The Chiefs of Marten Falls First Nation and Aroland First Nation re-affirmed today their opposition to Noront Resources’ proposed purchase of Cliffs Natural Resources’ chromite assets.
Interim Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation and Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation met for two days this week with their advisors at a Bay Street law office in Toronto to review the status of the proposed Noront purchase of Cliffs chromite assets in the Ring of Fire. The Cliffs assets are in Marten Falls’ traditional territory. The proposed North-South corridor, which is essential to haul ore out of the Ring of Fire, is in the traditional territory of both First Nations.
“With Noront’s announcement that it is trying to acquire the Cliffs assets, our First Nations have effectively been denied a real opportunity to benefit from key resources in our lands on our terms,” said Chief Gagnon. “This unilateral move by Noront is unacceptable to our First Nations.”
“We oppose this old way of thinking about mining and trampling on First Nation rights,” said Interim Chief Achneepineskum. “The world has changed. Progressive mining companies are inclusive, share resources equitably with indigenous peoples, and know that only real partnerships protect our rights, interests and environment. Those are the mining companies we will invite to work with us in our territories.”
“We are very disappointed that Cliffs Natural Resources Canada failed its Duty to Consult First Nations before selling the chromite assets,” said Gagnon. “Most Canadians would find it offensive for someone to sell resources in their backyard without their consent. We will do everything in our power to make sure that without our free, prior and informed consent, nothing will ever leave our backyard.”
Aroland First Nation and Marten Falls First Nation created an agreement for a North-South Alliance to effectively engage and develop Ring of Fire chromite assets, and necessary infrastructure, in collaboration with other Matawa member First Nations and progressive private sector partners. The North-South Alliance will support First Nation inclusive mining ventures that enter real operating partnerships with Matawa First Nations, ventures that will support and enable First Nation controlled infrastructure to benefit all Matawa communities and progressive mining companies.
“We want to have a front seat, not a back seat, to planning the mining development and mining infrastructure in our territories,” said Councilor Linda Moonias of Marten Falls First Nation. “We have made our intentions to own these assets equitably public knowledge. We will not stand and watch another development in our lands without our effective and equitable participation.”
Chief Gagnon made his view clear that “our First Nations are the essential key to the Ring of Fire. Noront is adding another lock to the region by excluding the First Nations from the involvement we demand and the opportunities that will become the lifeblood of community development.”
Marten Falls First Nation and Aroland First Nation will be reviewing all available options, legal and otherwise, with other Matawa First Nations next week.
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