THUNDER BAY – Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund (NADF) is calling upon the Ontario government to find a solution to the high power rates that might deter the construction of Cliffs Natural Resources’ Ferrochrome Production Facility in northern Ontario. “Several Aboriginal businesses will benefit from the development of this facility, and if not, we stand to miss out on many opportunities”, stated Harvey Yesno, the President/CEO of NADF. “The Province of Ontario needs to be more visible and aggressive in tackling the power rate issue that is threatening the viability of a production facility in northern Ontario because any final decision to locate the Ferrochrome Production Facility outside of the province negatively impacts Aboriginal business in the region”.
This claim was issued in response to Cliffs’ revelation on Friday, February 4, 2011 during its conference call with the media that while Sudbury had been identified as a ‘base-case’ location for its Ferrochrome Production Facility (FPF), other municipalities within and outside Ontario were not beyond approach and possible selection as a location for its FPF.
The real issue, according to NADF is one faced daily by First Nations communities across the North. Citing the technical issues regarding the lack of electricity in the northwest part of the province, Mr. Yesno said, “Many people now understand what our remote communities are facing on a regular basis when we can’t develop economically because of the chronic lack of electricity. For example, we don’t have sufficient power to expand a motel, never mind a 300 megawatt processing facility. However, NADF has conducted several comprehensive studies to try and move the yard sticks involved in electricity transmission and the development of renewable energy projects in the north”.
Yesno added, “The availability of power in northern Ontario generally speaking, is a major issue when it comes to the provision of essential services in remote locations and big industrial development except for the north east. We welcome a more proactive role by the provincial government on this issue now, because there is too much at stake”.
Yesno also went on record to say, “NADF is supportive of Cliffs’ initiative to bring development to northern Ontario and views this project as a strong positive step in generating wealth in northern Ontario. NADF also encourages Cliffs to communicate closely with the impacted First Nations and to resolve any outstanding agreements as soon as possible before they move too far ahead”.