About the Springpole Lake Development Proposal?


Cat Lake First Nation Anishnabe Led Impact Assessment

Cat Lake First Nation has spent a year working towards developing, defining and designing Ontario’s first Indigenous Led Impact Assessment.  In October 2023, the community commenced the Anishinaabe Led Impact Assessment process titled ᑭᑕᑭᓇᓐ Kita-ki-nan (OurLand).

The community will be undertaking a Traditional Land Use Study,  it will provide the Kitakinan process with site specific and qualitative data documenting the practices and uses of community members in the proposed Project area.  

In parallel, the community is also undertaking a Socio-Economic Study that will provide site-specific, quantitative, and qualitative data describing baseline information for socio-economies, health and well-being indicators pertaining to the Nation.  

An analysis of the potential impacts and benefits of the proposed Springpole project will also be presented, along with a discussion of potential cumulative impacts and benefits. At the completion of our process, the Cat Lake First Nation will make a free, prior and informed consent decision about the proposed Springpole Project

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Cat Lake First Nation (CLFN) is a remote fly-in First Nation reserve. It is home to 800 people speaking Ojibwae and English located 180 km northwest of Sioux Lookout, Ontario, The Ojibwe name is Bizhiw-zaaga'iganiing Nitam Anishinaabeg meaning "The First Nation at Wild-cat Lake," where wild-cat refers to the Canada lynx. CLFN is a member of the Windigo First Nations Council, a non-political regional chiefs' council. In turn, the Windigo First Nations Council is a member of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation which represents 49, Treaty 9 communities.,

What is the Springpole Gold Project proposed by First Mining Gold Corp?

The Springpole Gold Project, spanning 41,943 hectares in northwestern Ontario, is a significant gold exploration and development initiative by First Mining. Located 110 kilometres northeast of Red Lake, it encompasses 30 patented mining claims, 282 mining claims, and thirteen mining leases within the Birch-Uchi Greenstone Belt.

The project proposal includes substantial infrastructure, including an onsite camp, winter road access, a logging road, and nearby power lines. With substantial gold and silver reserves, totaling 4.6 million ounces of gold and 24.3 million ounces of silver in the Indicated category, it stands as one of Ontario's largest undeveloped gold projects.

To provide time and opportunity for a proper assessment of the impact of mining exploration and development, a band council resolution was passed. This resolution puts a mining moratorium in place to allow the Anishnabe-led impact assessment to be completed.



Heritage & Culture

The Springpole Lake mine project may impact the traditional lands and cultural heritage in the Cat Lake First Nation territory. Care must be taken to ensure important hunting, fishing, and trapping areas, as well as sacred sites and areas of archaeological significance, are not disrupted. 

Lake Trout Habitat

Lake Trout are a rarity in Ontario, found in only about one percent of its lakes, yet constituting 20-25% of global Lake Trout habitats. Springpole Lake hosts naturally occurring Lake Trout breeding shoals, with its deep 30m basins serving as preferred summer habitats. Aquatic surveys reveal a diverse ecosystem, featuring coldwater species like Lake Trout and Whitefish, alongside popular game fish such as Northern Pike and Pickerel/Walleye, and various non-game forage fish species.

Additional Development

Furthermore, mining operations in addition to the site-specific buildings and open pit extraction sites often require significant additional off-site infrastructure development, such as roads and power lines, which can further encroach on traditional values and territory. 

How can I help?

It is crucial for the Cat Lake First Nation to engage in meaningful consultation and informed decision-making processes regarding the Springpole Lake mine project. This includes assessing the potential impacts, considering alternative economic opportunities, and ensuring that their rights and interests are protected.  Everyone involved in the consideration of this project must agree that Cat Lake First Nation’s “consent” is non-negotiable.

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Vicki Blanchard

Cat Lake First Nation Advisor