First Nations | In the News | Marten Falls | Neskantaga
Miners competing over Ontario’s Ring of Fire have contentious relationships with Indigenous communities in Australia

Originally published in The Narwhal

November 13, 2021

Wyloo metals and BHP want to take over a small Canadian firm’s holdings in the mineral and carbon-rich region south of Hudson Bay. Both have had bumpy relationships with Indigenous communities back home

Beneath the peat of the James Bay lowlands, about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, lie mineral deposits at the heart of a bidding war between two Australian mining giants.

Wyloo Metals and BHP are facing off to gain control of Canadian junior mining firm Noront Resources. At stake are the nickel deposits in the Ring of Fire that Noront controls — a key component of electric vehicle batteries, and a resource miners are rushing to secure ahead of a forecasted burst of demand. 

Both companies are aiming for a climate-conscious image amid a global shift to clean technology, and could define the Ring of Fire’s future as they do it. And both BHP and the billionaire backing Wyloo Metals, Andrew “Twiggy” Forrest, say if they succeed in the takeover, they plan to forge relationships with the First Nations who live in the region. But each also has a history of contentious relationships with Indigenous people in Australia. 

For now, BHP is outgunning Wyloo in the takeover battle, and the two have entered discussions to hash out whether Wyloo, already part-owner of Noront, will back BHP’s bid. It’s the latest development in a long-running saga about environmentally-sensitive land that might make miners billions of dollars — or not much at all. 

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