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Iceberg marks, some exceeding 20 kilometres in length and 100 metres wide are seen about 180 kilometres south of the proposed Ring of Fire development area in northern Ontario.
Iceberg marks, some exceeding 20 kilometres in length and 100 metres wide are seen about 180 kilometres south of the proposed Ring of Fire development area in northern Ontario.
(HANDOUT/REUTERS)

For Ontario’s Ring of Fire, all roads lead to infrastructure

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s decision to abandon its mineral deposit in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire underlines the mineral-rich region’s critical drawback: There’s no there there. And without co-operation from all levels of government and the First Nations, there never will be.

The Ring of Fire deposit is a potential $50-billion mining bonanza, teeming with chromite as well as nickel, copper and gold. But it’s in the middle of nowhere: 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, in a remote northwestern pocket of the province that’s more than 200 kilometres from the nearest highway. The area is populated by a handful of First Nations settlements, some small-plane landing strips, and a lot of wilderness.