Ring of Fire Monitor

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Electrical rates hurt industry in North: MPP

Electrical rates hurt industry in North: MPP
By CAROL MULLIGAN THE SUDBURY STAR
Ontario Energy Minister Brad Duguid's heart is in the right place when it comes to wanting new jobs in the resources industry to stay in the province, says Nickel Belt MPP France Gelinas.
But his government's energy policies are not far-sighted enough to make Ontario cities such as Sudbury attractive -- and competitive -- for companies such as Cleveland's Cliffs Natural Resources.
Cliffs released its plans last week to build a processing plant for chromite ore it will mine at its Black Thor deposit in the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario. A site near Capreol is under consideration as one of the locations for the plant.

Locating the ferrochrome production facility in Sudbury -- or anywhere in Ontario -- is largely dependent upon a large, reliable, long-term and cost-competitive supply of electricity, the company said last week.
The processing plant would bring hundreds of jobs with it -- as many as 950 jobs during construction of the plant and 1,300 when the operation is in full gear. That would include 300-500 at the mine, 200-300 in transportation and 400-500 jobs at the chromite processing plant.
Duguid said his government has worked closely with people in the mining sector and other large industries to come up with an Industrial Conservation Initiative.
There is the potential for "huge opportunities for savings" with the bill, Duguid told The Sudbury Star on Monday, and Cliffs may not even be aware of the program or its savings yet.
It could save the company up to 25% of its electricity costs, based on time of use. Other plans such as the Conservation Accelerator Program provide other savings.
"We've taken some very significant measures in the last 12 months" to improve hydro rates for industry," said Duguid.
And while Gelinas gives him credit for the new programs, she said they only remain in effect for five years.
Companies such as Cliffs are looking for long-term energy policies so they can plan their futures, said the MPP.

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