Province not giving up on Ring of Fire – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 21, 2013)

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

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said although Cliffs Natural Resources made its position clear Friday about its Ring of Fire project, he is encouraged the company “continues to be open to finding possible solutions and is looking at a number of options.

“From our perspective, we remain very committed to this project,” he said. ” The province recognizes the great opportunity we have with the Ring of Fire development and we are … very committed to seeing sound strategic development in the Ring of Fire.”

Gravelle said the province is making progress in moving development of the Ring of Fire forward. He cited negotiations led by former justice Frank Iocabucci and former Liberal leader Bob Rae as encouraging.

So was the announcement from Rae last week that the Matawa Council, comprised of nine First Nations near the Ring of Fire whom he represents, was withdrawing its application for a judicial review of the project.

That’s a positive step and there are others, including community readiness initiatives and other investments to ensure Northern communities benefit from developing the Ring of Fire.

The matter before the Mining and Lands Commission, an independent tribunal, is a dispute between two private- sector companies, said Gravelle.

While the tribunal ruled in KWG’s favour last week, it scolded both companies for not working co-operatively to develop the resource.

While Cliffs continues to weigh its options, Gravelle said he intends to “keep my nose to the grindstone” and keep working with companies to develop the Ring of Fire.

The province has made it clear it wants to work with the more than 30 companies with claims in the Ring of Fire, but it has to be do “the right way.

“I think that’s something certainly all of us agree on, the companies agree on that, the first nations agree on that, and certainly our government agrees on that,” said the minister.

Developing a significant resource in a remote part of Ontario never developed before is complex , said Gravelle.

“From the premier on down, we are committed to seeing this sound strategic development move forward, and we’re going to continue to work to put those pieces in place to see, hopefully, the potential reached for this project,” he said.

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