Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle came under fire in the provincial legislature Thursday for inaction at the Ring of Fire, with the NDP charging that the Liberals are on track to kill a $60-billion mining project.
The questioning followed a report earlier this week from the Financial Post that Noront Resources Ltd. warned the province that it will stop work unless they can show some progress has been made on First Nations agreements and infrastructure for the remote mining development.
The company has spent millions on the Eagle’s Nest project in the Ring of Fire but work and spending could stop by end of December if progress isn’t made.
“Minister, we attended Meet the Miners Day and you boasted of your government’s commitment to mining in Ontario. Last year, mining giant Cliffs, which spent $550 million in the Ring of Fire, said they can no longer do business with this Liberal government and sold their claims at a massive loss to Noront for $20 million,” charged Algoma-Manitoulin NDP MPP Michael Mantha.
“Minister, how can you still sit there and watch as the remaining few companies threaten to leave, taking good jobs with them?” Mantha asked.
He called on Gravelle to take immediate action and commit to investing in the Ring of Fire.
“It’s been eight years since the Ring of Fire was discovered. It’s been five years since the government created the Ring of Fire Secretariat and we’ve yet to see a shovel in the ground,” said PC Leader Patrick Brown. “In fact, this government can’t even commit to a start date for development.
“Platitudes and photo-ops don’t get shovels in the ground. They don’t get people working. Only a firm timeline for construction of a transportation corridor in the Ring of Fire will give investors the confidence they need.”
Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli added fuel to the fire under Gravelle presenting evidence that the government is considering a chromite tax.
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