Chinese engineers endorse plans for $2-billion rail line to Ring of Fire – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – April 20, 2016)

OTTAWA — A team of Chinese engineers is endorsing a planned rail line to Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire and says the project could open the door to Chinese bids on other Canadian rail projects.

If approved, the planned $2-billion rail line to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits would mark the first time that a Chinese rail company plays a major role in rail construction in Canada. China’s state-owned rail companies are aggressively eyeing international expansion, particularly in the area of high-speed commuter rail.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail in Ottawa, senior engineer Zhu Lizheng spoke positively about the potential of building a north-south rail line about 340 kilometres long that would connect the Ring of Fire to an existing CN Rail line near Nakina, Ontario.

“Now with this trip under our wing, understanding what the situation of the project is, our company thinks this project has very good potential. It’s a very good project,” Mr. Zhu, who is vice-president of China Railway First Design Survey Institute, a subsidiary of state-owned China Railway Construction Corporation, said.

Mr. Zhu and eight other engineers were on Parliament Hill Tuesday, along with officials from Canadian mining firm KWG Resources, to talk to MPs about KWG’s proposal to build the rail line using engineering expertise and long-term financing from China.

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