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Ontario reaches deal with First Nations to upgrade roads, support other projects near Ring of Fire


The provincial government has signed agreements with First Nations near the Ring of Fire area in northwestern Ontario to provide funding for highway infrastructure, skills training and other projects.

The agreements are with Animbiigoo Zaagi’igan Anishinaabek, Aroland First Nation, Ginoogaming First Nation and Long Lake #58 First Nation “to unlock economic and resource development opportunities in northern Ontario, including future critical minerals projects,” said a news release Tuesday.

"As we rebuild Ontario’s economy, our government is developing meaningful partnerships with First Nations across Ontario that create real opportunities for economic growth and job creation,” Premier Doug Ford said in the release.

“Together with First Nations partners, we’re improving and upgrading northern roads to better connect First Nations communities to the province’s highway network and to support future critical mineral and resource development opportunities. These are all-season roads that will support First Nations communities, built by First Nations workers."

The Ring of Fire is deposit that contains large amounts of nickel, chromite and other minerals in northwestern Ontario. The province has been negotiating with First Nations communities in the area for more than a decade to build the infrastructure and sign agreements needed to develop mines.

The agreements include upgrades to the roads that connect the First Nations to the provincial highway network and funding for other community infrastructure and skills training programs for First Nations people, including resource development.

“This work includes maintenance and upgrades to Highway 584 and Highway 11, with work starting this construction season,” the release said.

Skills development

It also includes $1.9 million from the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development for a training program for jobs related to mineral development in the region.

There is also $2 million to fund the construction and maintenance of the Migizi Plaza Rest Stop, “which will serve the needs of First Nation members, tourists and residents, create jobs and drive revenue for the First Nations and Municipality of Greenstone,” the release said.

“The province will work to relocate the Greenstone OPP detachment, with support for the relocation costs from Greenstone Gold Mine. Relocating the station will ensure that people have access to police services, close to home, following the displacement of the station during the mine’s construction.”

The province will also work with the First Nations communities and police services to develop a pre-charge diversion program.

"Our government is proud to build consensus with First Nations leaders around key economic development opportunities in the north,” Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development and Minister of Indigenous Affairs and First Nation Economic Reconciliation, said in the news release.

“Through strategic partnerships and critical infrastructure investments, we are laying the foundation for Greenstone to become the new centre of gravity for mining, in partnership with First Nations." Top Stories

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