Published on: 2/14/2014 12:35:04 PM Print | Font Sizes:  Normal Text Large Text

Ontario hires Ring of Fire consultants

By: Northern Ontario Business staff

Deloitte LLP has been hired by the Ontario government to help build a path to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits.

The same week that Cliffs Natural Resources announced massive across-the-board cost-cutting moves on top of its previous news to indefinitely ice its Black Thor chromite region, Queen’s Park wants Deloitte to organize the government’s Ring of Fire development corporation and come up with a plan to build infrastructure to the James Bay lowlands.

The government said Deloitte will act as a “neutral, third-party resource” to bring the industry partners, First Nations and the federal government together.

Deloitte will set the timelines for making decisions and set the corporation’s guiding principles, as well as “seek consensus” on next steps.

Tapping those industry players for their respective infrastructure needs will be part of the conversation. The government said a research report will examine what infrastructure proposals are out there to establish “a common technical basis” to make decisions.

The government also said it’s making progress with the chiefs of the Matawa First Nations to reach an agreement on how development should go forward.

“We know that collaborating with our partners is vital to developing the Ring of Fire,” said Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, who said the government is “getting significantly closer” to reaching an agreement with the Matawa First Nations on a regional framework for development.

Gravelle said the province remains committed to making a “significant investment” on infrastructure in the region, “but we need partners to come together so that decisions can be made.”

“There is shared opportunity and shared interest in this incredible $60-billion deposit and I am confident that infrastructure priorities can come together. That is the work the development corporation will drive and certainly as one of the partners, that is the work we are eager to see happen.”

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