Neskantaga renews calls for mediation on Cliffs’ Ring of Fire terms of reference
Months after sending a request for mediation on Cliffs Natural Resources’ proposed Ring of Fire mine, Neskantaga First Nation has renewed its call for Ontario’s Environment Minister to bring the two parties together.
Neskantaga sent a letter to Minister Jim Bradley on Feb. 4, requesting mediation on Cliffs’ amended terms of reference.
“Our constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights and title and treaty rights are not appropriately addressed (in the terms of reference),” Neskantaga wrote.
Cliffs submitted its amended terms of reference to Ontario on Jan. 25, after accepting feedback from stakeholders on the original terms of reference.
Neskantaga, however, noted that it had submitted numerous comments on Cliffs’ original terms of reference that “have not been addressed in the amended terms of reference.”
“Therefore, numerous fundamental issues of concern arise on the amended terms of reference as submitted,” Neskantaga wrote. “It is our strong view that these should be addressed in a mediation between Neskantaga and…Cliffs Natural Resources before you approve the amended terms of reference.”
Ontario Environment spokeswoman Alissa Sugar said the ministry will consider all comments, including Neskantaga’s request for mediation, before making a decision on whether to approve the amended terms of reference.
“The ministry continues to be available to answer any questions that Aboriginal communities may have about the provincial environmental assessment process,” Sugar wrote in an email.
“The ministry encourages the continued involvement and input of Aboriginal communities into the environmental assessment process.”
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