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Jul 17, 2023
‘We haven’t been able to agree yet’
Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says the lack of progress in mining projects in the mineral-rich Ring of Fire region in Northern Ontario can likely be attributed to a lack of discussions with Indigenous nations.
Both the federal government and province of Ontario believe the Ring of Fire, located about 500 kilometres from Thunder Bay, has the potential to produce minerals — such as nickel and copper — currently in high demand as countries look to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels.
But the region has also been described as a “challenging space” by Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson in December last year as a large portion of the region is made up of peat or wetlands, which act as carbon sinks. Some Indigenous nations have also raised concerns about development in the space, though two First Nations support the building of a road that will make it easier for companies to mine the region.
Guilbeault at a press conference on July 14 said more conversations with Indigenous nations are needed if mining of the region is to move forward.