Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli made good on a campaign promise and took six interested companies from his riding to the base camp of the Ring of Fire March 9.
“Nipissing mining companies needed to be there and get their hands dirty and have an understanding of the opportunities and challenges that present themselves,” Fedeli said.
The Ring of Fire is about 530 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and is the site of a cluster of world-class, multi-generational chromite deposits. Chromite is processed into ferrochrome which is used in the making of stainless steel.
Along for the mining sales trip were Mike Mayhew, Stantec; George Flumerfelt, The Redpath Group; Yvonne Lambert, First North Enterprise; Bryan Parkinson, J.L. Richards; Scott Priolo, GAP Construction; and Hans Vanderlinden, Foraco.
“The companies were pleased to have this economical way to get up there as a group in an eight-seat aircraft,” Fedeli said. “They were amazed at the scope and the difficulties. Everything must be flown in – from crackers to excavators.”
This is Fedeli's second trip to the area. After visiting the site in August as a private citizen, he realized the need for Nipissing companies to be in on any potential business opportunties.
“It was a familiarity tour for these companies but as of this morning (March 12), Nipissing companies have a leg up there and that was the real purpose and advantage of the trip,” he said. “Nipissing companies may not have been aware of the opportunities there for them so I wanted to open their eyes and get up there.”
The next step to be determined for the project is getting infrastructure in place and determining if it will be road or rail.
“There is 200 kilometres of infrastructure that has to be built to get you to Webequie (the First Nation community closest to the Ring of Fire) and then about another 100 kilometres from there to the base camp,” Fedeli said. “Who is building what? Is it the government or the companies? Do companies expect the government to do it? What is the role of the First Nations? I presume and hope they play a significant role.”
The MPP said it is time to start thinking about that infrastructure and to make commitments soon.
“Let's get on it. I have seen and heard a lot of talk but there is very, very little development.
“That is why it is important for MPPs, like myself, to be on the ground. This is my second trip there and certainly a long way from being my last,” he said.