Accessing the Ring of Fire is a challenge as there is currently no existing regional infrastructure, with the closest paved road being over300 km away.
With investment in the region, both industry and local First Nation communities will benefit from the opportunities that regional infrastructure will bring.
In the 2014 Ontario Budget, the provincial government committed $1 billion toward infrastructure in the Ring of Fire and in mid 2017, Noront and the provincial government agreed that the company would transfer the environmental proponency for the all-season road to the communities of Marten Falls and Webequie First Nation. Thus, the communities will lead the environmental assessment on their traditional lands. In 2020, Premier Ford and the Communities confirmed their commitment to the development of the road by signing a Memorandum of Agreement.
New All-Season Access Road
The current preference of stakeholders is the development of an all-season road which utilizes a North-South corridor from Webequie First Nation to the Ring of Fire to Aroland First Nation. The all-season gravel road will consist of an industrial backbone following largely esker and high ground with branches into the local communities to connect them to southern highways. When this North-South Transportation Corridor is built, it will also provide a natural corridor for bringing grid power, fiber optics and broadband into both the local communities and the mine site.
Trans-load to Rail
Nickel-copper concentrate will be bagged and loaded onto trucks at the Eagle’s Nest Mine site, then trucked to a siding near Aroland First Nation for rail shipping to a smelter in Northern Ontario. It is envisioned that direct shipping chromite ores will be transported by truck and trans-loaded to rail cars at a “to be constructed” trans-load facility.
A diesel-fired power plant will be built on-site to service the electrical load requirements for processing equipment, the underground mine and surface infrastructure, such as the camp facilities and airstrip.
Regular movement of people and perishable supplies to the site will utilize the Muketei River airstrip, which will have the capacity to land large cargo aircraft. It is expected that this facility will be built and operated by Marten Falls First Nation.