Tbnewswatch Local News
Monday July 6 2015
6:10 PM EDT
2014-02-26 at 17:12

Getting noticed

Ontario Chamber of Commerce vice-president Josh Hjartarson authored a report on the potential impact of the Ring of Fire.
Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com
Ontario Chamber of Commerce vice-president Josh Hjartarson authored a report on the potential impact of the Ring of Fire.
By Jodi Lundmark, tbnewswatch.com

The Ring of Fire needs the attention of southern Ontario.

"I'm a Northern Ontario person and I understand the impact of projects like this on Northern Ontario and on southern Ontario but not very many people do," said Paul Semple, the chief operating officer of Noront Resources.

"I think when people realize there are manufacturing opportunities, there's other opportunities that start from the south, they'll see the significance of this project to Ontario."

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a report titled Beneath the Surface: Uncovering the Economic Potential of Ontario's Ring of Fire last week stating that once the project ia active, it will generate up to $9.4 billion in GDP over 10 years and sustain up to 5,500 jobs annually.

At a luncheon hosted by the local chamber of commerce to discuss the report at the Airlane Hotel Wednesday, Semple said the importance of the report is raising awareness of the Ring of Fire throughout Ontario, not just in the North.

"We tell the story to everyone who wants to listen," he said.

"I don't think the average person in southern Ontario would get it because they don't have some tie to mining but I think it goes a lot further than that."

Ontario chamber vice-president Josh Hjartarson authored the report and said that awareness is the crucial variable that's been missing.

"The most important thing we can do right now is put pressure on all the actors out there to say 'hey, this isn't just a Thunder Bay plan,'" he said.

"It is an Ontario-wide play."

The report has 13 recommendations to move the Ring of Fire forward including getting the federal and provincial governments to commit to infrastructure funding.

The project will generate $2 billion in government revenue so they need to see the Ring of Fire as an investment that they will see a return on, said Hjartarson.

The Ring of Fire needs to be made a national priority like the oilsands in Alberta and an infrastructure plan is required to do that.

"We need to land the plan. We need to land the financing," said Hjartarson.

Semple said the infrastructure requirement in Northwestern Ontario is big and it links not only to the mines but to the communities.

"We need to look at it from a starting point - how do we start the infrastructure development and get on with it rather than trying to solve the ultimate problem today," he said.

"Let's get some production. Let's get some industrial involvement. Let's create some jobs. Let's put some people to work and then we'll build out logically from there."

While Nishnawbe Aski Nation has yet to take a position on the Ring of Fire, Grand Chief Harvey Yesno took part in Wednesday's discussion and said there is a lot of interest by First Nations.

"Other First Nations throughout the territory are watching what's happening," he said, noting they've observed other mines in the areas like Musselwhite Mine.

Although NAN is leaving most of the discussion up to Matawa First Nations, the collection of communities closest to the Ring of Fire area, Yesno said he does think First Nations are being left out of the process in some respects, particularly the revenue sharing.

The report mentions how there will be revenue return for the federal, provincial and municipal governments but First Nations were left out.

"If you want a real partnership in the north, at least with our group, we're saying we need a recognition of a third order of government. Therefore, a third of the revenues going forward and let's move forward as equal partners," Yesno said.

Click here to submit a letter to the editor.

Click here to report a typo or error



We've improved our comment system.
gone for good says:
I joined the province of Manitoba Punk.
Best thing I could have ever done for my wife and kids.
Oil rig jobs at 10k a month clear sitting in a Vactruck or in camp getting paid.
Yep, pretty clueless
2/28/2014 7:48:07 PM
Eastender says:
There are the dreamers and there are the realists. Just that dreamers can only make their dreams come true by using money that the realists work hard for.
Harvey Yesno wants the province to put up the money for infrastructure, but he wants full share of the profits from the resource?
Lets see, how does that work? You invest, but I benefit equally?
2/27/2014 9:06:03 AM
ring of fire dude says:
Harvey should worry about getting people cleaned up so they are ready for the mining jobs that will eventually come their way .
2/27/2014 7:53:26 PM
Eastender says:
If you want a piece of the pie, you need to contribute either the ingredients or the labour. I dont see that Yesno has proposed either one, although he would like to partake of the results.
3/1/2014 8:48:52 AM
grs says:
I always wonder about the people that constantly state we should become our own province or join Manitoba. It's like they think it's as simple as applying for a Manitoba driver's license or getting a company to make up a new one for a new province just like you would do for a business card.
2/27/2014 8:30:10 AM
The Badger Mountain Hermit says:
5,500 jobs...no way, Jose. They don't even employ that many in the Minnesota Iron Range...unless you mean all the new civil servants they will hire, just to tell us what to do and how to think and act.
2/27/2014 6:58:14 AM
cm punk says:
This Ring of Fire is heading into the pathetic stage.
It will never see the light of day.
Those who say join the province of manitoba are clueless.
We make up 3 percent of Ontario population and make up 80 percent of the geographical area.

Yup, we hold a lot of pull. More like bull.
2/26/2014 10:16:01 PM
Ranma says:
And once again proof that policy is written by people who have no idea what is going on, and never set foot in the area in the first place. We need to break away from Southern Ontario, and either join Manitoba, or become our own province. There is a night and day difference between life in Northern Ontario and life in Southern Ontario. And that difference is seriously starting to impact our livlihoods.
2/26/2014 5:59:18 PM
TBAY Duffer says:
@ Ranma: Don't blame Queens Park on this one. Cliff Resources made it clear why they pulled out of the Ring of Fire. They, like all miners are slashing costs to survive.

The CEO of Cliffs suspended the Chromite project 48 hours after taking office. He also cut Capital Spending by 50% for 2014.

RBC Capital Markets said that Cliffs made the right decision.

"It has been our view that the project would take years to develop if it could ultimately be developed at all,”

With today's' chromite prices, they seriously questioned the project's economics.

If the professional miners can't make the project viable at this time, why does the Chamber of Commerce think the government can ?

Instead of building a $Billion dollar highway to nowhere, perhaps they could invest in some snow removal on our exiting roads.
2/26/2014 9:45:00 PM
smartguy83 says:
We don't have enough money to run our own city. Imagine trying to run our city and fund the region where populations are too low to survive? Our province would either go bankrupt or our taxes would increase 10 fold. Get a grip please.
2/27/2014 11:30:59 AM
Comments for this story are semi-moderated. Read our comment guideline.

Add a new comment.
You must log in to add comments.
Create a new account
Log In