Ontario has announced today the establishment of the Ring of Fire (ROF) Infrastructure Development Corporation, to be headquartered in Thunder Bay.
Our post on March 26, 2014, Ontario, First Nations to work together on Ring of Fire, noted that Ontario had promised back in November, 2013 to create an ROF development corporation to bring together private and public partners including key mining companies, First Nations, and the provincial and federal governments, to lead strategic infrastructure development for the Ring of Fire region. Ontario repeated that promise in July of this year and added a sixty-day time limit, which this announcement fulfills.
The ROF Infrastructure Development Corporation is a not-for-profit corporation, with an interim board of four Ontario public servants. The board will put the necessary structures in place in order to allow for partners to determine their participation in the corporation. This includes working with key partners including First Nations, industry, communities, and the federal government, to formalize partnerships through the corporation, and overseeing an economic and technical baseline feasibility report on transportation infrastructure.
As participation in the corporation evolves, the Board of Directors will be broadened to include membership from First Nations and industry partners. In its mature state, the corporation will be in a position to advise on crucial infrastructure investment decisions, including how to best utilize Ontario’s $1 billion dollar commitment to Ring of Fire infrastructure.
Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines said of the announcement
“The development corporation is a vital step towards building the much-needed infrastructure that is critical to realizing the full potential of the Ring of Fire. It is a key building block to achieving our mutual goals of unlocking regional economic growth and benefitting from value-added opportunities like mineral processing and job creation. I have confidence that this team will guide us through this initial, and necessary phase of the ROF Infrastructure Development Corporation, and I am encouraged by the work that is already underway to bring together First Nations, key industry players, communities and the federal government as partners. Together we can find the best ways to move forward so we can all tap into the extraordinary potential of the Ring of Fire.”