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HTAL Spring Series Poster

What’s at Stake in Ontario’s Ring of Fire?

Part of Hamilton Third Age Learning’s Spring Lecture Series

The Ring of Fire is a 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of ancient volcanic rock rich in nickel, copper, and other metals considered critical to the global transition to renewable energy.

The metal deposits lie hidden beneath the remote swamps of the James Bay Lowlands of northern Canada, the second-largest temperate wetland in the world. The area is home to several thousand Indigenous people in communities accessible only by plane or winter road.

The deposits, too, are stranded by a lack of infrastructure. Canada and the province of Ontario have pledged billions of dollars towards a critical-minerals strategy, including building an all-weather road to the Ring of Fire. But is the mining plan desirable or even feasible?

Virginia Heffernan Headshot

Virginia Heffernan is a former exploration geoscientist and author of Ring of Fire: High Stakes Mining in a Lowlands Wilderness (ECW Press).

She has an MSc from the University of Toronto’s School of the Environment and an MFA in creative non-fiction from the University of King’s College.

Her articles have appeared in publications such as Explore, The Globe and Mail, and Maclean’s.

She lives in Toronto.