Ontario, First Nations agree to study road to Ring of Fire – by Jeff Gray and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – March 2, 2020)


Ontario Premier Doug Ford sat alongside two First Nations chiefs at a Toronto mining conference on Monday, pledging support for an environmental study of a road that would connect to their remote Northern communities and the region known as the Ring of Fire.

Mr. Ford has repeatedly promised to open up the purported mineral riches of the Ring of Fire, 550 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, by hopping on a bulldozer himself. But Monday’s announcement included no cash for the road, last estimated to cost $1.6-billion – only a pledge to study it.

Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford also acknowledged that any move to break ground on the construction of the road’s southernmost leg is still as much as two years away. Environmental assessments for the entire route, he said, would take five years to complete.

And despite saying the Ring of Fire’s deposits – mostly chromite, used in stainless steel – would be worth “billions and billions,” the Premier acknowledged that the government had no reliable estimates on whether any of the region’s minerals could be mined profitably.

“Do we put a specific dollar figure [on it]? No we don’t. But do you know what we are talking about today? We are talking about access, the road access that is going to change their lives in the First Nations communities,” Mr. Ford said.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-ontario-first-nations-agree-to-study-road-to-ring-of-fire/