Ring of Fire court challenge dropped by Matawa in favour of negotiation
The Matawa First Nations are dropping a legal challenge and instead engaging in negotiation over Ring of Fire environmental assessments.
The communities announced this week that they will rely on negotiation and working with their hired negotiator Bob Rae instead of a judicial review of the Cliffs chromite project federal comprehensive study environmental assessment (EA) process.
“We never wanted a judge to decide our future if we could avoid it,” said Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation. “Like we always said, we want to determine our own solutions, by negotiation. When we started the court case there was no negotiation table so we were pushed into a corner. There’s a forum for discussions with Ontario now and it’s going to look at the environmental assessment question as well as other issues.”
Marten Falls First Nation Chief Eli Moonias announced earlier that they too will withdraw from court challenge stating that they are committed to the development of a “sound and complete community-based environmental assessment process that will safeguard traditional lands and the environment to the highest standards.”
“Our community is proud to be taking the lead on an assessment that will ensure that the Ring of Fire builds a legacy of which generations of Marten Falls youth can be proud of,” said Chief Eli Moonias.
Discussions with Ontario began this summer with Bob Rae representing the Matawa communities and Frank Iacobucci negotiating for the province.
Cliffs distributed their own new release stating they were committed to engaging in active and productive discussions with potentially affected First Nation communities.
“We’re determined to be a good partner and will continue to work with First Nations who may be impacted by the project and to understand their concerns and priorities, and to respond to them,” said Bill Boor, Cliff Natural Resources senior vice-president of strategy and business development.
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