Exploration juniors KWG Resources and Noront Resources have lauded progress in the advancement of the all-season access road to connect to far-flung First Nation communities in Northern Ontario.
The Marten Falls First Nation announced last week that global engineering firm Aecom had been selected to conduct a road study and to complete an environmental assessment for the new road, which would link with existing provincial highways and potentially extend to the emerging mineral-rich Ring of Fire mining district.
The north-south community access road is one of two key roads being planned for the region, the other being a provincial government-backed east-west road. Building these roads is seen as crucial in realising the economic benefits of the mineral development opportunities of the Ring of Fire.
KWG Resources, which owns exploration properties in the area, commended the Chief and Council of the Marten Falls First Nation for their leadership in assuming proponency of the environmental assessment for transport infrastructure in their traditional territory.
KWG CEO Frank Smeenk said that the Ring of Fire development was not going to happen without it being welcomed by the people in whose lands it was found.
“It is a historic breakthrough in how this process is properly performed, by those whose land is affected being the proponents of its improvement. The significance of this cannot be overstated and Ontario's leadership is to be commended for supporting this most enlightened evolution of our engagement with its First Nations. One might well venture to say that the cloud on mineral title in Ontario is perhaps now showing some early signs of dispersing," he said in a statement.
KWG is the operator of the Black Horse joint venture after acquiring a vested 50% interest through Bold Ventures from Fancamp Exploration. The company also owns Canada Chrome, which has staked claims and conducted a surveying and soil testing programme, originally for the engineering and construction of a railroad to the Ring of Fire from Aroland.
Noront, which claims to have the biggest land position in the Ring of Fire with 85% of all claims in the district, also made mention of the progress on the access road in its press release announcing that it had closed the final tranche of a C$4.15-million private placement.
The proceeds of the placement will be used for its exploration programme in the Ring of Fire, with its immediate priority the follow-up on previously drilled results from the copper/zinc discovery at its McFaulds Lake property.