THUNDER BAY _ Leader’s Ledger – The Ring of Fire is a mining deposit in Ontario’s Far North. It holds decades worth of chromite (which is used in making stainless steel) along with nickel reserves that rival that of the Sudbury basin. The opportunities for our province, our region, and our riding are countless. After my trip there last summer, I vowed during last fall’s election campaign to lead a sales mission there, so our local companies could understand what’s there, what’s needed, and how they can capitalize on it.
This month, that promise was fulfilled as six regional mining representatives joined myself and Paul Semple from Noront Resources, one of the key players in the Ring of Fire, for a one-day fact-finding mission.
With 70 mining and manufacturing companies in Nipissing, this is exactly the opportunity our community has been waiting for. But with the opportunity comes challenges, some of which simply aren’t being met by the current Liberal government.
There are no roads or rail lines to the area, no electricity, and no reliable network communications.
Everything needed at Noront’s base camp must be flown in. But as of today, no firm decisions have been made between the First Nations, the government and the mining principals over whether a road or rail link should be built. There’s a lot of talk, but no action committed to by Dalton McGuinty.
These discussions should be much further down the road than they are by now. In January, the government-appointed Ring of Fire coordinator admitted to me that she had never stepped foot on the site – she’d been on the job for 18 months. In a province where 600,000 people remain out of work and such great economic potential awaiting, we can’t afford a government that appears to be paralyzed by either complexity or bureaucracy. The PC caucus is committed to making the Ring of Fire a job-creating reality. The time to act is now.