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Ring of Fire conference in Thunder Bay aims to examine environmental concerns

A one-day conference about the Ring of Fire, taking place Friday in Thunder Bay, is looking at how issues would be addressed before resources are extracted from the mineral-rich region.

Extraction project must be 'ecologically sustainable,' law professor says of Ring of Fire development

Extracting minerals from the resource-rich Ring of Fire must respect the rights of First Nations, says an assistant law professor at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay. (Submitted by Wildlands League)

A one-day conference about the Ring of Fire, taking place Friday in Thunder Bay, is looking at how issues would be addressed before resources are extracted from the mineral-rich region.

Lakehead University's Faculty of Law and Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration is hosting the discussion, which seeks to build on last year's conference.

Challenges including sustainable development, the duty to consult and impacts on First Nations communities must be considered and addressed before the extraction project begins, said Jason MacLean, an assistant law professor at Lakehead.

"It would be putting the cart before the horse to speed ahead with the development of the project without ensuring that the project is going to be ecologically sustainable and respectful of indigenous rights," MacLean said.

"We hope the conference will generate a candid and constructive discussion among the region's stakeholders about how to sustainably develop our natural resources," MacLean said in a news release.

"Universities play a key role in facilitating inclusive and respectful debates and discussions regarding our most pressing public policy issues, and that's exactly what we're hoping to achieve with the Ring of Fire conference," he stated.

The conference takes place Friday at 8:30 a.m. at Lakehead University. Participation is free and registration is available to all. Those interested can visit the Lakehead website to register. 

While no shovels have hit the ground yet, the Ontario government said in July that they would like to see the federal government match their $1 billion investment in transit infrastructure in the region.

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