Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford says Ring of Fire oversight body needs overhaul – by Peter Koven (National Post – December 19, 2014)
The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.
TORONTO – The Ontario government wants Ottawa to pony up $1 billion for the massive “Ring of Fire” mineral belt, but the federal natural resources minister is warning that key structural challenges still need to be overcome.
Foremost among these is the fact Ontario has stacked the four board seats of the Ring of Fire’s development corporation with nothing but provincial bureaucrats. They are responsible for overseeing infrastructure development in the region.
“We’ve got a problem with that,” Greg Rickford said in an interview. “That’s not a responsible way to deal with taxpayers’ money.”
The Ring of Fire, named after the famous Johnny Cash song, is a vast but very remote mineral belt located in Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands. The region is thought to hold about $60-billion worth of metals, but the federal and provincial governments need to overcome enormous infrastructure challenges to draw investment from the mining sector, especially in an environment of falling commodity prices.
Queen’s Park committed $1 billion to building infrastructure, and has waged a very public campaign asking Ottawa to match it through the federal Building Canada infrastructure fund.
“Your commitment to providing matching federal funding is key to strengthening investor confidence for development of the [Ring],” Ontario mining minister Michael Gravelle said last week in a letter to Mr. Rickford. Read the rest of this entry »