans to mine the Ring of Fire. Ontario Premier Doug Ford attends an announcement in Toronto on Friday, May 24, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Christopher Katsarov

GREENSTONE, Ont. – Four First Nations have signed a deal with Ontario for new roads, other infrastructure projects and skills training as the province lays a foundation for plans to mine the Ring of Fire.

The province says Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation and Long Lake #58 First Nation will see their roads that connect to the provincial highway system fortified and renewed.

Premier Doug Ford says the roads about 300 kilometres east of Thunder Bay, Ont., will support future critical mineral and resource development and will be built by First Nation workers.

The province is also giving $2 million to build the Migizi Plaza Rest Stop, which will serve as a hub for the nearby communities, and an area the province has dubbed the corridor to prosperity.

Aroland First Nation Chief Sonny Gagnon says the deal will bring benefits to his community.

The province is trying to create an end-to-end manufacturing chain for electric vehicle batteries and it sees northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire region as a prime source for the critical minerals needed.

Indigenous Affairs Minister Greg Rickford said the province is building consensus with First Nations for economic development.

“Building on the success of today’s announcement we believe we are in the best position any government has ever been to build out the corridor to prosperity for the benefit of isolated First Nation communities north of us and a real prospect of developing critical minerals in the Ring of Fire,” he said.

Several First Nations within the Ring of Fire region have said mining cannot occur without their prior informed consent.

Another mine outside that region, Greenstone Gold Mines, is set to officially open later this summer and will be one of the largest open pit mines in the country.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 18, 2024.

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