THUNDER BAY – “The decision to locate the ferrochrome processor in Sudbury represents a loss of 450 future jobs in Northwestern Ontario,” said Ron Nelson, Northern Ontario Municipal Association President and Mayor of O’Connor Township. “We are disappointed that we were not successful in our efforts to locate the processor in Northwestern Ontario. However, we must not lose sight of the positive news that the Cliff’s project is moving forward to the next phase”.
NOMA states, “The announcement that Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is advancing its proposed chromite project in the Ring of Fire from pre-feasibility to the feasibility study phase is a step forward. However, the decision to locate the ferrochrome processing facility near Sudbury is a disappointment to NOMA’s 37 municipalities who were supportive of the Greenstone location”.
“The Province could have used this opportunity to announce a win-win for both Northeastern and Northwestern Ontario and unfortunately, that didn’t happen. The absence of any specific provincial economic development plans including a demonstrated commitment to infrastructure funding is very concerning. The need for strategic leadership by the Province comes at a critical time in the development of the Ring of Fire when the support of all Northwestern Ontario communities, most importantly Aboriginal communities, is absolutely needed,” added Nelson.
Preliminary estimates indicate the creation of 450 jobs at the mine site and an additional 300 jobs through construction and operation of an all-season road. “It is essential that training and recruitment in the region is a priority to ensure that local communities maximize the benefit from this local resource,” stated Nelson.
“The decision on the north-south corridor for an all-season road will have a positive economic impact on Greenstone and the surrounding area; however, it could also have significant negative impacts on the municipalities of Pickle Lake, Ignace and Sioux Lookout by re-routing supply lines to the Far North. The government must work with these communities and others to ensure that they are not disadvantaged by the north-south decision.”
Nelson continued, “NOMA will persist in our advocacy efforts to ensure that Northwestern Ontario receives the highest possible benefit from mining developments across the region and to provide guidance on the vital transportation and electrical generation and transmission infrastructure investments that are needed to facilitate the full realization of these opportunities. We have provided valuable direction in past that has not been acted on and benefits have been lost. It is imperative that both municipal and First Nation communities are engaged in meaningful consultation at each stage of development.”