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Ontario’s Ring of Fire could produce “the next Fort McMurray”

by Anthony Halley | August 29, 2013 | Reprinted by permission of

“Getting it right” in developing the estimated $30 billion to $50 billion worth of untapped mineral resources in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire could transform the region, creating tens of thousands of jobs, according to Canadian Treasury Board president Tony Clement and Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs.

Ontario’s Ring of Fire could produce “the next Fort McMurray”

Hobbs wants his city—which lies 500 kilometres south of the Ring—to be “the next Fort McMurray,” referring to the Alberta oil sands boomtown.

For this to happen, Hobbs knows there must be sufficient support from the Anishinaabe/Omushkego, the first nations who live in the same area as the proposed mining projects.

Canadian government officials at the federal, provincial and municipal levels have been campaigning to overcome opposition from the Anishinaabe/Omushkego, promising a collaborative approach.

“We have to get it right, especially for the aboriginal communities, to ensure they have the tools to fully participate in the development,” said Christine Kaszycki, who runs the Ontario government’s Ring of Fire Secretariat.

But doubts about the ability of the local communities to share in the economic benefits of development continue to linger. The necessary tax burden that Ontarians would be required to shoulder is another red flag: infrastructure alone, to support the Ring of Fire, has an estimated price tag of $1 billion.

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