The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
The discovery of the Ring of Fire was like “winning the lottery,” and the province needs to treat it like so, a city councillor said Tuesday evening.
“The Ring of Fire is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Ron Dupuis. “The only way we’re going to get this going is to keep pressure on the people in Toronto and to make sure they understand how vital it is to us.”
Dupuis’ comments came following a motion introduced by Mayor Marianne Matichuk that calls on the province to make the chromite-rich deposit a priority for the government.
“This motion is not designed to favour one company over another or to wade into legal dispute,” the mayor said. “It’s about partners working together so legal intervention is not needed. “The province must work with all stakeholders … the Ring of Fire is critical to the economic future of all of Ontario.”
The Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner last month dismissed an application by Cliffs Natural Resources for an easement over mining claims staked in the Ring by KWG Resources Ltd.
Cliffs made the request to the mining commissioner for exclusive rights to an area from the Ring of Fire to Nakina, a town approximately 260 kilometres from Thunder Bay. KWG, as well as a number of smaller mining companies, have staked claims in parts of that region.
Cliffs wants the land to build a road to truck ore out of the region, while KWG insists a rail line is the best option.
The company stopped work last June on their Ring project, which would include a chromite smelter in Capreol, saying it had done all it could on the file without the government stepping in.
Matichuk, who consulted with the other Northern Ontario mayors on her motion, said the province has consistently taken a lead on transportation-related matters in southern Ontario, citing Metrolinx, a crown agency that deals with public transportation in the GTA, as an example.
“The North is not a second-class citizen to the south,” said Matichuk. “(The government must) play the same leadership role in Northern Ontario it regularly plays in southern Ontario.”
“We are going to have crumbs compared to what the province is going to get,” Dupuis added. “It’s very important, it’s something that is desperately needed. We can’t just let it sit there.
“We have to make sure that all the Northern Ontario municipalities you (Matichuk) confer with … are made aware of this motion and they too pass one, so collectively we have a stronger voice and will be better heard if we’re all shouting the same thing.”
Council’s motion will be sent to Premier Kathleen Wynne; Michael Gravelle, the minister of northern development and mines; Tim Hudak; Andrea Horwath and Northern Ontario’s MPPs.
For the original version of this article, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/10/29/city-calls-on-province-to-make-ring-a-priority