SUDBURY -- After months of discussions, Batchewana First Nation Chief and Council says they will not endorse Noront Resources' proposed ferrochrome smelter within its territory in Sault Ste. Marie.

The band says the decision did not come lightly, but it feels it's necessary to oppose the development.

In a statement, the band council says:

"As caretakers of the lands and waterways there are environmental concerns that are not clear-cut and defined and the First Nation leadership must have safeguards for any impacts to the lands and people in the area."

Sault Ste. Marie Mayor Christian Provenzano says a full assessment examining the environmental and health impacts of the proposed smelter has not yet started and will be an important part of the process once complete.

“The city’s position has been consistent from the outset of this project. In order for the project to proceed, Noront will have to demonstrate to the community-at-large and our Indigenous partners that the project will not have an adverse effect on people’s health or the environment.  There is a multi-year assessment and engagement process that has not started.  If the project is not supported by the community-at-large or our Indigenous partners at the end of the process, the project will not proceed. 

Our relationship with Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, the Historic Métis Council and Missanabie Cree First Nation is important to the city.  We respect the importance of their engagement and we will continue to work with them for the betterment of our relationship and the quality of life in our communities," said Provenzano in a statement to CTV News.

CTV News Northern Ontario's Brendan Connor is speaking to Batchewana First Nation Chief Dean Sayers Friday afternoon, stay tuned for the interview.