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Mushkegowuk Council, communities seeking Ring of Fire opportunities

Friday May 2, 2014

The Mushkegowuk Council and member communities are calling for a major role in economic opportunities from the Ring of Fire mineral exploration area in the James Bay Lowlands.

“Mushkegowuk Council recognizes the significant, long term economic potential associated with development of mineral resources in the Ring of Fire,” said Grand Chief Stan Louttit. “We expect our region and our First Nations to be key participants in the economic opportunities associated with development of these world class mineral deposits. That includes employment and training for our people, participating in infrastructure development, and building business capacity and partnerships through contracting for mining related supplies and services.”

Louttit raised the issue during the Canadian Council of Aboriginal Business’s April 10 Hot Topic Series panel discusssion: Recalibrating for the Ring of Fire, held at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay.

“Mushkegowuk Council is interested in continuing to explore and develop relationships and partnerships with the Crown, with proponents and with businesses that will be involved in development of the mineral potential of the Ring of Fire,” Louttit said.

Louttit said the Mushkegowuk Council’s stated position is that economic and financial benefits must be shared broadly with all First Nations potentially impacted by development of the Ring of Fire and with community members of all generations. The council represents four James Bay communities, Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany and Moose Cree, and three inland communities, Taykwa Tagamou, Chapleau Cree and Missanabie Cree.

The panel discussion featured Alan Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources, Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs, Bob Rae, acting advisor to the Matawa Tribal Council, Frank Iacobucci, Ontario’s lead negotiator for Ring of Fire, and Webequie Councillor Elsie MacDonald, with Michael Fox, president of Fox High Impact Consulting as moderator.

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