Ontario Northland could have role in massive mining development, but government not saying much
A spokesman with the Ontario government anticipates no changes with the Ring of Fire Secretariat, the Crown agency charged with developing the infrastructure to reach the Far North mineral deposits.
Almost two months after a new cabinet was sworn in at Queen’s Park, there’s no indication what the Doug Ford government has in mind to “jump-start” industrial development in the James Bay lowlands, other than a bumper-sticker campaign promise to bulldoze new access roads into the remote region.
The responsibility of making it happen falls on the shoulders of Kenora MPP Greg Rickford, the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Minister of Indigenous Affairs.
A source with knowledge of the years of negotiations and the planning between the provincial and federal governments and the First Nation communities near the Ring of Fire told Northern Ontario Business that bureaucrats at both levels were prepared for the Secretariat to be either eliminated or restructured.
“The Ring of Fire Secretariat remains intact,” replied Brayden Akers, a spokesman in Rickford’s Queen’s Park office. “Not sure who your source is; however, they are incorrect.”
The Secretariat was created by the McGuinty government in 2010 to coordinate all activities surrounding the development of the chromite and base metal deposits in a manner that minimizes the environmental impacts and addresses the socio-economic needs of the Indigenous communities.