U.S. multinational Cliffs Natural Resources says it will seek exemption
to Ontario Mining Act to ship raw chromite overseas, but Teamsters
wants the government to tell foreigners that if you 'mine it here, then
refine it here or keep it in the ground'
OTTAWA, Nov. 25, 2011 /CNW/ - Queen's Park will squander huge potential
benefits of the so-called "Ring of Fire" mining discovery in the James
Bay lowlands if it allows the lion's share of raw materials to be
siphoned off and sent to China for refining, says the head of Teamsters
Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees.
"A senior executive of Cliffs Natural Resources told CBC news this week
that it plans to ship much of the raw chromite to Asia for refining and
will seek an exemption to the Ontario Mining Act because the law
prevents materials mined in Ontario being refined outside Canada," says
William Brehl, president of the union representing maintenance workers
on several short line railways in Northern Ontario that may carry Ring
of Fire minerals.
"Premier Dalton McGuinty's government has called the Ring of Fire the
most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century. We urge his
minority government to stand tall, protect Ontario jobs and help
Northern Ontario's economy by denying the exemption. If you mine it
here, then refine it here or go away and leave it in the ground. We
have been urging this for the past year since we first heard about the
China plan," Brehl says.
The Ring of Fire, about twice as large as Prince Edward Island, is said
to hold one of the world's largest and richest deposits of chromite,
the key ingredient in making stainless steel. It is also said to
possess nickel, copper, platinum, gold, zinc and magnesium.
Instead of extracting the minerals from beneath the Canadian Shield and
shipping them to China - a country not known for its environmental and
labor protection laws - the chromite and other materials should be
refined in Ontario, creating Ontario jobs and bolstering business for
the ONR (Ontario Northland Railway) which is subsidized with Ontario
tax dollars, Mr. Brehl says.
"This is a simple win for Ontario. There is infrastructure in Timmins to
refine where a former Falconbridge refinery closed recently, there are
trained workers there, there is a potential for more jobs in Ontario's
North and fewer tax dollars required to subsidize the ONR because
shipping the minerals will add needed money to ONR's coffers. There is
nothing stopping Premier McGuinty from saying 'no' to the exemption
except big powerful multinational corporations who will threaten to
take their ball and bat and go home. If the Occupy Movement has taught
us anything, it is that sometimes we have to do what is best for
people, not what is best for Wall Street financiers and corporations,"
Mr. Brehl adds.
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees Division
(TCRC-MWED), a division of Teamsters Canada, represents more than 4,000
maintenance of way workers at more than 20 short line railroads across
Canada, including the ONR, and CP Rail. Its members are involved in
inspecting, monitoring and repairing the tracks, bridges and structures
on the network. TCRC-MWED's mission is to make sure that the railway is
SOURCE TEAMSTERS CANADA RAIL CONFERENCE (TCRC)
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