Today in the legislature, NDP Northern Development and Mines critic Michael Mantha pressed the government on the Auditor General’s findings that the Liberals are failing to take leadership, invest, and create a plan for the Ring of Fire.
“In the AG’s report, her audit found what the people of the north already knew: that despite this province being the largest mineral producer in this country, it was ninth overall in attracting mining projects. You don’t have to look farther than the Ring of Fire to see that,” said Mantha, MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin.
The Auditor General’s report found that, since 2010, the Ring of Fire Secretariat, created by this government, has spent over $13 million and has nothing to show for it.
“One company throws their hands up in the air and the other is threatening to leave. $13 million over four years and this government even fulfill their duty to consult with the First Nations in this area. Speaker, what is this government doing to develop this deposit, and are they only providing busy work for their well-connect friends?” asked Mantha.
Last summer, Kathleen Wynne made Ring of Fire development a central part of her election platform. A year later it turns out there won’t be any money until 2018-19 — after the next provincial election.
When Wynne campaigned in Thunder Bay she said about the Ring of Fire: “We are making it a priority for my government… We will commit $1-billion with or without the federal government involvement.” (http://bit.ly/1TnHTj6)
The Premier told Ontarians: “I will not consider my premiership successful unless we have seen significant progress on the Ring of Fire.” (http://bit.ly/1Lbei71)
Last year, mining giant Cliffs, who spent $550 million in the Ring of Fire, said they can no longer do business with this Liberal government and sold their claims at a massive loss to Noront Resources for $20 Million.
Noront is one of the few remaining mining companies operating in the Ring of Fire. According to inside sources, the Ontario mining company is expected to halt spending by the end of year, resulting in enormous job losses if the Liberal government doesn’t make progress with infrastructure and First Nations agreements.
The Auditor General’s report confirms what New Democrats have been saying for years: that the Liberal government is on track to kill the $60 billion mining project.