A prominent junior mining company in the Ring of Fire, not named Noront Resources, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Webequie First Nation, the closest community to the Far North exploration camp.
Privately-held and low-key Juno Corp. inked the MoU in the Far North community on Feb. 24 between Chief Cornelius Wabasse and company president-COO Jacob McKinnon.
Backed by legendary junior mining financier Rob Cudney and Northfield Capital, the under-the-radar Toronto exploration outfit bills itself as the largest claim holder in the Ring of Fire with a land position covering 1,300 square kilometres.
Webequie First Nation is 35 kilometres to the west of the exploration project.
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In a March 1 release, Wabasse called the cooperation agreement an "economic milestone" for his members.
"We are a community that believes in self-determination and pursuing collaborative alliances with the right government and business partners. This MoU brings us one step closer to securing new employment, training, business prospects and ongoing consultations as mining develops in our traditional territory," he said in a news release.
In the various stages of agreements between First Nations and mining companies, an MoU is the initial step in establishing a framework for regular communication and setting the ground rules to mitigate any environmental impacts due to exploration while respecting cultural and traditional activities on a First Nation's territory.
“Juno Corp. is committed to reigniting exploration to unlock the tremendous economic potential of the Ring of Fire for the benefit of First Nations and the mineral industry in support of a green economy," said McKinnon in a statement.
"We have a genuine desire to respect the traditional lands of the Webequie people and carry forward with a principled and respectful approach to Indigenous engagement and partnerships. This is the start of a strong and positive relationship with the people of Webequie First Nation which we will continue to foster throughout the life of this project.”
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Webequie is one of the designated road proponents for a permanent road that will serve as a supply road to the exploration sites, a community access road to the south, and an industrial haul road to move material out of the Ring of Fire for processing.
"Our First Nations people are determined, innovative and committed to a more prosperous future for our young people," added Wabasse.
"This MoU is another example of our community coming together to advance our interests in sustainable and participatory project development within our territory.”