Feds coy on plan for Ring – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – February 20, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

It would be putting “the cart before the horse” to draw con-c lusions about how much money the federal government would spend to develop infrastructure for the Ring of Fire, or its dialogue with aboriginal people about the development, says Tony Clement.

The first order of business for the Treasury Board president, appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week to spearhead federal involvement in the massive project, is to listen, Clement told The Sudbury Star on Tuesday.

Clement, who is also the minister responsible for FedNor, spoke at lunch to the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, telling the business crowd the Ring of Fire “is no ordinary mine development.”

The chromite deposits, located in the James Bay Lowlands, have the potential to create 5,000 direct and indirect jobs, and be a source of revenue for Northern Ontario and beyond for decades, said Clement.

Cliffs Natural Resources, one of the companies seeking to open a mine in the Ring of Fire, wants to build a chromite smelter in Capreol, creating up to 500 jobs in the Sudbury area. Next to the Alberta tar sands, the Ring of Fire chromite deposits represent the largest natural resource project in Canada. 

Harper recognized the need for a “whole government approach,” said Clement in a telephone inter view from Thunder Bay, because of the number of regulatory and policy departments and bodies that impact on the Ring of Fire.

Among them are Aboriginal Affairs, Industry Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Finance Canada, Health Canada and FedNor.

“It really did require a holistic … approach to making sure we can remove any barriers and arrive at collaborative solutions,” said Clement.

When asked if the federal government was prepared to invest in infrastructure for the development, Clement said it was too soon to say because there are “many different dimensions to this issue from a federal perspective.”

That includes “continuing dialogue” with First Nations leaders, some of whom he was to meet Tuesday and Wednesday in the northwest.

“I think it’s important we recognize many stakeholders have roles in the Ring of Fire,” including all three levels of government, said Clement.

As FedNor minister, Clement said he is up to speed on issues relating to the Ring of Fire.

For the rest of this article, please go to the Sudbury Star website: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/02/19/feds-to-take-greater-ring-of-fire-role-clement