QUEEN’S PARK – POLITICS – There was a fiery exchange in Question Period in Queen’s Park between Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown and Thunder Bay Superior North MPP and Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle today. The PC Leader is demanding action on the Ring of Fire mining project that Brown states is stalled after eight long years.
There have been reports, in the Financial Post that Noront Resources is frustrated over progress on the mining project.
Minister Gravelle stated “As a government, we remain absolutely committed to the project. We have got our commitment of $1 billion locked in, thanks to the Minister of Finance for the transportation infrastructure corridor. We are looking forward to having an opportunity to have a discussion with the new federal government to engage in the process that was not very successful in the past with the previous government.
“We are engaged in a regional framework discussion with Matawa First Nations, and we have set up a development corporation to move that forward. So we are indeed making very positive progress.”
The Minister was also under fire from the New Democrats.
Ontario NDP MPP Michael Mantha called on the Minister of Northern Development and Mines during Question Period this morning to address the lack of progress and leadership on the Ring of Fire mining project in Northern Ontario.
“Minister, we attended Meet the Miners Day and you boasted your government’s commitment to mining in Ontario. Last year, mining giant Cliffs, who 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.”
“Minister, how can you still sit there and watch as the remaining few companies threaten to leave taking good jobs with them?” Mantha asked.
Noront Resources is one of the few remaining mining companies operating in the Ring of Fire. According to inside sources, the Ontario mining company is expected to halt spending by the end of year, costing enormous job losses if the Liberal government doesn’t make progress with infrastructure and First Nations agreements.
Mantha called on the Minister to take immediate action and commit to investing in the Ring of Fire.
“Noront is expected to halt spending by year’s end if it doesn’t see any progress, causing to lay off most all of their workers. You had eight years, Minister. You failed to come up with a plan that will create good jobs, build infrastructure, reduce the high price of electricity and work with First Nations. Minister, will your government take action now before Noront’s investors bail and you are responsible for killing a 60 billion dollar project?” Mantha asked.
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