Lake Superior port being developed as link to Ring of Fire

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by Emily Atkins

The northernmost heavy-cargo port on the Great Lakes is being developed by the BMI Group and the Red Rock Indian Band.

Paul Veldman, managing partner at The BMI Group, and chief Marcus Hardy Red Rock Indian Band. (CNW Group/BMI Group)

The two groups signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will allow them to explore the redevelopment of lands formerly used by a linerboard mill in Red Rock, Ontario, as a deep-water port. Red Rock is on the northernmost shore of Lake Superior, just off the Trans Canada highway, about 110 km northeast of Thunder Bay.

The Red Rock Integrated Marine Supply Chain, RRIM SC partnership between the BMI Group and the Red Rock Indian Band intends to connect the Great Lakes seaway to existing transportation infrastructure from the Red Rock port through to the Trans-Canada Highway and the northern Community Infrastructure Corridor.

Former linerboard mill

The former linerboard mill site is a 360-acre property within the Township of Red Rock. The mill was closed in 2006 and most of the buildings were removed.

“The Red Rock Mill site is well known for its industrial history, but now we would like to turn the page and work with the Red Rock Indian Band to create other opportunities for the region,” said Paul Veldman, BMI managing partner.

“We have put considerable resources into the site this year to initiate environmental remediation and develop an initial concept for redevelopment. We recognize the Red Rock Indian band as a key partner and we look forward to working with them.”

Red Rock is envisioned as a gateway to the Ring of Fire mining developments.

Once a busy timber and mill town, Red Rock is emerging as a strategic transportation node connecting the Great Lakes to the Nakina, Webequie, Marten Falls, Ring of Fire, Community Infrastructure Corridor.

“We have the capacity, our people have the capability, and we want to make them shine; we want to give people a good life,” said Marcus Hardy, chief of the Red Rock Indian Band.

Shielded by the Red Rock Mountains and the northern coast of Nipigon, Red Rock’s natural harbour has access to Lake Superior.

The partnership brings together Dutch custom shipbuilders, Neptune Marine, and BMI’s experience with HOPA Ports in Niagara to develop a shipping and transload solution to support mining, First Nations, and heavy industry in Northern Ontario.

BMI operates a multimodal hub in Niagara at HOPA Ports, and facilities across Canada. It is a family-run real estate, infrastructure, and business development company.

The Red Rock Indian Band (RRIB) is an Ojibwe First Nation in Northwestern Ontario, Canada. The Council is an independent member of the Union of Ontario Indians, a Provincial Territorial Organization.