TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The Minister of the Canadian government’s economic development organisation for Northern Ontario (FedNor) Tony Clement was on Monday promoting the federal government’s commitment to bring together all role-players from the private and public sectors, including the First Nations, to map the way forward for developing the Ring of Fire.
Clement underscored the economic development potential of the Ring of Fire and reaffirmed the Harper government’s commitment to mining development in the region and within the country.
“It’s kind of like a ‘Rubik’s cube’ of public policy development and the sequencing of events. No one said it was simple. No one said that you could easily tie up all aspects in a nice neat bow.
“All aspects will be reiterative and in five or ten years from now there will be similar issues that we would have dealt with already, that will lead to economic development,” Clement said.
Clement was in recent weeks placed in charge of coordinating the federal government’s efforts to develop regulatory and public policies with regard to developing the minerals-rich north of Ontario.
“Being named lead political Minister on the Ring of Fire was a recognition by the Prime Minister [Stephen Harper] to [the need for] a whole-of-government approach to the Ring of Fire,” he said.
Clement said he would work in coordination with his colleagues at Aboriginal Affairs, at Infrastructure, at Natural Resources and at 12 other federal departments, to ensure government speaks with a single voice.
The fact that the Ring of Fire comprised many projects that could stretch over a century of mining is the main driver in the need to develop suitable policies that would in future benefit the development of the mining industry, in Ontario and in Canada.
Clement reiterated that the Ring of Fire could mean billions of dollars over many years for the local and national economies. The project has the potential to be economically equal to or larger than the Alberta oil sands.
With mineral content estimated at potentially more than $50-billion, the Ring of Fire could create up to 5 000 direct and indirect jobs in Northern Ontario alone.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. No one has a road map on this, it will develop over time, but the federal government wants to be a part of this,” he said.
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