In the News
First Nation calls on auditor general to investigate Ontario’s spending on Ring of Fire mineral development

Originally published in CBC News

28 October 2021

14 years after Ring of Fire was discovered, key questions unanswered on proposed access roads

A Treaty 9 First Nation is calling on the province’s auditor general to investigate government spending on the development of a large mineral deposit in northern Ontario.

Neskantaga and a legal clinic with York University’s Osgoode Hall have requested a “value-for-money audit” into government spending on roads and development projects in the Ring of Fire area, located about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

The province considers the area “one of the most promising mineral development opportunities in Ontario in over a century,” yet key questions remain about the roads that must be built through the lands and water systems of several remote, fly-in First Nations.

The Ring of Fire area is roughly 100 kilometres in diameter, and 85 per cent of the mineral claims staked on the Crown land are held by Noront Resources, according to a brief on their website.

Yet questions remain about how much the roads will cost, who is going to pay for them, and who will own them and control access, said Dayna Scott, who wrote the request for the auditor general investigation.

“The public should be made aware if their government is spending public money on precarious mining investments with dubious returns while other sectors, namely health and long-term care, remain chronically underfunded,” wrote Scott, an associate professor and research chair in environmental law and justice with York University.

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