[Ring of Fire] Minister marks mining week at TSX – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – May 15, 2015)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Anyone who says the federal government isn’t doing anything to advance development of the Ring of Fire hasn’t been paying attention, says Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford.

Rickford initiated the siren at the opening of business Thursday at the Toronto Stock Exchange to mark National Mining Week, a celebration of Canada’s leadership and expertise in the industry.

The minister hand-picked a who’s who of “movers and shakers” from Northern Ontario to accompany him at the ceremony and they met in a round-table session afterward to discuss mining in the Ring of Fire

Among those invited were Frank Smeenk, president and chief executive officer of KWG Resources, and Alan Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources. Noront recently purchased the assets of Cliffs Natural Resources in the Ring of Fire, making it the biggest player in the Ring.

Rickford took the opportunity when addressing the stock exchange to list the ways in which the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been working to get ready for mining the rich chromite deposits in the James Bay lowlands.

In an interview, Rickford lashed out at critics, especially Opposition New Democrats, for accusing his government of being disinterested in what’s being touted as the mining project of the century.

Whether it’s sanctioning flow-through shares that offer an incentive for financing exploration or having mining royalties that are profit-based, meaning you don’t pay if you don’t make money, the Harper government has had mining’s back, Rickford said.

His government proved its commitment to mining in its recent budget by extending the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for another year and expanding the definition of Canadian Exploration Expenses to include costs associated with environmental studies and community consultations.

“Together, these low-tax measures will help companies raise much-needed financing, boost exploration and create jobs,” Rickford told an audience at the TSX.

Rickford, who is also minister of the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, said the theme of mining week this year is “Innovation in Canada’s Mineral Development Model.”

“In today’s world, innovation is the price of admission, the prerequisite for success,” said Rickford.

That’s why the Conservatives’ Economic Action Plan 2015 pledged $23 million over five years for the technology required to develop rare earth elements and chromite.

“This will be critical as the Ring of Fire moves forward,” he said.

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