Ontario offers $1bn to develop RoF infrastructure, looks to feds to match – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – April 28, 2014)

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TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The provincial government of Ontario on Monday announced a massive $1-billion set aside in its new budget, which would be announced on Thursday, to develop strategic all-season industrial and community transportation infrastructure in the Ring of Fire (RoF), in Northern Ontario.

In making the webcast announcement in Thunder Bay, provincial Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle beseeched the federal government to match its contribution and throw its weight behind the development of what had been billed as a “project of national significance”.

“Our government is committed to making a significant investment to fund transportation infrastructure development in the RoF. We have made important progress over the past few months to bring partners and divergent interests together. Now we need the federal government to match this commitment so that we can move forward on realising the RoF’s potential and making important advancements on regional, environmental, and economic developments,” Gravelle said.

The Ontario provincial government and local First Nations last week Thursday celebrated the recent signing of a regional framework agreement to develop the RoF, a mineral-rich area in the northern muskeg-wastelands of Ontario.

The agreement was hailed as a first step in the historic, community-based negotiation process that would aim to bring together the nine First Nations and Ontario to discuss and negotiate an approach for development in the First Nations’ traditional territories. The process would help ensure that First Nations participate in, and benefit from, RoF developments.

Ontario is currently facilitating the creation of a development corporation to accelerate strategic infrastructure development in the region.

The corporation would bring together key mining companies, First Nations, and the provincial and federal governments to develop, construct, finance, operate and maintain infrastructure supporting access to strategic resources in the area. Gravelle labelled the RoF as a multigenerational economic opportunity for the province and country, with known mineral potential worth around $60-billion, which represented one of the largest deposits of chromite ever discovered in North America. The region also holds the potential for significant production of nickel, copper, gold and platinum.

The RoF is expected to create thousands of jobs and enhance the economic prosperity of Ontario and Canada.

“As a Northerner, I’m excited by the opportunity that the RoF brings to our communities and our province. We know the region is rich with mineral deposits and represents a multi-generational economic development opportunity.

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