Chinese engineers visit Ontario’s Ring of Fire to survey possible $2B railway route (Canadian Press/Toronto Star – April 19, 2016)

Engineers from China recently visited the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario to assess the potential of building a $2-billion railway line, a proponent behind developing minerals in the area said Tuesday.

Frank Smeenk, CEO of Toronto-based mineral exploration company KWG Resources, said the rail line is crucial for the extraction of nickel, chromite, copper and platinum from the massive deposits.

He said a team of engineers from a subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corp. surveyed a proposed 328-kilometre route last week as part of detailed engineering work before they advance toward a final investment decision.

“They had to visit the route, to see it with their own eyes,” said Smeenk. Smeenk said roads would also have to be built to construct the mine and railway. Those roads would also link several remote northern communities, and they should be built, regardless of whether the mine proceeds, he said.

“I think we have an obligation to look after the First Nations, and if in doing that we can make the mineral deposit more accessible, then I think that’s a bonus, but we shouldn’t make one the hostage of the other,” said Smeenk.

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