QUEEN’S PARK – NDP Northern Development and Mines Critic Michael Mantha says years of Liberal mismanagement of Northern resources are to blame for tonight’s announcement that Cliffs Natural Resources will be indefinitely suspending operations in the Ring of Fire.
“The decision by Cliffs Resources to halt operations in Northern Ontario demonstrates how the provincial government has no plan to develop and grow the mining sector,” said Mantha. “For years now all players from industry to First Nations to municipalities have spoken out on the need for a strategy on infrastructure, electricity prices, resource sharing and employment opportunities, yet the Liberals have dropped the ball.”
In a press release issued this evening, Cliffs Natural Resources said an “uncertain timeline” and “risks associated with the development of necessary infrastructure” motivated their decision to halt operations. The decision will result in job losses in Thunder Bay, Toronto, and at the exploration site.
“The recent announcement that the government would finally try to bring all players to the table was clearly a last minute attempt to appear to be on top of the file, when it’s clear the province was anything but,” said Mantha. “In addition to the jobs lost in the immediate future, the inability of this government to effectively manage the development of Northern resources has now jeopardized thousands of future jobs and billions of dollars in economic development.”
Mantha says the recent development, while upsetting, is not surprising to Northerners.
“The NDP has been calling out this Liberal government’s disregard for the North for years,” said Mantha. “While Premier Wynne is touring the province having ‘conversations’ about jobs, the Liberal’s inability to develop a real strategy for resource development and community consultation is jeopardizing the future of one of the largest mining opportunities in the history of Ontario.”
Media contact: Andrew Schwab, 416-325-2756