The signing took place in Thunder Bay on April 24. They joined Matawa community members to officially celebrate the occasion.
The regional framework agreement will bring together the nine First Nations and the Province of Ontario to discuss and negotiate an approach for development in the First Nations’ traditional territories. The process will help ensure that First Nations participate in, and benefit from, Ring of Fire developments.
The agreement ensures that First Nations and Ontario can work together on resource development opportunities including long-term, regional environmental monitoring; enhanced participation in environmental assessment processes; resource revenue sharing; social and economic supports; and regional and community infrastructure.
“With this agreement, we have taken an important step forward together — we have adopted a different kind of negotiating process that is based on respect,” said Wynne in a press release. “We now have a framework to guide our discussions as we work toward achieving our common goals, and ensuring that everyone benefits from development in the Ring of Fire.”
“Since the discovery of the deposits at Wawangajing (Ring of Fire), there have been many premature initiatives, from the continuing, and much-maligned, railroad corridor, to the proposed slurry pipelines through the muskeg sponge,” said Chief Elijah K. Moonias, Marten Falls First Nation. “Our two winter protests, which highlighted the lack of consultation, were designed to slow down the ideas and take stock in reality.
“The MOU our First Nation has with Ontario is aimed at achieving involvement with the individual FN, and the regional framework is an extension of that effort to include others in the surrounding proposed development area.
“As I have mentioned before, many MOUs, DPIs and frameworks have come and gone, with the most distressing demise having been the dismantling of the Indian Commission of Ontario in 2005 by Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. Currently there is no instrument to conduct tri-level talks, but there is no question about the need for trilateral discussions for development in the Ring of Fire. I believe our local MOU and the regional framework provide the window for that.”
Quick Facts:-The Ring of Fire, located 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, is one of the most significant mineral regions in the province.
-The Ring of Fire has mineral potential known to be worth $60 billion and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. Chromite is a key ingredient of stainless steel.
-The Ring of Fire also holds the potential for significant production of nickel, copper and platinum.