RoF development likely to get C$1bn boost as Wynne takes majority – Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – June 13, 2014)

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TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Infrastructure development in the prospective Ring of Fire (RoF) mining camp in Ontario’s far north is likely to get a C$1-billion boost after the Ontario Liberal Party took a majority win in provincial polls held on Thursday.

At the end of April, the then minority Liberal-lead provincial government announced a massive $1-billion set aside in its failed budget to develop strategic all-season industrial and community transportation infrastructure in the RoF.

Former 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”.

However, with no formal plan in place, how the money was to be spent remained unclear, and the private sector was backing opposing modes of transport to reach the undeveloped mine camp, and transport the minerals to market.

In their campaign platform, the Liberals have promised to establish a development corporation within 60 days of being re-elected.

Gravelle in November announced the creation of a development corporation; however, little progress had been made in establishing it when the legislature dissolved last month.

The provincial government and local First Nations had recently signed a regional framework agreement to develop the RoF.

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.

The Union of Ontario Indians (UOI) in a statement on Friday said that Wynns victory has the potential to benefit both citizens of Ontario and First Nations in the province. The UOI bills itself as the province’s oldest political organisation, tracing back its roots to 796 CE when the the ‘Confederation of Three Fires’ was established.

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