Indigenous leaders and Ring of Fire Metals' workers in the James Bay received a visit from one of the corporate bigwigs this month.
Nicola Forrest, a director with Australia’s Tattarang, the private investment group which owns Wyloo Metals and its Ring of Fire subsidiary, visited the remote Esker exploration camp at McFaulds Lake and the nearby communities of Webequie and Marten Falls.
According to a social media post by the mining company, the journey north was part of her first trip to Canada. The communities were said to have hosted her and the team with “their hospitality and delicious feasts.”
“It was an exciting time to exchange stories and knowledge and to show the work we are doing at Esker and our Eagle's Nest Project,” the company said in the post.
As one of Australia’s wealthiest women, Forrest is also co-chair of the Minderoo Foundation, a philanthropic endeavour with her estranged husband mining magnate Andrew Forrest, executive chair of Fortescue Metals and owner of Wyloo Metals.
The Minderoo Foundation takes on a range of social and environmental causes including Indigenous entrepreneurship, ocean clean-up, gender and equality issues and community well-being.
“Nicola’s visit to the Ring of Fire reinforced her commitment to supporting us in the sustainable development of the Eagle’s Nest Project, in collaboration with local communities,”said Ring of Metals CEO Kristan Straub in a statement.
“It was a great opportunity for our team to showcase the progress we’ve made. She was so engaging with our teams and local community members and we look forward to welcoming her back again.”
Wyloo finalized its acquisition of Toronto’s Noront Resources in April 2022, after a tough bidding war with BHP. The prize was the Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper project, a minerally-rich mine-in-waiting asset located in the James Bay lowlands, some 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.
Wyloo’s James Bay assets were rebranded Ring of Fire Metals in September of that year.
At acquisition, Wyloo pitched a significant Indigenous procurement plan, committing to spend $100 million on contracts with Indigenous businesses, plus the promise of a host of training and employment opportunities.