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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – May 1, 2016

  • Premier’s take on the Ring while speaking in Thunder Bay  “Kathleen Wynne views the Ring of Fire as more than just an economic development opportunity.  The Ontario premier was asked about the province’s progress in developing the potentially lucrative mineral deposit in the remote north during her media availability in Thunder Bay … Wynne responded that her government is dedicated to acting in an environmentally responsible manner while engaging and consulting with First Nations communities to ensure their children will experience the resulting economic prosperity.  “That’s a bigger vision than just how do we, as fast as possible, get trucks in to get those minerals out, get them out and then leave the site,” Wynne said.  “That’s not the vision we have and I think there are a lot of critics who look at us and say ‘you haven’t moved fast enough,’ but the reality is that the work that’s going on now to build those relationships, do the training, to make a plan that’s actually going to have long-term impact, that’s what’s important about the Ring of Fire potential.” …”
  • Ontario’s Tory Leader Patrick Brown also mentions the Ring  “Using a local mill as his backdrop, Ontario’s Tory leader blamed a decade of Liberal policy for shedding jobs in Northern Ontario.  Ontario PC leader Patrick Brown returned to Thunder Bay … for the 70th annual Northern Ontario Municipal Association conference …  “My solution for employment is one you cut red tape,” he said. “The regulatory burden is intense in Ontario. You look at the terms of reference on the Ring of Fire that’s supposed to take five days but takes three years, the government needs to be more agile.  “You need to build infrastructure to product to market place and you need to have affordable energy prices.” …”
  • More on Chinese interest in the Ring  “A team of Chinese engineers has proposed a 340km rail line to northern Ontario to get access to a rare metal, and has suggested that the project would enable Chinese companies to penetrate Canada’s infrastructure market.  The scheme under consideration would connect a planned chromite mining and smelting complex known as the “Ring of Fire” with the existing rail network at Nakina in the south of the province …”
  • Yet more on China in the Ring  “… Rail and resources the perfect combination … It’s the combination of those two factors that makes this potential investment a “real prize” for China, said Walid Hejazi, a University of Toronto professor and expert in global competitiveness, with a focus on China.  “I would argue that one without the other, this deal may not go through,” he said.  Filling infrastructure gaps in other countries is one way China secures access to desired resources, Hejazi said …”
  • Meanwhile, Noront presses road over rail  “The biggest player in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire says government infrastructure cash should focus on an east-west road rather than grand plans for a $2-billion north-south rail line.  Alan Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources Ltd., responded to a proposal recently promoted to the federal and Ontario governments for a 340-kilometre-long rail line that would be built and financed by Chinese investors.  “What we’re saying is let’s not blow our brains out building the biggest, costliest infrastructure known to mankind without the economic justification,” Mr. Coutts told The Globe and Mail …”
  • One commentator’s take on the need for the stars to align (at more than one level)  “… A series of common interests may be lining up. Pushing development of the Ring of Fire checks off a number of important boxes for Mr. Trudeau – trade, infrastructure, indigenous policy, the economy and perhaps even climate change.  Mining development would require putting the area on the power grid, allowing remote First Nations communities to stop using dirty gas-fired power plants.  A delegation of Chinese engineers, along with executives of KWG, made a timely visit to Parliament Hill last week to talk up their railway road project with MP Marc Serré, who chairs the Liberals’ Northern Ontario caucus.  “This is an international trade deal,” KWG Resources chief executive officer Frank Smeenk said, spinning the broader trade implications. “From the Chinese perspective, this is an opportunity to begin the relationship with Canada that they have long aspired to and one that is really mutually beneficial.”  Earlier this month, executives of Noront Resources Ltd., which also owns extensive mining claims in the Ring of Fire, also met with a group of Liberal MPs in Ottawa.  It’s still unclear whether this confluence of common interests will lead to anything more than chatter …”
  • KWG raising more money for their work  “KWG Resources Inc. has received and accepted subscriptions of $390,000 to close the private placement of units previously announced, for a total of $1.75 million including $0.6 million in settlement of amounts payable to directors, officers, employees and consultants …”
  • Point:  Aboriginal commentator Doug Cuthand explains not enough diamond taxes on De Beers is causing problems with the Ring “… The tax grab by the Dalton McGuinty government set back all the resource projects in the Ring of Fire area and created the climate of distrust between the First Nations and the province. So when the media lament the missing economy in Attawapiskat, they don’t have to look further than to Queen’s Park …”
  • Counterpoint:  Mining Watch Canada’s Ramsay Hart, in the comments of Cuthand’s commentary, begs to differ:  “… The diamond royalty also has nothing to do with the over-hyped Ring of Fire. It is smoldering due to extreme infrastructure costs and low commodity prices, along with the fact that the Matawa communities are taking their time in reviewing their options …” 

 

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