Ontario Premier Doug Ford says mining in the remote Ring of Fire region would add $9.4-billion to the province’s gross domestic product – just a day after saying his government had no reliable estimate of the mineral riches in the northern area.
Speaking in the legislature on Tuesday, Mr. Ford said development in the Ring of Fire would also create 5,500 jobs a year, $6.2-billion “for the mining industry” and $2-billion in government revenue.
His numbers appeared to be drawn from a 2014 Ontario Chamber of Commerce study that looked at the Ring of Fire’s potential economic impacts over 10 years and assumed that four massive projects to mine chromite – which is used to make stainless steel – would be built and operated at a profit.
But the viability of those chromite projects have never been proven by Noront Resources Ltd., the tiny junior miner that owns them. The Ring of Fire is situated in deep in the swamp-like muskeg 550 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay – at a profit.
On Monday, Mr. Ford signed a deal with two remote First Nations near the Ring of Fire to study a potential road link that would connect their isolated communities but also potentially open up the area for mining. Other First Nations in the region have already vowed to fight the project, saying they were not consulted, or are calling consideration of an alternate route.
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