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A group of Manitoba First Nations says it has formed a partnership with a private company that will lead to the reopening of the rail line to Churchill.

The First Nations say the deal involves an acquisition agreement with the U-S-based owner of the Hudson Bay Railway, the Port of Churchill and other assets.

Indigenous leaders say the railway and port are crucial to the existence of all First Nations in northern Manitoba.

The rail line owned by U-S based Omnitrax was washed out by floods last spring.

A company called i-Churchill says it hopes to conclude the agreement by mid-June so that the rail line can be repaired before the fall.

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