March 5, 2019
The Honourable Greg Rickford
Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and Indigenous Affairs
Room 5630, 99 Wellesley St. W
Toronto, ON, M7A 1W1
RE: Road Infrastructure to the Ring of Fire
On behalf of the Ring of Fire Task Force of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, I am writing to you regarding the all-seasons road proposed to be built to the Ring of Fire site in Ontario’s far north.
The Ring of Fire project has the potential to produce significant wealth for the province, with estimates valued at well over $60 billion, as well as the creation of more than 5,500 jobs. Ontario is a global leader in the mining industry and developing the Ring of Fire is essential to maintaining our competitive edge and promoting economic development in the North.
We are encouraged by your government’s commitment to developing the Ring of Fire as you expressed during your remarks at our PEP Conference in January. It was a very positive message for our mining and mining supply and services industries to hear. We urge the government to hasten the commencement of construction of an all-seasons road to the Ring of Fire as it is the first step to unlocking billions of dollars of natural resources critical to Northern Ontario’s economy.
It is our understanding that the current impediment to the financing and construction of an all-seasons road is the confirmation of a lead proponent for a section of the route that lies between the Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations. We recognize that your ministry is currently in negotiations with these two communities to develop an agreement that would see one of the two become the proponent for the aforementioned section of the road. We urge you to expedite the process and come to an agreement with the communities so that the project can proceed with further consultations with surrounding Indigenous communities, environmental assessments, and any other regulatory requirements.
It is also critical that your government commit funding to the project. The former Liberal government included $1 billion in the 2018 provincial budget for building an all-seasons road to the Ring of Fire. The announcement of a similar pledge from the Ford government in the 2019 provincial budget would reinforce your commitment. It is important that Budget 2019 include assurances from the province to develop the Ring of Fire, primarily with funding for the north-south road project.
Building an all-seasons road to connect the Ring of Fire to the provincial highway network is critical to its growth and necessary for mining proponents to bring their ore to international markets. The successful development of the Ring of Fire will be an economic boon for all of Northern Ontario where economic growth has often lagged behind the provincial average.
We acknowledge the efforts the government has achieved to date, and encourage you to demonstrate your continued commitment to this project by expediting the road infrastructure to the Ring of Fire.
Debbi M. Nicholson
PRESIDENT & CEO
cc Jamie West, MPP Sudbury
France Gélinas, MPP Nickel Belt
Mayor Brian Bigger The Ontario Chamber of Commerce
*The Honourable Greg Rickford replied to the Chamber’s letter on May 6, 2019. Read the full response here. *