QUEEN’S PARK – Following on the good news about the conversion of the coal plant in Atikokan to biomass, I recently had more good news for the community. With the great support of the Minister of Natural Resources, Linda Jeffrey, I was able to announce that our government will be allowing two companies to move forward with an environmental assessment on the former Steep Rock mine site.
There is significant mining exploration and activity occurring in Ontario, and Atikokan is no exception. Approximately 100 people have already found work at the Hammond Reef property owned by the Osisko gold company. This company, along with Bending Lake Iron Group, submitted a joint proposal to use this site to process their ore bodies and/or dispose of their tailings.
If the environmental assessment is successfully concluded and the mine goes into operation, the companies predict that hundreds of construction and long-term jobs will be created as a result of the project. If successful, this initiative could provide a significant boost to the economy of Atikokan and the broader northwest.
As stated earlier, there is significant economic activity already occurring in Atikokan. This activity was further supported by our government with $150,000 from the northern Ontario heritage fund toward the Sawbill road project. This initiative provided workers with quicker and easier access to the mine properties, and our assistance leveraged significant investment from the companies themselves.
We continue to lay the foundations for further economic growth in Atikokan.