Ring of Fire News

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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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Ring of Fire News – September 19, 2014


 

 

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Ring of Fire News – September 12, 2014

  • More complaints about no First Nation reps (yet) on Ontario’s RoF DevCorp  Some chiefs in the Ring of Fire are expressing disappointment after First Nations were excluded from a board that deals with infrastructure development in their territory. Chief Peter Moonias from the Neskantaga First Nation said the move was “not in good faith.” Especially, after a historic framework agreement was signed between the nine Matawa- member First Nations and the province just months ago. “The relationship part is what is important in that framework,” said Moonias. …. Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Grand Chief Harvey Yesno said he’s spoken to some chiefs in the region who have expressed concern over the province’s actions. “The (provincial) government is moving forward unilaterally, yet they keep saying that partnership with First Nations is a priority,” said Yesno ….”more
  • More about those First Nation concerns  “First Nations scold Mines Minister Michael Gravelle – CBC News has obtained letters from several First Nations in the Ring of Fire detailing a breakdown in the relationship with Ontario that could threaten the already fragile mining project ….”
  • Bob Rae heading to RoF First Nation for meetings, according to his Twitter feed
  • Some (tempered?) RoF optimism from the CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC)  “There are many reasons it’s taken longer to develop the Ring of Fire than expected, and there are lessons to be learned from that. One is when the mining industry tells government, “You’ve got to seize the opportunity,” it’s true, says the president and chief executive officer of the Mining Association of Canada. That’s what the industry told the government of Ontario several years ago when metal prices were really strong, said Pierre Gratton. It would be good to have some of those mines in production or at least going into construction now, Gratton told The Sudbury Star before speaking at the 2014 North America Mining Expo Gala Dinner on Tuesday night at the Caruso Club. “Now it’s more challenging for the Noronts of this world to raise capital,” said Gratton, “and it’s all been because we’ve struggled with issues we ought not to be struggling with.” They include roads, who owns what land, protracted government issues and uncertainty around First Nations and their level of participation in developing the area. On a more positive note, Gratton said some of the building blocks for real long-term success in the Ring of Fire are being put into place ….”
  • More from the MAC CEO  “The high cost of doing business in Canada, especially in the Far North, is the biggest challenge the mining sector faces nationally, said Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. Gratton, who was the keynote speaker at a Chamber of Commerce event for the North America Mining Expo in Sudbury on Sept. 9, said according to Mining Association of Canada research, it can cost up to two and a half times as much to build a remote mine there, than a mine near a populated urban centre in the south …. To address the high cost of doing business in remote regions, like northwestern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral deposits, government needs to partner with mining companies, Gratton said. Building infrastructure in those regions, which often benefits remote First Nations by connecting them to transportation routes and electrical grids, constitutes a public good, Gratton said ….”
  • A think tank’s take on recent First Nation court decisions on extraction  “A pair of recent Supreme Court decisions delivered earlier this year changes Canada’s relationship with Aboriginal peoples, but the consequences are by no means as drastic as some of the overheated commentary suggests, a new study from the Macdonald-Laurier Institute finds. While some believed the Tsilhqot’in and Grassy Narrows decisions would cause chaos in the natural resource sector, the impact of the two landmark rulings is in fact far more nuanced. At their core, the decisions continue a balancing act between empowering and limiting the authority of both Aboriginal peoples and governments. Far from a tilting of the playing field, they are more a rewritten rule book. ”What the Supreme Court of Canada has highlighted at a fundamental level is that Aboriginal communities have a right to an equitable place at the table in relation to natural resource development in Canada”, reads the report, titled “The End is Not Nigh: Reason over alarmism in analysing the Tsilhqot’in decision (PDF) ….”

 

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Ring of Fire News – September 8, 2014


 

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Habemus (start of) RoF Development Corporation!

This just out:

“Ontario has taken another step to drive progress in the Ring of Fire region, delivering on its July 3, 2014 commitment to establish a development corporation within 60 days. With headquarters to be located in Thunder Bay, the ROF Infrastructure Development Corporation (ROFIDC) will work to bring First Nations and the public and private sectors together to create partnerships and facilitate investment decisions in strategic transportation infrastructure ….”

A few more details from here and here ….

  • What’s the Corporation do?  “ROFIDC’s role is to: Encourage and assist exploration for and development of mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire by financing, building, operating and maintaining strategic transportation infrastructure including industrial and community access roads; Engage and consult with industry, government and aboriginal communities; Negotiate and facilitate agreements among key partners; Promote and foster economic development opportunities connected to exploration and development of mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire for First Nations located in the region as well as aboriginal and non-aboriginal persons and communities throughout the province”
  • Who’s on the board for now?  Ehren Cory, Executive Director for Infrastructure Ontario’s (IO) Transaction Structuring Risk and Commercial Projects division …. Rob Dowler, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) for Economic Environment Justice and Intergovernmental Policy in Ontario’s Cabinet Office …. Linda McAusland, Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Administrative Officer for the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) …. (and) Bill Thornton, Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the Northern Development Division for the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines”
  • When’s the full board going to be assembled?  “The board may be expanded to include additional directors as appropriate.”
  • How about that $1B dollars?  “The (Ontario) government has committed to provide up to $1 billion for strategic transportation in the Ring of Fire. The province expects that other partners, including industry and the federal government, will also contribute.”

 All before the 1 September 2014 deadline ….

 

 

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Ring of Fire News – August 26, 2014

  • Canada’s mines & energy ministers gathering in Sudbury  “The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, is co-chairing the annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC) from August 24 to 26. This conference brings together federal, provincial and territorial ministers to discuss cooperation and opportunities related to energy and mines. This year’s EMMC is also co-chaired by Ontario’s Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and Bob Chiarelli, Minister of Energy ….”
  • Canada’s NatRes Minister Greg Rickford: Not ready to pitch money into RoF infrastructure  “The federal government is not ready to make a $1-billion commitment to Ring of Fire infrastructure, said Greg Rickford, Canada’s minister of natural resources and FedNor. He made the statement in French, responding to a question from French media in Sudbury. Rickford said the feds have already made investments in the nearby First Nations to increase their educational opportunities. He said future federal funding for the Ring of Fire will need to be tied to specific projects with precise goals. “We’re obviously quite hopeful about what the Ring of Fire offers,” he said. “Not just in terms of its extraction activities, but the actual legacy of creating the infrastructure required to support this.” ….”
  • More from Rickford:  The Ontario Government should stay focused on deciding on a transportation corridor to get to the Ring of Fire and reaching revenue agreements with first nations before worrying about striking deals with the federal government on infrastructure projects. Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford says the federal government is already involved in training and local infrastructure programs on first nations that will get people and communities ready when the area is opened to development ….”
  • Ontario’s mines minister Michael Gravelle: We’re still working on that Development Corporation thingy (even if the deadline’s September 1, 2014)   “While Michael Gravelle wasn’t ready to unveil a development corporation for the Ring of Fire yesterday, the Northern Development and Mines minister did tell an audience of policymakers and industry leaders from across Canada that action on this front is looming. “We are working very hard, right now, to get a corporation established and I will have an update on that very, very soon,” said Gravelle, during a keynote address at the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference at College Boreal. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne earlier promised her government would create a corporation to guide development of the James Bay chromite deposits within 60 days of the July 3 throne speech — in other words, by early September — and Gravelle said this remains the plan. “We will meet the commitment,” he pledged. Addressing federal colleague Greg Rickford, the Natural Resources minister and minister for FedNor, Gravelle said he looked forward “to having a more substantive conversation with you once we have the details in place on a development corporation.” ….”
  • (Not much) more on the RoF dev corp  “Mines Minister says province will meet early September deadline to establish corporation. Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said the province is not yet ready to announce a development corporation to lead infrastructure decisions around the Ring of Fire, despite a nearing self-imposed deadline. Gravelle was not able to share new information regarding the long-awaited development corporation at the 2014 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference in Sudbury ….” 
  • Webequie First Nation, one of the communities closest to the dormant Ring of Fire mineral camps, has reached an agreement with the Ontario government to do a community-based land use plan. A news release from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry said a signing ceremony for the terms of reference was signed in the community on Aug. 21. The ministry’s land use planning process involves identifying areas that are both suitable and off-limits for resource development. In a statement, Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse wants a partnership with the government that respect their Aboriginal and treaty rights, including having a say on how their lands and resources will be developed. “Webequie’s primary objective is to ensure our community’s interests are protected now and for the future, including our traditional activities and values. We’re hopeful this process will help achieve these goals.” ….”
  • More environmental assessment training for First Nations  “This week, over 35 delegates from the Matawa and Mushkegowuk Nations will gather in Wahnapitae First Nation. The delegates are participating in a workshop organized by the Chiefs of Ontario (COO) and Four Rivers, Matawa’s environment office. The environmental training builds on the Chiefs of Ontario’s 2013 Environmental Assessment toolkit which offers high-level technical staff the opportunity to work with leading industry professionals and enable community experts to learn more about mining and environmental assessment processes. Participants will visit several mining sites in the area, attend workshops focused on negotiating skills and learn more about the job opportunities, training, and environmental considerations central to development in the Ring of Fire region ….”
  • James Bay area First Nations trying for a piece of the action  “The Mushkegowuk Council has announced they will coordinate the development of their business case in support of a Ring of Fire rail, sea port, fibre-optic, and energy transportation corridor through an Aboriginal-led-alliance. “We now have the experience, people, credibility and knowledge to take an active role in leading the development of infrastructure corridors. We have learned from our mistakes and we have the confidence from our successes” said Deputy Grand Chief Leo Friday. Deputy Grand Chief Leo Friday, on behalf of Mushkegowuk Council, announced to the Matawa Council of Chiefs at their annual general meeting on July 31st, 2014 that Mushkegowuk is fully supportive of Matawa’s interests in the Ring of Fire …. In the spirit of our joint declaration between Matawa and Mushkegowuk Chiefs, Mushkegowuk Council offered the Matawa Council of Chiefs to jointly develop sustainable infrastructure opportunities to unlock the economic potential of the Ring of Fire while safeguard ing the historic rivers of the Matawa and Mushkegowuk homelands ….”
  • Lawyer’s commentary on who can help bring together all the players, given how governments have been doing so far  “…. it is easy to see why governments and project proponents are at a standstill to lead the development of providing access to the Ring of Fire. Who can co-ordinate such a politically and legally complicated process? The mayors of northern Ontario municipalities are trying their best to coalesce an alliance of regional stakeholders but their clout is limited. A solution may lie with First Nations leadership ….”

 

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Ring of Fire News – August 13, 2014

  • “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc, an iron ore and coal producer, (announced) that Lourenco Goncalves, a former steel company executive, was named to run the company after activist investor Casablanca Capital triumphed in a proxy battle.  Out is Gary Halverson of Sudbury as the company’s CEO.  The Cliffs board of directors named Goncalves as chairman, president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.  Goncalves was the preferred CEO candidate of Casablanca, the hedge fund investor that last week succeeded in getting a majority of its nominees appointed to the board.  Goncalves, a former CEO of Metals USA Holdings Corp, a manufacturer of steel and other metals, said in a statement he intended to refocus Cliffs “on a new strategic path” that builds on its strengths.  Analysts said Goncalves could pursue the sale of three of the company’s four operating segments: its Asia-Pacific iron ore business, its eastern Canadian iron ore operations and North American coal unit.  In an interview with Reuters in February, Goncalves said he would focus on supplying iron ore to steelmakers in the United States, not selling into the competitive global iron ore market, if he became Cliffs CEO ….” - more on the new CEO here and here
  • Glass-is-half-full assessment of shake-up @ Cliffs  “A boardroom shake-up at Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. has raised the likelihood that its international assets will hit the market, creating some intriguing buying opportunities for Canadian miners in their own backyard ….”
  • Glass-is-half-empty assessment  “The end of Cliffs in the Ring of Fire?”
  • Mining lawyer/analyst uses the baseball analogy on the Cliffs victory of sorts  “…. the infield looks like this: Cliffs has just hit a single, the environmental review is playing second base, First Nations are defending third, and Minister Mauro is umpiring behind home plate. And Cliffs’ dugout is in disarray with new management taking over the franchise back at headquarters. opefully Cliffs will make it around the bases. If and when they do, they will almost certainly have rewritten the project rulebook for mining in Ontario.  hat’s because the latest ruling stands as a legal primer, a testament to the fact that apparently everyone involved in the administration of mining claims in Ontario needed to go back to Mining 101 for a refresher course in order to do their jobs …”
  • More on the latest court outcomes  “A mining industry observer says a recent court ruling will do nothing to spur development in the Ring of Fire.  A divisional court ruled last week that Cliffs Natural Resources may apply to the province to build a road over KWG Resources’ land.  KWG had been withholding its consent.  Cliffs has said it wants to build a road to transport ore from the Ring of Fire in the Northwest.  In an interview last week, Cliffs vice-president Bill Boor said the decision was reason for optimism for Sudburians.  The company has floated the idea of a chromite smelter in Capreol.  But the head of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Services Association said Cliffs still has to satisfy the minister, negotiate with Aboriginal groups and complete environmental assessments.  “If it’s a good step, I’m not sure for whom,” Dick Destefano said.  “But it seems to open up another avenue for discussion — which means another delay and another discussion, and another study.” ….” - more on the “Cliffs wins its road fight (sort of)” decision here
  • Another editorial reminder about all  the other players still in the Ring of Fire game  “What a difference a year makes. In 2013, Northwestern Ontario communities were giddy at the prospect of getting in on the tremendous economic opportunities connected to the Ring of Fire mining belt. Thunder Bay and Sudbury were fiercely competing to be the site of a processing facility while Greenstone and other centres were pitching themselves as logical transportation hubs.  Then the big player walked away. For a variety of reasons — provincial indecision, First Nations objections, competitors’ alternatives, falling commodity and stock prices — Cliffs Natural Resources ended its substantial exploration activities. A coup of sorts among shareholders put in place a new CEO who agreed to return Cliffs’ attention to its iron ore business which Thunder Bay area residents can see when they drive through northern Minnesota.  While Cliffs hasn’t abandoned its stake in the Ring’s massive chromite deposit other companies that remain active in the region are now getting all the attention ….”
  • Latest on Ontario’s promised $1B for Ring of Fire infrastructure  “The Minister of Northern Development and Mines believes stable federal funding for infrastructure is needed to ensure the province’s economic growth. But the province will still spend upwards of $1 billion on infrastructure for the Ring of Fire with, or without, federal backing …. Michael Gravelle, the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, said the federal government needs to recognize that it plays an important role when it comes to Ontario’s infrastructure needs …. He repeated the call for Ottawa to match the $1 billion the province has already promised to develop the Ring of Fire — the largest mineral discovery in more than a century. The province has promised to keep the billion-dollar investment with or without federal support ….”
  • Think tank analyst:  power rates’ll affect chances of Ring of Fire development  “When I was a youngster, we had a neighbour who kept a jar of coins. When kids would visit, he’d offer the jar and say, “take as many as you like.” If you grabbed too many, your bulging fist wouldn’t make it through the neck of the jar. Lesson learned.  As the development of the Ring of Fire moves ahead, those involved will need to make complicated decisions on how much of the Ring’s wealth to keep in Ontario and how much to let go …. Right now, it’s debatable whether the Ring’s chromite will ever see an Ontario smelter due to provincial electrical costs ….”
  • First Nation training to take advantage of the Ring of Fire continues  “This year’s science and environment workshops at the Nibinamik Youth Retreat were part of the training for the RoFATA Environmental Monitoring Training Program.  “(The youth) really enjoyed it,” said Harry Bunting, a Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA) environmental monitoring student from Constance Lake. “They learned quite a bit actually, and so did I. I was able to do some sampling of fish, learned how to age a fish and what to do when you are sampling and doing your protocols to help assess the water quality and assess the environment itself.”  The Environmental Monitoring Training Program is being delivered by Four Rivers Matawa Environmental Services Group at the Matawa First Nations building in Thunder Bay ….”

 

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