THUNDER BAY – Speaking to the Port Arthur Rotary Club on Tueday, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry Michael Gravelle stated, “As well, changes to electricity pricing for large industrial users will also help to create a competitive framework for investment, including changes to the global adjustment for large electricity users and Ontario’s Northern Industrial Energy Rebate program.
“I can assure you that we will continue working diligently to ensure that Ontario benefits from value-added opportunities such as ferrochrome processing and a wide range of opportunities in the supply and services sector. The Ring of Fire is a tremendous economic opportunity for our province, and I want to make this opportunity a reality”.
The comments from Gravelle offer hope that the chromite potential of the “Ring of Fire” will not simply be the extraction of minerals from our region, but holds the promise that secondary or even tertiary processing of the minerals could happen in the province.
That is one of the keys required to ensure that in terms of jobs, and full economic benefit for Ontario are realized. The task before Minister Gravelle will be the opportunity to put the Thunder Bay region’s economy on a century long solid footing.
Across the western region of Ontario, from Wawa to the Ontario Manitoba border, our economy needs a solid base. That base should be more than just as a source of raw materials for extraction here, and processing elsewhere.
For Minister Gravelle, right now he has the opportunity to ensure that the Thunder Bay region has that possibility. For all of us here looking to make your futures, and our lives in the region, we should all be insisting that Gravelle’s efforts be supported.
The only fly in the ointment for Gravelle will come this fall. The McGuinty Government’s standings in the polls suggest that by October a new government may be in place in Ontario.
That means the impetus for Gravelle right now must be making sure that Thunder Bay region is positioned to be the focal point for the Ring of Fire.
That way, no matter who wins in October, our region will be in the right position at the right time.