By: The Working Forest Staff
Toronto – – The East-West Ring of Fire Road Coalition (EWRFC) is a new organization at the world’s largest mining conference, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference (#PDAC2019) advocating for an “East-West road” to access the Ring of Fire.
The EWRFC contends this route will benefit the greatest number of Ontario communities, providing all-season road access, increasing the range of economic opportunities associated with the Ring of Fire — a massive deposit of the mineral chromite, with an estimated value of $60 billion.
The EWRFC was conceived to represent municipalities, First Nation communities and businesses in Northwestern Ontario supporting the construction of a four-season access road into the Far North. Which will build on the current success of First Nation businesses in Sioux Lookout.
The Coalition is seeking government support for a route, which would extend from Hwy’s. 599 & 72 (extending north from the Trans Canada Highway, approx. 250 km west of Thunder Bay) to the Ring of Fire.
Speaking on behalf of the EWRFC, Sioux Lookout Mayor, Doug Lawrance observed, “The East-West road route would optimize existing road alignments, piggyback on pending hydro grid construction and use existing logistics and supply networks. We anticipate this route would lessen the environmental impacts (including wetland and peatlands) and avoid expensive, problematic large-scale water crossings.”
Originally proposed by mining company Noront Resources Ltd. The East-West all-season passes close to Cat Lake, Mishkeegogomang, Lac Seul, Webequie, Nibinamik, Eabamatoong, Saugeen, and Slate Falls First Nations. Other adjacent communities include Sioux Lookout, Pickle Lake, Ignace, and Dryden.
Mayor Lawrance concluded. “Over the past two days, I have received enormous support from PDAC attendees from Northern communities, First Nations and much further afield for the Coalition’s goal of securing an East-West road to the Ring of Fire.”