New Ring of Fire report card gives Ottawa failing grade, urges immediate action – by Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – March 10, 2015)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Exclusive: Ontario is still years away from building mines rich in chromite and other metals due to government stalling and red tape, yet there is a strong business case for moving ahead, says Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral belt is years away from being built despite an expected turnaround in metal prices and First Nations’ dire need for development of the far north, says the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

“Despite its significant potential, we are no closer today than we were a year ago to realizing the benefits of the Ring of Fire,” says the new one-year report card obtained by The Star.

“After a year of delays, public and expert perception on the viability of the Ring of Fire as a sound economic investment has soured,” it says.

The site, 400 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, Ont., is estimated to have $60 billion of mineral value including base metals, platinum and palladium, along with North America’s largest deposit of chromite, which is used to make stainless steel.

The deposit is considered significant enough to sustain activity for a century.

Spread over 5,120 square kilometers, the area is expected to generate nearly $2 billion in tax revenues and up to 5,500 full-time jobs in the first 10 years of mining activity.

“There is still no infrastructure plan in place, there remains little agreement between the most important players, and delays in issuing exploration permits have stalled any potential development,” says the Chamber’s chief executive Allan O’Dette.

Toronto-based Noront Resources Ltd. is the closest to developing its Eagle’s Nest deposit of high-grade nickel, copper, platinum and palladium after U.S.-based Cliffs Natural Resources abandoned plans for a massive chromite mine in 2013.

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