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Feds want your two cents on Ring of Fire road

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency mulling over environmental assessment of Webequie supply road
Noront Esker Camp aerial 2
Noront Resources' Esker Camp in the Ring of Fire (Noront photo)

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) wants feedback on whether a federal environmental assessment is warranted for a supply road into the Ring of Fire exploration camp.

The agency is looking for comments from the public and Indigenous groups on the possible environmental impacts of the Webequie Supply Road project.

It’s a proposed 107-kilometre permanent industrial road between Webequie First Nation and the area around McFaulds Lake, the latter better known as the Ring of Fire, 535 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

The proposed corridor dead-ends at the site of Noront Resources’ future Eagle’s Nest nickel mine.

Noront, the largest claimholder in the area, expects to start mine building in 2021 to be ready for commercial production by 2024.

Webequie First Nation, the road proponent has outlined a proposed two-lane gravel road, 35 metres wide with enough room to accommodate power lines and broadband.

The road would connect the community to all existing exploration activities and the potential mine developments.

The project could also be the first step in a future all-season road network connecting Webequie with the provincial highway network through Nakina and/or Pickle Lake.

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To the south, AECOM is working with Marten Falls First Nation on the first leg of north-south industrial corridor to connect to the provincial highway and a possible truck-to-rail transload facility in the Aroland First Nation-Nakina area.

Back in January, the first steps for a potential provincial environmental assessment began. The entire process is supposed to be a coordinated effort between Queen’s Park and Ottawa.

The CEAA has set an Aug. 12 deadline to receive written submissions.

The agency will post a decision on its website whether an environmental assessment is required.

If that happens, the public will have three opportunities to make further comment on the project.

Written comments can be sent to this address:

Webequie Supply Road Project

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

600-55 York Street Toronto, Ontario

M5J 1R7

Telephone: 416-952-1576