August 28, 2014 11:10 A.M.
Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Ontario has taken another step to drive progress in the Ring of Fire region, delivering on its July 3, 2014 commitment to establish a development corporation within 60 days.
With headquarters to be located in Thunder Bay, the ROF Infrastructure Development Corporation will work to bring First Nations and the public and private sectors together to create partnerships and facilitate investment decisions in strategic transportation infrastructure.
The not-for-profit corporation has an interim board of four Ontario public servants. The board will put the necessary structures in place in order to allow for partners to determine their participation in the corporation. This includes working with key partners including First Nations, industry, communities, and the federal government, to formalize partnerships through the corporation, and overseeing an economic and technical baseline feasibility report on transportation infrastructure.
As participation in the corporation evolves, the Board of Directors will be broadened to include membership from First Nations and industry partners. In its mature state, the corporation will be in a position to advise on crucial infrastructure investment decisions, including how to best utilize Ontario’s $1 billion dollar commitment to Ring of Fire infrastructure.
Investing in the development of the Ring of Fire is part of Ontario’s economic plan to invest in people, build modern infrastructure and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.
The Ring of Fire, located approximately 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, has mineral potential believed to be worth $60 billion dollars and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. Chromite is a key ingredient in stainless steel. The area also holds the potential for significant production of nickel, copper and platinum.
In the 2014 Budget, Ontario committed up to $1 billion towards Ring of Fire infrastructure development. This would help the ROF Infrastructure Development Corporation to secure the necessary infrastructure investments, estimated to be over $2 billion.
Development in the Ring of Fire is subject to all necessary environmental assessment and regulatory processes, and fulfillment of the Crown’s duty to consult.
The province is continuing discussions with the Matawa-member First Nations through a regional framework agreement that helps to ensure these First Nations communities actively participate in, and benefit from, Ring of Fire developments.
Investment in infrastructure is critical to unlocking the full economic potential of the Ring of Fire, including job creation and value-added opportunities such as mineral processing and an expanded supply and services sector.
“The development corporation is a vital step towards building the much-needed infrastructure that is critical to realizing the full potential of the Ring of Fire. It is a key building block to achieving our mutual goals of unlocking regional economic growth and benefitting from value-added opportunities like mineral processing and job creation. I have confidence that this team will guide us through this initial, and necessary phase of the ROF Infrastructure Development Corporation, and I am encouraged by the work that is already underway to bring together First Nations, key industry players, communities and the federal government as partners. Together we can find the best ways to move forward so we can all tap into the extraordinary potential of the Ring of Fire.”
Minister of Northern Development and Mines