Blog Entry

Indigenous, Environmental Groups Call for Moratorium on Mining Development in Ring of Fire

Jamie Kneen

National Program Co-Lead

MiningWatch Canada is joining Indigenous and environmental groups in calling for a moratorium on mining development in Ontario's "Ring of Fire" until protection plans for the region’s sensitive wetlands and watersheds are in place and access to clean water, housing, and health services have been secured for all upstream and downstream communities.

The groups include the Canadian Environmental Law Association, Friends of the Attawapiskat River, East Coast Environmental Law, Mining Injustice Solidary Network, Northwatch, Sierra Club Canada Foundation, Ontarians for a Just Accountable Mineral Strategy, West Coast Environmental Law, Omushkegowuk Women's Water Council, Wildlands League, and World Wildlife Fund Canada.

The call was made in an open letter that was sent to the Prime Minister, federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, Ontario Premier Doug Ford, and Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek on February 24. The letter is still open for sign-ons from supporting organisations here.

As Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon says, the peatlands and waterways of the Hudson and James Bay Lowlands are “the breathing and cooling lands for the planet, which is the third largest wetland in the world and one of richest carbon storehouses on Earth."

The letter states:

We, the undersigned environmental, Indigenous, and civil society organizations call on the governments of Canada and Ontario to establish an immediate moratorium in the Ring of Fire for all mineral exploration, assessments for proposed road projects, and other potential developments including the Northern Road link. It is critical the moratorium remain in effect until:

1. ᑲᐧᐃᑐᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᑭᒋ ᒪᓇᒋᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᐅᑌ ᐃᑌᑫᐢᑲᒥᐠ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᓂᐱᐧᐊᒐᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ ᓯᐱᐧᐊᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ

1. Protection plans for the region’s sensitive wetlands and watersheds are in place, and

2. ᑭᒋ ᑭ ᐃᑕᐧᑲᐠ ᓂᐱᔾ ᐁᐸᔦᑲᐠ ᐧᐊᐢᑲᐃᑲᓂᐠ᙮ ᒥᓄᐱᒪᑎᓯᐧᐃ ᐊᑐᐢᑫᐧᐃᓂᓂᐤ ᑲ ᐊᑐᐢᑲᑕᒋᐠ ᐊᔕᔾ ᑭᑭᐱᒋᑕᐧᐊᐠ ᒥᓯᐧᐁ ᐣᑎᒥᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ ᒪᒥᐠ ᐃᑌᑫ ᓯᐱᐠ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᐃᑕᐧᑲᓂᓂᐠ ᒧᓇᐃᑫᐧᐃ ᐊᐸᑎᓯᐧᐃᓂᓂᐤ ᕆᐣᐠ ᐊᑊ ᐸᔭᕐ ᑲ ᐃᒋᑲᑌᓂᐠ᙮

2. Access to clean water, housing, and health services have been secured for all upstream and downstream communities from the proposed Ring of Fire

ᓇᑕᐧᐁᓂᑕᐧᑲᐣ ᑭᒋ ᓄᒋᑕᒋᐟ ᒪᐡᑫᑯᐧᐃ ᐅᑭᒪᑲᐣ ᓀᐢᑕ ᓂᐡᑲᐣᑕᑲ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᓇᐢᑯᒧᐧᐃᐣ 9 ᐊᐢᑭᐠ ᐃᑌᑫ ᐱᑕᒪ ᑭᒋ ᐅᑕᓇᑫᐸᓂᐧᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑭᒋ ᑭ ᓂᓯᑐᒋᑲᑌᐠ ᑲᐧᐃ ᑐᒋᑲᑌᐠ᙮ ᐊᓂᑭ ᑲᓇᑲᒋᑕᒋᐠ ᐊᐢᑭᐠ ᑫᐧᑲᓇ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᓇᑲᒋᑕᒋᐠ ᐊᐢᑭᐧᐃ ᑫᐧᑲᓇ᙮ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᐧᐊᐸᑕᑭᐠ ᐁᒥᔕᐠ ᐊᐟᓯᐣᐢᐯ ᓀᐢᑕ ᒉᒥᐢᐯ ᑫᐧᑲᐣ ᑲ ᐃᑕᐧᑲᓂᓂᐠ᙮ ᐁ ᑭᑭᐸᓂᐧᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᐊᑕᐧᐊᐱᐢᑲᐟ ᐱᑕᐯᐠ ᐁᐧᑲᐣ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐧᐁᓂᐢᑭᐧᐃ ᓯᐱᔾ ᓀᐢᑕ ᑯᑕᑭᔭ ᑭᒋ ᒥᒉᐟ ᑲᓇᓯᐯᒋᐧᐊᑭ ᔑᐱᔑᔕ ᑕᐧᐃᐨ ᑭᒋᑲᒥᐠ ᐃᑌᑫ᙮

This call to action is in support of the request by Mushkegowuk Council and Neskantaga First Nation of Treaty 9 that a moratorium be put in place until a proper protection plan is implemented. As requested, a protection plan must be comprehensive, based on best available science and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and reflect the global significance of the carbon rich Hudson Bay-James Bay Lowland, including the Attawapiskat, Kapiskau, Albany, Ekwan, Opinnagau and Winisk Rivers and the thousands of streams that flow into Hudson Bay and James Bay.

ᐁᐸᑯᓭᓂᒪᑭᒋᐠ ᑭᒋ ᐅᑭᒪᐧᐊᐠ ᑭᒋ ᑭᐢᑌᓂᑕᑭᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ ᒪᓇᒋᑕᒋᐠ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐊ ᐅᑌᐸᑫᓂᑕᑯᓯᐧᐃᓂᓂᐤ ᓀᐢᑕ ᑭᒋ ᐊᑎᓄᒋᑕᒋᐠ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᐸᑯᓭᓂᒥᒋᐠ ᒥᓄᐱᒪᑎᓯᐧᐃᓂᐠ ᐧᐊᐢᑲᐃᑲᓂᑫᐧᐃᓂᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᒪᓂᐸᓂᓂᑭ ᐃᐡᑯᓂᑲᓇ ᓂᐱᐠ ᐃᑌᑫ᙮ ᔓᓂᔭᓂᒧᓇᐃᑫᐧᐃ ᐊᑐᐢᑫᐧᐃᐣ ᒧᓇ ᑕᑭᓂᑲᓀᓂᒋᑲᑌᐤ ᑲ ᐃᔑᓇᐧᑲᐠ ᒥᓄᐱᒪᑎᓯᐧᐃᐣ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐊᐢᑭᔾ ᓀᐢᑕ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᐅᑐᓇᔑᐧᐁᐧᐃᓂᐧᐊᐧᐊ᙮

We call on Canada and Ontario to honour and protect inherent Indigenous and treaty rights, and to take immediate actions to address the urgent health, housing, and water crises facing communities. Mining interests cannot continue to be prioritized over the health, lands, and natural laws of Indigenous communities.

ᑲ ᑭ ᐃᔑ ᑭᒋᐧᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑭᐧᐁ ᐳᓀᓂᒋᑫᐧᐃᓂᐠ ᐁᐧᐃ ᐃᐧᑌᒪᑲᐠ ᐁᑲ ᐊᒋᑫᐣ ᒥᓇ ᐧᐊᓂᑐᑕᑫᐧᐃᐣ ᑭᒋ ᐃᑕᐧᑲᐠ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᑌᐸᑫᓂᑕᑯᓯᒋᐠ᙮ ᑭᒋ ᓄᒋᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᐸᑯᓭᓂᒥᒋᐠ ᑲᑭᓇᐤ ᑭᒋ ᐅᑭᒪᐧᐊᐠ ᑭᒋ ᐅᑕᓇᑫᐸᓂᐧᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᐅᒪ ᐊᐸᑎᓯᐧᐃᐣ ᑭᒋ ᑭ ᐅᒋ ᐱᒪᒋᑕᓂᐧᐊᑭ ᓯᐱᔭ ᓀᐢᑕ ᑭᑕᐢᑭᓇᐤ ᐧᐁᐡᑲᐨ ᑲ ᑭ ᐅᒋ ᐯᒋ ᐃᔑᓇᐧᑲᐠ ᑲ ᐃᔑ ᐱᒪᑎᓯᒋᐠ ᐃᓂᓂᐧᐊ ᑲᐱᒪᑎᓯᐧᐊᑫᒋᐠ᙮

Living up to the promise of reconciliation means action is required now to prevent further violations of Indigenous rights. To fulfill this duty, we call on Canada and Ontario to enact a moratorium to sustain the lands and waters that, since time immemorial, have been relied upon by region’s First Nations.

ᑲᔭᐡ ᐅᒋ ᑲ ᑭ ᐯᒋ ᐃᔑᓇᐧᑲᐠ ᐊᐢᑭᐠ ᐯᔭᐧᑲᐣ ᑭᒋ ᐃᔑ ᐱᒧᑌᒪᑲᐠ ᑲ ᑭ ᐃᔑᓇᐧᑲᐠ ᐧᐁᐡᑲᐨ ᐱᑯ ᐅᒋ ᐊᐢᐱᐣ ᑲ ᐊᐢᑭᐧᐊᐠ ᑲ ᑭ ᐃᔑ ᐱᒧᑌᒪᑲᐠ ᒥᓯᐧᐁ ᐃᔑ᙮ ᐁᑯᔑ ᐱᑕᒪ ᑭᒋ ᐧᐁᐣᑕᑦ ᓄᒋᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑫ ᑭ ᐅᒋ ᒪᓇᒋᑕᓂᐧᐊᐠ ᑲ ᐃᔑᓇᐧᑲᐠ ᒥᐢᑎᑯᐢᑲᐠ ᓀᐢᑕ ᑫ ᑭ ᐊᑎ ᓄᓱᓀᐃᑲᑌᐠ᙮

The ancient peatlands of this region continue to serve as significant carbon sinks and have been cooling the whole earth for millennia. An immediate moratorium safeguards one of the few remaining intact boreal peatlands and protects both us and the generations that follow.