“Embrace the complexity” is the most succinct piece of advice I have received since floating the idea of writing a book about the Ring of Fire a few months ago.
An Opportunity for Ontario’s Far North
Indeed, the mineral-rich area in Ontario’s Far North encapsulates all the challenges and pitfalls of resource development in Canada: lack of infrastructure, the duty to consult indigenous communities about decisions that affect them, and the potential for environmental damage.
The Ring of Fire also represents a chance for Canada to get resource development right, boosting the prosperity of the surrounding communities, providing jobs and business opportunities where there are none, and adding revenue to provincial and federal coffers.
Wouldn’t it be something if a future mining camp could become a model for how to manage resources so that the benefits to country and community far outweigh the costs?
Fantasy or Reality?
Some would argue that the mineral potential of the Ring of Fire has been overblown by a province anxious to appease northern voters. But they would be wrong. There have been several high grade base metal discoveries in the area that, from an economic standpoint, warrant development provided the infrastructure – a permanent road and connection to the power grid – is there. Build it and they will come.
Does Canada Have a Resource Future?
What is in question is how Canadians envision their future. As the federal government ties itself in knots promoting a pipeline from the carbon-spewing oil sands while at the same time championing environmental stewardship and respect for First Nations – and with an election looming – how do we want to proceed as a nation? Do we want to continue to provide resources to the world despite the environmental cost? And if we don’t, how do we replace the considerable tax revenue those resources generate?
Walking the Tightrope So You Don’t Have To
The Ring of Fire saga encapsulates this dilemma. It’s both an opportunity to get resource development right, and a risky business proposition with the potential to be destructive. In researching my book, I will walk the tightrope of this complexity using stories from characters that have been touched by the Ring of Fire as my balancing pole.
Welcome to my new blog on the Ring of Fire. Please join me as I uncover the fascinating tales behind this vast, remote mineral-rich but ecologically sensitive land. I hope you can help me keep my balance along the way.