CBC News reported that Greg Rickford, Canada’s federal natural resources minister, believes Ontario’s plan for the Ring of Fire has “serious structural problems” and thus he’s cautious about partnering with the province to help develop infrastructure in the area.
He suggested that a mining company and a First Nation might partner on their own proposal, leaving the province out of the equation.
As quoted in the market news:
Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines wrote to Rickford last week, asking for a meeting to discuss the province’s proposal for $1 billion under the Building Canada Fund.
Rickford said he is happy to meet with Gravelle but is not so happy with the way the province is approaching development of what both levels of government see as a key resource.
‘We’re waiting for the province to maybe move beyond the letter-writing and get a submission to us, technically, about a priority and a priority project and we’ll move forward on that,’ Rickford said.
Rickford also identified three key problems he sees with Ontario’s approach to the Ring of Fire. He believes only the problem can resolve them. They are as follows:
- The slow pace of talks with First Nations on ‘own source revenue’ also known as resource revenue sharing. ‘They have a mandate to negotiate a mandate to negotiate,’ Rickford said.
- The Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner’s intervention on the potential north-south transportation route. ‘It shouldn’t have even come to a decision anyway, but that stifled discussions around any road options that could also serve as electricity corridors,’ he said.
- The makeup of the Ring of Fire Development Corporation. Rickford said the federal government would be ‘loathe’ to invest money ’to park it in a development corporation that Ontario senior bureaucrats would administer… That’s not an option for us, it’s not an option for the First Nations, it’s not an option for the private sector.’