Government pledges $1 billion to Ring of Fire development

April 28, 2014

The Ontario Ministry of Finance announced that the government is prepared to commit up to $1 billion to develop strategic all-season industrial and community transportation infrastructure in the Ring of Fire mining district and is looking for a partner to help advance the development of the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario.

Specifically, the Ontario is calling on the Federal government to equally match this funding to build the infrastructure required for this important project in the north that will create jobs and boost the northern economy, the Ministry of Finance said in a release.

The approach and priorities with respect to this investment will be established in partnership with First Nations, governments and industry partners through the development corporation.

Support for badly needed infrastructure could revive the fortunes of projects in the remote region, like Cliffs Natural Resources’ Black Thor chromite project, and those of smaller companies like Noront Resources that are focused on the area, Reuters reported.

The 4,000 sq km (1,500 sq mile) Ring of Fire is home to rich mineral deposits, and lawmakers say it could bring prosperity to northern Ontario much like the tar sands have to northern Alberta. But the swampy region lacks highways, rail lines or reliable power.

“We are committed to driving progress and investing in infrastructure development in Northern Ontario’s economy. We are looking to the federal government to match our commitment of $1 billion to unleash the Ring of Fire so that we can seize this tremendous economic opportunity of national importance,” said Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance.

Cleveland-based Cliffs suspended most work on the $3.3 billion Black Thor in June, citing stalled talks with the province and other political and regulatory problems. It has struggled to win over aboriginal communities in the region.

The province is currently facilitating the creation of a development corporation to accelerate strategic infrastructure development in the region. The corporation will bring together key mining companies, First Nations, and the provincial and federal governments to develop, construct, finance, operate and maintain infrastructure supporting access to strategic resources in the mineral rich Ring of Fire.

The Ring of Fire represents one of the most significant mineral regions in the province, and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. A multi-generational opportunity, the Ring of Fire will create thousands of jobs and enhance the economic prosperity of Ontario and Canada, said the Ministry of Finance.


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