NDP wants answers on Cliffs – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – May 11, 2012)

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

Cliffs Natural Resources’ $3.3- billion investment in Northern Ontario is good news, Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath says, but the province should demand more.

The massive mine, transportation network and ferrochrome smelter designed to take ore from the Ring of Fire in northwestern Ontario and process it in Sudbury was announced by Cliffs on Wednesday. Those announcements, however, left the NDP with more questions than answers, Horwath said.

At Queen’s Park on Thursday, Horwath released details of Cliffs’ testimony before a federal Standing Committee on Natural Resources in which Cliffs officials said up to 40% of the ore produced in Ontario might be shipped out of province for processing.

While the company is committing to building a $1.8-billion smelter at a brownfield site just north of Capreol, the NDP want to know how much more investment in the North would be possible if all the ore it generates is processed here.

Cliffs has estimated its open pits mines would yield 2.2 million tonnes of ore a year during the first 10 to 15 years of operation. On Wednesday, Bill Boor, Cliffs vice-president of ferroalloys, told The Sudbury Star the company plans to process about 1.2 million tonnes of that in Sudbury.

“Yesterday’s announcement of a planned refinery in the riding of Nickel Belt proves that Ontario has the skilled workforce and the ability to process natural resources and create prosperity and good jobs right here in Ontario,” she said.

“Unfortunately, we have a long way to go to make those jobs a reality. Yesterday, the government told us they still didn’t know whether they plan to allow resources from the Ring of Fire to be exported overseas for processing. Do they know now?”

Cliffs will need an exemption under the Mining Act to export ore. Horwath implored Premier Dalton McGuinty not to give them one.

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