The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has been ineffective in getting the Ring of Fire developed and shows no plans to do so the province’s Auditor General says.
In her annual report, presented Wednesday, Bonnie Lysyk said the province lacks timelines or plans for the estimated $60 billion development, the Ring of Fire secretariat has missed deadlines and had no performance measures in place.
The secretariat has 19 full-time staff and has incurred $13.2 million in operating costs so far since it opened in 2010. It’s spent another $15.8 million for capacity building for First Nations.
“However, there are no performance measures to gauge and report on the effectiveness of the activities it has undertaken to facilitate development in the region,” the report says.
As for the province’s regional framework agreement with Matawa Tribal Council, which has cost $6.9 million since March 2013, the report says while negotiations are in the second phase, there are still no milestones or timelines in place for completion.
Stakeholders in the province’s development corporation were not engaged and to-date there are still only five bureaucrats on the board. The development corporation has cost $550,000 so far with an estimated $4 million in operating costs once it’s up and running.
The report also calls out the province’s $1 billion infrastructure commitment as insufficient with no timelines or projects attached. There were once 2,500 claims over 530,000 hectares in the Ring of Fire.
“By 2015, this has dropped to fewer than 1,000 claims covering about 200,000 hectares as mining companies gave up claims, either because they did not contain viable deposits, or because the companies saw little prospect of achieving production in the near future given the lack of progress on infrastructure development,” the report says
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