Ring of Fire investment not mentioned specifically in federal budget: Angus

Tuesday's federal budget focused on infrastructure and First Nations communities — but the Ring of Fire and FedNor were absent from the budget announcements.
While the Ring of Fire wasn't specifically included in the federal budget, some say funding to the project could come from money put aside for infrastructure. The Ring of Fire is a large, mineral resource-rich area located in the James Bay Lowlands region of northern Ontario. (CBC)

Tuesday's federal budget focused on infrastructure and First Nations communities — but the Ring of Fire and FedNor were absent from the budget announcements.

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus told CBC News he's skeptical about whether enough money will flow to northern Ontario.

"One of my concerns is on infrastructure. They said this was going to be an unsexy budget about building infrastructure and building economy. To me, that means Ring of Fire," he said.
The Ontario Prospectors and Developers Association's Garry Clark says he hopes federal money for infrastructure will go towards developing the Ring of Fire. (Gord Ellis/CBC)

"There's no mention anywhere of the Ring of Fire — just as there's no mention at all of the mention of FedNor, which is always traditionally given a nod in a budget."

While the Ring of Fire wasn't specifically included in the federal budget, the executive director of the Ontario Prospectors Association says funding to the project could come from money put aside for infrastructure.

"The fact that the Ring of Fire wasn't mentioned specifically I don't think is a concern in the fact that there's a lot of money there that could be used to work that [going] forward," Garry Clark said.

"The other issue is ... that the term 'Ring of Fire' has been a little overused and, really, it's more of an infrastructure and development piece."

Timmins-James Bay NDP MP Charlie Angus says there was a $1 billion commitment to the Ring of Fire from the Ontario government, and he thinks the feds have missed the mark. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

Funding needed for 'impoverished region'

Some First Nations within the area of the Ring of Fire are already looking at studies for roads to get access to their communities, Clark continued.

"I would think that an infrastructure piece would fall into that."

The budget did include tax incentives for investment in mineral exploration, which is expected to help prospectors and junior mining companies.

In the meantime, Angus told CBC News he'll continue to work with the government to raise awareness about both FedNor and the Ring of Fire.

He noted there was a $1 billion commitment to the mining development project from the Ontario government — and he thinks the feds have missed the mark.

"This is a project that could kickstart economic development in a very impoverished region and also, move forward a new mining project that will last well, well into the century."

with files from Samantha Lui

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