COMMENT: KWG wades into Ontario election – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – June 2, 2014)

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

We have many times in the past seen the mining industry’s efforts to sway public opinion. Usually this has to do with improving the industry’s image; attempting to make city dwellers aware of how much mining contributes to this country’s economy and how modern technology makes this a much more eco-friendly and safe endeavour.

Trying to get the general public to raise its opinion of the mineral industry and its needs has proven frustrating. It seems the city folks just can’t understand how much mining contributes to their lifestyle.

Now Toronto-based KWG Resources is wading into the Ontario election scheduled for June 12. The company has advanced exploration projects – the Big Daddy chromite deposit, the Koper Lake nickel-copper project and the Black Horse nickel-copper deposit – in the Ring of Fire that it would like to develop to the benefit of its shareholders and the region around those properties.

KWG has long advocated for a railway into the region that could ship not only its concentrates but also those from other nearby projects. These include the Eagle’s Nest copper-nickel-PGM and the McFaulds Lake nickel-copper property belonging to Noront Resources and the Black Thor and Black Label deposits belonging to Cliffs Natural Resources.

Billions of dollars will be needed to fund development, but new mines could contribute billions and billions into local, provincial and federal coffers. No one company can shoulder the cost, and KWG has secured the pledge of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to support development with $1 billion in infrastructure. The company is actively seeking similar support from the Canadian government.

Now KWG is launching a social media campaign to bring it proposed Ring of Fire development to the candidates and Ontario electorate. The effort includes a targeted search engine, an online petition, links to online databases of Ontario candidates by riding, and social media sharing tools. The company hopes its campaign goes viral.

President and CEO Frank Smeenk said in a recent release, “The Ring of Fire is an economically and socially transformative project that will benefit every citizen and community of Ontario, especially in the north, as well as all Canadians, for many generations. KWG Resources is happy to take a leadership role that helps end the political gridlock by proposing real and achievable solutions. I encourage all Ring of Fire supporters to participate in this process by having your voices heard and helping spread the message to every corner of this country. Together, we will get the Ring of Fire going.”

KWG’s plan features the creation of a Northland Development Corporation using the existing Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) that operates the Ontario Northland Railroad. New mines would be a welcome source of heavy freight for decades to come. The company suggests that the ONTC could be governed by residents of Northern Ontario, raise financing via capital markets, and add to the number of communities the railway serves. First Nations and northern communities will benefit, and their inclusion also would strengthen the commission’s social licence to operate. There are thousands of jobs to be created if the mines go forward. Development would occur with the discipline of the capital markets rather then via the public purse.

To this writer, the plan makes a great deal of sense. Perhaps our readers will weigh in on one or the other side of the debate. But time is limited. The Ontario election is less than two weeks away.

Click here to sign the KWG Resources petition at for presentation to the next government.

Call or e-mail your local candidate. The list is here.

For the original KWG news release, click here: