Anna Baggio is the Director Conservation Planning, CPAWS Wildlands League.
Oh the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair that has occurred in various media outlets and around the province since news broke that Cliffs will suspend indefinitely its Chromite Project in northern Ontario. It wasn’t a surprise to those of us who follow global market prices, corporate boardrooms and here at home the environmental assessment processes. The project had been sputtering for quite some time.
With news of the indefinite suspension by Cliffs, there has been a lot of finger pointing and apportioning of blame. But I think this is a distraction from bigger, more important issues such as how should Ontario develop its non-renewable resources in the Ring of Fire? “The Ring” is more than Cliffs after all. How should we address neighbouring First Nations decades long infrastructure needs? How do we make sure the Ekwan, Attawapiskat and Albany Rivers will be clean and healthy forever? How do we all make best use of limited public resources? How do we ensure there is transparency and integrity around decision-making and that First Nations are respected?
There are some who think the solution lies in “speeding up the process” for new mines to go ahead in the Ring of Fire. We’ve been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt, thank you very much. Efforts to speed things up over the past four years have resulted in lawsuits, conflicts, wasted resources, bitter feelings and delays.