Permit to Allow for Drilling in the North French River Watershed Put on Hold

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Elizabeth Harrison Law Student

Last week, Nature Canada and other nature groups asked the Wynne government to refrain from issuing an exploration permit for drilling in the North French River Watershed.

NioBay Metals Inc., the company that applied for the permit, has announced that the Ontario government has put the issuance of the permit on hold, pending consultations with the Moose Cree First Nation, which unanimously opposes the project.

According to the company, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines told it that the Ministry is organizing a meeting with representatives of the Moose Cree to address any concerns that they may have about the drilling, which is part of the James Bay Niobium Project.

Nature Canada is pleased to see the government recognize that it should not issue the permit without further consultation with the Moose Cree. However, if the Moose Cree reject the project after this extra consultation, Nature Canada’s view is that the permit application should be denied.

Further, given the ecological significance of this area, Nature Canada continues to propose that the Ontario government should work with the Moose Cree to permanently protect, rather than exploit, the North French River, the nearby South Bluff Creek, and surrounding lands.

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