Andrew Forrest, the Australian billionaire owner of the most promising mining assets in Ontario’s Ring of Fire region, says the viability of the critical minerals project is at risk because of Canada’s regulatory burden, its cumbersome consultation process and persistent delays in building crucial infrastructure.
The Ring of Fire, in the province’s far north, is a key part of Ontario’s and Canada’s plans to become a player in metals for electric-vehicle batteries, but it has sat undeveloped for the better part of two decades owing to unproven economics, tension with Indigenous communities, a lack of political consensus and the gigantic capital cost requirements.
The project has taken on added importance over the past year, as the Canadian and U.S. governments have vowed to build up North American supplies of critical minerals in an effort to wean themselves off supplies from China amid national security concerns.
Originally promoted for its chromite deposits, in recent years attention has turned to the Ring of Fire’s Eagle’s Nest nickel project. Alongside cobalt, lithium and graphite, nickel is a key component of EV batteries.
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