Ontario and First Nations announce next step in Ring of Fire development

Ontario Construction News staff writer

Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations say they will submit terms of reference for the proposed Northern Road Link Environmental Assessment, the final piece of critical road infrastructure needed to ensure reliable, all season road access to potential mining sites in the Ring of Fire and connect both First Nations communities to Ontario’s highway network.

“Today is a landmark day as we work side by side with our Indigenous partners to ensure that communities around the Ring of Fire have access to the roads needed to not only support development but also improve access to every-day essentials like fuel, groceries and health care,” Premier Doug Ford said at a recent announcement, calling the update a major milestone.

Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations are co-leading planning for the Northern Road Link project. Ontario has committed close to $1 billion to support critical legacy infrastructure such as the planning and construction of an all‑season road network, and investments in high-speed internet, road upgrades and other community supports.

ring of fire map“Our government is committed to partnerships with First Nations communities to build legacy infrastructure projects that will become the Corridor to Prosperity,” said Greg Rickford, minister of Northern development, mines, natural resources and forestry.

“Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations are leading the environmental assessments because they share a strong vision for sustainable development and prosperity for their communities.”

Connecting the mineral rich opportunities in the Ring of Fire with manufacturing sectors in Southern Ontario is the plan to make Ontario a leading producer across North America of the critical minerals needed for electric vehicles and a clean economy.

“As we prepare to submit the Terms of Reference for the Northern Road Link project it is important to remember why we are here and what this represents,” said Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of the Marten Falls First Nation.

“We are leading the Northern Road Link because the project is in our traditional territory and we are exercising our right to self-determination. This represents a potentially bright future for our future generations, for our neighbours, and for the region.”

Ontario’s Ring of Fire region is one of the most promising mineral development opportunities for critical minerals in the province. It’s located approximately 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and covers about 5,000 square kilometres.

The Northern Road Link would connect to the proposed Marten Falls Community Access Road at the south end and to the Ring of Fire at the north end.


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