The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Premier Dalton McGuinty has said its development will play a
key role in the province’s recovery from the loss of hundreds
of thousands of manufacturing jobs during the recession. And
mining commentator Stan Sudol says the Ring of Fire has the
potential to end poverty among isolated First Nations bands
within a generation, if it’s managed properly. (Sudbury Star
Managing Editor Brian MacLeod – Oct/22/2011)
Thursday’s cabinet appointments by the Liberal government worked out as well as could be expected for Northern Ontario.
Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci returns to Northern Development and Mines, where he was minister from 2003-07. And Thunder Bay’s Michael Gravelle moves from MNDM to Natural Resources, which also takes over forestry. He replaces Brampton-Springdale MPP Linda Jeffrey.
Stan Beardy, Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, and Thunder Bay’s chamber of commerce welcomed Gravelle’s appointment, saying he is familiar with the issues affecting the distressed forestry sector.
As for Bartolucci, he will be instrumental in shepherding the development of the eight new mines he says will open during the next 10 years in Ontario. He will also be involved in how the Ring of Fire chromite deposit west of Thunder Bay is developed. The 5,000-sq-km region is said to contain about $30 billion in mineral value. Premier Dalton McGuinty has said its development will play a key role in the province’s recovery from the loss of hundreds of thousands of manufacturing jobs during the recession. And mining commentator Stan Sudol says the Ring of Fire has the potential to end poverty among isolated First Nations bands within a generation, if it’s managed properly.
Sudbury has a direct interest, since a site near Capreol is in the running for a processing plant now under consideration by Cliffs Natural Resources, which has a major holding in the Ring of Fire. The plant could bring as many as 500 jobs to the area.
How sensitive are the issues surrounding the Ring of Fire? Environmentalists say mining firms are engaged in a “wild west” style staking race that will ravage the land and First Nations groups are balking, saying they haven’t been consulted. There have already been blockades at ice-landing strips.
Nickel Belt New Democrat MPP France Gelinas lamented Bartolucci’s appointment, saying he will no longer be able to advocate for Sudbury because he must be neutral in the battle between Northern communities to lure Cliffs’ investment. She preferred Gravelle as head of the NMDM. But would he have advocated for Sudbury over other locations? And if they had switched jobs, the Natural Resources minister would likely be in the same position.
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