The lack of development at the Ring of Fire continues to dominate the news after there was no direct mention of it in last week’s federal budget. In an interview with Moose News following the budget, Nickel Belt Liberal MP Marc Serre said although the federal government wants to be part of making the chromite discovery a reality, it first needs a plan from the Ontario Liberals. Serre’s comment wasn’t lost on Algoma Manitoulin MPP Mike Mantha who has hammered the Ontario Liberals for years about the Ring of Fire. Mantha quoted Serre who told Moose News “it’s hard to invest in a blank piece of paper.” Mantha chastised the Liberals for continuing to talk about developing the Ring of Fire but doing nothing to move it forward. “When is this government going to stop announcing the development of the Ring of Fire and actually start developing the Ring of Fire,” Mantha said.
In response, Bill Mauro, the Minister of Municipal Affairs, said that the project continues to move forward. Mauro talked about a transportation corridor study that could lead to a second study. This study was started under the former Harper Conservative government and was completed last year. Mauro told Mantha that although the first study doesn’t establish a definitive route to the site, it generated “significant information that positions us well as we move forward on this file.” Mauro also says that even though the federal budget doesn’t directly address the Ring of Fire, he believes at some point “there will be a role for the federal government to play in the James Bay development.” Mauro adds the Liberals are counting on that support. Year after year, the Liberals have said they will commit $1 billion towards the chromite find and want the federal government to do the same.