Michael Gravelle is Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North.
There has been much discussion about the Ring of Fire development project in Ontario’s Far North. Our Liberal government remains committed to seeing smart, sustainable and collaborative development move forward in the Ring of Fire. Indeed, it’s an exciting opportunity; an incredible mineral deposit that includes one of the largest chromite deposits in the world, as well as generous deposits of nickel, copper and platinum. Certainly, the value of the mineral deposit in the Ring of Fire and the attractiveness of a strong business climate in Ontario is a winning combination.
This has not changed. There continues to be tremendous opportunity in the Ring of Fire. Development in the region has the potential to create thousands of jobs and significantly strengthen the economy of this province, and, in fact, the entire country, for years to come.
The province continues to work diligently to ensure we are ready to support this development and remain firmly committed to working with any and all interested parties to develop the region. Development in the region has always been about more than one company. Currently there are 27 companies and individuals holding approximately 12,850 active mining claims in the region and we remain committed to working with all our key partners.
This does include Cliffs. While they have made a business decision to stop allocating capital for the time being, they have made it very clear that they will continue to work with the province and certainly that they would like to participate in the development corporation.
There is no question that infrastructure is integral to development — we have heard this from key partners, and we agree. That is why our government will drive infrastructure development in the region through the establishment of the development corporation. But we cannot do it alone. The Ring of Fire is in a remote part of the province that has never seen development before. The necessary investments require collaboration from all potential partners: all levels of government, the private sector and First Nations communities.
We are laying the necessary groundwork by making strategic investments that will maximize benefits to the region. We have a historic community-driven process with the Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council; we have made key investments in northern communities to ensure they are ready to fully participate in the benefits of this development; and we have established the development corporation to construct, finance and maintain access to strategic resources in the Ring of Fire. This is the work that will drive successful development in the region and this is the work that our government is doing now. We must get it right and are determined to get it done.