Doug Ford to be keynote speaker at Ring of Fire fundraising event

Doug Ford is being touted as one of the key guests at a fundraising event in April, hosted by a First Nation in northern Ontario, and one of the players in the Ring of Fire.

Cost to attend is $250 per ticket

Ontario PC leader Doug Ford will be one of the key figures at a fundraising event for a transportation authority in the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario. (Chris Young/Canadian Press)

Doug Ford is being touted as one of the key guests at a fundraising event in April, to be hosted by a First Nation in northern Ontario, and one of the players in the Ring of Fire.

The mining area is about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont.

The Ring of Fire Limited Partnership, along with KWG Resources, will host the event in Toronto on April 5.

Ford, the leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party, as well as Federal MP Maxime Bernier, and Chief Jason Gauthier of the Missanabie Cree First Nation are all special guests at the event.

"Doug Ford is a very enthusiastic supporter," said Frank Smeenk, the president and CEO of KWG Resources.

"Hardly a morning or an afternoon goes by that he's not talking about the need to get going in the Ring of Fire," he said. "We've spent a lot of time exploring this possibility with them."

Smeenk said all of the money raised will go toward the research required for the partnership to create its own transportation authority. The authority, similar to an airport or port authority, would help in transporting raw materials from the Ring of Fire to a proposed KWG processing plant in Sault Ste. Marie.

Smeenk said those authorities, set up by the federal government, are standalone and self-sufficient.

He said the Missanabie First Nation is part of the discussion, as it aims to keep the Algoma Central Railway operating. Using the corridor to transport chromite ore would ensure the viability of that line, said Smeenk.

"What we call the James Bay and Lowlands Transportation Authority could then raise the capital, perhaps by selling bonds to Chinese banks, to build the railroad to the Ring of Fire," Smeenk said.

Transportation remains one of the key challenges for mineral development in the Ring of Fire.

About the Author

Jeff Walters

Reporter/Editor

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Jeff is proud to work in his hometown, as well as throughout northwestern Ontario. Away from work, you can find him skiing (on water or snow), curling, out at the lake or flying.