Attawapiskat | First Nations | In the News | Marten Falls
Everything you need to know about the push to mine Ontario’s Ring of Fire

Originally published in The Narwhal

August 2, 2022
The Ontario government wants the Ring of Fire to be a mining hub. But there are big questions about the environment, the cost and First Nations consent that need to be answered

Depending on who you ask, mining the Ring of Fire region of Ontario’s Far North could either help save the planet or propel it faster towards climate disaster.

It could shower riches that would boost Ontario’s economy for decades, or end up a boondoggle that never turns much of a profit. And it could offer a wealth of opportunities to First Nations nearby, or it could catastrophically harm their homelands and way of life.

At the centre of it all are the carbon-rich peatlands of the James Bay Lowlands, about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont., and the unproven mineral deposits that lie underneath. Ontario Premier Doug Ford is seeking to turn the remote region into a mining hub, an idea that was a central plank of his re-election campaign in the 2022 Ontario election

But there are very huge outstanding questions about the Ring of Fire that probably need to be resolved first. Will the value of the minerals there outweigh the costs of getting to them? Is it a good idea to source materials for clean technology by disrupting a natural carbon sink? What kind of future do First Nations in the region, who have lived there since time immemorial, want for their homelands? 

Here’s what you need to know about the Ring of Fire — and the Ontario government’s ongoing push to kickstart mining there.

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