A Progressive Conservative government would back an industry plan that could see work begin on an east-west road into the Ring of Fire as early as this fall, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli said in Sudbury, April 24.
“We believe there's a quick win here, and that's the Noront Resources solution.”
Noront is working to develop its Eagle Nest and Blackbird deposits, a mix of nickel, copper, platinum and palladium, as well as its chromite deposit in the remote site in northwestern Ontario. It proposes building a permanent road from the Webequie First Nation through Pickle Lake to Saugeen, connecting it to existing road and rail infrastructure.
Noront estimated in 2008 the road would cost $306,000 a kilometre to build across the tough, swampy terrain. The company also has plans to smelt ore at Glencore's Strathcona Mill in Onaping Falls, once the infrastructure is in place.
“Our plan would share revenue with the host community – in this particular case, it's the First Nation,” Fedeli. “We would need to have infrastructure investment from the province, the feds and the proponents to make it an all-season road. They want to move nickel out of there.
“We see it as a quick win. You could be operating by the fall.”
Instead of finding ways to make progress, Fedeli said the Liberal government has wasted time making announcements and plans for plans, even as Cliffs Natural Resources have pulled back from developing the $50 billion chromite discovery.
“I've personally been to the Ring of Fire four times now, (and) I have seen first-hand what it's going to take to get it into operation,” he said. “The Liberal government has bungled this file. It's five years now, and we've gone from almost 250 employees who were actually working at the Ring of Fire, to less than 10 today.
“That's why we need to be elected. This government has shown nothing in five years.”