The Ontario Government and Matawa-member First Nations have signed a regional framework agreement on the development of the $60bn Ring of Fire chromite deposits in the north-western region of the province.
The Ring of Fire, which includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America, will help to transform Ontario, creating jobs and improving its economic prosperity.
The prospect holds the potential for significant production of nickel, copper and platinum.
The government said the regional framework agreement is a first step in a historic, community-based negotiation process, which started in July 2013, at the request of nine Matawa-member First Nations.
The agreement will allow the First Nations and the province to jointly work on priorities, including environmental monitoring, resource revenue sharing and infrastructure.
Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle said the regional framework agreement is a landmark achievement in community and regional discussions.
"Together, we are moving forward on realising the Ring of Fire’s potential and making important advancements on regional, environmental and economic developments," Gravelle said.
Ontario Minister of Aboriginal Affairs David Zimmer said: "This regional framework is a historical agreement that demonstrates how respectful dialogue, negotiation and collaboration can move economic development projects forward, creating benefits for everyone involved."
Earlier this year, the Ontario Government appointed Deloitte to help establish a development corporation in the region.
Deloitte will also help to create guiding principles for the corporation and seek consensus on the next steps.
The Ring of Fire development is subject to all necessary environmental assessment and regulatory processes, as well as approvals and the Crown fulfilling its duty to consult.
Image: Ontario minister of northern development and mines Michael Gravelle. Photo: courtesy of Queen’s Printer for Ontario.