Timing not right for Ring of Fire project: Tony Clement – by Len Gillis (Kingston Whig-Standard – March 17, 2015)


TIMMINS, Ont. — The federal and provincial governments are not likely to make any significant moves on the Ring of Fire mining project until there is a vast improvement in mineral markets, says federal Treasury Board president Tony Clement.

The guest speaker at a Timmins Chamber of Commerce luncheon Monday, Clement responded to a question about the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Ring of Fire report card, which gave failing grades to both levels of governments for not being proactive enough to get mining projects up and running.

The report card blamed red tape in the mine permitting process, as well as a failure to provide infrastructure, such as better road or rail links. “There has been little progress developing this extraordinary economic opportunity,” it read.

The Ring of Fire project is a mining development about 600 kilometres northwest of Timmins, in the remote McFaulds Lake area. The prospect is identified mainly as a chromite project, valued in the tens of billions of dollars.

There are huge deposits of other metals there, too, but so far none of the three significant mining companies involved has moved forward with any sort of mining operation.

The major players in the region are Canadian companies Noront Resources and KWG Resources , and U.S. company Cliff’s Natural Resources .

Cliff’s is in the process of trying to sell off its prospect, while Noront and KWG continue to plan for the day when they can begin development work.

Clement said it is not realistic to expect government to step in and boost the Ring of Fire at this time.

“There are two things that have to happen before the Ring of Fire can take off,” Clement said.

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