Province must cut [Ring of Fire refinery] hydro rates, says Clement – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 14, 2011)

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

The federal government has a role to play to make sure the Ring of Fire is developed and that it creates jobs in the North, says FedNor Minister Tony Clement. But, if those jobs are to remain in Ontario, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty and his government will have to do something about electricity rates, said Clement.

Clement has struck a committee to stay up to date with developments in the massive chromite deposits, to make sure the economic potential of the area is maximized.

But Clement said Monday that while he favours processing jobs remaining in Northern Ontario, the high cost of electricity could be a problem.

“(That) is firmly in the hands of (Premier) Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal government, so they’ve got to step up,” said Clement.

He was in Sudbury to announce funding for several initiatives in the city, including up to $11 million for a biosolids waste management plant.

The federal government has become “much more aware and integrated into the development of the Ring of Fire as it goes forward,” he said.

A group of federal officials is remaining in close touch with the province about the development.

The federal government is involved in a number of “regulatory hurdles” and with respect to “dialogue with First Nations” about development of the deposits.

Clement said the federal committee was struck after he noticed “about a year ago that we should be more co-ordinated in this area.” That was the word he was hearing from business people in Sudbury and Thunder Bay, he said.

“I see this as one of the biggest things that’s going to happen in Northern Ontario for one, two generations perhaps. so we have to make sure we maximize the positive impacts of it,” he said.

While the proper environmental precautions must be taken, “at the same time, let’s not create a more complicated structure than needs to exist,” said Clement.

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