Sudbury·Audio

Chambers' Ring of Fire report card 'not applicable' to the north

A professor at Laurentian University calls a new report card on the Ring of Fire unfair.
The Ring of Fire is a mineral-rich region in northern Ontario's James Bay lowlands. (CBC)

A professor at Laurentian University calls a new report card on the Ring of Fire unfair.

The report released this week by the Greater Sudbury and Ontario Chambers of Commerce gives the project a failing grade for development.

The report cites the absence of an agreement with First Nations, problems with permits and a lack of federal funding as the most significant barriers to development.

David Pearson, professor at Laurentian University, says the expectations for the Ring of Fire are too great. (Roger Corriveau/CBC)
But David Pearson said the expectations for the project are too great and it's unreasonable to think that all First Nation communities in the far north can speak to the project with one voice.

"I think the standards that you've used to put your F's on and your C's and your D's and so forth are not standards that are applicable to the far north," he said.

Some industry experts have defended the findings, saying the point of the report is to draw a sense of urgency to the project.

A panel discussion on the subject was held in Sudbury Wednesday night at Dynamic Earth.

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce's Josh Hjartarson said he wants to talk about the project, but government officials aren't returning his phone calls.

He's said he's trying to pressure the government to take action.

"What I'm trying to say is that we're spending some political capital," he continued.

"We're out there. We're trying to get change. And that means, sometimes, being controversial."

The Ring of Fire holds one of the world's richest chromite deposits, however years of delay have "soured" public perceptions of the region as a viable economic investment, the report says.

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