Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.
For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery
“In a highly competitive, knowledge-based global economy, we are not going succeed in
Ontario by pulling stuff out of the ground.” – Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Feb/11/2010
Premier Dalton McGuinty just pulled off the fastest head spin since Linda Blair grossed us all out in The Exorcist.
One minute the premier thought mining was a dying industry. The next, it’s alive and saving the economy.
In a news conference Feb. 11, McGuinty had this to say: “In a highly competitive, knowledge-based global economy, we are not going succeed in Ontario by pulling stuff out of the ground.
“Our natural resource sector is very important to us but we know that future growth will come on the basis of the development of our imaginations in innovative capacities.”
By Monday’s throne speech, McGuinty had put his imagination to good use — and changed his mind.
His message was mining will save the beleaguered northern economy.“In 2008, northern Ontario became home to our first diamond mine.
“Your government will build on that success — particularly in the region known as the Ring of Fire,” the speech said.
It went on to enthuse about the large chromite deposits that have been found there. Chromite is key to the manufacture of stainless steel.
“It is the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century,” said the speech.
So, within four short weeks, “pulling stuff out of the ground” had gone from a dead-end business to our great stainless steel future.
New Democrat critic Howard Hampton scoffed at McGuinty’s new-found passion for mining. His policies are hurting the north, Hampton said.
High energy prices forced Vale Inco to shut down its copper smelter refinery in Sudbury four years ago. Now Xstrata is moving its smelter and processing plant from Timmins to Quebec.
Save money in Quebec
“These companies look at the industrial hydro rate in Ontario and they look at the industrial hydro rate in Quebec and they say, ‘if we move these jobs to Quebec, we can save a lot of money,’ ” Hampton said.
“They (the government) haven’t discovered mining in Timmins, because all kinds of mine processing jobs are leaving the province.
“They haven’t discovered it in Sudbury, because 4,000 miners are not mining, they are on the picket line.”
Hampton said two of six first nations that live adjacent to the Ring of Fire have been blockading access to the mines.
In fairness, many mining companies are highly sensitive to the needs of aboriginal communities and many have worked out benefit-sharing deals with first nations.
As for environmental concerns, mines must have a reclamation plan to show how they will restore the land to its natural state before they can dig.
“It’s good news for our members that the government has recognized the importance of mining,” says Chris Hodgson, president of the Ontario Mining Association.
“Also they realize it can be done in an environmentally sustainable fashion,” Hodgson said.
For the rest of the article, please go to the Toronto Sun website: http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/christina_blizzard/2010/03/09/13173486.html