In the News
Conservation scientists say success of mining projects depend on solid environmental assessments

Originally published in Northern Ontario Business

12 April 2022

There may be no green economy without minerals. However, there is also no green economy without responsibly acquiring these minerals. In this article, WCS Canada staff scientists Dr. Justina Ray and Dr. Constance O’Connor explain why careful assessments and equitable decision-making with First Nations are needed before any mining activity in the Ring of Fire. 

Government must make the case for mining in the Ring of Fire

by Constance O’Connor and Justina Ray | Northern Ontario Business

In this recent article in Northern Ontario Business, Minister Greg Rickford makes some highly spurious claims in his promotion of the government’s new Critical Minerals Strategy, not least about some fictional blanket opposition to mining among environmental organizations. The article confuses opposition to the current process in the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario with opposition to all mining, and implies that mining in the Ring of Fire is necessary to produce electric vehicles for the green economy. However, neither of these presumptions hold water.

As the minister should be aware, it has become critical to the success of any mining project to have community buy-in, and a full understanding of environmental and social impacts before shovels hit the ground. Currently, neither of these exist for the Ring of Fire. While touting Ontario’s advantages, the minister fails to note that the Ring of Fire lies within the homelands of Indigenous peoples, many of whom oppose the project, and within a globally important carbon-rich landscape thanks to its deep and ancient peat soils. If we don’t properly assess what the carbon releases from mining will be, versus potential carbon reductions from things like electric vehicles, we are driving blind.

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