Ring of Fire News


What's up with the biggest thing happening in mining in NW Ontario?

Ring of Fire (RoF) News – November 24, 2014


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Ring of Fire (RoF) News – November 14, 2014

  • Latest KWG estimate for Big Daddy, from a regulatory filing (NI43-101 Technical Report, 75 page PDF) this week  “…. In 2010 Micon published a resource estimate for the Big Daddy, using a cut-off of 15%. They identified 26.4 million tonnes grading 39.37% Cr2O3 of Indicated resources and a further 20.5 million tonnes of Inferred resources grading 37.47% Cr2O3 (Gowans et al, 2010a). Using the same cut-off of 15% Cr2O3 the current model identifies 37.4 million tonnes grading 28.5% Cr2O3 of Measured and Indicated resources and 4.8 million tonnes at a grade of 25.0 % Cr2O3 of Inferred resources. The current estimate has more tonnes of Measured and Indicated resources, reflecting the additional drilling done in the intervening two year s, but at a lower grade. In addition, the current model has much less Inferred resources, also at a lower grade. The differences lie in the fact that the previous model was much more tightly constrained as only samples above a 15% cut-off were used and the mineral domain was extended approximately 250 metres below the deepest drilling …. To fully evaluate underground mining, and to properly define the limits of open pit mining, additional drilling is required to extend the limits of the resource down dip (proposed exploration budget for infill drilling: $3.465 million) ….”
  • More from Matawa’s negotiator Bob Rae  “The courts have spoken on aboriginal rights. Governments must act …. What is deeply troubling is the gap between the Supreme Court of Canada’s decisions and the willingness of both provincial and federal governments to enforce and follow the decisions …. The numbered treaties could be described as trillion-dollar misunderstandings ….”
  • Some relevant Tweets coming out of a recent Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development’s conference, via MiningWatch Canada:  Chuck Birchall at #canenviroperf: #Indigenous ppls could take Canada’s “consultation” requirements to include regional/strategic EA …. But many First Nations & tribal/regional bodies already developing their own land use plans & protocols, no thanks to gov’t or EA processes.” – More on Charles Birchall from his corporate bio
  • “Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse called for “true partnerships” at the 4th Annual Mining Ready Summit, held Oct. 28-29 in Thunder Bay. “That’s the way going forward for us to have a step in the processes and also be part of the processes that are potentially going to happen in our area,” Wabasse said. “We have to have these agreements and they have to be real and they have to be honoured.” Wabasse said his community does not want to sign agreements where “nothing is happening on our side.” “We know that we have to work our part as well too to make that agreement become reality,” Wabasse said. “We need to understand as First Nations about that agreement, what we need to do to make that happen as well too.” Wabasse said his community is not opposed to development. “We want to be able to benefit from our lands and resources,” Wabasse said ….”
  • “Long Lake #58’s Wyatt Waboose is proud of the work he put into his winning Noront t-shirt design. “It had to be traditional so I used the eagle feather and the four colours,” said the Grade 11 Migizi Miigwanan Secondary School student. “I was going to put the feathers underneath, but then I made a rough draft (with the feathers) over (top) and I chose between the two of them, with the feather underneath and the feather over top. I asked my mom about it, what I should use and what shouldn’t I use, and she said the top one.” ….”
  • Editorial“When it comes to developing the Ring of Fire, or building the Maley Drive extension, Sudburians are getting to watch the old political shell game. It’s not a game they want to play or one in which they can get any satisfaction ….”


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Ring of Fire (RoF) News – November 6, 2014

  • Some interesting tidbits came up after we put yesterday’s version to bed, so here you go ….
  • Tick, tick, tick …. “KWG Resources Inc. announces that by mutual agreement of the parties, KWG and Bold Ventures Inc. have extended to December 30, 2014, the deadline by which KWG must provide that it intends to make the $700,000 option payment due February 7, 2015 under the KWG/Bold Option Agreement and expend an aggregate of $8,000,000 on the property by March 31, 2015. KWG has to date incurred $5.8 million of the $8.0 million required expenditure and is proceeding with a prospectus offering of securities to fund the additional work. If the notice is not delivered within the extended time, the Option will be terminated. “Recent events have dramatically altered the current value of opportunities in the Ring of Fire,” said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “That has exacerbated a difficult exploration and development financing environment for those of us working there. We need some time to discuss these circumstances with all the participants affected by this new reality.” ….”
  • “The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is at work on a report, grading the Government of Ontario on its performance on 13 steps it recommended in February the province take to develop the Ring of Fire. The goal of the first report, Beneath the Surface: Uncovering the Potential of Ontario’s Ring of Fire, was to raise awareness about the impact mining the Ring of Fire would have on the economies of Ontario and Canada.  Josh Hjartarson, vice-president of policy and government relations for the Ontario chamber, said governments’ priorities are determined by the pressure people put on them, so his group is trying to “generate some virtuous pressure on all levels of government.”  Hjartarson compares the Ontario chamber’s public awareness campaign to what Canadian petroleum producers did to promote the Alberta oil sands. Many observers have compared the importance of the Ring of Fire on a national scale to the oil sands and Churchill Falls generating station ….”
  • “There’s a lot of misconceptions in the public about the Ring of Fire and First Nations and Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias said he’s tired of it. The First Nation community leader says people believe First Nations in Matawa communities are being handed things and that everything is rosy in the Far North. Those, the chief says, are lies.  “We’re not getting anything,” Moonias said as Matawa Tribal Council and Noront met at the Victoria Inn Wednesday. “We’re not getting anything in the way of being consulted.”  Moonias said he and other Matawa chiefs have been repeating themselves for years that meaningful development from industry and government needs to occur if the development is going to take off.  While both parties have said that’s happening, Moonias said consultation needs to happen at the community level in a language that all members can understand. Many people in his community don’t have the education needed to be able to decipher reports or hear from lawyers.  “Speaking to the First Nations people is not consultation or going for coffee with the First Nations people is not consultation. Consultation happens in the community in that language that my people understand,” he said.  While the province championed a regional framework agreement with Matawa, Moonias said it’s been a long time since any discussion has taken place.  “We haven’t really heard from them since they won the majority government and I don’t know what’s happening,” he said.  Noront CEO Alan Coutts said Matawa’s concerns show that even if there are political and legal definitions for consultation, industry and communities need to come to their own agreement about what the process is ….”
  • More “who does what during consultation?” litigation coming next summer  “A Sudbury junior miner has nailed down a date to take the Ontario government to court for failing in its legal duty to carry out consultation with First Nations.  Northern Superior Resources announced that a Superior Court judge overseeing the company’s litigation has set June 1, 2015 for the trial date.  Four weeks have been set aside for the proceedings.  The company is suing the Ontario government for $110 million for failing to consult with First Nations after a series of disputes with the Sachigo Lake First Nation led to the company abandoning work on its mining claims in northwestern Ontario in 2011. The company was evicted from the area by the First Nation.  The company wants compensation for the $15 million invested in exploration since 2005 and the estimated value of its three gold properties located near the Manitoba border.  The government contends it’s not liable for any damages incurred by the company and any decision to stop exploration was theirs alone. The Crown further said it’s not responsible for any demands made on the company by Sachigo, or the company’s decision to reject them ….”company news release
  • Matawa’s negotiator Bob Rae on treaties and resources  “…. (at a recent speech) Rae suggested the concrete steps needed to move forward to renew the treaties. These include more revenue sharing and jurisdiction for Aboriginal people as resource extraction in Canada continues to march through traditional Aboriginal territory.  “The resource frontier of the country is moving north and west, where there is traditional territory of Aboriginal people. We cannot ignore this issue. And if I was a smart guy in oil or gas or mining or forestry, I would need to get my head around this question,” Rae said.  Rae criticized provincial Premiers for their unwillingness to share revenue with First Nations. In Ontario, Rae continues to negotiate on behalf of nine First Nations with respect to proposed developments in the “Ring of Fire,” where resource revenue sharing is a key component of discussions about the massive mining project.  “Canada tried assimilation, marginalization, dependency and powerlessness,” Rae said. “None of them worked… Now it is time for more self-government, and the transfer of land, money, and jurisdiction to First Nations peoples.” “ – speech text here, video of speech here


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Ring of Fire (RoF) News – November 5, 2014


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Ring of Fire (RoF) News – October 30, 2014


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Ring of Fire (RoF) News – October 24, 2014


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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – October 16, 2014


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Ring of Fire News – October 8, 2014

  • Tough crowd …. “Frank Smeenk was direct in his appraisal of Cliffs Natural Resources ending up on the wrong end of an acrimonious proxy fight with a New York hedge fund. “I thought they deserved everything that befell them,” said the president-CEO of KWG Resources. “They haven’t been easy to get along with at all.” There’s no love lost between the Toronto junior and the Ohio miner, but a change in leadership and corporate philosophy in Cleveland may signal the thawing of a frosty relationship ….”
  • Noront’s Glenn Nolan shares pix of the company’s Esker camp here and here, via Twitter.
  • Bob Rae touches on RoF in construction industry speech in Toronto  “…. Rae adds, that in order for development of the Ring of Fire to be successful, there needs to be a private sector company with the capacity to make a long-term investment, there needs to be participation from the First Nations, and issues around environmental impact and sustainability need to be addressed. “We have to make sure we don’t screw it up because it’s one of the last undeveloped frontiers in Canada.” he said.”
  • RoF catches the eye of the construction trades mulling their future  “Canadian think tank, Cardus, is launching its new Building Meaning Project, which aims to reshape the preconception of working in the construction trades …. The project will include a series of Canada-wide roundtable discussions involving key players in the industry, government and education system. The first meeting will be held on Oct. 27 in Calgary, followed by a meeting in Vancouver on Oct. 29, Toronto on Nov. 6 and Ottawa on Nov. 20 …. The location of each roundtable were decided based on the need for labour and the potential for large projects take shape. “The oil and gas sector is where the labour shortage is felt most acutely. So we wanted to bring those players there,” Dijkema added. “There’s lots of infrastructure work being done and if some of the projects that are said to come online (Ring of Fire), then Ontario will be in situation similar to Alberta.” “
  • A Northern Ontario NDP MP’s take on whazzup in the RoF  “…. The Ring of Fire development is no closer to getting off the ground today than it was when the Conservatives first came to power in 2005. It wasn’t long ago that Treasury Board Secretary and the Harper government’s point-man for Northern Ontario, Tony Clement, declared that the Ring of Fire would be “Canada’s next oil sands.” Indeed, the Ring of Fire could hold tens of billions of dollars’ worth of metals and minerals, but you can’t just click your heels and hope. Cliffs Resources wants out, and negotiations with First Nations have stalled. As for the federal government? Well, they’re missing in action with no dollars committed to the project. They’ve even refused to sit at the table while the difficult issues facing the project are dealt with by others ….”
  • Over at Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, Ring of Fire Co-ordinator Christine Kaszycki appears to be wearing a new hat these days  “George Ross, Ontario’s former deputy minister with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, started his new job with the Government of Yukon as its new deputy minister of the Department of Energy, Mines and Resources on Oct. 1. Christine Kaszycki, the Ring of Fire Coordinator, is the acting assistant deputy minister ….” Meanwhile, Ontario’s online listing of government employees lists her as Deputy Minister. Here’s the Yukon’s news release from August about Ross’ appointment.


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Ring of Fire (RoF) News – October 2, 2014

  • “Premier Kathleen Wynne isn’t wasting time worrying about Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources looking to possibly sell key assets in the Ring of Fire. Cliffs will make its own business decisions and the Government of Ontario doesn’t have any control over that, said Wynne. “There are many companies that are interested in the development of the Ring of Fire and we are going to be working with all of those companies that are interested,” Wynne told reporters after a cabinet meeting Thursday at the Willet Green Miller Centre at Laurentian University. At one time, Cliff had plans to open a chromite mine in the Ring of Fire, and ship the ore to a plant in Capreol for processing. That would have created as many as 600 jobs in the Sudbury area. The premier and most members of her inner circle met at the session, at which ministers received mandate letters outlining the priorities for their ministries. High on the priority list for Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle (see Mandate Letter here) was developing the Ring of Fire, rich chromite deposits located 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Gravelle was instructed to continue to collaborate directly with other ministers, First Nations and key stakeholders to develop the mineral-rich area. That includes establishing the Ring of Fire development corporation that was promised to be set up within 60 days of the Liberal government’s throne speech delivered in July …..”
  • Who else is tasked with working with RoF as a priority? Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs – this priority, from his Mandate Letter:   “Collaborating on Ring of Fire Negotiations – Working with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and with First Nation communities on the next phase of negotiations under the Ring of Fire Framework Agreement our government signed earlier this year. Your goal is to ensure benefits sharing and a regional approach that respects community-based planning ….”
  • …. not to mention the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry – from his Mandate Letter“….Working with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to support robust and comprehensive environmental assessments and planning related to projects in the Ring of Fire region ….”
  • …. as well as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (link to Mandate Letter):  “….Continuing to work on decisions relating to environmental assessments associated with projects in the Ring of Fire region. You will do so by working with the ministers of Northern Development and Mines, Aboriginal Affairs, and Natural Resources and Forestry. This will include ensuring that the regional and cumulative impacts of proposed development are considered ….”
  • Meanwhile, according to APTN, “In Toronto, nine chiefs from the Matawa Tribal Council held an emergency meeting with the province this week. This past March, the province and First Nation Ring of Fire chiefs signed an historic framework agreement with the province. But since then, things have gone sour.” (video)
  • “The Ontario Liberals may have won a majority in the June 12 election, but they don’t have a monopoly, says Andrea Horwath. Ontario Liberals have failed Northern Ontarians time and time again — especially in their slowness to develop the Ring of Fire — and the Ontario New Democrats can capitalize on that, said the NDP leader. Horwath spoke Sunday morning at NDP Northern Council 2014, a gathering of 60 or more MPPs, NDP candidates and party faithful …. Ontario saw the “sad result” of Liberal inaction recently when Cliffs Natural Resources indicated it was looking to sell its assets in the Ring of Fire, Horwath told delegates. “Instead of pulling out all the stops to build infrastructure, instead of getting revenue sharing agreements on track, instead of working with northerners, First Nations and industry partners to develop resources in the Ring of Fire, Premier Wynne’s government has taken a wait-and-see approach.” ….”
  • Part of mines minister Michael Gravelle’s response to Horvath:  “It is troubling to hear a leader of a major political party in Ontario speak with such a lack of understanding of the steps required in developing the Ring of Fire. What is specifically troubling, is that (NDP leader Andrea) Horwath does not seem to understand the complexity of this major economic opportunity for our province or respect the important work we have undertaken before ore extraction can actually begin. Our government is leading the way to drive development in the Ring of Fire. There is no question that over the past year, significant progress has been made. We have provided a $1-billion commitment to develop transportation infrastructure in the region; established a Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation within 60 days of forming our new government; and reached a historic agreement with the Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council that lays the groundwork for future discussions. Our government is proud of the work that we have accomplished so far …. While Ms. Horwath may be looking to score quick political points, I respectfully ask her to do her homework on a very complex project that is currently being developed in a smart, sustainable, collaborative way and represents a historic opportunity to affect positive economic outcomes for the region, Ontario and indeed all of Canada.”
  • Noront shares a “whazzup?”  “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to provide an update on its work plans for the winter 2014-15 season. Noront has agreed to support Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN) as the proponent of a winter road to access its Eagle’s Nest Mine in the Ring of Fire. MFFN has submitted a permit application to build a winter road from Marten Falls to Noront’s Esker camp where the Eagle’s Nest Mine will be located. This road will be used to transport bulk materials including fuel and heavy equipment, to be used for work on the existing airstrip and to help ensure that Noront is in position to initiate mining activities once the necessary approvals are in place. Work on the airstrip is planned for fall/winter 2014 and will be completed under an approved land use plan with Noront’s development partner Marten Falls Logistics (a 100%-owned entity of Marten Falls First Nation). As part of this project, the landing area will be cleared to its final dimensions for use as a winter air strip during the 2014/15 season rather than the previously used ice air strip constructed on Koper Lake. The airstrip will be upgraded for all-season use when waste rock aggregate is available from construction of the underground mine at Eagle’s Nest …. Noront is currently preparing an update to its 2012 Feasibility Study which is expected to be complete by the end of October. It is being prepared by Micon International based on detailed construction cost estimates provided by the companies contributing to Noront’s Eagle’s Nest project, a group of world class organizations ….”
  • Meanwhile, more analyst doom and gloom for Cliffs ….  “The vultures continue to circle around Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. looking to take advantage of a company desperate to raise enough cash to stay alive ….”
  • …. while Cliffs gets set to share more info later this month  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Announces Quarterly Conference Call for Third-Quarter Financial Results on October 28, 2014 ….”
  • “KWG Resources Inc. announces that by mutual agreement of the parties, KWG and Bold Ventures Inc. have extended by 30 days, to October 30, 2014, the deadline by which KWG must provide Binding Notice 2. Pursuant to the Option Agreement between KWG and Bold, Section 3.1 provides that KWG must provide Binding Notice 2 by September 30, 2014 that it intends to make the $700,000 option payment due February 7, 2015 under the KWG/Bold Option Agreement and expend an aggregate of $8,000,000 on the property by March 31, 2015. If the Binding Notice 2 is not delivered, the Option is terminated ….”
  • A good question from a Northern Ontario think tank:  “What would a federally supported stainless steel industry mean for the Ring of Fire?”  “….The North now has all the ingredients in their backyard to make stainless steel, a uniqueness not found anywhere else in the world. How incredulous would it be for Canada to be the only G8 country not to have a stainless steel industry when the chromite, nickel and iron are all in one place? Although the timeline for the eventual development of the Ring of Fire may be unknown, few would believe that $60-billion of known mineral wealth will stay in the ground for very long. One way to accelerate that extraction and to start generating wealth on three fronts, would be for our governments to invest in the development of a stainless steel industry. A stainless steel manufacturing plant would be a catalyst for accelerating investment in the Ring of Fire chromite development by providing a local market for the product. It would also ensure that the middle step of smelting chromite into ferrochrome would be done locally. An industrial hat-trick if you will ….”


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Ring of Fire (RoF) News – September 25, 2014

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