The Ring of Fire is the name given to a massive planned chromite mining and smelting development project in the mineral-rich James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario. The Ring of Fire development would impact nine First Nations, and potential developers are required to negotiate an Impact Benefit Agreement with these communities prior to development. The region is centred on McFaulds Lake, near the Attawapiskat River in Kenora District, approximately 400 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, about 70 kilometres east of Webequie, and due north of Marten Falls and Ogoki Post, which is near/on the west of James Bay.
The Ring of Fire was named when the first significant mineral finds were made in the region, by Richard Nemis, after Johnny Cash's famous country and western ballad. Nemis, the founder and president of Noront Resources, was a lifelong fan of the singer. By the fall of 2011, the Ring of Fire was considered "one of the largest potential mineral reserves in Ontario" with "more than 35 junior and intermediate mining and exploration companies covering an area of approximately "1.5 million hectares." Although the Ring of Fire crescent covers 5,000 square kilometres, most discoveries made by 2012 were within a small, 20 kilometres long strip. Ontario's Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Michael Gravelle called the region "home to one of the most promising mineral development opportunities in Ontario in more than a century." Tony Clement, Canada's Treasury Board President and the FedNor minister responsible for the Ring of Fire, claimed it will be the economic equivalent of the Athabasca oil sands, with a potential of generating $120 billion. Clement says the Ring of Fire represents a "once-in-a-life opportunity to create jobs and generate growth and long-term prosperity for northern Ontario and the nation." Challenges facing the development of the Ring of Fire mineral include lack of access to the remote region, infrastructure deficits such as roads, railway, electricity and broadband, First Nations land rights, and environmental issues in the James Bay Lowlands, the "third largest wetland in the world"." Clement was looking to business, not the federal government, to invest "in power and transportation infrastructure to develop the deposit."
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