The Ford government is determined to throw some fuel on the Ring of Fire. But how mining development will unfold in the Far North still appears to be a work in progress.
In his Nov. 16 Fall Economic Statement, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli reaffirmed the government’s commitment to cut regulatory red tape that’s hindered advancement of the projects in the James Bay region.
Fedeli spoke about extending prosperity to “every corner of our province,” and clearing the hurdles to develop the Ring of Fire. “No more platitudes, no more delays. Instead, our government will work directly with our First Nations partners in order to realize the long-awaited benefits.”
A new “special mining working group” will be tasked with streamlining the regulatory approvals process and attracting major investments to Ontario. The Ring of Fire Secretariat, a Crown agency left over from the previous Wynne government, remains in place, but it’s unclear whether the negotiating format to consult with area First Nations close to the mineral deposits – known as Regional Framework Agreement process – will be restarted.
“The Ring of Fire is a top priority for our government. We are committed to cutting red tape and ending delays to ensure the Ring of Fire moves forward in a timely manner,” said Sydney Stonier, press secretary in Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford’s office, in an email.
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