The Ontario Chamber of Commerce will be weighing on the Ring of Fire debate when it releases a report Feb. 20 on the untapped economic opportunities in the James Bay lowlands.
The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto will be the venue for the report’s official launch on Thursday followed by a Northern Ontario rollout of cities next week with panel discussions in Thunder Bay (Feb. 26), Sudbury (Feb. 27) and Timmins (March 7).
The comprehensive report will outline the economic benefits to Ontario estimated to be in the tens of billions of dollars.
The report is also intended to showcase this massive mineral opportunity and its spinoffs to southern Ontarians who know little of its potential to generate wealth and jobs in the province, a fact illustrated in an Ontario chamber survey of its own member businesses.
Much of the research and interviews with numerous stakeholders was spearheaded by the chamber’s senior policy analyst Liam McGuinty, son of the former Ontario premier.
On the marquee for the Sudbury panel will be Bill Boor, president of Cliffs Natural Resources ferroalloys division, Noront Resources chairman and director Paul Parisotto, Hans Matthews, president of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, and George Darling, a director with SNC Lavalin in Sudbury.
Doug Morrison, president and CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) in Sudbury, will act as moderator.
The Ring of Fire has been heralded by Queen’s Park as a multi-generational mineral development opportunity, despite many setbacks.
Last fall, the largest mining player in the Ring, Cliffs Natural Resources, halted all work on its Black Thor chromite deposit over issues concerning public investment in infrastructure, power prices, environmental assessment approvals, and outstanding concerns expressed by area First Nations.
Ontario’s mining commissioner also ruled against the Ohio miner in granting them access to their deposit atop the claims of another company. Cliffs is appealing the decision.
The provincial government has created a Ring of Fire development corporation, hiring Deloitte Canada as consultants, to assess options in how to move the future mining camp forward.