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Province recruits firm to establish Ring of Fire development corporation

Friday February 28, 2014

The Ontario government announced it has recruited the firm Deloitte LLP to help set up the development corporation which will be responsible for infrastructure in the Ring of Fire region.

Deloitte will act as a neutral third-party resource for key partners, which includes First Nations, the provincial and federal governments and industry.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said the appointment is part of the province’s goal of collaborating with partners in developing the Ring of Fire.

“That is why our government is committed to driving progress through the development corporation and that is why I am so pleased that we are getting significantly closer to a historic agreement on a regional framework with the Matawa First Nations,” Gravelle said.

Deloitte will work with Ring of Fire partners to set clear paths and timelines for decision-making, create guiding principles for the development corporation and seek consensus on the corporation’s next steps.

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

Gravelle said that there is a shared opportunity and interest in the “incredible $60 billion deposit and I am confident that infrastructure priorities can come together.”

Work is also underway to help partners build a common understanding of infrastructure needs in the region. A third-party research report will examine existing infrastructure proposals and establish a common technical basis to inform decisions and to maximize the economic and social potential of the Ring of Fire region.

The province’s announcement was met with some criticism.

NDP Northern Development Mines Critic Michael Mantha called the announcement “a stark reminder of the Liberal government’s inability to spur development in the mining sector.”

“The Liberal government continues to govern by press release; all talk no action,” said Mantha. “This latest announcement by (Gravelle) further proves that this government is determined to create jobs anywhere but in the actual mining sector. We now see consultant companies profit while the mining companies are left on the sidelines and First Nations suffer.”

Mantha criticized the Liberal government on having retained an outside consultant firm to “advise them on what should have been done years ago.”

“Once again we see the government announcing a plan to make a plan to make a plan,” Mantha said.

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