OTTAWA—Despite an absence of new funding in this year’s federal budget, the Conservative government says it still fully supports development of the Ring of Fire mining region in northwestern Ontario.
Greg Rickford, the federal minister responsible for the file, says it’s up to Ontario’s provincial government to apply for infrastructure funding under the new Building Canada fund announced last week.
That could eat up a huge portion of Ontario’s $2.4-billion share of the 10-year federal fund.
The provincial Liberals have already said they’d like to see the federal government pay for about half the estimated $2 billion in infrastructure they say is needed to develop the remote, roadless Ring of Fire.
But there remains debate over the best corridor into the mineral-rich region, and Rickford said he’d like to see a route that links First Nations communities and mining operations.
Both levels of government have long touted the potential of the Ring of Fire, but the project has been mired in political sniping between Queen’s Park and Ottawa.