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But funding only available if Ottawa matches it.
The provincial government says it’s prepared to pump up to $1 billion into all-season access to the mineral-rich Ring of Fire deposit in Northern Ontario — provided Ottawa matches the funding.
Calling the $60 billion site Canada’s next great mining development, Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle announced Monday that the funding would go toward a much-needed transportation and power corridor to the remote site located in the James Bay lowlands.
“The Ring of Fire represents one of the most significant mineral regions in the province, and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America,” said Gravelle. He added that mine development will create thousands of jobs for generations to come and boost Northern Ontario’s struggling economy.
While a Toronto-based company poised to open a nickel mine in the Ring called the potential financing a “vital milestone” to development, critics called it part of the Liberal government’s pre-election spending spree that comes just days before the Ontario budget is announced.
“This commitment can provide the necessary funding for construction of a shared road and power corridor that will benefit remote First Nations communities and our Eagle’s Nest Mine, which will be the first mine developed in the Ring of Fire,” said Noront Resources Ltd. chief executive Alan Coutts.
But Parry Sound-Muskoka MPP Norm Miller, PC critic for northern development and mines, said it raises more questions than answers on how to tap into the mining region — particularly whether the government favours either an east-west road or the north-south route proposed by area mining companies.
And he pointed out the money won’t surface without a financial commitment from the federal government.
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