Few details on Ring of Fire road decision – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 2, 2016)


Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle dropped few hints as to when the province expects to roll out plans for a Ring of Fire road access corridor, saying only it will happen “soon.”

After opening a government-hosted Mining Innovation Summit in Sudbury on Nov. 1, Gravelle said in a media scrum that the province remains “keen to see the project move forward” as discussions continue with four James Bay-area First Nations over a completed community service corridor study that will provide the basis for a decision on the road’s routing.

“It’s difficult to put timelines on decision-making other than to say that we are committed to carrying on that work. The conversations are at a very high level with the Matawa First Nations and we look forward to having something to report to you soon.”

The proposed all-weather road would connect four of the nine Matawa First Nations communities to the provincial highway system through Pickle Lake and Sioux Lookout, while giving the mining industry overland access to reach the mineral deposits in the Far North exploration camp.

Gravelle gave no details or timetable as to when an announcement is forthcoming or whether their plans will keep pace with Noront Resources’ schedule to start construction of its Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper mine in the remote region by 2018.

Noront released its Ring of Fire development plan last August with a restless president-CEO Al Coutts saying he had been expecting a joint federal-provincial funding announcement much sooner this year given his company’s project timetable and the year it will take to do detailed engineering and environmental work on a road corridor.

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