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Ring of Fire Metals and Webequie First Nation sign MOU on Ontario nickel project development

Webequie First Nation Chief Cornelius Wabasse and Ring of Fire Metals Acting CEO Stephen Flewelling. Image from Wyloo.

Ring of Fire Metals (formerly Noront Resources) and Webequie First Nation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining a framework for collaboration on proposed development in Northern Ontario.

Wyloo Metals earlier in the year acquired Noront Resources and its mining assets in Ontario’s emerging metals camp known as the Ring of Fire, and chose Ring of Fire Metals as the new name for its Canada-based business as exploration activities begin in the area.

Its primary asset is the early-stage Eagle’s Nest project, which has been billed by Wyloo as the largest high-grade nickel discovery in Canada since the Voisey’s Bay nickel find in Labrador.

The MOU details how the two parties will work together to progress ongoing exploration activity in the region as well as negotiations on a partnership agreement for the proposed Eagle’s Nest mine.

“We are exercising our sovereignty and the right to pursue economic sustenance in a manner that respects the land and brings opportunity for our young people,” Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse, said in a media statement on Tuesday.

“Our community encourages ongoing working relationships with Ontario and Federal Government, including First Nations, to work with us and support our community initiatives,” Chief Wabasse said.

Ring of Fire Metals CEO Stephen Flewelling said the landmark MOU was an important step forward in their long-standing relationship of more than 12 years.

“We have worked well with Webequie for many years, but this MOU signifies a formal transition to a new phase of collaboration on the future of the Ring of Fire,” he said.

“Canada has a once-in-a-generation opportunity to develop the critical minerals the world needs to decarbonize, and it’s vital that Indigenous communities play a central role in how these projects are developed on their traditional territories.

“This MOU…reflects our approach to developing critical mineral projects that deliver mutual, long-term benefits for Webequie community members with a deep respect for their culture and land,” Flewelling said.

One of the largest undeveloped, high-grade nickel-copper-platinum-palladium deposits in the world, the mine is scheduled to begin commercial production in 2026 with the mine running initially for 11 years with the potential for a nine-year extension.

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