Mutual co-operation, solid funding will open up resource-rich region within weeks
by Greg Klein | April 1, 2014
In an unprecedented display of support for resource development, a committee representing all stakeholders in Ontario’s Ring of Fire today announced an accord to open the region to mining immediately. “All the agreements are in place, along with investment and funding, permitting and legislation, as well as a solid plan to build infrastructure,” said Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s minister of Northern Development and Mines. “Work has started already.”
Proposals to develop the remote region have proved vexatious to approximately 15 federal and provincial ministries, several aboriginal communities and over 20 mining and exploration companies. Some observers wondered whether there could ever be any consensus if industry representatives themselves couldn’t come to terms.
Amazingly, they did. And they brought along each and every other stakeholder.
How were such seemingly insurmountable obstacles overcome with such astonishing speed? “Nothing’s insurmountable when people work together,” Gravelle replied. “All we did was utilize the best resource known to this planet—mutual goodwill.”
“It’s been a wonderful experience to see so many different people, from so many different backgrounds, put aside their differences, forget their own self-interests and work together for the common good,” he exclaimed.
Intense excitement has focused on the Ring of Fire, which is conservatively estimated to have the combined geological potential of 7.5 Afghanistans, 3.25 pre-conquest Colombias, two-thirds of King Solomon’s mines and a couple of Cow Mountains squeezed into a tiny pocket of central Ontario that’s twice the size of Asia. So rich are the resources, mining analysts concur, that they almost compensate for the region being named after the world’s dumbest Johnny Cash song.
But was reaching an agreement really that easy?
“Well, it wasn’t all smooth sailing,” Gravelle conceded. “If there was one bit of acrimony, it came when people kept insisting they themselves were wrong and other people were right. I kept hearing everybody say, ‘No, we’ll do it your way. I insist—we’ll do it your way.’”
One problem remains, he cautioned. “Everyone wants to pay the entire cost of opening up and developing the Ring of Fire. Each and every stakeholder is saying, ‘We want to put up the money ourselves. No one else has to pay a cent.’”
“I fear that if anything could scuttle this deal, it would be competition to foot the bill.”
Expected for completion within weeks are an all-weather highway, railway, airport, transmission lines, pipeline, at least 12 mines with mills, a sun-kissed seaside city of seven million happy people and a mining-themed Disney World.