Stop pointing fingers over Cliffs: Matichuk – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – November 27, 2013)

Urges major players to co-operate to get Ring of Fire back on track

Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk says she’s hoping for some announcements soon from the provincial government that will help get the stalled Ring of Fire project back on track.

Matichuk said Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne called her Tuesday afternoon to tell her the province is doing everything it can to deal with the problems delaying the $60-billion project.

“I’ve been assured that they are working on that right now, and we’ll be hearing announcements from the government soon,” Matichuk said at Tuesday’s city council meeting. “I’ve also been assured by Premier Wynne that she will keep our city informed about the progress.

“I told her everybody needs to basically stop pointing fingers, shake hands and start making deals because we need to get this done.”

Last week, Cliffs Natural Resources announced it was indefinitely suspending work on its massive chromite discovery in remote northwestern Ontario. Cliffs’ plans to build a $1.8-billion chromite refinery near Capreol are also on hold.

The development has been plagued with a number of problems, including a low commodity price for chromite, but a recent mining commission ruling was a major setback. The ruling denied the company an easement on land owned by another mining company to build a transportation corridor out of the Black Thor site.

Matichuk said she has been on the phone with the players involved with the Ring of Fire, including Wynne, Cliffs and Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.

“Our objective is to keep the discussion going rather than pointing fingers,” she said. “I want stakeholders to start shaking hands and making deals and finding ways to bring the massive Ring of Fire project forward.

“While the scope of our influence is limited … the public can rest assured that we will do everything in our power to get this resolved sooner, rather than later.”
She declined to fire back at Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs, who said last week that the decision by Cliffs means his city is again in the running to host the chromite refinery.

“I’m not going to make any comment on that tonight,” Matichuk said. “I will say that Cliffs’ base case is Sudbury, and it’s always been Sudbury.”

“I, along with this council and city staff, have worked hard to make Cliffs feel at home in this city … The city has done everything possible. It’s now in the province’s and the fed’s hands. We need them to get together.”

She said she will give the public updates when she knows more, and promised to “keep everybody’s feet to the fire.”

“We want to make sure this does not fall off the rails, so to speak,” Matichuk said. “We want to be informed, and we want to know if there are any opportunities for us to expedite this.”

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