Despite some frustration the Ring of Fire development has been at a standstill for years, Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle said it's important to “get it right” before moving ahead with any infrastructure investments.
Gravelle was in Sudbury Thursday, where he addressed the city's Chamber of Commerce with an update on Ontario's mining sector.
While the province has committed to invest $1 billion to build infrastructure to connect the remote Ring of Fire mineral deposit by road, it has not yet provided any details as to when that work will begin.
“Timelines can and may be altered depending on moving forward with the work we're doing with the Ring of Fire Development Corporation,” Gravelle said after his speech.
Gravelle said the companies involved in the Ring of Fire understand moving their deposits into production will take time.
“(Noront Resources president and CEO Alan Coutts) wants to see the project move as quickly as possible, but he's cautious, as we are, that we make sure the First Nations that are directly impacted by any mine development, that we make sure they can see real benefits from the project,” Gravelle said.
Since its purchase of Cliffs Natural Resources' properties in the Ring of Fire earlier this year, Noront Resources has become the largest holder of deposits in the region.
Gravelle said around 20 companies have shown an interest in the Ring of Fire, including, most recently, mining giant Goldcorp.
In March 2015 Goldcorp purchased Probe Mines Limited, and all of its properties, including the company's Borden Gold project located near Chapleau, and some mineral properties in the Ring of Fire.