Local leaders are wrapping things up at the world’s largest mining conference in Toronto. The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Conference is now over, but the conference has highlighted the need for new infrastructure developments in northwestern Ontario.
Notably, a new coalition of local shareholders and leaders have gathered to create the East-West Ring of Fire Road Coalition to advocate for development of a four-season access road into communities in the far north.
The new road could lead to further mineral chromite mining developments in the north– with an estimated $60 billion value. Sioux Lookout Mayor Doug Lawrance says that so far, the coalition has received ‘enormous support’ for the project.
“The East-West road route would optimize existing road alignments, piggyback on pending hydro grid construction and use existing logistics and supply networks. We anticipate this route would lessen the environmental impacts (including wetland and peatlands) and avoid expensive, problematic large-scale water crossings.”
Originally proposed by mining company Noront Resources Ltd., the East-West all-season passes close to Cat Lake, Mishkeegogomang, Lac Seul, Webequie, Nibinamik, Eabamatoong, Saugeen and Slate Falls First Nations. Other adjacent communities include Sioux Lookout, Pickle Lake, Ignace and Dryden.
The coalition is currently seeking government support for the project, which would extend from Highway’s 599 and 72, extending north from the Trans-Canada Highway west of Thunder Bay to the Ring of Fire area.
Local business owners were also part of the mining conference experience. Morgan Fuels services all of northwestern Ontario, with offices in Pickle Lake, Sioux Lookout, Dryden and Kenora. They were one of 100 organizations representing Northern Ontario, as part of FedNor’s mining showcase.