Gravelle seeks Ring of Fire support from feds – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – December 6, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – The province wants Ottawa to share the cost of installing transportation infrastructure within the Ring of Fire.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, who was in Timmins on Thursday along with Natural Resources Minister David Orazietti, outlined why the province feels the federal government should contribute to the project.

“We are talking about a major resource development, $60 billion in mineral potential, in a part of the province that has never seen development before,” said Gravelle.

“In terms of economic development, and opportunity for job creation, the Ring of Fire project is certainly on a scale that more than warrants the federal government’s matching funds. I’d like to think that is the direction we will be going in.” Both Gravelle and Orazietti were speaking at a Timmins Chamber of Commerce luncheon held at the Porcupine Dante Club.

In the meantime, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Ottawa on Thursday to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the federal government’s involvement in the Ring of Fire.

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Man named to chair review into mine safety – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 6, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

A man whose position was created after an expert advisory panel reviewed the Christmas Eve 2009 deaths of four men working on scaffolds in Toronto will chair the review into mine safety that will be conducted in Ontario in 2014.

One of the recommendations of the 2010 report into the scaffolding tragedy was that a chief prevention officer, reporting to Ontario’s Labour minister, be appointed.

George Gritziotis, founding executive director of the Construction Sector Council and a former strategy analyst at Investment Canada, was named to that job as part of an overhaul of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system.

Chris Hodgson, former minister of Northern Development and Mines in the Progressive Conservative government of Mike Harris, said the review into the deaths of the four men was led by former cabinet secretary Tony Dean.

It produced 46 recommendations and an 80-page report, which Hodgson said was supported by organized by both labour and management.

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Northern members frustrated with lack of action on Ring – Star Staff (Sudbury Star – December 6, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Two opposition party members — one federal, one provincial — were slamming governments Thursday for not acting decisively to move forward development on the Ring of Fire chromite deposits.

Nickel Belt New Democrat MP Claude Gravelle apparently had his motion rejected at the Conservative-dominated natural resources committee to invite provincial officials to come and tell the federal government what they need to move the Ring of Fire forward.

Gravelle, the NDP’s mining critic, slammed the federal Tories for moving his motion in camera to study the way the federal government could help with the project. In a news release, Gravelle said: “The committee has no future plans to proceed with a study of this nature.”

Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne travelled to Ottawa to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to talk about a number of issues, with the Ring of Fire high on the list.

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More action needed to woo North voters – by Brian MacLeod (Sudbury Star – December 5, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The concession northerners managed to extract from the province about the future of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission this week is remarkable. But why did it happen?

The Liberal government has been doing a long, slow dance on the Dalton McGuinty’s government’s decision to sell off the agency since Premier Kathleen Wynne took power, finally getting Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, to put in writing that the ONTC’s mandate is no longer to be sold off in pieces, but that it is to undergo a “transformation.”

It’s a fuzzy term for restructuring, and still possible divestment, but the main goal is no longer to kill off the 101-year-old agency that would put the 1,000 or so jobs in the North in jeopardy. About 600 of those jobs are located in North Bay.

The ONTC runs bus service communities located mostly along the Hwy. 11 and Hwy. 17 corridors from Toronto to Hearst.

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Ring of Fire mining project remains stalled – by Claude Gravelle ( – December 4, 2013)

Claude Gravelle is the federal MP for Nickel Belt

Breaking the Politics on the Ring of Fire Mining Project

QUEEN’S PARK – Ontario Politics – The mega Ring of Fire mining project remains stalled as the governments for Ontario and Canada play the blame game rather than put our northern communities and the country’s economy first.

To help break the stalemate, I have filed a motion with the federal all-party Natural Resources Committee to call the Government of Ontario as a witness. With Prime Minister Harper mulling over a meeting request from Premier Kathleen Wynne, here is an opportunity for Ontario to identify publicly what they need from the federal government, who is responsible for what, really how to move the project forward together.

I figured my motion might give Ontario a useful audience that includes representatives from the three main federal parties. As I said on the CBC Radio Ontario Today program last week, if this doesn’t work it may mean marriage counselling for the prime minister and premier. This stall is infuriating to northerners.

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Steelworkers, safety advocates welcome review of mine standards – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 5, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Details of exactly how a comprehensive mining safety review will unfold haven’t been released, but those involved in pressuring the province to conduct it are convinced it will make Ontario mines safer in a matter of months.

Representatives of United Steelworkers and MINES (Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support) announced Tuesday they have hammered out an agreement with Labour Minister Nasir Yaqvi to guide the review. USW Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand told a news conference at the Steelworkers Hall the union and MINES are pleased with the terms of the agreement reached with Naqvi for a comprehensive review.

While it isn’t the public inquiry into mine safety the union began calling for in February 2012, the review will involve labour, industry and government in a process that will produce recommendations that will be acted upon to improve mine safety.

The call was made after USW Local 6500 completed an eight-month investigation into the June 2011 deaths of two men at Vale’s Stobie Mine. Jason Chenier, 35, and Jordan Fram, 26, died after being overrun by 350 tons of muck while working at the 3,000-foot level of the mine.

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Timmins, Saskatchewan colleges sign agreement – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – December 3, 2013)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

Northern College in Timmins and Northlands College in Saskatchewan have signed an agreement to train students through the mining engineering technician program at the Haileybury School of Mines.

The new agreement is built upon an established relationship between the two colleges. Northlands has delivered the program in the past, offering enrolment once every two years. The new agreement, which will be valid for seven years, will see six consecutive intakes of first-year students.

Earlier this year, an agreement was established with Confederation College to allow graduates of Confederation’s mining techniques program to take the second year of the mining engineering technician program at Confederation.

“The fact that Haileybury School of Mines programming is being delivered by multiple colleges in both Ontario and Saskatchewan is a testament to the quality of our mining programs,” said Fred Gibbons, president of Northern College, in a news release.

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No inquiry into mining safety: Ministry – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 4, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The Ministry of Labour has rejected a call from mining advocates in Sudbury and the North to hold a public inquiry into mining safety, opting instead for a comprehensive review of mining safety in Ontario.

United Steelworkers Local 6500 and a lobby group called MINES (Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support) will hold a news conference Wednesday to respond to the province’s plan for the review.

USW Local 6500, and later MINES, began calling for a full-blown inquiry in February 2012 after the union’s eight-month investigation in the June 8, 2011, deaths of two men at Vale’s Stobie Mine.

The 200-page report into how Jason Chenier, 35, and Jordan Fram, 26, died contained 165 recommendations, including that an inquiry be held to update mining safety practices. That recommendation prompted the formation of MINES, led by Fram’s mother Wendy Fram, which championed the drive for the inquiry.

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Labour finally invited into ONTC talks – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – December 2, 2013)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business

The unions at the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) say they’ve won a small victory in being asked to participate in the provincial process to determine the future of the Crown-owned agency.

“It’s great news,” said Brian Kelly, spokesman for the General Chairperson’s Association. “This is what we’ve been looking for. This is actually a very good day as far as we’re concerned.”

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle issued a Dec. 2 release that the provincial government’s previous 2012 marching orders to sell off the assets of the ONTC have been officially “revised” to look at other options.

In signalling a stark change in policy direction, Gravelle said the memorandum of understanding has changed from a “mandate for divestment to a mandate for transformation of the ONTC.”

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KWG Resources Inc. – CEO Interview – Round 1 In The Ring of Fire (December 2, 2013) Frank Smeenk, President and CEO of KWG Resources goes head to head with George Tsiolis, Founder of AGORACOM to discuss potential solutions to challenging development obstacles in the Ring Of Fire. KWG has a 30% interest in the Big Daddy chromite deposit and the right to earn 80% of the Black Horse chromite where …

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Ring of Fire: Feds, province need to work together on Ring: Gravelle – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 2, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle wants the federal and provincial governments to stop playing the blame game and get on with the serious work of developing the Ring of Fire chromite deposits.

The New Democrat mining critic will introduce a motion at today’s meeting of the all-party Natural Resources Committee to invite representatives of the Ontario government to attend the committee and speak about its concerns regarding the Ring of Fire.

He wants provincial officials to outline exactly what it is they want from the federal government to help move the $60-billion chromite project forward. Cliffs Natural Resources, one of the biggest players in the Ring of Fire, announced Nov. 20 that it was indefinitely suspending work on its chromite project.

It has invested $500 million planning and developing a chromite mine at McFaulds Lake, about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, as well as its plans for a ferrochrome processing plant near Capreol, in Gravelle’s riding.

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Ontario’s Ring of Failure: Our provincial leadership is badly stricken by analysis paralysis – by Gary Laine (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – December 2, 2013)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

Our governing Liberals have got it bad and that ain’t good. I’m talking about the debilitating case of analysis paralysis infecting our provincial leadership that has turned the much-heralded Ring of Fire into a Ring of Failure.

The online encyclopedia Wikipedia defines analysis paralysis as “the state of over-analyzing (or over-thinking) a situation so that a decision or action is never taken, in effect paralyzing the outcome. A decision can be treated as over-complicated, with too many detailed options, so that a choice is never made, rather than try something and change it if a major problem arises. A person might be seeking the optimal or ‘perfect’ solution upfront, and fear making any decision which could lead to erroneous results.”

Clearly, Kathleen Wynne and Michael Gravelle, who both repeatedly hide behind the phrase “we want to make sure we do things right,” are victims of this progress-preventing condition.

Mineral resources in the Ring of Fire (RoF) were first discovered in 2002. The Liberals took power in 2003. Ten years have gone by, in other words, and still no road and still no development.

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Neutral ground for mine talks – by Pete Hollings and Peggy Smith (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – December 2, 2013)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

Pete Hollings and Peggy Smith are with the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration at Lakehead University.

Cliffs pulls out of Ring of Fire. First Nations demand full environmental assessment. Communities struggle to build capacity to participate in mining development. Where is provincial support for infrastructure to open new mining sites?

These headlines demonstrate the challenges in pursuing sustainable mining development in Northern Ontario. The competing plans of different companies, a need to address the concerns of First Nations and Metis communities, and a lack of clear government policy all bedevil mining projects in the region.

Lakehead University’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration (CESME) was established to help address these issues and act as an honest broker among all the parties involved in the future development of Northern Ontario’s rich mineral resources.

On Dec. 5-6 CESME will be hosting representatives from all the major players at a conference to discuss The Role of Government Policy in Sustainable Mining Development.

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North Western Ontario [and Ring of Fire] prime for Manitoba power – by Steven Fletcher (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – November 30, 2013)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

Steven Fletcher is the Conservative MP for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia-Headingley and helped develop the Building Canada Fund.

Manitoba Hydro needs new markets for its electric power to help finance its current and future operations, and Northern Ontario would benefit from low-cost power to develop its mining resources. There is potential for mutual benefit if these two provinces worked to meet each other’s needs.

Northwestern Ontario is undergoing significant growth in mining exploration and development. The area is rich in deposits of chromium, palladium, nickel, gold and other base metals. Much of it is in a mineral-rich area known as the Ring of Fire, which is located northeast of Thunder Bay. It has been conservatively estimated this development could have an economic impact of up to $120 billion. The impact of the Ring of Fire on Ontario’s economy could be similar to the impact the Alberta economy has experienced due to the oil sands.

However, the mining development is far from Hydro One’s main electrical system and there are no transmission lines to that area. In addition, the cost of power throughout the province’s Northwest is so high, it is said the cost is a disincentive for mining developments which utilize large amounts of electricity.

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Canada’s Ontario joins global ‘war on coal’ – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 28, 2013)

The Canadian province of Ontario may soon become the first place in North America to snuff out coal-fired electricity generation for good, as it is set to introduce next week legislation aimed to ban the burning of coal and the building of new such plants.

If the proposed Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act is approved, it would means that no Ontario generating station will ever burn coal again, once this kind of facilities stop operating by the end of 2014, the government said in a press release.

The plan has been in the works for quite a while. The Liberals first promised to close the coal plants in 2007, then pushed back the timetable to 2009 and again to 2014.

In January this year, Chris Bentley —who was then Ontario’s minister of energy— vowed he would make coal account for less than 1% of the province energy supply by 2014.

He also said the province’s largest coal-fired electricity plants, Nanticoke and Lambton, would be shut by the end the year. And the province will likely deliver— it is finishing the conversion of Nanticoke to run on biomass.

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