Province pledges $1 billion for Ring of Fire – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – April 29, 2014)

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

The Government of Ontario is ready to come to the table with up to $1 billion for industrial and community transportation infrastructure for the Ring of Fire, and it wants the federal government to do the same for a project it says is of national significance.

But the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne is committed to the $60-billion, multi-generation mining project whether its federal counterpart gets involved or not, says Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.

Gravelle called development of the chromite deposits 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay the next great mining development in Canada, at a news conference in Thunder Bay on Monday morning.

Once tapped, the Ring of Fire will create thousands of jobs and make an enormous difference in the social fabric of the people of that area of the province, he said.

The provincial investment in the Ring of Fire, announced three days before the Liberals deliver their spring budget, is “absolutely a commitment we expect to be matched by the federal government,” Gravelle said in his home riding.

Among those attending were chiefs of some of the nine first nations of the Matawa Tribal Council, who recently signed a regional framework agreement with the province about how they will work together as the Ring of Fire is developed.

Representatives from two companies with major claims in the Ring of Fire — Cliffs Natural Resources and Noront Resources — were also in attendance.

Gravelle said he had spoken with Kenora MP Greg Rickford, federal lead on the Ring of Fire, and told him about Monday’s provincial announcement.

Rickford has consistently said his government is prepared to invest in developing the Ring of Fire through its Building Canada Fund, a fund to finance infrastructure projects.

But both Sault Ste. Marie MPP David Orizietti and Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP Bill Mauro called on the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper to provide stand-alone funding for the Ring of Fire.

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