Mine officially opens

Premier Doug Ford, third from left, along with Northern Development and Mines Minister Greg Rickford, second from left, joined Harte Gold president Stephen Roman, with scissors, White River Mayor Angelo Bazzoni, third from right, and Pic Mobert First Nation acting Chief Louis Kwissiwa, second from right, at the grand opening of Harte Gold’s new mine north of White River.

Farmers go ga-ga for him, and apparently miners also think he’s worth his weight in gold.

Just like he was at a southwestern Ontario plowing competition this fall, a grinning Premier Doug Ford was the star of the show Wednesday afternoon, when about 200 business, municipal and First Nation dignitaries gathered at the official opening of Harte Gold’s remote Sugar Zone mine.

About 150 people work at the high-grade operation just north of White River, which is expected to operate for at least 15 years, producing 1.5 million ounces of gold.

As investors, including project co-founder John Ternowsky, roared with approval, Ford disparaged the “bureaucracy” that he says causes gold mines and other job-creating projects to face long delays.

“It drives me crazy,” said Ford, saying he couldn’t believe it took seven years for the Harte Gold mine to receive final government approval.

“When a project like this gets going, it brings opportunities for everyone,” Ford said.

Noting he was going “off-script,” Ford then assured that under his administration industrial projects that had previously taken several years to obtain permits could be done in a fraction of the time, maybe in only a year.

Turning to Harte Gold president Stephen Roman, and generating some chuckles, Ford said: “You were too nice to the bureaucrats.”

See the full story in the print and digital editions of The Chronicle-Journal.

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