Ring of Fire: Feds, province need to work together on Ring: Gravelle – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 2, 2013)

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

Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle wants the federal and provincial governments to stop playing the blame game and get on with the serious work of developing the Ring of Fire chromite deposits.

The New Democrat mining critic will introduce a motion at today’s meeting of the all-party Natural Resources Committee to invite representatives of the Ontario government to attend the committee and speak about its concerns regarding the Ring of Fire.

He wants provincial officials to outline exactly what it is they want from the federal government to help move the $60-billion chromite project forward. Cliffs Natural Resources, one of the biggest players in the Ring of Fire, announced Nov. 20 that it was indefinitely suspending work on its chromite project.

It has invested $500 million planning and developing a chromite mine at McFaulds Lake, about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, as well as its plans for a ferrochrome processing plant near Capreol, in Gravelle’s riding.

Cliffs’ entire project was pegged at about $3.3 billion.

Since the announcement, the provincial and federal governments have been sniping at each other.

Three weeks ago, Ontario’s minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle, announced the creation of a development corporation, which would include participants from government, industry and first nations.

Its goal will be to address key challenges to developing the Ring of Fire, starting with the transportation corridor to move ore from the mines to the rail depot in Nakina.

The Ontario minister didn’t provide any details about how the development corporation would work. Cliffs officials say they will sit in on discussions with the corporation even though their project is side-lined.

Earlier this week, the federal government lead on the Ring of Fire, Kenora MP Greg Rickford, said he is waiting to meet with Michael Gravelle and find out more about the development corporation and the federal government’s role in it.

But Rickford said many of the issues that need to be addressed before progress can occur are provincial ones.

Claude Gravelle is hoping Conservatives and New Democrats on the Natural Resources Committee will support his motion, which may be debated publicly or in camera.

Conservatives comprise six of the 11 members on the committee so they will decide how Gravelle’s motion is handled.

The bottom line for Claude Gravelle is finding out what the province wants and needs to get things moving in the Ring of Fire.

But “the federal government can’t give them anything if they don’t know what they want,” he said.

For the original version of this article, click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/2013/12/01/feds-province-need-to-work-together-on-ring-gravelle


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