Ray of sunshine

With more chairs having to be brought in to handle the overflow crowd which turned out for the information session on area mining projects last Wednesday at La Place Rendez-Vous, it’s obvious that interest is high in the local business community about these operations and the potential spin-offs they offer.
And for good reason. The prospect of a gold mine in Richardson Township, as well as a pig iron operation near Atikokan, is a ray of sunshine for Fort Frances and district given the persistent cloud of doubt hanging over the forest industry. A sense of cautious optimism definitely pervaded the room as representatives from Rainy River Resources and Bending Lake Iron Group outlined their respective projects, both of which are expected to be up and running by 2015.
In fact, the district already is reaping the benefits from the exploration and drilling that’s been ongoing for the past several years, whether it’s workers staying in hotels and at tourist camps or equipment and vehicles being purchased. And, of course, that will only snowball down the road as actual production begins.
Mining, like most industries, is cyclical, and there are always environmental concerns which stem from development. But for an area in desperate need of economic diversification, the renascence of mining here in Rainy River District is welcome news.
Fort Frances rightfully has put out the welcome mat for mining companies, and has been touting all the services our community has to offer.
The task now falls to local businesses and entrepreneurs to seize this promising opportunity for a brighter future.