A Ring of Fire developer is putting the onus squarely on Queen’s Park to find a way to fold three separate Ring of Fire road studies into one cohesive plan to get moving on building an access corridor to reach the stranded James Bay mineral deposits by 2018.
Though Al Coutts has no knowledge of an exact date on when the provincial and federal governments are expected to make a joint funding announcement on a road, the impatient president-CEO of Noront Resources is anticipating a speedy decision by the province on picking a route and providing a timetable for construction. “I was already expecting it earlier this year.”
In early August, Noront outlined its Ring of Fire development plan in pegging construction of its cornerstone Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper project to begin in 2018, the first in its stable of chromite and base metals properties. The first concentrate production from Eagle’s Nest begins in 2021. The company is counting on the province to hold up its end of the bargain with the construction of a permanent east-west road to service the future mines and the remote communities.
Noront’s start date coincides with the province’s scheduled release of $1 billion in promised spending for Ring of Fire infrastructure, targeted for the 2018-19 budget year.
To meet that date, Coutts said it’ll likely take a year’s worth of detailed engineering and environmental work to determine the exact route and pinpoint where the water crossings will be.
“The sooner they make that decision, the faster and better chance we’ve got to get that road constructed by 2018.”
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