The Wynne government is as keen to advance development of the Ring of Fire as any company or individual, says Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.
The Ontario government is working with its partners, including Noront Resources Inc. and neighbouring First Nations, to “bring the Ring of Fire project forward,” Gravelle told reporters Tuesday at a conference in Sudbury.
Gravelle attended the Mining Innovation Summit 2016 at which he announced $2.5 million in new funding for the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation in Sudbury. Part of that money will go toward the Ultra Deep Mining Network, a five-year, $46-million initiative to help companies with deep mines operate safely and efficiently.
The rest of the $2.5 million will go to small- and medium-sized enterprises whose owners have innovative ideas they wish to develop.
Gravelle told reporters his government wants to move the Ring of Fire forward and is determined to “elevate conversations” with first nations “so we can have some decisions moving forward.”
The province continues to work with four first nations near the Ring on a community corridor study to see if it can get a decision on road recommendations, said Gravelle.
The minister said he keeps in close touch with Noront Resources president and chief executive officer Alan Coutts because “we appreciate this is a significant project.” Noront has the largest number of claims in the Ring of Fire by far.
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