Learning 2 Mine 6 | ᐁᐱᒥ ᑭᑭᓄᐊᐧᐸᑕᐦᐊᑲᓄᐨ ᐸᐧᑊ ᕑᐁ 13 | WOMEN: skilled worker SOLUTION
Onotassiniik Wawatay’s Mining Quarterly
POWERING the FAR NORTH DIESEL NO MORE Hydro grid plans for First Nations & mines 8
Wataynikaneyap’s $4.3 BILLION socio-economic BOOST 11
UNTAPPED Waterpower 10
Making up for lost time in Ring of Fire
GRASSROOTS VOICES, FUTURE CHOICES guiding negotiator Bob Rae
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NAN presses for royalty tax, Far North Act changes Grand chief will meet with Premier Wynne in November
with existing parks or protected areas within NAN territory, it means that 50 per cent of NAN homelands will be permanently ‘parked.’ “The only way for First Nations in NAN to reacquire development opportunities is to agree to land use plans.” And while the system is open to First Nation participation, “the core elements of every land use plan are subject to provincial veto.” NAN concludes its online statement on the act by referring to it as “an invalid law and a new form of colonialism.” Louttit said the First Nations of NAN value environmental conservation and protection, but don’t want economic development opportunities closed by the act. “It’s going to designate protected areas in which there potentially could be a mine or another type of development,” he
is simple, Louttit said: “We want a NAN-specific resource revenue sharing agreement, a treatybased approach, and we want a bigger share of the pie.” Currently, under impact and benefit agreements (IBAs) negotiated with mining companies, financial benefits to First Nations Bryan Phelan are only “a very small percentage – a fraction of Onotassiniik a percentage – of a company’s net profit,” he said. As with mining taxes that go to the province, NAN ishnawbe Aski Nation is making a case for under its proposed royalty tax regime wants a “a resource revenue and benefits sharing share of gross revenues generated by mines. “We agreement” with Ontario but first it will take steps don’t want to remain just as an expense on the to change the province’s Far North Act. mining companies’ income statements,” Louttit Les Louttit, deputy grand chief of NAN, spoke said. publicly in July about NAN’s continued desire for NAN will look to its member First Nations to a “First Nations royalty tax regime” that would decide how any future resource tax revenue cover a range of development should be used, said activities in its treaty 9 and 5 the deputy grand chief. territories, including mining, He speculated the forestry, hydro, and tourism. revenue could be split But there is other business three ways, between with the province NAN needs NAN, its member First to take care of first, Louttit Nations – perhaps more said in a Sept. 30 interview to those closest to the with Onotassiniik. “There are development being other issues that are kind of taxed – and their tribal hindering us from moving councils. straightforward right away Premier Wynne because we have a lot of has committed the issues with the Far North province to discussion Act,” he said. “It’s a hindrance of resource revenue because it’s going to sharing in ongoing Ring designate a large percentage of Fire negotiations with of our homelands and special Matawa tribal council, lands as protected areas in which represents nine which no development can First Nations of NAN. take place. So, that has to be Raymond Ferris, Ring addressed – the impacts … of Fire co-ordinator on the community planning for Matawa, expressed process and regional doubt about whether Les Louttit, NAN deputy grand chief. Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario. planning across the North.” NAN’s royalty tax Louttit expects the topic to be discussed at said. “Those issues are going to come to a head in proposal will go anywhere as long as NAN First a Nov. 12 meeting between Premier Kathleen the future … there’s going to be a problem.” Nations continue to sign IBAs with resource Wynne and the Chiefs of Ontario Political Louttit suggested the solution NAN seeks, companies. “The more resources that are Confederacy, which includes Grand Chief Harvey through discussion with the premier and going to IBAs without revenue sharing with the Yesno of NAN. “It’s kind of an immediate focus government ministries, could be “revisions” to government, there will obviously be less revenues that we need to address,” Louttit said, “and then the act that would better accommodate First (available) and the leverage becomes weaker and we can undertake steps towards having broader Nations and development. weaker,” he said. discussions on NAN-wide revenue sharing Also at the Chiefs of Ontario Political “This issue has to be dealt with at the agreements, which would consider a First Nations Confederacy meeting with Wynne, “We will grassroots level, as this is where the real leverage royalty tax regime.” probably raise the issue of resource revenue for negotiations come from,” Ferris continued. The Far North Act became provincial law in sharing within a treaty area,” he added, noting “Community members have to decide if they 2010 despite the opposition of NAN, a political that previous talks with former Liberal premier want to take on this challenge and that would organization of 49 First Nations in northern Dalton McGuinty were for revenue sharing with all mean that no development would happen until Ontario. With its membership being the “sole First Nations in Ontario but went nowhere. “Then resource revenue sharing is on the negotiation occupants” of the land covered by the act, NAN hopefully in the new year we can set up some table. details its position against the act on its website: specific working processes where we can start “First Nations cannot expect other First Nations “… (A) vast swath of NAN homelands is being hammering out some of these issues.” to do it – there has to be a stand taken by all First confiscated for this law,” it states. “Combined For resource revenue sharing, NAN’s position Nations.”
VOLUME 1, NUMBER 3
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CLAIMS “As a business partner, we must meet or exceed your expectations; we must comply with your rules and regulations; we must be compatible with your social, cultural and traditional values; and we must add to your quality of lives. In short, we must earn your confidence to operate.” –William Boor, senior vice-president of strategy and business development for Cliffs Natural Resources, at the 3rd annual Ontario Mining Forum shares his view of environmental assessment for Cliffs’ Black Thor chromite project in the Ring of Fire. Cliffs temporarily suspended the EA this summer due delays in the process and other issues. “The average full-time salary for Aboriginal mine workers after training through the B.C. Aboriginal Training Association is $52,959. That’s almost $20,000 more than the average Aboriginal wage in the province.” –Katie Hyslop reports in a story for The Tyee “Ontario needs to leverage much more value-added manufacturing from its rich mineral resources, like South Africa and Finland. … It is not inconceivable that a cluster of ferrochrome furnace and stainless steel mills could locate in Thunder Bay, similar to the many aluminum smelters and refineries in Quebec’s Saugenay region. Premier Wynne needs to form a ‘stainless steel working group’ whose mandate it is to ensure that the global stainless steel giants establish one or more manufacturing plants in Thunder Bay, to take advantage of one of the richest deposits of chromite ore on the planet.” –Stan Sudol, mining analyst, Onotassiniik columnist and owner-editor of RepublicOfMIning.com writes in the Sudbury Star that Ontario shouldn’t settle for “chromite crumbs”
“When the community is in a position to deal with what happens to their land and resources, then that good relationship (with mining companies) would start to happen. But the community has to be totally ready.” –Coun. Elsie MacDonald of Webequie says in a story published in September by the Huffington Post Canada. MacDonald also says that according to a band study, it would take $28 million to bring the First Nation’s infrastructure – roads, housing, garbage disposal, and water and sewage treatment facilities – up to the Canadian standard.
WAWATAY’S MINING QUARTERLY
Matawa drops legal challenge of environmental assessment
hiefs of Matawa First Nations have stopped litigation that challenged the type of environmental assessment (EA) process to be used for Cliffs Natural Resources’ chromite project in the Ring of Fire. In September, a federal judge was expected to hear a judicial review of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s decision to use a “comprehensive study” assessment of the project. Several Matawa First Nations filed for the judicial review in 2011, while calling for a “joint review panel” assessment instead. The chiefs argued such a panel would force the EA process into their communities for testimonies in local languages, provide adequate timelines for the review and consider the impacts of more than one mine on the region. Cliffs suspended the EA of its proposed $3.3 billion project in June, citing Matawa’s legal case and other factors. Matawa didn’t immediately respond to the news but on Sept. 10 ended its litigation to focus on negotiating a better EA process with Ontario through a new Ring of Fire Regional Strategy Negotiation Table. “When we started the court case there was no negotiation table, so we were pushed into a corner,” Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation explained in a Matawa news release. “There’s a forum for discussions with Ontario now and it’s going to look at the environmental assessment question as well as other issues. “A court-ordered solution is never going to be as good as our own solution,” he added. Ring of Fire talks recently began between Ontario and Matawa, a tribal council of nine First Nations, with Bob Rae as regional negotiator for the First Nations and Frank Iacobucci as the province’s negotiator. Matawa’s stoppage of the EA court challenge came one day after one of its member First Nations, Marten Falls, said it was withdrawing from the legal action to work directly with Cliffs on a communitybased EA. Webequie First Nation withdrew last year. “We’re determined to be a good partner and will continue to work with First Nations who may be impacted by the project, to understand their concerns and priorities, and to respond to them,” Bill Boor, Cliffs senior vice-president of strategy and business development, said in response to Matawa’s decision.
TWISTS & TURNS for Ring of Fire transportation corridor ‘How are we going to untangle this mess?’: Raymond Ferris of Matawa
photo: Matthew Bradley
Bryan Phelan Onotassiniik
liffs Natural Resources says development of the Ring of Fire mining district is threatened by an Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner decision this fall that blocks its plan for an all-weather road to the area. The Ontario government last year endorsed in principle Cliffs’ choice of a 340-kilometre north-south road for transporting ore south from its proposed Black Thor chromite mine to Nakina, where it would then be taken by rail to a ferrochrome processing plant to be built near Sudbury. Then came the mining commissioner’s ruling in September. Cliffs, based in Cleveland, Ohio, has now appealed the decision, which stops the company from building the road over mining claims held by another company. KWG Resources, which through its subsidiary company Canada Chrome Corporation holds the claims, received notice of the appeal Oct. 9. “Cliffs had no choice – they had a deadline to file the appeal,” said Moe Lavigne, vice-president of exploration and development for Montreal-based KWG. “It was the prudent thing for them to do.” However, “It remains to be seen now whether or not they want to proceed,” Lavigne added. “We’re very confident that the Mining and Lands Commissioner decision is going to stand.” KWG did not consent to the right-of-way requested by Cliffs for building the $600-million road over the Canada Chrome claims, staked on high ground in 2009 for a future railroad to the Ring of Fire. That put the matter before the mining commissioner Linda Kamerman in 2012. This Sept. 10 she dismissed the application from Cliffs for the easement. “Canada Chrome Corporation’s ability to work its claims will be negatively affected by the existence of a road and all that goes with it, including the movement of numerous heavy trucks every day,” she wrote in her 43-page ruling. At the same time, she found that insufficient evidence had been produced “to conclude that two equally well-built transportation systems … could be situated on the sand ridge or esker (of Canada Chrome’s claims).” As a result, “the interests of both parties cannot be balanced,” she concluded. The north-south line of claims staked by Canada Chrome on sand ridges run through an area dominated by boggy lowlands. “Its value as unique ‘high ground’ is crucial to the building either a road or a railroad,” Kamerman noted. The commissioner heard that Cliffs offered to buy Canada Chrome Corporation in 2010. One offer was for “the money invested to date,” according to Lavigne. “The offers that were made were severely less than what we see the value of these assets truly are. And a measure of how valuable this transportation corridor is to the Ring of Fire is the fact that without it, none of the mining could occur,” he said in an October interview. “We’ve always been open to an offer but the offer has to be fair.”
ill Boor, a senior vice-president with Cliffs, suggested in a news release response to the mining commissioner’s decision that his company’s $3.3 billion chromite project is key to unlocking up to $50 billion worth of minerals the Ring of Fire is thought to hold. “Our proposed development has the scale needed to develop the road access and is therefore a catalyst for other smaller mining opportunities in the Ring of Fire,” he said. The commissioner’s decision “does jeopardize the viability of the project going forward unless it can be resolved,” Jason Aagenes, director of environmental affairs for Cliffs, told Wawatay News before the ruling was appealed. “We feel that if the Ring of Fire is to proceed this needs to be addressed by the government.” Raymond Ferris, Ring of Fire co-ordinator for the Matawa tribal council, offered this take on the situation: “Government’s legislation is creating havoc in the North and they cannot control the decisions themselves. The only concern is ‘How are we going to untangle this mess?’ ” Ferris said member First Nations of Matawa felt the issue of a Ring of Fire transportation corridor would have been best addressed through the environmental assessments of the mine projects by Cliffs and Noront Resources, which proposes a $609-million nickel-copper-platinum mine in the area. Matawa is currently negotiating with the province for an improved
environmental assessment process. The issue of regional infrastructure is also part of the talks. “Hopefully with more First Nation participation in decisionmaking this important issue (of a transportation corridor) can be addressed,” Ferris said. “Nothing is going to be built without the First Nations.” According to testimony before the mining commissioner, Cliffs once shared with KWG a vision for a railroad to the Ring of Fire but later deemed that option too expensive at a potential cost of more than $1.8 billion. The two companies share ownership Big Daddy chromite deposit in the Ring of Fire, with Cliffs holding the majority interest. Frank Smeenk, chief executive officer of KWG, testified that Canada Chrome had already spent $15 million assessing its claims – surveying and soil testing – for the proposed railroad, which it figures would be cheaper to operate over the long term. Lavigne said Canada Chrome now planned to explore for diamonds on this route as well. KWG also has an option to earn an 80 per cent interest in the Black Horse chromite discovery, which it is currently exploring southwest of the Black Thor and Big Daddy sites.
evelopment of its railroad concept has been set back almost three years because of the dispute with Cliffs, Lavigne said. “We’ve had this cloud over our heads because we were in front of the Mining and Lands Commissioner.” KWG backs a business plan by a group representing unionized employees of Ontario Northland, which would see KWG make its right-of-way claims available for extension of the Ontario Northland railway network from Hearst to the Ring of Fire. Use of the new rail line by mines in the Ring of Fire would be “at cost” to cover railway construction and operating expenses. The plan also calls for First Nations involvement in governance of a new transportation authority that would oversee the railway. “From a construction point of view, it’s doable within five years,” Lavigne said of the rail line. “Now the issue is more political. It’s to get some sort of agreement amongst our political leadership … that this is the best thing that the public control access into the Ring of Fire and out, and it’s not to be put into the hands of a single mining company.” To that end Grand Chief Stan Louttit of Mushkegowuk Council and Mayor Tom Laughren of Timmins wrote in September to Premier Kathleen Wynne and Prime Minister Stephen Harper asking that the proposed transportation authority be created, Smeenk said. Matawa First Nations, which include five remote First Nations in the immediate Ring of Fire area, prefer an all-weather road that would allow connections to the communities, Ferris said. They also want to explore not just a north-south route as proposed by Cliffs, but also a shorter east-west route to Pickle Lake, as was originally proposed by Noront in 2011. The following year, four Matawa First Nations – Neskantaga, Nibinamik, Eabametoong, and Webequie – stated their preference for an east-west road as well. “All the parties will have to create a plan that will provide road access for the communities,” Ferris said. “This is a priority benefit for the First Nations.”.
Moe Lavigne, left, and Frank Smeenk of KWG Resources outlined a plan for a rail line to the Ring of Fire during an Oct. 16 presentation at a mining forum in Timmins, hosted by Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund.
Ring of Fire: Voisey’s Bay replay
Bill Gallagher Guest Columnist
ing of Fire followers should plan on becoming Voisey’s Bay followers, given the close parallels and missed outcomes after five years of project wheel-spinning. I helped develop a recovery strategy for the Labrador nickel project and it would appear that likewise, that’s what’s needed today for the Ring of Fire chromite project. All the same factors are in play and, to cut to the chase, if you can get Native communities onside then all the other project blockages will soon start to dissipate. For Inco, original owner of the Voisey’s Bay mine, the triggering event was the following headline: “Voisey’s Bay gets aboriginal support: sources” (Canadian Press Nov. 30 2001). Here’s what project followers need to know in order to make up for lost time on the Ring of Fire’s road to resources. Both the Voisey’s Bay and Ring of Fire projects were discovered by prospectors who were out looking for diamonds in remote regions of Canada. Both discoveries triggered massive staking rushes and wild stock speculation scenarios. Both saw the specter of instant millionaires being met with concerted Native blockades. Then, in both cases, blue-chip mining majors took over – foreigners in the eyes of locals – while seemingly unaware of the turbulent history of northern resource development.
“What’s missing in the Ring of Fire today is an overarching strategy and commitment to pull together.” Indeed, both hyped their projects, giving rise to the ‘golden goose’ syndrome, fed by fawning media commentary. Both fielded teams of Toronto consultants with litigation-based strategies that seemingly invited court challenges. But both projects soon lost key entry-level rulings to the Native side. Both projects had proposed an access road – straight as an arrow – and once again both lost critical rulings denying access to their discoveries. As a result, both projects experienced: significant stock drops, managerial realignments, project postponements, the appointment of key public influencers, and last but not least, a series of no-nonsense press releases citing their projects to be in serious jeopardy. Typically, the squandering of five years of project development, and losing two key court rulings in a row, puts any resource project in the death zone. Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline had a similar experience and barely squeaked through by virtue of a last-minute (court-mandated) settlement with their Native protagonists. Not so lucky was the Mackenzie Valley Gas Pipeline Project, which never recovered from its two legal losses to the Native side. Those back-to-back losses contributed to the extended delays and cost overruns that ultimately killed that vital piece of northern infrastructure.
Really, the only project that succeeded in turning ‘a sow’s ear into a silk purse’ was Voisey’s Bay; and even at that it took a Herculean effort to forge the essential public, mining and Native partnerships. But the good news: it can be done! Neither James Bay Lowlands nor northern Labrador offered any existing real infrastructure: no roads, no rail, no hydro, no ready labour force. To this end, both provincial governments seemed to be missing in action in terms of generating the proper climate for those essential public, mining and Native partnerships. Here are key quotes from the three aforementioned projects that explain the hitor-miss strategies that dictated those project outcomes: “… a March 12 proposal by Maritimes and Northeast Pipeline to waive aboriginal title is unacceptable.” –Chief Terrance Paul quoted in Halifax Daily News, April 1, 1998. “One of the problems we have is that we manage to conduct regulatory processes that drag projects out until the project simply dies of old age, before it goes ahead. We’ve seen that in the case of Mackenzie (Valley Gas Pipeline Project.)” –former TransCanada CEO Hal Kvisle quoted in Globe & Mail, Nov. 26, 2010. For a mining company, the development of Voisey’s Bay was perhaps as complicated a scenario as anyone could dream up. The way ahead was unclear. Clashing views and competing stakeholder issues created barriers. It would take great effort on the part of all stakeholders to bring them down. –excerpt from Nickel on the Big Land – a Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company project retrospective) What’s missing in the Ring of Fire today is an overarching strategy and commitment to pull together. By now it should be apparent that letting litigation set the agenda does little to advance the public interest; simply put, the public interest has yet to manifest itself – political sound bites notwithstanding. In fact, Voisey’s Bay only started making real progress when an entirely different strategy was employed: one that advanced a unity of interests as opposed to diverse private interests. Even then it took several more years to come to terms as a viable project.
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Thus, Voisey’s Bay successfully transcended its death zone after five years squandered and back-to-back legal losses. It stands as a singular example of what to do and what not to do for all factions currently engaged in the Ring of Fire. Viewed as a ‘four-square’ template, it could well serve to promote the fast-tracking of successful outcomes in the Ring of Fire. Bill Gallagher served as a strategist to Voisey’s Bay Nickel Company on forging key Native impact and benefits agreement alliances. He is the author of Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources, available on Amazon.com (see his blog: billgallagher.ca/resource-rulers-book)
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Photo: Joshua Duggan Geologists scan the landscape in northern Labrador, with the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in the background. The open-pit mine will expand to include underground mining, extending its life by 15 years, the Newfoundland and Labrador government announced in March.
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REVIEWS Online game teaches mining literacy
shki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute has introduced an interactive web portal, Learning2mine.ca, to provide First Nations youth with information about the mining industry and its careers. “With all the mining opportunities that will become available in the North, we want to see First Nations people employed as engineers, environmental technicians, project managers, geophysicists, and in administration,” Rosie Mosquito, Oshki executive director, said of the site when it launched in July. “This new portal … provides them guidance in how to get started.” Learning2Mine.ca features include a mining game called Waaniike, where the player explores the land and discovers resources and artifacts using mining gear and equipment. The game combines traditional knowledge and modern mining practices to build “mining literacy” in the player. The portal was developed in partnership with Goldcorp, Cambrian College and Algoma Games for Health, with funding from Human Resources and Skills Development Canada’s Aboriginal Skills and Partnership Fund.
‘Learning 2 Mine’ website explored Kara Shisheesh Guest Reviewer
earning 2 Mine, a website by Oshki-PimacheO-Win Education and Training Institute, opens doors for people like me to explore a career in mining. As a First Nation youth, I found the website a user-friendly resource on the industry of mining. I have explored, read and learned about the different career opportunities in mining, such as management, construction, exploration, operations, and recovery. The videos on the website helped me get a better understanding of what people do in each
career category. It is an eye-opener because it shows real people working in careers they love! Students and newly employed workers talk about their experiences with Oshki-Pimache-O-Win and how that has helped them get where they are today. However, this fall when I explored the frontpage category “Learn from First Nation Miners,” the first link led me to a “test” page and a video about early childhood education, which was confusing. Also, it would be good if the miners in the videos had better introductions because I didn’t really feel like I knew all I needed to about them, or their jobs. I felt the videos in this category could be organized better. An example of this can be
found in the video, Travis.Mp4. It would be much better if the title indicated the person’s name and job – in this case “Travis–welding” – and if the website provided a brief biography of the character and/or introduction to how they got their job. Overall, though, my experience with Learning 2 Mine gave me a brief overview of what First Nation miners can do and what mining is. I would recommend this site to any youth who has a strong interest in a job in the field. If you find yourself in need of some inspiration and discovery, Learning 2 Mine is the site to go to. Kara Shisheesh is a freelance writer from Attawapiskat First Nation.
Mining and My Community Bryan Phelan Onotassiniik
t’s easy to see why Marten Falls youth received an award from the Ontario Mining Association for their video Mining and My Community. In just under three minutes, the video is able to take viewers on a tour through time and through presentday Marten Falls to future opportunities presented by mining prospects. It opens with a female elder speaking in Oji-Cree, her words in English subtitles. “As long as the river flows, the community grows,” she says as sunlight illuminates clear, shallow water moving over pebbles. The woman, along with English-speaking youth, welcomes us to Marten Falls. She talks of the adventure of her youth, when families camped, hunted and fished at their traplines – a time depicted in the video by youth actors paddling a canoe and reeling a fishing line. The canoe gives way to the wake of a motorboat, youth take over narration of the video in English, and we’re shown modern scenes of the community. One shot appears to be taken from the back of a moving
all-terrain vehicle, which you can glimpse in the frame. It’s an indication of the creativity the filmmakers applied to their project. A light, upbeat background tune played on acoustic guitar matches in tone the friendly voices of the narrators – welcoming hosts. “We’re proud to have one of the cleanest reserves in the north,” says one youth. “We want to keep it that way.” He goes on to explain some of the geological makeup of community, including the role of glaciers in creating fossils found in the area today. Visually, we see a sand pit and a close-up of feet walking underwater on pebbles, as if walking through time. When talk turns to a description of the mineral rich ore discovered in Marten Falls territory, we see images of heavy equipment that one day may be used to
extract the ore. Youth are excited about the jobs, training opportunities and community infrastructure that could come with mining development, one of them says. “The young population of Marten Falls are gaining the skills and confidence to take them into the future,” the Elder adds. In front of a large building under construction, one youth holds what looks like an architectural drawing. Another is shown operating a video camera. Production credits for the video are shown on flip chart paper. “Special thanks to Elizabeth Achneepineskum for helping us translate our film into Oji-Cree and helping us tell our story,” reads the final one.
Award-winning Marten Falls filmmakers.
Marten Falls youth win award for mining video
outh from Marten Falls First Nation were recipients of the Best Overall Video award for the Ontario Mining Association’s 2013 So You Think You Know Mining video contest this past June. The winning filmmakers were: Christian Peters, Matthew Waboose, Allen Waboose, Jared Peters, Drew Waboose, Craig and Skye Achneepineskum. They travelled to Toronto to attend a ceremony at the Royal Ontario Museum to collect their $5,000 prize and trophy. Another $500 went to their school, Henry Coaster Memorial. “We knew we had the potential to achieve above what everyone else’s expectation of us was,” they said in their shared acceptance speech. Research for the video included a trip to the mining office in Marten Falls and a visit with an Elder to learn more about the history of Marten Falls and the surrounding area. Allen Waboose said a couple of the challenges during production were getting the use of a boat for the film and climbing on top of the local arena to get a good shot of a helicopter in the air, carrying supplies.
Finding solutions as partners in Ring of Fire Grads looking to political and mining company leaders for opportunities The following is excerpted from a keynote address by Cliffs VP William Boor at the Ontario Mining Forum in Thunder Bay on June 20.
Senior Vice President Strategy & Business Development Cliffs Natural Resources
think we have come to a time that will prove to be really critical in the history of the Ring of Fire development. … I stand here talking tonight as a face of “industry” … (and) I know what comes with that. As “industry” I am expected to be self-interested for my company’s shareholders only, interested in keeping as much as possible, and by inference, giving as little as possible. … But I’m asking you to hear me as a person – a person who believes that development, and particularly mining development, creates the possibility for everyone to succeed together. I believe that my position within industry is a wonderful place to change people’s lives. In my prior role within Cliffs, we began looking at the ferrochrome industry about five or six years ago. Of course, we are in a company, (so) it starts with the numbers, it starts with the business concept, it has to make sense, it has to have return potential – all the things that you expect. But through this project I, and many people from my team, have been invited into some of the communities. We’ve had the opportunity to spend a considerable amount of time there. It’s been a wonderful experience for me and very eye-opening. I recently spent time in Fort Hope and Chief Papah took me to meet two women who are running a Suboxone program to help people who are addicted to Oxycontin. These women are running a wonderful program and are working hard to improve their communitiy. … Over the past two years more than 150 people in that community have volunteered to go into that program. That’s
a community of 1,400 or so. I have heard the statistics before going there of addiction sometimes exceeding 50 per cent of adults. … I couldn’t help but think about the question of ‘What’s needed for these people to be successful in their battle against addiction? What’s different when they return to their lives after the program?’ Maybe I’ve got it wrong. These are my perceptions and my questions, but what changes in their world that provides hope for a brighter future as an alternative to the addiction that they got into in the first place? I am saying as a human being, that original business concept –which is still important to make this work – it changes and takes on a different level of purpose when you meet these people and believe as I do that economic opportunity plays a critical part in answering those questions. ... We have been at this for a while. There has been a lot of discussion and positioning, there has been a lot of agreeing and disagreeing, relationship building and negotiation. But now we are at a time when the people involved need to set a course that will either move the Ring of Fire idea forward to make it a reality or it will fade away. … I hear from time to time that the chromite has been in the ground for a long time and it isn’t going anywhere. People will say “If it doesn’t happen now, it’s fine … it’ll happen later.” I take exception to that statement. That’s very close to saying that it’s OK that there is a lack of opportunity in those communities. It’s very close to saying that it’s OK that unemployment exceeds 90 per cent in some cases, and more than 50 per cent of the adults have an addiction. It’s very close to saying that it’s OK for teenage suicide to be almost routine. Suggesting that it isn’t important when opportunity is brought to and seized by those communities is, in my opinion, simply unacceptable. … They have shared with me the isolation and, in my words, the lack of hope.
Meaningful moment in Webequie
A Cliffs environmental engineer explains a Michigan mine reclamation project to college students.
TOGETHER WE CAN Fostering strong relationships with local communities is important to how Cliffs operates globally. Engaging and giving back to communities is a part of who we are and what we do. • • • • •
Responsible operations Transparent engagement Community outreach and involvement Commitment to social investment Respect for the rights and cultures of every community
The Cliffs Chromite Project holds great promise for Northern Ontario. We plan to work closely with all potentially affected Aboriginal communities and all stakeholders to make sure the people of Northern Ontario can enjoy the benefits associated with this project. We are investing in local communities today for a sustainable future.
little over a month ago I was in Webequie First Nation. Cliffs was involved in a training program that was led by Oshki. … Fourteen Webequie members ranging in age from 19 to 50 graduated from a mining program. I stood in the Webequie community centre that day and watched these people enter the community centre in their graduation gowns. They were people who had taken the initiative to step forward to be trained for good jobs. They committed themselves to four months of training, most outside of their community – a great commitment – including spending a week at our camp in the Ring of Fire area. … It struck me as those graduates walked into that room that after the years I’ve dedicated to this project, these were the first faces I was able to look at of real people who wanted the opportunities, stepped forward, and dedicated the time and energy in the hope that a better life can be provided with development. I don’t know if I can aptly communicate how meaningful a moment that was for me. We talk about the numbers, we talk about jobs (but) these are the real faces. And what it brings home is a stark reminder of what this is all about. Most importantly, they are ready and looking to us, as leaders, to give them the opportunities. It’s in the hands of the leaders of government, those communities, and the companies involved in the Ring of Fire. … When I recently checked, none of those graduates has found employment in mining. So they’re continuing to wait for us. The beauty of a well-executed, environmentally responsible development of this magnitude is that truly everyone can succeed together. In fact, it is only by succeeding together that any of us can be successful. We all know that. … Very simplistically, but very importantly, it’s time to stop thinking about this development as a negotiation. … Whether you are working for government in a regulatory capacity, or on the agreements to provide infrastructure and economic solutions, whether you are a First Nations leader or advisor, and certainly I say this to myself and others on the Cliffs team – it is time to stop thinking of this as a negotiation. We owe it to the graduates I saw a few weeks ago and the people voluntarily participating in Suboxone programs to break their addictions. We owe it to the literally thousands of people in northern Ontario whose families stand to have a better life through the jobs and business opportunities the Ring of Fire can potentially provide. We owe it to the elders I have spoken to who understand that if their communities are to survive and thrive, if their cultures are to be preserved, they need solutions that will keep future generations healthy and in those communities. Our jobs are not to negotiate as if one wins at the expense of the other. Our jobs are to find solutions as partners in the exciting development of a new mining district and to do it in a way that shows the path for future investments. Wellexecuted development can change lives for the better and this is the opportunity I see to make a difference in the Ring of Fire.
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Powering the Fa
Hydro transmission plans for remote First Nati Bryan Phelan Onotassiniik
n Ontario Power Authority (OPA) plan, to be finalized by the end of this year, shows there is a “strong economic case” for connecting 21 remote First Nations in northwestern Ontario to the province’s hydro grid. The First Nations, including the five Matawa tribal council communities closest to the Ring of Fire mining development, currently rely on diesel generators for their electricity – generally described as an expensive, unreliable, dirty, and growth restricting source. While co-ordinated efforts between remote communities and mining companies could reduce power costs for both groups, OPA draft plans show it makes economic sense to build hydro transmission lines to the First Nations even without connection to future mines in the Ring of Fire. OPA, which plans Ontario’s electricity system for the long term, figures hydro grid connection to the 21 remote communities would eliminate about half a billion dollars in diesel generation costs over 40 years, while providing a cleaner and more reliable electrical supply. Left out of the equation are four First Nations in the region that use diesel – Fort Severn and Peawanuck near Hudson Bay, and Gull Bay and Whitesand north of Thunder Bay – because OPA found it wouldn’t be economically feasible to extend transmission to them. In a directive to OPA in 2011, the Ontario energy minister identified a new line to the township of Pickle Lake as one of five priority transmission projects for the province. The minister also instructed OPA to develop a plan to connect remote First Nations north of Pickle Lake, where the provincial grid currently ends. OPA has been developing such a plan with the Northwestern Ontario First Nation Transmission Planning Committee. In a technical report for that committee, OPA projected that capital costs for connecting the 21 remote communities could reach $1.3 billion. First Nations, meanwhile, are positioning themselves to own and operate some of the proposed transmission lines.
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ions and mines
WAWATAY’S MINING QUARTERLY
Untapped waterpower Bryan Phelan Onotassiniik
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PA recommended in August, in a draft of its regional plan for areas north of Dryden, that a new transmission line be built from the Dryden-Ignace area to Pickle Lake by 2016. It also proposes upgrading existing transmission lines from Dryden to Ear Falls and Ear Falls to Red Lake by then, to meet short-term mining and community load growth.
xtending the provincial hydro grid to remote First Nations and future mines in northwestern Ontario would also provide First Nations with opportunities to develop waterpower and sell electricity back to the grid. Ontario Power Authority will by the end of 2013 finalize a plan for having remote First Nations north of Dryden connected to the grid in the next few years. “There is significant untapped waterpower potential, more than 2,000 megawatts, in the northern rivers,” Wataynikaneyap Power noted at an Ontario Waterpower Association conference a year ago, citing a report by Hatch in 2005. While off-grid waterpower development is typically not economically feasible, “Waterpower development will follow infrastructure to mining and (grid) connection to remote First Nations,” Brian McLeod predicted in the presentation for Wataynikaneyap. “There is a specific and unique (provincial) policy that allocates waterpower development in these basins to First Nations, or First Nations with partners,” he added, “and many have expressed an interest.” According to Wataynikaneyap, there are currently more than a dozen applications for waterpower projects led by First Nations in Ontario’s Far North. If developed, these projects could generate more than 350 MW of power for sale to the grid. Wataynikaneyap has plans to build, own and operate hydro grid lines to its remote partner First Nations, and has identified at least three viable, small hydro sites close to its proposed transmission lines. The First Nations of Muskrat Dam and Wunnumin Lake each have potential waterpower projects with significant potential of more than 10 MW. Similarly, there are several waterpower sites of more than 10 MW within 50 kilometres of a potential hydro transmission route from Nakina to the Ring of Fire. Combined, they can offer more 1,000 MW of waterpower potential, says Larry Doran, CEO of Imperium Energy, an energy consulting firm with experience in the region. There would be a great incentive to buy power from such sites for nearby mines, Doran suggests: “If you develop the generation close to where these new loads are, the system would save tens of millions (of dollars) a year just in line losses.” The Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA) announced in September that Hatch, a company that provides a range of services to the energy and mining industries, has been hired to provide an updated analysis and evaluation of waterpower potential in northern Ontario. Supported by the Ontario Power Authority and two provincial ministries, energy and natural resources, it’s expected that Hatch’s findings “will inform both (Ontario’s) long-term energy plan as well as Aboriginal community-led economic development,” OWA said in a news release. “Ontario has significant untapped waterpower potential in the North and several First Nation communities have expressed an interest in moving projects forward,” said Paul Norris, OWA president. Added Richard Donnelly, Hatch’s global director for waterpower: “Similar to our neighbours in Manitoba and Quebec, developing this untapped resource will provide significant sustainable growth in this region.”
photo: Bryan Phelan Paul Norris, left, president of the Ontario Waterpower Association.
only make economic sense if mine operators agreed to connect to it. “To date, no Ring of Fire mining companies have come forward with a firm commitment to pursue transmission connection,” Cannella said in late September. Larry Doran, a former senior manager with Ontario Hydro and Ontario Power Generation, suggested to Onotassiniik the best transmission route to the Ring of Fire would follow a future south-north transportation corridor but start at Nipigon, rather than Marathon. Starting at Nipigon would make that route 100 kilometres shorter and $45 million cheaper, he said, but that option wasn’t presented in OPA’s draft plan in August. “The OPA believes that it will ultimately be the beneficiaries – mining customers, First Nations communities and other beneficiaries – that will decide on the connection option and route,” said Cannella, “given that the transmission options for connecting the Ring of Fire must be funded by the benefitting parties.” As with other new transmission lines proposed for the region, the chosen option would be subject to the necessary approvals, most notably from the ministry of environment and the Ontario Energy Board.
Ring of Fire uncertainty
Imperium Energy: transmission route options to the Ring of Fire from Nipigon and Marathon. The proposed line to Pickle Lake would provide more reliable power to the township, three First Nations already connected to the grid – Cat Lake, Slate Falls and Mishkeegogamang – and Goldcorp’s Musselwhite mine. The current supply of electricity to Pickle Lake is provided by Hyrdo One Networks through a 115-kilovolt transmission line from Ear Falls. It has been unreliable, likely due to the design, condition, length and age of the line – more than 70 years old. “Customers in the Pickle Lake subsystem have experienced, on average, 14 unplanned outages per year over the past 10 years,” OPA reports. With a new line and improved capacity, Pickle Lake would become a hydro connection point for some remote First Nations farther north. OPA is planning for remote communities and potentially new mines to connect to the transmission system between 2017 and 2022. It determined that six remote First Nations north of Red Lake – Pikangikum, Poplar Hill, North Spirit Lake, Deer Lake, Keewaywin, and Sandy Lake – could be served by a single, radial 115 kV line from Red Lake. Expected to connect from Pickle Lake through several 115 kV lines are 10 remote First Nations now served by diesel systems: Sachigo Lake, Bearskin Lake, Kingfisher Lake, Wawakapewin, Kasabonika Lake, Wunnumin Lake, Wapekeka, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, Weagamow Lake, and Muskrat Dam. Five of these First Nations in the Pickle Lake subsystem are at capacity with their diesel generators and therefore have restricted local connections, blocking community development and growth. Pickle Lake could also be the connection point for the five remote Matawa First Nations in what OPA refers to as the “Ring of Fire subsystem” – Webequie, Nibinamik, Neskantaga, Eabametoong, and Marten Falls. If the transmission line to Pickle Lake is built at 230 kV rather than 115 kV, future mines in the Ring of Fire could also connect via Pickle Lake. At one point, OPA estimated capital costs would increase by $50 million for infrastructure that would accommodate mines in the Ring of Fire, about 370 kilometres from Pickle Lake, but suggested that could be more than offset by cost sharing with the mines. Another option, not included in OPA’s draft plan last year but added in 2013, would instead connect those five communities, plus future Ring of Fire mines, with a new 230 kV transmission line originating 550 kilometres away in Marathon. That line would follow a proposed transportation corridor – for an all-weather road or a railway – starting near Nakina. “The OPA estimates that a transmission line of this scope and magnitude would take at least five years to complete,” from project development to construction, said an OPA spokesman, John Cannella. OPA considers both options technically feasible from an electrical supply point of view, and based on preliminary analysis expects they would incur similar capital costs of roughly $350-400 million. However, OPA also determined the line from Marathon would
wo mining companies, Cliffs Natural Resources and Noront Resources, have plans to start mines in the Ring of Fire by 2017, although Cliffs suspended environmental assessment of its Black Thor chromite project this summer and so far has been unable to secure land access for construction of a south-north, all-weather road to the Ring. Cliffs and Noront, which is working toward a nickel-copperplatinum mine, issued environmental assessment reports for their projects, which outlined their initial plans for electricity. Cliffs indicated a preference for on-site generation fueled by either diesel or natural gas. Noront noted a preference for connection to the transmission system, but specified diesel generation as its “base case” in the absence of concrete plans for development of and industrial access to a Ring of Fire line. As for the five remote communities in the area, “Matawa First Nations have made it very clear they do not support diesel generation to power the project, and will only support a transmission grid so that the First Nations can also hook onto the grid,” Raymond Ferris, Matawa’s Ring of Fire co-ordinator, told Onotassiniik. “The priority for the Matawa First Nations is to minimize any environmental impacts, which includes (diesel) emissions.” Diesel generation is the highest cost method of producing electricity to supply customers in Ontario, according to OPA, “typically costing three to 10 times more than the average cost of the provincial supply mix.” And for the Ring of Fire, Doran says the cost of generating electricity from compressed natural gas – if a supply station was built first – would be comparable to diesel, given the transportation that would be involved. Some estimates suggest that by using grid power instead of diesel, mining companies in the Ring of Fire could save up to $60 million a year, based on projected energy needs over the next decade. Substantial investment in transmission infrastructure has to come first, though. As OPA puts it, “In order to implement the project, the remote community funding parties,” – the federal government, Ontario electricity customers and the provincial government – “as well as any industrial customers who wish to make use of the transmission assets, will need to come to agreement on the allocation of project costs among them.” OPA expects the connection of remote communities in the Ring of Fire subsystem to proceed separately unless mine developers come forward to participate in a joint connection project. Despite the “enormous” annual savings that mining companies in the Ring of Fire would realize by connecting to the grid, Doran understands their reluctance to lead the charge for grid power. “They’re afraid they have to pay for it and then get it back slowly over time,” he explains. “That’s a big capital outlay right off the bat when you’re trying to start a project. So, everybody tries to avoid being the first guy to pay for it.” Doran, now head of the consulting firm Imperium Energy, prefers infrastructure models he sees in B.C. and Quebec. “They say ‘Let’s build the infrastructure, then let the companies develop around it.’ That’s what Ontario should be doing for the Ring of Fire. In B.C., they’re building their power and their roads so they can develop northern B.C., not waiting for that (development) – the other way around.”
Goldcorp-First Nations partnership
mining company has stepped forward to support development of a new transmission line to Pickle Lake, and more lines to some remote First Nations. Goldcorp teamed with the Central Corridor Energy Group (CCEG), a partnership of 13 First Nations – including the 10 remote First Nations in the Pickle Lake subsystem – to form Wataynikaneyap Power. The other three CCEG First Nation partners are Lac Seul, Cat Lake and Slate Falls. Five more remote First Nations – the Keewaytinook Okimakanak (KO) First Nations Council communities of Deer Lake, Keewaywin, McDowell Lake, North Spirit Lake and Poplar Hill, in the Red Lake subsystem – joined Wataynikaneyap as partners in October. Wataynikaneyap is working to design, permit, construct, own and operate transmission lines in a two-phase project. It proposed building a new 230 kV transmission line from Dinorwic, east of
SPECIAL REPORT Dryden, to Pickle Lake by 2016, and then extend lines to its 10 original remote First Nation partners by the end of the next year. Plans will now be updated to include connection to the new KO partners. Goldcorp is a 50 per cent partner in Wataynikaneyap, with each participating First Nation an equal ownership partner in the other half of the company. Goldcorp funded the setup of Wataynikaneyap and its transmission planning work but will
realize from the switch to grid power, it would seem to be in their economic interest to fund construction of the transmission lines to the First Nations. The First Nation partners in Wataynikaneyap have a goal of “First Nations eventually owning 100 per cent of this important infrastructure that will better serve our communities,” Margaret Kenequanash, executive director of Shibogama First Nations Council, said last spring.
nother company, Sagatay Transmission, is competing with Wataynikaneyap for the right to build, own and operate the new transmission line to Pickle Lake. Its partners are Mishkeegogamang First Nation; the Ojibway Nation of Saugeen; Morgan Geare, a Torontobased private merchant banking and advisory firm; and Algonquin Power and Utilities. Sagatay proposes a different route for a 230 kV line to Pickle Lake, up Highway 599 from Ignace. The company notes on its website that under the Far North Act, the northern terminus of any transmission line to Pickle Lake and the municipality itself fall within the land use planning area of Mishkeegogamang. “The construction of any transmission line must be incorporated into the community land use plan or be supported by the local First Nations,” it states. OPA notes that for the Far North in general, the act “requires that all communities conduct land use planning prior to commencing the development of new transmission facilities.” Sagatay forecasts construction starting in 2015 and its transmission line being in service the following year, said the company’s project manager, Tri Luu. Both Sagatay and Wataynikaneyap are engaged in environmental assessment processes for their projects. In addition to requiring environmental assessment approval, “Before a company can start construction, the Ontario Energy Board must provide permission by approving the company’s ‘leave to construct’ application,” explained OPA’s Cannella. “These approval processes will be used to assess their filings,” he said, and ultimately to decide which project proceeds. As for a proponent to provide transmission to the remote First Nations in the Ring of Fire subsystem, OPA wasn’t aware of any as of Sept. 20, Cannella said. Matawa First Nations are “looking at all options” for a transmission line that would serve their communities in the Ring of Fire area, said Ferris, but lacked resources needed to conduct detailed feasibility studies. Wataynikaneyap indicates on its website that it would consider expansion of its project to serve additional customers if requested. It specifies potential expansion to remote communities to the east, near the Ring of Fire, and to the Ring of Fire itself. Ferris said Matawa hasn’t ruled out joining the Wataynikaneyap partnership to develop transmission Wataynikaneyap Power’s preliminary route plans for hydro transmission to its communities from Pickle Lake. “Matawa to Pickle Lake and remote First Nations. Plans will be updated to include First Nations are looking into the potential of this connection to five Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations. partnership and must not cross out any options at withdraw from the partnership when Wataynikaneyap secures a this time,” he said in October. “Again, it goes back to conducting the feasibility studies so that the First Nations can make good, informed transmission partner, which will partly own and operate the line. The mining company is eager to have better electricity supply to decisions.” As for the big picture potential of providing clean, reliable hydro Pickle Lake and its Musselwhite gold mine. Musselwhite currently gets electricity from Pickle Lake through Goldcorp’s private power to remote First Nations and mines, “I do believe this is the 190-kilometre line but that supply is insufficient, so diesel power best we’ve seen for electrifying the North in years or decades … is used as well. Additional grid capacity at Pickle Lake could also ever,” Doran says. benefit mining developments by Cadillac Resources, Rockex, Gold Canyon Resources, and Northern Iron. In October, Wataynikaneyap signed a memorandum of understanding with AECOM Technology Corporation, in association with PowerTel and Deutsche Bank, for the AECOM team to provide design, construction and financial services to the transmission project. Wataynikaneyap puts the capital cost of a 300-kilometre Dinorwic-Pickle Lake line at $150200 million. While exact routing from Pickle Lake to the 10 central corridor First Nations has yet to be determined, Wataynikaneyap estimates those lines will cost about $680 million. But a recent financial feasibility study commissioned by Wataynikaneyap also found that continuing with diesel generation for the next 40 years would cost $296 million more than building and operating transmission lines to the 10 First Nations. “The communities expect that any cost savings achieved by connecting to the grid be directed towards Wataynikaneyap Power,” the company stated when it incorporated in April. Hydro One Remote Communities and independent power authorities operate diesel systems in the 10 First Nations, but according to Wataynikaneyap about 90 per cent of diesel generation costs are subsidized by Ontario electricity ratepayers and the federal government. Given the long-term savings these parties should Sagatay Transmission’s proposed trasmission route from Ignace to Pickle Lake.
Wataynikaneyap benefits valued at $4.3 billion Bryan Phelan Onotassiniik
ataynikaneyap” translates from Anishininiimowin to English as “line that brings light.” Elders chose the term to name the hydro company formed by First Nations in northwestern Ontario with mining company Goldcorp: Wataynikaneyap Power. In addition to light – from new hydro grid lines to Pickle Lake and remote First Nations – Wataynikaneyap Power’s proposed project could bring additional benefits with an estimated value of $4.3 billion over the next 40 years. That’s the finding of Lumos Energy in a study of the project benefits beyond the lower cost of hydro transmission compared with ongoing diesel generation in the First Nations. (The study considered hydro connection only to the 10 remote First Nations involved in the formation of Wataynikaneyap, not the five Keewaytinook Okimakanak First Nations Council communities that joined as partners Oct. 9.)
Margaret Kenequanash Lumos reported in June on its analysis of the social, environmental, and economic outcomes that may be realized through the Wataynikaneyap project. “The sum of these additional benefits is estimated to be $4,372,000,000 over 40 years,” Lumos said in its report. “As importantly, the project changes the economic and social conditions for northwestern Ontario and First Nations communities: improving a range of community conditions and factors from employment to housing to economic development to community infrastructure and development.” If approved by provincial authorities, the project is expected to directly create 1,063 construction jobs and 61 operating jobs, together valued at $372 million. “Our goal is to create as many local economic opportunities for our First Nations communities as possible,” Margaret Kenequanash, executive director of Shibogama First Nations Council, said when Wataynikaneyap incorporated in April. “We are currently in the process of developing training programs to prepare the local workforce not only for the construction period but for the long term as well.” Lumos forecasts another $364 million in tax revenue – from income and excise taxes – will be generated as a result of the project. It predicts additional spinoff of $460 million in economic development investment, plus 120 related construction jobs and more than 400 operating jobs. At the same time, Lumos provides examples of opportunities lost because of unreliable and inadequate diesel generation in remote First Nations. In one Wataynikaneyap partner First Nation, Kasabonika Lake, the diesel power station reached its capacity in 2007, paralyzing the community’s growth. The economic value lost as a result has been $9.5 million. Should First Nations convert to hydro grid power, Lumos projects savings of $60 million from avoided diesel spills. In doing so, it points to $17 million paid in 2011 by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development to Mathias Columb Cree Nation in Manitoba as compensation for a diesel fuel line leak over previous decades. The leak contaminated the soil to the point that most of the community’s infrastructure had to be torn down. In a long-term capital plan, Lumos adds, Aboriginal Affairs identified almost 2,500 “potential contaminated sites” on First Nation reserves, with most of these sites flagged because of concern about leakage from fuel storage facilities. Another environmental benefit from replacing diesel with grid power would be a reduction of more than three million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions over 40 years, which Lumos values at $22 million. Lumos also calculates a reduction in health costs by $36 million over the same period. “The Wataynikaneyap project offers unparalleled benefits for First Nations, northern Ontario, Ontario and the rest of Canada,” Lumos concluded.
WAWATAY’S MINING QUARTERLY
$5.9 million to train Matawa members for mining
he nine member First Nations of Matawa tribal council are recipients of a major training investment announced this past summer. Matawa First Nations and their Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services form the Ring of Fire Training Alliance along with Noront Resources and Confederation College. The Alliance will receive more $5.9 million from the federal government’s Skills and Partnership Fund to provide people from Matawa First Nations with training for employment in the mining sector, Greg Rickford, the lead federal minister for the Ring of Fire, said Aug. 8 at a news conference in Thunder Bay. The training will include nine specialized training programs. Some of the programs will be mining specific – “underground common core” and “underground diamond driller,” for example. Other programs will be for future heavy equipment operators, line-cutters, environmental monitors, cooks, and security guards. Six pretrades courses will also be offered: carpenter, electrician, plumber, welder, heavy-duty equipment mechanic, and trades construction craft worker. Some of the programs were expected to start by mid October.
with Greg Rickford Minister of State for Science and Technology and for FedNor, and minister responsible for the Ring of Fire
What career experiences have prepared you for this role? I spent eight years of my life living and working (as a nurse) in isolated, remote First Nation communities. Six of those years were in the isolated communities in the Kenora political riding, including a number of communities with Matawa (tribal council), specifically Neskantaga, Nibinamik and Eabametoong. I’ve worked in almost all of the isolated First Nation communities (in the region). Some of them for only very brief relief periods but in the case of Pikangikum, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug and Eabametoong, extended periods of time. So I’m very familiar with the leadership and have many close friends in those communities.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper selected Greg Rickford, Conservative MP for Kenora, as the lead minister for the Ring of Fire in July. Prior to that appointment, Rickford had been parliamentary secretary to Tony Clement when he was the minister in charge of FedNor and the Ring of Fire. Rickford had also served as parliamentary secretary for the minister Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development. Bryan Phelan, Onotassiniik editor, reached Rickford by phone as he travelled between Montreal and Ottawa, two months into his key posting for the Ring of Fire. “This is no ordinary mining development,” Rickford said to open the interview. “We have to get it right.”
In my legal career, subsequently, all of my legal work was centred on First Nations issues. I was corporate co-counsel for Pikangikum, the Pikangikum health authority, worked with Lac Seul, and the health authority for Independent First Nations Alliance. About 260 Matawa community members will be trained either in their First Nations or at the Confederation College campus in Thunder Bay. “Training in our own communities is something we have needed for many years,” said Chief Celia Echum of Ginoogaming First Nation. “This community-based approach will turn out to be one of the most successful training initiatives.” The Ring of Fire Training Alliance is expected to employee almost 200 of the training graduates. “It is important to Noront that we have access to a local workforce that is trained for the employment opportunities that we will require as we develop and operate our Eagle’s Nest project in the Ring of Fire,” said Paul Parisotto, Noront’s chairman. In July, Matawa’s KKETS and Aecon Group announced they would work together to develop remote training centres, which will be operated by First Nations. The centres will provide local access to communitybased education, trades and apprenticeship training. Mobile training units will be flown to several communities by the end of this year for training that will begin in January, Greg Vaillancourt, a regional manager for Aecon Mining, said in October at a mining forum hosted by Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund.
A briefing note in February 2013 for the Aboriginal Affairs minister warned that chronic housing shortages and low education outcomes are two issues that jeopardize the ability of First Nations to benefit from Ring of Fire developments. Nishnawbe Aski Nation says low education outcomes are in part because the federal government “continues to shortchange students on-reserve” by providing less funding per student than is provided in provincial systems (about 20 per cent less, according to a federally appointed panel’s findings last year). How is your government addressing these First Nations housing and education issues in northern Ontario? … As far as northern Ontario goes, we’ve seen an unprecedented investment in education. … In just five years as the member of Parliament, we have built a school in North Spirit Lake, we just opened one in Cat Lake, we completely renovated and rehabilitated one in Sandy Lake, we’re in the process of building one in Pikangikum, we built the school in Lac Seul First Nation … and we are building a new school in Fort Severn.
What do you foresee as being the most challenging and the most rewarding parts of the Ring of Fire job? … I would say the most challenging thing is going to be to get it right.
For levels of government – by that I mean First Nations, municipal, provincial and federal – first to put their partisan politics aside to focus on acting in the best interests of the region. This is an opportunity to benefit First Nation communities and towns and cities across the region. ... I think that if you asked Cliffs and you asked Noront how they see this going from a private sector perspective, they want to put an emphasis on strategic relationships with communities that can offer in some cases human resources – human resources for specific things like participating in the infrastructure, roads. … The other biggest challenge is for us to think about the things that have to occur at the front end of this. There has been some talk about own-source revenue (resource revenue sharing or royalty taxes to First Nations), there has been some discussion about roads and about the location of various operational processing plants, for example smelters. There’s a lot more work to be done at the front end of this. … So, some of those things that have already been announced might have been a little bit more of the cart before the horse. We’re calling on everybody to take a look at this at the front end. And that will help us build a narrative around everybody, including our First Nation communities, being fully integrated into this process from the ground up.
photo: Bryan Phelan MP Greg Rickford at the grand opening of the Lac Seul Events Centre in August.
Our view on education funding has been that of the entire circle of investment that we make into education for First Nations, it is at the same level by provincial comparison. But what that tells us is that because we have these low outcomes, more work needs to be done. That doesn’t necessarily mean a blanket increase in investment. It means a more focused and strategic investment on specific things. So in the case of education, we had identified – in the last two rounds of the budget – some support for the administration of education programs, new partnerships between First Nations groups and the capacity to build education boards with a broader number of First Nations communities. …
already been announced might have been a little bit more of the cart before the horse. We’re calling on everybody to take a look at this at the front end.
I don’t think, as a practical matter, there could be a better example of our level of commitment to education for First Nations. …
Some of those “things that have
The rewards are that because I believe this is a legacy resource project, I think we’re gong to see long term a more healthy and sustainable model for our communities, particularly our isolated and remote communities, to potentially thrive. One of the key structural problems that we’ve had in the isolated communities is a physical disconnect from economic opportunities. We have worked hard for small business centres in those communities. I think we now see an opportunity to go to the next level and create new, more sustainable economic opportunities so those communities are more sustainable … in every sense of the word – socially and economically and from a health perspective. They all go hand in hand.
Transportation and energy infrastructure are considered key to development in the Ring of Fire and surrounding First Nations. What role does the federal government, and you as its lead minister for the Ring of Fire, have in finding and funding infrastructure solutions for the region?
As this project develops, we have stakes in some of the things that will occur.
Obviously we’ve come to the table as a partner. We are looking across the region at electrification strategies. … From the federal government’s perspective, in addition to helping and understanding a reasonable role in the Ring of Fire development, we see this as an opportunity to look at hydro corridors because our First Nations operate currently on diesel generators. That’s not environmentally or fiscally the best way for us to proceed. … And so the consultation pieces that we’ve been doing looking at hydro corridors … are also being done by and with and for the benefit of participating First Nation communities. ... … We’ll be very interested in those kinds of developments because we are involved in the electrification of First Nation communities through generating stations, and diesel generating stations. The long-term view is, of course, to have connectivity (to the Ontario hydro grid), so we have more environmentally friendly and more reliable sources of electricity. Obviously the road issue takes on some complexity because roads fall squarely in the jurisdiction of the province. But when and where First Nations communities identify a longterm vision for road connectivity … we want to ensure that we play a measured but responsible role in community social and economic development related to this opportunity, should it go ahead.
What needs to happen during your time as minister responsible for the Ring of Fire for you to consider your involvement a success?
First of all, it’s worth noting that it’s only been a couple of months. I’m following in the footsteps of tremendous leadership of Minister Clement, who took action last fall by reaching out immediately to First Nations. He and I were involved in some very good, very productive preliminary discussions with First Nation leaders, specifically from Matawa. … The signals I’m getting from (Ontario Northern Development and Mines) Minister Gravelle and certainly from the two principal companies, Noront and Cliffs, are that we’ve had some great success in opening up an effective communication process to move forward. What I would finish by saying is that my personal commitment to this is to stay positive. Northern Ontarians have been subject over the course of time, from mining and forestry, to the extreme highs and lows of resource development. This is the kind of generational legacy project that has the opportunity to increase the health and sustainability of our communities, I believe, across the region. … It starts with an effective communication pattern. And to that end, in the past year through Minister Clement, and now in my capacity, we continue to do that.
Environmental assessment training in Constance Lake
photo: Laura Taylor/Shared Values Solutions & Matawa First Nations Management Bob Rae gets some help with his bingo game from other players in Webequie First Nation.
ᐁᐱᒥ ᑭᑭᓄᐊᐧᐸᑕᐦᐊᑲᓄᐨ ᐸᐧᑊ ᕑᐁ ᑲᑭ ᐊᔭᑭᓀ ᒪᐊᐧᒋᐦᐃᑎᓇᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᒪᑕᐊᐧ ᑕᓇᐱᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᒪᓯᓇᑌᓯᒋᑲᐣ ᑕᑲᐧᐣ ᒪᒪᑕᐊᐧᐱᑯᐠ ᑊᕑᐊᔭᐣ ᐯᓫᐊᐣ ᐅᓄᑕᓯᓂᐠ ᑲᑭ ᐃᓀᐧᑕᒪᑫᐱᐦᐃᑫᐨ ᐱᑐᓂᔭ ᐊᐣᒋᐢ ᐊᐧᐸᒪᐊᐧ ᐸᐧᑊ ᕑᐁ ᑲᑭᐊᔭᑭᓀ ᑭᐅᑫᐨ ᓴᐣᑲᓱ ᒪᑕᐊᐧ ᑕᓇᐱᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᐁᑭ ᐅᔑᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᒪᓯᓇᑌᓯᒋᑲᐣ ᔪᑐᑊ ᑲ ᑲᐃᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᒪᓯᓇᑌᓯᒋᑫᐃᐧᓂᐠ.
ᑭᐅᐣᒋ ᐊᓂᑫ ᓇᑯᒋᑲᑌ ᐅᐧᐁ ᒪᓯᓇᑌᓯᒋᑲᐣ, ᐁᑭᐃᔑᓂᑲᑌᐠ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐅᑎᑭᑐᐃᐧᓂᐊᐧ, ᓂᑲᐣ ᑫᓂᔑᐅᓀᒋᑲᑌᑭᐣ ᑫᑯᓇᐣ: ᑫᓂᔑ ᐱᒥ ᑭᑭᓄᐊᐧᐸᑕᐦᐊᑲᓄᐨ ᒪᔭᑦ ᑲᐱᒥ ᑲᑲᓄᑕᒪᑯᔭᐠ, ᒥᐦᐅᐁᐧ ᑲᑭᐊᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᒪᑕᐊᐧ ᐱᒧᒋᑫᐃᐧᓂᐠ ᒪᒪᑕᐊᐧᐱᑯᐠ ᐅᒪ, www.matawa.on.ca. ᒣᑲᐧᐨ ᒪᑯᐱᓯᑦ, ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐅᑭᐊᓄᑭᐦᐊᐊᐧᐣ ᐸᐧᑊ ᕑᐁᐊᐧᐣ ᒋᐅᒋ ᓂᑲᓂ ᑲᑲᓄᑕᒪᑯᐧᐊᐨ ᐊᐱ ᐊᓂᐱᒥ ᓇᓇᑭᐡᑲᐊᐧᐊᐧᐨ ᐅᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᐅᑭᒪᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᑲᐃᐧᐱᒥ ᐊᓂᒧᑕᒧᐊᐧᐨ ᐱᐊᐧᐱᑯᑲᓂᑫᐃᐧᓂ ᐃᒪ ᒪᔭᑦ ᑲᐃᐧᐃᔑ ᑲᑫᐧᑭᒋ ᐱᐊᐧᐱᑯᑲᓂᐊᐧᐠ. ᒥᓇᐊᐧ ᑕᐡ ᐊᐱᐣ ᑭᐊᓂᔑᒋᑫ ᕑᐁ ᐃᐡᑯᓂᑲᓇᐣ ᑭᐊᓂᔑ ᓇᓇᑭᐡᑲᑫ. ᐃᓂᐁᐧᓂᐊᐧᐣ ᑕᐡ ᒪᔭᑦ ᑫᑯᓇᐣ ᑲᑭᐊᓂᒧᒋᑲᑌᑭᐣ ᐃᒪ ᑲᑭᐊᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐅᑎᑭᑐᐃᐧᓂᐊᐧ ᒪᓯᓇᑌᓯᒋᑲᓂᐠ, ᓇᐣᑕ ᐱᑯ ᐊᐱᑕᐃᐧ ᐊᐧᑲᓭ ᒥᓂᑯᐠ ᐱᒥᒪᓯᓇᑌᓭᑐᐠ. ᐯᔑᐠ ᑭᒋᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂ ᐅᑭᑎᐸᒋᒪᐣ ᐃᐧᒋᑭᒋᐦᐊᐣ ᑲᑭᐱᐃᐧᒋ ᐊᐱᑕᑎᓯᒪᐨ ᐧᐁᑎ ᐱᑯ ᑲᑭᐱᐅᐣᒋ ᐊᐊᐧᔑᔑᐃᐧᐊᐧᐨ ᐱᑲᐧᑕᑭᐠ ᑲᑭᐱᑕᔑᐱᒪᑎᓯᐊᐧᐨ. “ᐊᒥ ᐁᑐᑕᒪᐣ ᐁᑲᓇᐁᐧᐣᑕᐣ ᓂᐣᑕᑭᑦ ᐁᑲᐧ ᑕᐡ ᒥᐡᑲᐧᐨ ᒥᐦᐃᒪ ᐁᐅᐣᒋᐱᒪᑎᓯᔭᐣ ᐊᐦᑭᐠ,” ᑭᐃᑭᑐ. ᔕᑯᐨ ᑲᔦ ᐅᑭᒪᒥᑯᐣᑕᐣ ᓄᑯᑦ ᑲᑭᔑᑲᐠ ᑲᐃᔑᐱᒪᑎᓯᐊᐧᐨ ᑲᐅᐡᑲᑎᓯᐊᐧᐨ ᐁᐸᑲᓂᓭᓂᐠ. ᐁᑲᐧ ᒥᓇ ᒣᑲᐧᐨ ᑲᑭᐱᒥ ᑭᒋᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧᐨ ᐅᑭᔭᓂᒧᑕᐣ ᐊᓂᐣ ᐁᔑᓂᓯᑕᐧᐃᓇᐠ ᑫᑯᓇᐣ ᑫᑭᐊᓂᔑ ᓂᑲᓂ ᑲᓇᐊᐧᐸᒋᑲᑌᑲᐧᐸᐣ ᐁᐧᑎ ᓂᑲᐣ ᐱᐊᐧᐱᑯᑲᐣ ᑲᐃᐧᐊᓂ ᐅᔑᒋᑲᑌᐠ: ᒋᐊᓂ ᐅᐣᑎᓂᑲᑌᑭᐣ ᐊᐧᑲᐦᐃᑲᓇᐣ, ᐊᓄᑭᐃᐧ
ᒪᒋᑕᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᒥᓇ ᒋᑭᐊᓂᐁᐧᐣᑕᐠ ᒋᑌᐱᓂᑲᑌᐠ ᐊᓄᑭᐃᐧᓇᐣ. ᐁᑲᐧ ᒥᓇ ᑯᑕᑭᔭᐠ ᐅᑭᐃᐧᐣᑕᓇᐊᐧ ᐁᔑᐊᐧᐸᑕᒧᐊᐧᐨ ᐃᓂᐁᐧᓂᐊᐧᐣ ᑫᐅᐣᒋᒥᓄᔭᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐱᒪᑎᓯᐃᐧᓂᐠ ᒥᓇ ᑭᑭᓄᐦᐊᒪᑫᐃᐧᐣ ᒋᑭᓂᑲᓀᑕᑯᑲᐧᐸᐣ ᐁᒪᐧᔦ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᑫᑭᐅᐣᒋ ᒥᓄᑐᑕᒧᐊᐧᐸᐣ ᐱᐊᐧᐱᑯᑲᓂ ᐊᓄᑭᐃᐧᓇᐣ. “ᓇᑕᐁᐧᑕᑯᓯᐊᐧᐠ ᐊᐃᐧᔭᐠ ᓂᔓᔕᑊ ᒋᑭᔑᑐᐊᐧᐨ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧᓂ ᐁᑲᐧ ᑕᐡ ᐊᓂᐣ ᐁᐣᑕᓯᓄᔭᐠ ᑲᑭ ᑭᔑᑐᔭᐠ ᓂᔓᔕᑊ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧᐣ?” ᐯᔑᐠ ᓇᐯ ᑭᐃᔑᑲᑫᐧᑌᐧ ᒣᑲᐧᐨ ᐃᒪ ᐯᔑᐠ ᑕᓇᐱᐃᐧᓂᐠ ᑲᑭᑕᔑ ᒪᐊᐧᒋᐦᐃᑕᐧᐸᐣ. “ᑲᐃᐧᓂᐣ ᑲᓇᑫ ᒪᔑ ᑭᑲᐧᔭᐣᒋᓯᒥᐣ. ᒥᑕᐡ ᐅᐁᐧ ᓇᐱᐨ ᑲᐅᐣᒋᑯᑕᒪᐣᐠ.” ᐁᑲᐧ ᑕᐡ ᕑᐁ ᐸᐸᑭ ᐅᑭᐅᐣᒋ ᑭᑭᓇᐊᐧᒋᐊᐧᐃᐣᑕᓇᐣ ᑲᑭᐱᔑᓇᓄᑕᐠ: “ᓂᔕᐧᔦᐠ ᐃᓀᑫ ᐃᔑᓂᓯᐃᐧᐣᑕᒪᑫᒪᑲᐣ ᑲᑭᐃᑭᑐᐊᐧᐨ. “ᐃᐁᐧᓂ ᐯᔑᐠ ᑲᑭᐃᑭᑐᐊᐧᐨ ᐁᑯᑕᒧᐊᐧᐨ ᒋᐊᓂ ᒪᑕᓄᑲᑌᓂᐠ ᐱᐊᐧᐱᑯᑲᓂ ᐊᓄᑭᐃᐧᓂ… ᐊᓂᐣ ᐊᐱᐣ ᐊᐊᐧᔑᒣ ᑫᓂᔑᓇᑭᐡᑭᑲᑌᐠ ᐊᓂᒥᓭᐃᐧᐣ ᐊᐱᐨ ᐃᐧᐣ ᔕᑯᐨ ᑲᑭᐃᓀᒋᑲᑌᑭᐸᐣ,” ᑭᐃ ᑭᑐ. “ᐁᑲᐧ ᒥᓇ ᑯᑕᐠ ᐁᔑᓄᑕᐊᐧᑲᐧ ᐁᐃᑭᑐᐊᐧᐨ ᐁᒥᓴᐁᐧᐣᑕᒧᐊᐧᐨ ᑭᒋᐅᔑᒋᑲᑌᑭᐸᐣ ᐱᐊᐧᐱᑯᑲᓂ ᐊᓄᑭᐃᐧᐣ… ᐁᑲᐧ ᐃᒪ ᑲᐅᐣᒋ ᐱᒪᒋᐦᐅᐊᐧᑲᓄᐊᐧᐠ ᐁᑲ ᐁᑭᑌᐱᐃᐧᒋᐦᐃᐁᐧᒪᑲᐠ. “ᐃᐁᐧ ᑕᐡ ᒪᐊᐧᐨ ᑲᑭᒋᓀᐣᑕᑲᐧᐠ, ᐅᑯᐁᐧᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᑲᐊᑲᔐᔑᐊᐧᐨ ᐊᐊᐧᔑᔕᐠ ᐅᒪ ᑲᐱᐸᐱᐣᑎᑫᐸᐦᐃᑎᐊᐧᐨ - ᓇᐊᐧᐨ ᐃᐧᓇᐊᐧ ᐊᐊᐧᔑᒣ ᒋᑭᑲᑫᐧ ᐅᐣᒋᑕᒪᐃᐧᐣᑕᐧᐸᐣ ᑫᑭᐅᐣᒋ ᑌᐱᓭᐊᐧᐨ ᒋᐅᒋ ᐱᒪᒋᐦᐅᐊᐧᐨ.” ᐊᒥ ᑫᑲᐟ ᐸᓂᐢᑫᐧ ᐃᒪ ᐁᓇᑯᓯᐊᐧᐨ ᐊᐊᐧᔑᔕᐠ ᒥᓇ ᐁᒪᒥᓄᓇᑲᐧᐠ ᐱᑲᐧᑕᑭᐠ ᒥᓇ ᓴᑲᐦᐃᑲᓇᐣ ᒪᑕᐊᐧ ᑕᓇᐱᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᒪᓯᓇᑌᓯᒋᑲᓂᐠ, ᑲᑭᐅᔑᑕᒪᐊᐧᑲᓄᐨ ᒪᑕᐊᐧ ᐱᒧᒋᑫᐃᐧᐣ ᐅᒪᓯᓇᑌᓯᒋᑫᐠ Shared Value Solutions ᐃᓇᑲᓄᐊᐧᐠ ᑲᑭᐅᔑᑐᐊᐧᐨ. ᐅᒪ ᒪᓯᓇᑌᓯᒋᑲᓂᐠ ᑲᑭᑐᒋᑫᒪᑲᐠ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐅᑭᑐᒋᑫᐃᐧᓂᐊᐧ ᑭᐊᐸᒋᒋᑲᑌᓂ: ᓄᑕᑲᐧᐣ ᐃᐁᐧ ᓂᑲᒧᐣ ᑭᒋᒪᓂᑐ ᑲᐃᓇᐦᐊᒪᓱᐊᐧᐨ ᑭᐁᐧᑎᓄᐠ ᒥᑭᓯ ᐃᔑᓂᑲᓱᐊᐧᐠ ᐅᓂᑲᒧᐠ ᓂᐱᓇᒥᐠ ᐁᐅᒋᐊᐧᐨ; ᐁᑲᐧ ᒥᓇ ᐅᓇᔕᐱᑫᐦᐃᑫ ᓀᐡᑲᐣᑕᑲ ᐁᐅᐣᒋᐨ ᑐᐁᐧᐣ ᒧᓂᔭᐢ; ᒥᓇᐊᐧ ᑕᐡ ᐃᑭᐁᐧᓂᐊᐧᐠ
Guiding Bob Rae: Bryan Phelan Onotassiniik
limpses of Bob Rae’s visits to nine Matawa First Nations are available in the form of a YouTube video. A link to the video, called Grassroots’ Voices, Future Choices: Guiding Our Chief Negotiator, is provided on the Matawa First Nations website, www.matawa.on.ca. In May, the First Nations hired Rae as their lead negotiator for talks with the Ontario government about mining development in the Ring of Fire area. Community meetings with Rae followed. Discussion from those meetings is the focus of the Grassroots Voices video, which runs for almost half an hour. One elderly man talks of those from his generation who have lived on the land since childhood. “I take care of the land and the land takes care of me,” he says. But he also acknowledges that the lives of younger generations are different. A university student speaks passionately about priorities he sees associated with future mining development: homes, business opportunities and better job prospects. Others identified healing and education as top priorities before community members can benefit from mining jobs. “Jobs require Grade 12 (education) and how many of us have Grade 12?” one man asks in a community forum. “We’re ill prepared. That’s why we’re so afraid.” Rae summarizes some of what he has heard: “It’s sort of a twofold message. The one is that you’re fearful of development … how we could end up
ᐅᒪᑌᐧᐦᐃᑫᐠ ᒣᑲᐧᐨ ᑲᑭᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐃᐧ ᓂᒥᐃᐧᓂᑲᓄᐊᐧᑭᐸᐣ ᑭᓄᑲᒥᐠ 58. ᐊᐧᐁᐧ ᕑᐁ, 65 ᑕᓱᐊᐦᑭᐃᐧᓀ, ᒪᐊᐧᐨ ᐃᑯ ᐅᑭᒪᒥᓀᐧᐣᑕᐣ ᑲᑭᐸᐸᒥᔭᐨ ᑕᓇᐱᐃᐧᓇᐣ, ᑭᔭᑦ ᐁᒐᒐᑲᐦᐃᑫᐨ ᐁᐱᐣᑯᑫᐨ, ᐁᐸᐸᒪᐦᐊᑐᐨ ᑲᐃᔑᐊᔑᐡᑭᐊᐧᑕᒧᓂᐠ ᐃᐡᑯᓂᑲᓂ ᒥᑲᓇᐠ, ᐁᐊᐧᐃᐧᒋ ᐊᐧᐃᔭᑌᐧᒪᐨ ᑲᐃᔑᐸᐱᑭᐧᓄᓂᐨ ᐊᐃᐧᔭᐣ ᓇᐣᑕ ᒥᓇ ᐃᒪ ᑲᐃᔑᒪᒥᔑᓄᓇᓂᐊᐧᓂᐠ ᒣᑕᐁᐧᐃᐧᑲᒥᑯᐠ. ᐊᐱ ᑲᑭᐅᐣᒋ ᐃᐡᑲᐧᑕᐸᐣ ᑭᒋᐅᑭᒪᐃᐧᑲᒥᑯᐠ ᐅᑕᓇᐠ ᓴᑭᐸᑲᐃᐧᐱᓯᒧᐣ, ᐊᒥ ᑲᑐᑕᐠ ᕑᐁ ᓂᔑᐣ ᐊᓄᑭᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᐅᑭᐅᑕᐱᓇᓇᐣ ᒥᓇᐊᐧ ᑲᐊᓂᐱᓯᒧᐊᐧᓂᐠ. ᐅᑭᐅᑕᐱᓇᐣ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᐃᐧ ᐊᓄᑭᐃᐧᓂ ᐁᐧᑎ ᑭᒋ ᐃᐡᑯᓄᑲᒥᑯᐠ ᑐᕑᐊᐣᑐ, ᐁᑲᐧ ᒥᓇ ᐃᒪ ᒋᓂᑲᓂ ᐊᐱᑕᒪᑫᐨ 15 ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐁᐧᑎ ᑊᕑᐃᑎᐡ ᑲᓫᐊᑦᐱᔭ ᓀᑲᐱᐦᐊᓄᐠ ᐃᔑ ᑲᐱᒥᐊᓄᑲᑕᒧᐊᐧᐨ ᑭᒋᐱᒪᐱᑭᓯᒋᑫᐃᐧ ᐱᒧᒋᑫᐃᐧᓂ. ᐁᑲᐧ ᐅᒪ ᐅᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ, ᐅᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᐅᑭᒪᐃᐧᐣ ᐅᑭᐅᓇᓴᐣ ᑊᕑᐊᐣᐠ ᔭᑲᐳᒋ ᐃᐧᐣ ᐃᒪ ᒋᐅᒋ ᓂᑲᓂ ᑲᓄᑕᒪᑫᐨ ᐱᐊᐧᐱᑯᑲᓂ ᐊᓄᑭᐃᐧ ᑲᓇᐊᐧᐸᒋᑫᐃᐧᓂᐠ. ᐁᐧᐱᑫᐧ ᐅᑭᒪᑲᐣ ᑲᓀᓂᔭᐢ ᐊᐧᐸᐢ, ᐅᑭᑲᑫᐧᒋᒥᑯᐣ ᑎᐸᒋᒧᒪᓯᓇᐦᐃᑲᓂ ᐊᓄᑭᓇᑲᓇᐣ ᐸᐣᑭ ᓇᐣᑕ ᒋᐃᑭᑐ, ᐁᑲᐧ ᐅᑭᐃᐧᐣᑕᐣ ᑲᑭᐃᓇᐨ ᔭᑲᐳᒋᐊᐧᐣ ᓇᑫ ᑲᑭᐃᐡᑲᐧ ᐅᓂᓇᑲᓄᐸᐣ ᓴᑭᐸᑲᐃᐧᐱᓯᑦ: “ᐊᐧᐁᐧ ᑲᑭᐅᐡᑭ ᐅᓂᓇᑲᓄᐨ ᑫᓂᑲᓂ ᑲᓄᑕᒪᑯᐨ ᐅᐣᑌᕑᐃᔪ ᐅᑭᒪᐃᐧᐣ ᓇᑕᐁᐧᐣᑕᑯᓯ ᒋᑲᑫᐧ ᓂᓯᑕᐃᐧᓇᐣᐠ ᐊᓂᐣ ᐁᔑᓭᓂᐠ ᐱᐣᒋ ᐃᐡᑯᓂᑲᓂᐠ, ᒋᑭᓂᑐᑕᐊᐧᐨ ᐊᓂᔑᓂᓂᐊᐧᐣ, ᐁᑲ ᐃᐧᓂᑯ ᐁᑕ ᐃᓂᐁᐧᓂᐊᐧᐣ ᐸᐧᑊ ᕑᐁᐊᐧᐣ ᒋᐊᔭᒥᐦᐊᐨ ᐊᓂᐣ ᑲᑭᐃᔑᐊᐧᐸᑕᐠ ᑫᑯᓇᐣ.” ᔭᑲᐳᒋ ᑭᔭᓂ ᒪᐦᒋᑲᑭᐅᑫ ᒪᑕᐊᐧ ᑕᓇᐱᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᑲᐊᓂ ᐊᐱᑕᐊᐧᑭᓱᓂᐨ ᐅᐸᐡᑯᐱᓯᒧᐣ ᐁᑲᐧ ᑭᐃᑭᑐᐸᐣ ᐁᐸᑯᓭᐣᑕᐠ ᑲᑭᓇ ᓴᐣᑲᓱ ᑕᓇᐱᐃᐧᓇᐣ ᒋᐃᔕᐨ ᐁᒪᐧᔦ ᐊᐱᐣ ᐊᓂᑭᒋᐊᓂᒧᒋᑲᓂᐊᐧᐠ ᐃᒪ ᑲᐃᐧᑕᑲᐧᐱᐊᐧᐨ ᕑᐁ ᒥᓇ ᒪᑕᐊᐧ ᐃᐡᑯᓂᑲᓇᐣ. ᑕᐱᐡᑯᐨ ᔭᑲᐳᒋ ᒥᓇ ᕑᐁ ᑭᐃᔕᐸᓂᐠ ᒪᑕᐊᐧ ᑕᓱᓂᐱᐣ ᑲᒪᐊᐧᒋᐦᐃᑐᓂᑫᐊᐧᐨ ᒣᑲᐧᐨ ᐅᐸᐅᐃᐧᐱᓯᒧᐣ.
Matawa community consultation video available online
with problems bigger than we ever imagined,” he says. “But the other thing I’m hearing is that you want development … that how we’re living now isn’t enough. “And most importantly, the little ones coming into the room now – there’s got to be more for them.” Images of children and the pristine lands and waters of the Matawa communities figure prominently in the video, produced for Matawa by Shared Value Solutions. The video is set to music from the First Nations: the song Great Spirit by the Northern Eagles of
Rae took on two other roles the following month. He accepted a teaching position at the University of Toronto, then became chairman of the board for a partnership of 15 First Nations in British Columbia involved with a pipeline project. In Ontario, the provincial government appointed Justice Frank Iacobucci as its Ring of Fire negotiator. Chief Cornelius Wabasse of Webequie, in an interview with The Globe and Mail, provided advice to Iacobucci shortly after his appointment in June: “This new negotiator for Ontario has to understand the First Nations community-level, grassroots people, not just talk to Bob Rae about what he experienced.” Iacobucci began visits to Matawa communities in mid July and indicated he hoped to travel to all nine First Nations before the start of formal negotiations with Rae and Matawa. Both Iacobucci and Rae attended Matawa’s annual meeting in August. A news release from Matawa the following month stated that talks between the two were underway. Matawa listed the following issues photo: Laura Taylor/Shared Values Solutions & Matawa First Nations Management as up for discussion: environmental Bob Rae listens to Chief Celia Echum of Ginoogaming First Nation. assessment and monitoring, regional infrastructure, revenue Nibinamik; fiddling by Neskantaga’s Duane Moonias; sharing, and community development. The tribal council anticipates that proponents of mining and drumming from a powwow at Long Lake no. 58. Rae, 65, appears at ease in the communities, projects in the Ring of Fire will also be involved in the whether dabbing a bingo card, walking a muddy talks, along with the federal government. reserve road, joking with a small group or interacting “We’re approaching this in good faith,” said Chief Elizabeth Atlookan of Eabametoong. with a gymnasium full of people. After resigning as a member of Parliament in June,
ore than 20 delegates from Matawa member First Nations gathered in Constance Lake to participate in a Keewaytinoak (Northland) Watch Environmental Assessment Training and Organizing workshop in September. Chiefs of Ontario organized the workshop along with Matawa tribal council’s environmental services group, Four Rivers. According to the Chiefs of Ontario website, participants were provided with an in-depth review of the environmental assessment process. Through on-the-land site visits, in-depth group discussions and technical presentations, participants gained increased understanding of how the process works and how they can participate to advocate for their community’s interests and goals. “With the current pace and scale of development within the Ring of Fire region, we wanted to provide member communities … (with) different perspectives on mining and environmental assessments, so that they might be better able to respond to proposed development within their homelands,” said Sarah Cockerton, environmental programs co-ordinator at Four Rivers. The training program is supported by a two-year grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to the Chiefs of Ontario. Funds will be used to organize multi-day training workshops and an online webinar series for First Nations communities and leaders.
FedNor support for miningrelated business development
irst Nations served by Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) will hire 10 business information officers and two community planners to support entrepreneurs and business development. With $4.4 million in funding from FedNor over the next three years, NADF will finance the hiring of these business support workers as part of a larger effort
Arlene Meekis-Young of NADF. to help First Nations develop business opportunities and derive long-term economic benefit from mining. The initiative will focus on the nine communities of the Matawa tribal council. Greg Rickford, minister of state for FedNor, announced the funding in Thunder Bay on Aug. 14. It’s expected that more than 100 jobs will result. “We are excited about this strategic funding as it will help enhance entrepreneurial and business skills, increase business opportunities for our youth, and ensure the long-term sustainability of new businesses in our communities by providing the support services they need,” said Arlene Meekis-Jung, NADF’s chairwoman.
WAWATAY’S MINING QUARTERLY
Mushkegowuk COMMENTARY proposes growth Aboriginal women offer solution to skilled worker shortages strategy for a ‘man’s world’ is as commonplace today in the North than their male counterparts. Daniel Bland Northeast as it is in the South. To break down that stereotype, But few women are enrolling in mining-related
ushkegowuk Council proposes working with the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association to develop a regional growth strategy. Les Louttit, deputy grand chief of Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), spoke to members of the municipal association about the idea Sept. 21. At the request of Mushkegowuk, NAN helped develop a proposal for the partnership, which would foster economic development in the mining, forestry and tourism sectors. A similar partnership already exists in northern Quebec between the James Bay Cree and Abitibi-Témiscamingue municipalities, Louttit noted. The Mushkegowuk Council and its eight member First Nations would review the plan, then send it to the municipal association for consideration, said Louttit.
Lawsuit relies on treaty diaries
he diaries of three treaty commissioners serve as key pieces of evidence in a lawsuit being launched by Mushkegowuk against the Ontario and Canadian government. A statement of claim sent to the Ontario Superior Court on July 4 by Mushkegowuk Council asserts that the governments of Ontario and Canada have “no power or right under Treaty 9 to unilaterally restrict or extinguish” the harvesting rights of the Mushkegowuk people by authorizing resource companies to develop on their traditional territory. The claim states that the “oral assurances of continued and undiminished” trapping, hunting and fishing rights made by the treaty commissioners were critical to First Nations deciding to agree to sign Treaty 9. The diary of Ontario treaty commissioner Daniel G. MacMartin made several references that oral promises were made in 1905, in which the First Nations who signed “were allowed of as of yore to hunt and fish as they pleased.” If the court rules in Mushkegowuk’s favour, Grand Chief Stan Louttit said it could not only force the government and resource companies to “consult” with First Nations, but to have their consent. The plaintiff of the lawsuit is Peter Archibald of Taykwa Tagamou First Nation. Two mining companies have staked claims that overlap with Archibald’s traditional trapline. Northern Shield Resources and Lake Shore Gold are also defendants in the suit.
Instructor, Eeyou Mining Skills Enhancement Program
you need women who have proven it false by their own effort and success. In most remote Aboriginal communities, that is not a professional, university-educated woman. It is someone like the Cree woman here who spent a year as a dishwasher in a work camp and each day as she watched the big 20-ton trucks drive by, said to herself, “I could be doing that.” And you know what? She could. And she did. She enrolled in a training course, graduated top of her class and today works as a heavy equipment operator.
hile economists and labour market researchers agree one of Canada’s greatest challenges over the next decade will be how to solve skilled worker shortages, there seems to be no consensus about just how to do that. The skills shortage will be particularly acute all across northern Canada, where natural resource development and mining projects are projected to grow the northern economy over 90 per cent from 2011 to 2020. Led by northern B.C.’s mining output, which will increase by a whopping 300 per cent, that is more than four times the growth rate forecast for the Canadian A Cree woman takes economy over that same period. the wheel during a And while that is good news on many heavy equipment fronts, the fact that many of the largest operator’s course in mining projects are close to remote First Mistissini, Quebec. Nation communities, with populations that have limited formal education and skills training, is cause for growing concern. Our work in essential skills assessment and training for mining jobs with the James Bay Cree Nation in northwestern Quebec has taught us some valuable lessons about what employers can do to maximize human resources in remote Aboriginal communities. For mining companies setting up operations on or near Aboriginal land, get to know the people who live in the communities near If you are serious about attracting First Nation your mine. They are probably very young – almost women, that’s the kind of woman to profile in half under the age of 25 – and more than half of them recruiting brochures and to include on your hiring probably do not have a high school education. In committees. some remote northern communities, that figure is Second, design training programs specifically for closer to three-quarters. With high school graduation Aboriginal women. rates in First Nation schools across the country Our experience here suggests Cree women have running at about 35 per cent, these numbers are as many – or more – basic literacy and numeracy unlikely to change much during the life of your mine. skills as Cree men. They are the building blocks for This group of young men and women is the most the technical and on-the-job training most Aboriginal important, affordable and accessible source of labour people will need if they want to work in the mines. for your mine. How can you make the most of it? Vocational instructors tell us women are consistently First, focus on the women. Get women directly among their top students. On-site trainers and mine involved in recruitment. supervisors tell us female employees take better care The belief that mining is a ‘man’s job’ and a mine is of their equipment and pay more attention to detail
training programs or applying for jobs at the mines. In spite of the fact that women are more likely to be high school graduates and make up 50 per cent of the population across Cree territory, less than 10 per cent of all the participants in mining-related training programs in this part of northern Quebec are women. Why? Employers need to understand that until their young children are taken care of, most Aboriginal women are simply not going to consider mining a viable employment option. Doing all you can to provide quality, affordable child care, whether in nearby Aboriginal communities or at mine sites themselves, is the single most effective way to attract more Aboriginal women to mining in the North. If you are operating near Aboriginal communities, consider funding day cares in communities close to your mines. If there are waiting lists for access, do all you can to ensure women who want to work for you have a spot for their young children. And if there aren’t any licensed early learning and care programs nearby, see how you can help set one up. If you operate a remote, fly-in, fly-out mine where young mothers will have to spend 12 or 14 days at a time on the job and away from their children, consider providing on-site child care. Too big an expense? Maybe. But companies typically spend millions of dollars equipping their remote camps with weight and exercise rooms, indoor hockey rinks and an assortment of recreational equipment for their predominantly male workers. Why not match that with child-care facilities for female employees with young children? You will diversify your workforce by attracting and retaining more women employees. And over time, such an investment in Aboriginal women may well pay off in helping keep Aboriginal families together and strengthening the social fabric of remote, First Nation communities. Addressing skills shortages in the North will require a long-term investment in northern communities. Aboriginal women are an untapped resource that could go a long way in helping solve the problem.
Daniel Bland is lead instructor for the Eeyou Mining Skills Enhancement Program, an initiative of Cree Human Resources Development, in Mistissini, Quebec.
Free entry, prospectors and the junior sector Stan Sudol
ho are Benny Hollinger, Jack Wilson and Sandy McIntyre? They are the three prospectors who discovered the Porcupine gold camp in 1909. That transformative event led to the establishment of Timmins as Canada’s second biggest mining community, and the production of almost 70 million ounces gold and counting. In contrast, the Klondike gold rush lasted roughly 10 years and produced about 12 million ounces. Almost a hundred years later, in 2007, an interesting mix of six geologists and junior mining executives – Richard Nemis, Mac Watson, Frank Smeenk, John Harvey, Neil Novak and Don Hoy – collectively discovered the geologically rich Ring of Fire. Located in the isolated James Bay Lowlands, the Ring of Fire’s nickel, copper, platinum group elements and massive chromite deposits are tentatively worth $60 billion and counting. Ontario is the largest mineralproducing province in Canada. It has a long and colourful history of mineral development that has created enormous wealth and hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs, established the province as a global leader in all facets of mineral development, and made Toronto an international centre of mine financing. All of this was the result of the “free entry” system that allows the ability to claim stake Crown land that will give prospectors or junior explorers the exclusive right to do further geological work in the hope of finding a valuable mineral deposit.
During the past few years, many environmental organizations and some First Nations communities have been arguing for the elimination of the free entry system. That would be collectively shooting ourselves in both feet, and putting at risk more than a century of mining expertise and enormous economic wealth creation. Before I continue about the free entry system, I need to give an overview about prospectors and the junior exploration sector. To start, there is an enormous difference between the junior exploration sector – these companies are often called junior miners even though they usually produce no commercial quantities of minerals – and the seniors with operating mines. Prospectors and junior explorers are the critical lifeblood of Ontario’s “mining ecosystem” and the work they do could be considered the industry’s version of research and development. Over the previous few decades, there has been a significant change in who does exploration. Today, the majors do significantly less grassroots exploration work, focusing instead on deposit delineation at their operations. Without new discoveries by the juniors, the majors of the mining world would have problems replenishing their declining ore bodies. Without a doubt, mineral exploration is a very risky business. Only one out of every 10,000 discoveries becomes a commercial operation, and it often takes about 10 years before the mine is built and production starts. Prospectors usually make their money by selling or optioning their properties to interested junior explorers, while juniors with economical deposits are most often bought out by producing majors.
Since the odds of finding an economic deposit are low, it’s vital that the mineral exploration sector have access to as large a land base as possible to lower the risk. The vast majority of junior mineral exploration companies rely entirely on the financial capital markets by selling shares to investors to fund their exploration activities. That funding activity helps make Toronto a global financial powerhouse. The Toronto stock and venture exchanges have the largest number of listed mining and energy companies in the world. In 2011, 60 per cent of global mining equity capital was raised on these two exchanges. Last year, the province’s mining sector was worth $9.6 billion, while exploration expenditures were at $903 million – 23 per cent of the Canadian total. Exploration expenditures are roughly split between the major producers and junior grassroots and advanced exploration. A healthy and vibrant junior exploration sector is fundamental to finding and developing the next generation of mines. And the critical policy initiative that is essential for all this economic activity is the free entry system. Free entry protects the intellectual property and knowledge of prospectors or junior explorers. Regardless of the name, it is not free. After one year, claim holders must conduct, on an annual basis, a variety of costly assessment activities. This work may include geophysics or geochemical surveys, stripping or trenching, line cutting, drilling or bulk sampling, all of which have a low impact on the environment. First Nation reserves are closed and cannot be claim staked but their traditional territories – which encompass
much, if not all of the Crown land in northern Ontario – are open. Claim staking is a private and highly competitive undertaking, due to the fact that millions or even billions of dollars can be on the line if the prospector has chosen the right mineral-rich ground. For this potential payoff, most explorers endure years of tough economic conditions, harsh weather, uncomfortable insect-infested swamps, and rugged forests with the occasional cranky bear or moose. Historically, it was this system that allowed many of the great mineral discoveries that made both Ontario and Canada global mining powerhouses. As of last year, changes in the Ontario Mining Act now allow First Nation communities to withdraw sites of Aboriginal significance so mining claims cannot be staked, therefore eliminating potential conflict. More thorough Mining Act rules require the filling out of exploration plans and permits, which will be vetted by Aboriginal communities. As the developing world continues to urbanize and industrialize – despite the current economic slowdown – they will need the many mineral commodities located throughout northern Ontario. The wealth is definitely there but we need to allow the prospectors and junior explorers access to the land to find these future mines that will eventually provide long-term, well-paying jobs to many Aboriginal communities. Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant and mining policy analyst who owns/edits RepublicOfMining.com.
ONTARIO GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Geology, habitats and plants Andy Fyon
Director, Ontario Geological Survey, Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
hen you walk across the land or boat across the water, do you notice the range of plants growing on different types of land? For example, the plants that grow in muskeg areas are very different from those growing on bare rocky areas. This is a pattern repeated over and over. While observing this, have you ever wondered if geology plays a role in controlling where different types of plants grow? There is a strong link between Ontario’s geological history and the location of different types of plants. We know that geological forces shaped the land. And yes, geological forces also created habitats – special places where distinctive plants grow. Obviously, different habitats are home to different plants. So, the type of rock and the type of deposit left behind by glaciers are key factors in determining the distribution and types of some plants. Ontario’s long and complex geological history created many different habitats that sustain different types of plants in different areas. On Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Peninsula, the main rock is limestone or dolomite. Areas where bare limestone rock is covered by thin patches of soil are called alvar. Alvar is a hostile place for a plant to live and only certain plants can grow in these limy, geological habitats. Lakeside daisy, also known as Manitoulin gold, a variety of saxifrage, and wild chives grow almost exclusively on these open alvar habitats. Along the Albany River, in the James Bay Lowlands, and on Manitoulin Island and Bruce Peninsula, where the limy soil is wet, Kalm’s lobelia and false asphodel plants grow. On Manitoulin Island and in the north where the ancient Precambrian Shield rock meets the limestone rock of the James Bay Lowlands, yellow lady’s slipper orchid may be common. These plants that grow on limy rocks or in limy soils have developed a special way to live in these areas where the limestone rock creates difficult growing conditions for other plants. Sand dunes around Lake Huron are the result of a complicated geological process involving glaciation, changes in water levels, and the fact that wind and waves transport sand. Sand dunes are a hard place for plants to grow, but some specialized plants grow well in this sandy geological habitat. Beach pea and Pitcher’s thistle are largely restricted to these sand dune habitats of Lake Huron. The hard rocks in the Precambrian Shield were polished clean by the last glaciers. There is little soil on the rock, except in cracks or in rock depressions. Bristly sarsaparilla, pearly everlasting, pale corydalis, and some types of reindeer lichen are common in this desert-like geological habitat. Eskers are high, dry ground made of sand and gravel that was left behind by rivers that flowed under a glacier. Poplar trees and raspberry shrubs are common on the eskers because they like well-drained, dry, gravelly soil. Eskers are also “highways” for animals because it is much easier to follow the high, dry ground than walk through the lower wet muskeg. Some animals dig their
dens in the esker because of the sandy soil. In the low ground adjacent to the esker, geological processes may have deposited clay-rich material called till that does not drain water well. These wet areas may contain fens, bogs or muskeg. This wet geological habitat is home to Labrador tea, cotton grass, wild cranberry, sphagnum moss, and headberry (cloudberry). In areas where the water in the muskeg is not moving and sphagnum moss is abundant, unusual plants occur that survive by eating insects – sundew and pitcher plant. Some geological habitats are dramatic. The Ouimet Canyon gorge, located northeast of Thunder Bay, is 100 metres deep, 150 metres wide and two kilometres long. The canyon was formed by a dramatic geological process. The canyon is deep and cold at the bottom. Arctic, sub-arctic and alpine plants grow at the bottom of the canyon in this hostile geological habitat. There is also an important link between geology and places where people live. Ten thousand years ago, at the end of the last ice age, parts of Ontario were flooded by two different oceans. One covered the Ottawa area and the second covered the northern lowlands area. Clay was deposited on the bottom of these oceans. That clay is unstable and many landslides occur in areas where the clay is abundant. The landslides, dangerous to people, communities and infrastructure, are most obvious along the major rivers that flow into James Bay and Hudson Bay. Similarly, the presence of underground caves and sinkholes in southern Ontario and possibly in the lowlands is an important habitat for some plants and a source of groundwater, but the location of sinkholes can represent hazardous habitat that has to be considered when people plan the locations of communities, roads or other infrastructure. The link between geology, habitat, the location of different plants, and the implications for people is important. Many naturalists and planners will look first at a geological map to
[Above] This flat area is a limestone alvar. Only specialized plants grow on this geological habitat. Also, water dissolves limestone and the result can be caves and sinkholes that provide special habitats for plants, insects, and animals and that need to be considered when planning the use of land because of potential dangerous ground. [Left] Kalm’s lobelia (Lobelia kalmii) is an indicator plant of geological habitats where the rock or soil is limy, normally because there is limestone in the area. identify areas where special plants and animals are likely to be found, or what to anticipate beneath the ground from a human perspective. So, the next time you travel across the land, look at the plant species around you. Chances are you will see changes in the distribution of plant types, which reflect changes in the local geology. For more information about the geology of Ontario: www.mndm.gov.on.ca/en/mines-and-minerals/geology Follow @OGSgeology to connect with Andy Fyon on Twitter. Subscribe to the Ontario Geological Survey (OGS) Facebook page for fun facts, articles and more from the OGS team: www.facebook.com/OGSgeology
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