New All-Season Access Road
Accessing the Ring of Fire is a challenge, as paved roads are at least 300 kilometers away. In its 2017 budget, the Ontario government committed $1 billion toward industrial and social infrastructure in the Ring of Fire. 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.
With investment in the region, both industry and local Indigenous communities will benefit from the opportunities that regional infrastructure will bring.
NORTHERN ROAD LINK
Proponets: Marten Falls and Webequie First Nation
Details: Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations were announced as co-proponents for the Northern Road Link in 2020. This is the section of road that connects the Marten Falls Community Access Road to the Webequie Supply Road. Engineering and environmental assessment work is being conducted by SNC Lavalin and Dillon Consulting.
Status: An Environmental Assessment was initiated January 2021. Project Description and Terms of Reference are being prepared.
MARTEN FALLS COMMUNITY ACCESS ROAD
Proponent: Marten Falls First Nation
Details: Marten Falls First Nation is the proponent for an all-season road connecting the MFFN community to the provincial highway network. The new road will replace a current winter road which is not always reliable, providing the community with much needed year-round road access. AECOM is their engineering consultant.
Status: Federal Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines (TSIG) have been in place since February 2020. Terms of Reference (ToR) for the Provincial Environmental Assessment were issued in October 2021 and Marten Falls is now conducting studies and preparing the Environmental Assessment report.
WEBEQUIE SUPPLY ROAD
Proponent: Webequie First Nation
Details: Webequie is the proponent for an all-season road from the Webequie airport to the site of mineral exploration activities and proposed mining development in the Ring of Fire. SNC Lavalin is the engineering consultant.
Status: The project is undergoing federal and provincial environmental assessments (EAs). The federal Tailored Impact Statement Guidelines (TSIG) have been issued. The provincial Terms of Reference were in October 2021 and the community is now advancing studies and preparing the Environmental Assessment report.
Trans-load to Rail
Nickel and copper concentrates will be bagged and loaded onto trucks at the Eagle’s Nest Mine site, then trucked to a rail-siding near Aroland First Nation for rail shipping to a smelter in Northern Ontario. It is envisioned that chromite ores will be loaded into shipping containers for transport by truck to the rail-siding where the containers will be moved to railcars for shipping to the Ferrochrome Production Facility.
A diesel-fired power plant will be built on-site to provide electricity the underground mine, the concentrator and surface infrastructure, such as the camp facilities and airstrip. Liquified natural gas and green-energy alternatives are also being examined to power and heat the site.
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.