First Nations | In the News | Neskantaga
Canada’s environment minister is headed for trouble if Ottawa doesn’t correct course on the Ring of Fire

Originally published in The Conversation

January 26, 2022

In the vast peatlands of Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands, a new region-wide approach to considering the potential impacts of northern mining development is dangerously close to sliding completely off the rails. And it may take Canada’s new “activist” Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault with it.

In the vast peatlands of Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands, a new region-wide approach to considering the potential impacts of northern mining development is dangerously close to sliding completely off the rails. And it may take Canada’s new “activist” Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault with it.

Mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire have long fuelled Ontario’s interest in opening up the region. Now, dreams of a new nickel mine are driving plans for an electric vehicle manufacturing hub and leading Australian mining giant Wyloo to take over major mining stakes.

But the proposed all-season roads and related infrastructure that will be necessary for this transformation in the remote and ecologically sensitive area have generated significant controversy and conflict.

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Scientists call them Canada’s Amazon Rainforest, and they could be at risk. Peatlands are ancient ecosystems that cool the planet by absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, trapping it deep underground. A quarter of peatlands on Earth are found here in Canada, but some are under threat from potential mining developments aimed at creating technology for a greener future.