Keep 'Ring of Fire' refinery work in Canada, government urged

Railway union pushes to spike plan calling for shipping raw minerals by rail and sea to China,
wants Timmins refinery re-opened, jobs returned to Northern Ontario

OTTAWA, Jan. 6 /CNW Telbec/ - Ottawa and Queen's Park must maximize the huge potential benefits of the so-called "Ring of Fire" mining discovery in the James Bay lowlands by preventing all the raw materials being siphoned off and sent to China, says the head of Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees.

"Premier Dalton McGuinty's government has called the Ring of Fire the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century and yet we understand the plan is to send the raw materials to China to be refined," says William Brehl, president of the union representing maintenance workers on several short line railways in Northern Ontario.

"As mining operations begin in the next couple years, the same care taken to protect the environment should be taken to protect and promote the economy of Northern Ontario and the thousands of workers who lost their jobs a year ago in Timmins when the former Falconbridge refinery was closed down," he adds.

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.

There is a plan to build a 350-kilometre rail link to haul 4-10 million tons of ore per year south to Nakina, Ontario, a stop on the main line of the CNR. From there, it would be taken to Prince Rupert, British Columbia where it would be loaded onto ships bound for China.

"There is a better way," Mr. Brehl insists. "At Nakina, CN should take the materials east, not west, to the Algoma Central Railway, which CN owns, then north to ONR (Ontario Northland Railway) and on to Timmins. The infrastructure is there. The trained workforce is there. The housing is there. The plant is there. All that is needed is the will of politicians to insist that business leaders do this instead of sending it all off to China.

"Ontario is saddled with a $19-billion deficit so maximizing the Ring of Fire benefits should be a no-brainer. And only in November, Ottawa blocked the hostile foreign takeover of Saskatchewan's Potash Corp. so it has some history in getting involved when Canada's natural resources are concerned," Mr. Brehl adds.

About TCRC-MWED

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 at CP Rail, one of Canada's two main railways. 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 safe, in spite of any economic, managerial or other obstacles.

SOURCE TEAMSTERS CANADA RAIL CONFERENCE, MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYEES DIVISION

For further information:

For more information and pdf maps of rail routes:

Lise Cyr
TCRC-MWED
800-567-0571
lcyr@tcrcmwed.ca

Bill Brehl
President
TCRC-MWED
(613) 889-8620 - cell
WBrehl@tcrcmwed.ca

Profil de l'entreprise

TEAMSTERS CANADA RAIL CONFERENCE, MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYEES DIVISION

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