Gravelle seeks Ring of Fire support from feds – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – December 6, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – The province wants Ottawa to share the cost of installing transportation infrastructure within the Ring of Fire.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, who was in Timmins on Thursday along with Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti, outlined why the province feels the federal government should contribute to the project.

“We are talking about a major resource development, $60 billion in mineral potential, in a part of the province that has never seen development before,” said Gravelle.

“In terms of economic development, and opportunity for job creation, the Ring of Fire project is certainly on a scale that more than warrants the federal government’s matching funds. I’d like to think that is the direction we will be going in.” Both Gravelle and Orazietti were speaking at a Timmins Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the Porcupine Dante Club.

In the meantime, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Ottawa on Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the federal government’s involvement in the Ring of Fire.

Wynne is scheduled to be in Timmins Friday for a cabinet meeting here with Northern leaders.

“It’s the infrastructure piece that indeed we absolutely call upon the federal government to match the funds we are prepared to make,” said Gravelle. “We are prepared to make a very significant investment in infrastructure and we think it’s absolutely more than fair game to ask the federal government to do the same.”

Wynne’s meeting with Harper comes on the heels of the recent announcement by American mining firm Cliffs Natural Resources that it was putting its plans within the region on hold, citing lack of progress on building the infrastructure needed to get this project underway.

Gravelle noted that just Cliffs is one of several companies that have an active interest within the Ring of Fire and that they haven’t fully abandoned the idea of establishing a chromite mine.

“The companies that are involved in the project remain very positive. We’ve had very positive conversations very recently with Noront Resources. Last week, I had conversations with Cliffs. They are still interested in being part of the development corporation and they have made it clear to me how keen they are to continue having that conversation.”

Both provincial ministers took a turn at the podium Thursday to discuss various issues relating to their respective portfolios

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