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Ontario gives thumbs up to road project

By Adam Riley Mar 6, 2023 | 4:30 PM

The Ontario Government has given the green light to an Indigenous led road project between two remote First Nations.

The approval of the Terms of Reference for a multi-use, all-season road was announced this morning at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto.

The road, once complete, will connect the Webequie and Marten Falls First Nations, and will eventually connect them to the provincial highway network.

Those two communities have spent the last few years investigating the possibility of a supply road between them.

Virtual sessions are being held regarding that project with the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada later this month.

Additionally the Province sees the road as a means to improve access to the Ring of Fire, and its supply of critical minerals such as platinum, nickel, copper, and palladium.

In a statement Mines Minister George Pirie thanked both communities for taking the lead, noting the partnership between them and the Ontario government is central to the government’s commitment to develop the Ring of Fire.

“The Ring of Fire has the critical minerals we need to build our manufacturing supply chain, including nickel for electric vehicles and chromite for clean steel. Our government’s investments in innovation and infrastructure are creating jobs across the entire province, including northern and Indigenous communities.”

Meanwhile the government also took the time to announce the recipients of a $5 million Critical Minerals Innovation Fund.

These companies, it says, are leading the development of new technology in mining with a focus on bolstering the critical minerals supply chain.

  • $500,000 to Frontier Lithium Inc. to help develop innovative lithium processing techniques and establish lithium mining and mineral processing in Ontario for use in battery and EV manufacturing supply chains.
  • $500,000 to Vale Canada Ltd. to develop bioleaching techniques for reprocessing tailings to extract nickel and cobalt from mine waste and to help increase battery metals supply.
  • $500,000 to Ring of Fire Metals Pty Ltd. to test the feasibility of repurposing and storing all tailings materials underground in the form of backfill in mine workings.
  • $500,000 to EV Nickel Inc. to demonstrate that bioleach extraction and recovery of battery metals such as Nickel and Cobalt is a lower cost, low carbon footprint process with less environmental impacts.
  • $475,000 to Carbonix Inc. – an Indigenous-owned company – to help refine the process for converting mining waste, petroleum coke and other byproducts into high-energy density graphite for use in battery anode and cathode supply chains.

This announcement comes on the heels of the introduction of legislation that will amend the Mining Act, geared towards speeding up the approval process for new mines.



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