National chamber bullish on ‘Ring’- by Laura Stricker (Sudbury Star – March 8, 2013)

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

The Ring of Fire could mean for Northern Ontario what potash does for Saskatchewan, and the oil sands do for Alberta, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce says.

“There are enormous opportunities. And if you look at Northern Ontario, for so long they’ve really been treated as second-class citizens in Ontario, with all of the focus being on the south. When you look now at the opportunity there is in the north, it’s just spectacular,” said Perrin Beatty, who spoke to QMI Agency during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto this week.

Located in the James Bay Lowlands, the Ring of Fire is a mineral-rich area in Northern Ontario, which, according to the Ministry of Northern Developments and Mines, is “one of the most promising mineral development opportunities in Ontario in almost a century.”

It has the largest amount of chromite — used to make stainless steel — ever found in North America. Cliffs Natural Resources is in the midst of developing a chromite mine in the Ring, and is in the early stages of the environmental assessment (EA) process. EAs are required for large or complex projects with the possibility of having significant effects on the environment.

Last year, Cliffs selected the Moose Mountain site north of Capreol as the location for its ferrochrome smelter. The smelter will create as many as 500 jobs locally.

The company’s plan currently calls for diesel power to be used, but the lands and resources director for Bingwi Neyaashi Anishinaabek hopes it will consider other, cleaner power possibilities.

“Bingwi Neyaashi, along with four other Lake Nipigon First Nations have been working cooperatively with Ontario Power Generation for the last four years on the environmental assessment for a 78-megawatt facility on the north end of the Little Jackfish River on Lake Nipigon,” said Jordan Halton. “It’s an excellent project. The communities have yet to ratify it, and so it’s not a deal yet, but it’s moving along very well, and it’s created a whole bunch of opportunities for the First Nation.

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