Members from several First Nations rally against northern Ontario mining plans

Protestors roll up a banner following a rally to raise concerns and opposition to the Ontario provincial government's plans to expand mining operations in the so-called Ring of Fire region in Northern Ontario, in Toronto, Thursday, July 20, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston

Members of several northern Ontario First Nations are rallying outside Ontario’s legislature to raise concerns about the provincial government’s plans to expand mining operations in the so-called Ring of Fire region.

They say they weren’t consulted on the plans and argue their land rights are being violated.

The Ring of Fire region, about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, is said to hold some of the world’s richest deposits of chromite, nickel, copper and platinum and the province has made long-standing promises to develop and mine the area.

It is seen as key to Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s push to develop an end-to-end electric vehicle manufacturing chain in the province, starting with mining the materials needed for batteries.

Grassy Narrows First Nation Chief Rudy Turtle says it’s important to safeguard the environment and preserve First Nations lands.

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The Indigenous affairs minister has previously said the government is focused on building relationships and meets regularly with Indigenous leaders from across the province.

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