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Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement about building transit and highways, during an election campaign event in Bowmanville, Ont., Friday, May 6, 2022.Aaron Vincent Elkaim/The Canadian Press

Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford is touting the progress his party has made on the Ring of Fire development.

He says his party would continue to work with Indigenous communities and invest $1-billion to build an all-season road to potential mining sites in the Ring of Fire if re-elected in June.

The Ring of Fire is a region about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay that is said to be rich in critical minerals and the province has made long-standing promises to develop and mine the area.

Last month, Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations said they will be submitting a terms of reference for an environmental assessment for the proposed Northern Road Link project, which the province says is the final piece of critical road infrastructure in the Ring of Fire development.

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Ford says he’s “proud” to have sat down with the chiefs of the Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations last month and that collaboration with community partners is what’s been missing from getting the “ambitious” project done.

He says the Ring of Fire development will create thousands of new jobs in the mining industry and bring “countless” benefits and opportunities for Indigenous communities, including easier access to everyday goods like groceries, fuel and water.

Ford adds that the minerals extracted from the site will make Ontario a “resource powerhouse,” allowing the province to become a leader in electric vehicle production in North America.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Meta and Canadian Press News Fellowship.