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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – March 24, 2015

  • More on Noront buying Cliffs’ RoF assets  “A Thunder Bay mining expert is optimistic Noront Resources’ $20-million deal to acquire Ring of Fire claims from Cliffs Natural Resources is a step in the right direction.  John Mason, project manager of mining services with the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Corporation, says the unexpected sale was a pleasant shock to wake up to on Monday morning.  “I think really demonstrates Noront’s commitment,” Mason said ….”
  • One First Nation’s reaction to the Cliffs-Noront deal  “The Ontario government has put ‘a gun to the head’ of First Nations leaders trying to negotiate a fair deal in the Ring of Fire mining area in the James Bay lowlands, Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias says.  His comments came within hours of Noront Resources announcement on Monday that it had struck a deal to buy Cliffs Natural Resources assets in the area.  Chiefs were informed of the deal at the same time as being told that the province has set an April 1 deadline for a decision on the next step in Noront’s environmental assessment for a proposed nickel mine in the Ring of Fire, Moonias said.  “There’s a hidden agenda,” he said. “We are being targeted with a gun to our head. We have no more opportunity to study the process.”  The deadline doesn’t allow enough time for community members in the nine First Nations closest to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits to be informed, Moonias said ….”
  • One analyst’s commentary on the deal  Ontario’s Ring Of Fire, Formerly ‘The Next Oilsands,’ Sold For Peanuts — A junior miner will soon be the biggest player in Ontario’s fledgling Ring of Fire mining development, after agreeing to pay US$20 million for the properties of Cliffs Natural Resources, a U.S. mining giant who has abandoned hope of developing the area ….”
  • Another analyst’s commentary  “Mining and natural resources company Cliffs Natural Resources Inc  stock jumped more than 11% in afternoon trading on Monday. Even after the nice pop, the stock is still down 32% for the year, and more than 80% from the 2014 peak …. The market is responding favorably to news that Cliffs is selling its chromium assets in northern Ontario’s so-called “Ring of Fire” region to small Canadian miner Noront Resources Ltd for $20 million ….”
  • Smelter Talk (1)  “The president and CEO of Noront Resources is not ruling out a ferrachrome smelter landing in Thunder Bay.  Alan Coutts on Monday said Monday nothing is written in stone, after his company spent $20 million to acquire more than 100 claims previously owned by a pair of Cliffs Natural Resources subsidiaries.  Cliffs had originally said Sudbury was its preferred location for the processing plant.  “We haven’t settled on anything yet,” Coutts said in an interview with CKPR Radio, adding there is no guarantee the facility will even be built in the province ….”
  • Smelter Talk (2)  “A proposal for a new smelter in Sudbury has been pushed further into limbo after Cliffs Natural Resources announced a deal to sell off its Ring of Fire assets.  The Cleveland-based company said Monday it had entered into a definitive agreement with Noront Resources to purchase its chromite deposits and associated claims for $20 million ….”
  • RoF gets a mention during Question Period in the House of Commons – this from federal RoF minister Greg Rickford:  “Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to developing the Ring of Fire.  Last week, with my provincial counterpart, I had the pleasure of announcing a study on a service corridor for the regional community, which will support mining and increase accessibility for first nations communities. We will continue to work closely with the Province of Ontario on infrastructure projects that support mining and increase accessibility for remote communities …. it is the northern Ontario NDP members that northern Ontarians want to take a hike. Let us be clear about that.  We remain committed to supporting the province in its development of the Ring of Fire. Most recently, I was joined by my provincial counterpart at the world’s largest mining conference in Toronto to announce a regional community corridor study in the Ring of Fire. This is a major step forward for first nations and for the region.  Sadly, the New Democrats vote against this and in fact any measures that support or reflect the values or priorities of northern Ontarians.”

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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – March 23, 2015

 

  • Now they’re REALLY outta here!  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. plans to exit Ontario’s Ring of Fire after agreeing to sell its chromite assets in the mineral-rich region to Noront Resources Ltd. for $20 million.  Moelis & Co. was Cliffs’ financial adviser on the deal, the Cleveland-based mining company said Monday in a statement.  Cliffs is selling less profitable assets in order to focus on its core business of producing iron ore for the North American steel industry ….”  – moreQuick FactsCliffs news release
  • Noront’s take on buying Cliffs’ assets  Noront Resources Ltd. has entered into an agreement to acquire, among other things, the shares of Cliffs Chromite Ontario Inc. and Cliffs Chromite Far North Inc., both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. , which hold mining claims in the Ring of Fire mining district, for an acquisition price of US$20 million.  The Transaction includes the acquisition of approximately 103 claims currently owned by CCOI and CCFNI, including: a 100% interest in the Black Thor chromite deposit; a 100% interest in the Black Label chromite deposit; and, a 70% interest in the Big Daddy chromite deposit. It also gives Noront 85% ownership of the McFauld’s Lake copper zinc resource.   Upon closing, Noront will hold a total of approximately 360 mining claims and roughly 65% (80,000 hectares) of the emerging mining camp known as the Ring of Fire, located 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. These additional assets, alongside Noront’s existing Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum group element deposit and its Blackbird chromite deposit will allow Noront to further its vision of becoming the leading resource company in the area.  “This purchase consolidates the world-class discoveries made in the Ring of Fire,” said Noront President and CEO Alan Coutts. “It also underscores Noront’s long-standing belief and commitment to the region. We have made significant investments in the Ring of Fire and our team has become experts in the region from both a technical and social point of view. We also believe in the considerable exploration upside which we are eager to develop.” ….”
  • Former federal RoF Minister:  Now’s not the RoF’s time  “The federal and provincial governments are not likely to make any significant moves on the Ring of Fire mining project until there is a vast improvement in mineral markets, says federal Treasury Board president Tony Clement.  The guest speaker at a Timmins Chamber of Commerce luncheon ….  Clement responded to a question about the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s Ring of Fire report card, which gave failing grades to both levels of governments for not being proactive enough to get mining projects up and running.  The report card blamed red tape in the mine permitting process, as well as a failure to provide infrastructure, such as better road or rail links.  “There has been little progress developing this extraordinary economic opportunity,” it read ….”
  • KWG Resources official:  Now IS the time  “…. Mo Lavigne, KWG Resources vice-president of exploration and development …. responded to Clement’s statement, telling reporters after the event that the idea of current commodity prices negatively affecting development is misguided.  “He’s really regurgitating a narrative that’s totally incorrect,” lavigne said.  “For chromium and nickel this is exactly the right time to be developing the Ring of Fire.  “I think it’s more misinformed commentary than anything else … People making uninformed comments is rampant these days. It’s so commonplace and unfortunately it’s not really helping us make good decisions.” ….”
  • Editorial:  “Time for Ring of Fire is now …. While it is true that the downturn in the commodity cycle has negatively impacted some global mining firms (for example, Cliffs Natural Resources), the price of iron ore has little to do with the Ring of Fire, which contains no iron ore deposits. The economics of the development have changed very little since Clement himself dubbed it “Ontario’s oil sands” just a few years ago.  It would seem that Minister Clement is actually referring to a weakened business case for investing in the Ring of Fire. On this point, he is right–over the last several years, development in the region has all but stalled ….”
  • Speaking of KWG …. “KWG Resources Inc. has announced that its Board of Directors has approved the delisting of its common shares from the TSX Venture Exchange and that it is in the process of making an application to the TSXV concerning such delisting.  As described in KWG’s Press Release of March 13, 2015, the delisting is necessary in order for KWG to be in a position to satisfy its obligations under the option agreement with Bold Ventures Inc. in respect of the Black Horse claims. KWG’s management and Board determined that it was in the best interest of its shareholders to continue to earn an 80% interest in Bold’s interest in the chromite resources comprising the Black Horse claims and a 20% interest in their non-chromite resources and to husband its cash resources by issuing 35,000,000 shares of KWG rather than making a cash payment of $700,000, especially in light of the difficulty in raising equity in the current markets ….”
  • Current federal RoF Minister not buying recent OCC report  “If FedNor Minister Greg Rickford were rating the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s performance, he would give it a failing grade.  The Conservative MP for Kenora said he rejects a chamber of commerce report in which the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper was given an F for not making development of the Ring of Fire a national priority.  “I don’t accept it,” Rickford told reporters Friday at a news conference to announce funding for the Advanced Medical Research Institute of Canada.  “The federal government has been working with communities. They (the OCC) didn’t talk about the new runways we put in there, surfaces for communities to land and do exploration activities, investment in small business centres, the support for the environmental assessment process that was hiring first nations people and making important contributions from the first nations communities to that.” ….” – OCC report “Where are we Now? A Report Card on the Ring of Fire”
  • More criticism of power rates  “A mining expert believes the city would be poised to capitalize on the Ring of Fire if electricity prices weren’t so high.  John Mason, the project manager of mining services with the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission, said there are some reasons to believe the city could one day be the site of stainless steel production.  The Ring of Fire is home to rich chromite deposits, which when produced to chromium and ferrochromium is used to manufacture steel.  Mason cited the city’s location at the head of the Great Lakes and relative proximity to the lucrative mining development as two potential advantages.  “It’s certainly doable in terms if you look at the seaway system to move product,” he said. “The talent is there, I think our infrastructure is there and the financing could be there there but electricity pricing and availability is one of the biggest concerns.” ….”
  • Prospectors’ group:  It’s not JUST RoF, ya know …. “Ontario is falling behind as a mining jurisdiction, agreed several industry players who participated in a consultation forum organized by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines …. “There’s no tacit recognition by this provincial government that it believes in mining,” said Gino Chitaroni, president of the Northern Prospectors Association.  “All we hear about is the Ring of Fire. Let me explain something about the Ring of Fire, it’s not the only thing going on in this province. I’m sick to death of it.” ….”

 

 

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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – March 10, 2015

  • Ontario’s Chamber of Commerce gives overall failing grade to government for (lack of?) RoF progress to date  “A new report from the Ontario Chamber of Commerce finds that permit delays, an absence of infrastructure, and intergovernmental quarrelling have stalled development in Ontario’s Ring of Fire, the mineral resource-rich region in the province’s Far North.  The report, Where are we Now? A Report Card on the Ring of Fire (PDF), evaluates progress against seven key barriers to development in the region. It finds that it will be years before a first mine is opened in the region.  The provincial government receives a failing grade when it comes to reducing the regulatory logjam. Delays in exploration permits and environmental assessments are preventing mining firms from breaking ground on their projects.  The federal government also earns a failing grade, as it has yet to demonstrate that the Ring of Fire is a national economic development priority. Ottawa has declined to match the provincial government’s commitment of $1 billion for the development of transportation infrastructure ….”moremoremore
  • Matawa RoF Negotiator:  First Nation consent, more than one road needed for RoF to proceed  “Moving ahead with the Ring of Fire will require not just consultation, but the consent of the First Nations nearest to the mining development area in northern Ontario, according to Bob Rae.  Rae is the negotiator for the nine Matawa First Nations in their discussions with Ontario about the proposed mining project …. Last week the province and the federal government announced they would jointly fund a $785,000 study to look at the viability of a road that would connect four fly-in First Nations to the provincial highway at Pickle Lake, Ont. The route being studied would also provide an industrial corridor for a nickel mine planned by Noront Resources.  “This can’t be a process that is driven exclusively on the interests of one project or another,” Rae said. “It has to be seen as responding to a broader concern which is the isolation, the poverty, the real needs of these communities.”  To that end, Rae said, more than one road will be needed.  First Nations envision a loop that begins near the provincial highway at Nakina, Ont. travels through Aroland  and Marten Falls First Nations, connects with the route currently under study and ends at Pickle Lake, he said ….”
  • “Confederation College’s presence at the annual four-day Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention in Toronto, Ontario has affirmed the College’s work within the industry.  During the convention, Confederation celebrated a successful alliance with Noront Resources Ltd. and confirmed a new alliance with the Universidad Técnica Particular de Loja in Ecuador.  Noront Resources Ltd., Confederation’s partner in the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA), received PDAC’s Environmental & Social Responsibility Award for its work with the RoFATA program as well as its many other community initiatives.  The award recognizes outstanding leadership in environmental protection and/or good community relations ….”
  • An Aboriginal leader frames RoF debate around treaties  “Anishinabek Nation Lake Huron Regional Chief Isadore Day says that First Nation issues and interests will be more defined this year at the 15th Annual Prospectors and Developers Association (PDAC) meeting (held in Toronto last week) …. Despite the buzz around business development and the opportunities to generate wealth and employment, many First Nation leaders are suggesting that the mining industry must recognize the critical aspects of “treaties” and “sustainability”. Some First Nations chiefs are going as far as to say that the Ontario government must clearly draw the link between First Nation jurisdiction and provincial policy; and that this link must be the starting point of consultation to any mining development in regions where treaties were entered into with the crown. “Our First Nations and the treaties that our ancestors entered into have been left out of formal decision and policy-making for far too long,” says Chief Day. “This Ontario government can no longer have silo-style dialogue with us on the matter of treaty implementation – and leave the matter of treaty undefined in negotiations. This dialogue must be the basis for how mining evolves in this province – or it can’t go ahead at all, it’s that simple.” …. With developments in the Ring of Fire and in many other treaty jurisdictions throughout the province, “sustainability” will be an important policy discussion for many years to come, where First Nations and the Ontario government come to specific terms with matters around “treaty” and “First Nation jurisdiction” ….”
  • A tiny political shot from Canada’s RoF minister Greg Rickford following the announcement of funding for a road study  “…. Predictably, members of the federal NDP were publicly critical of our joint investment.  This is disappointing, but not surprising. If the NDP does not support the first step towards advancing development in the Ring of Fire, they certainly cannot claim they would support any others ….” (column also viewable here if previous link doesn’t work)

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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – March 3, 2015

  • More on the “federal-provincial money for a road to Pickle Lake study” story  “The Ring of Fire mining development area in northern Ontario is getting a $785,000 boost as the federal and provincial governments announce a joint study of an all-weather road for the isolated region.  Federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford made the announcement Sunday at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada annual convention in Toronto. Ottawa and Queen’s Park will each pay for half the cost.  The study will look at a “transportation corridor” that would connect the area of mineral deposits and four remote First Nations (Webequie, Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Nibinamik) to Pickle Lake, Ontario, about 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay.  “We ought not to be looking at the Ring of Fire as a mine in the middle of nowhere,” Rickford said. “It’s the opportunity to hook First Nations communities up, to be anchored by other towns and cities in the region and be physically connected.” ….”  – moremoremoremoremore – more
  • Noront Resources:  Good news, this!  “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased that the Federal and Provincial governments have agreed to jointly invest funds to further economic development and community access in Northwestern Ontario.  “It is essential that benefits associated with mine development accrue to local communities in a way that will create long-term shared value,” said Noront President & CEO Alan Coutts. “This funding will help First Nation communities in the Ring of Fire benefit from construction of Noront’s East-West access road ….”
  • Thunder Bay’s Chamber of Commerce:  Pretty good news, this!  “…. Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce President Charla Robinson says it is a step forward along the path ….”
  • The Wildlands League:  Nice, but what about the longer term/bigger picture?  “Government funding for a $785,000 study of a road to the Ring of Fire is a “welcome move” for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, but the environmental group says more needs to be done to look at the region-wide impacts of the proposed mining development in northern Ontario …. The environmental group hopes it acts as a “springboard” for further study and a comprehensive, region-wide development plan for the nickel and chromite deposits in northern Ontario’s James Bay lowlands ….”
  • Meanwhile, a nice map of infrastructure and proposed infrastructure around the RoF now available courtesy of the Northern Policy Institute (NPI) here
  • NPI guy makes the case for all-season roads for the RoF  “What is the one thing that would make living in Ontario’s far North communities better?  If you asked that question to seven people knowledgeable about the North, you might very well get seven different answers. Clean drinking water. Functional sewer systems. Quality education. Improved health services. Reliable electricity. Healthy food at affordable prices. Better housing.  To a large degree, this wish list stems from the fact that Ontario’s far North communities are accessible only by air for most of the year. These challenges rarely exist for communities with road access. Astronomically high costs are attached to anyone or anything that has to fly to these places. If the weather cooperates, a winter ice road might provide a month or two of access in every year. There have been poor weather conditions in recent years attributed to global warming. If the pattern continues, winter road construction and use will be progressively problematic.  So what is the one thing that would make living in the far North better? Answer: a network of year-round roads ….”
  • “The Grand Chief of the Mushkegowuk Council is lobbying for industry and government support in Toronto this week, at the prospectors and developers conference, for a wide-ranging set of proposals to serve the Ring of Fire development.  Lawrence Martin says Cree-owned Five Nations Energy could expand to bring power to the James Bay Coast as well as the Ring of Fire. Alongside this project, Martin wants to see public and private partnerships to bring safe water and housing to the communities.  The Mushkegowuk Council represents eight Cree communities along the James Bay Coast as well as Cochrane and Chapleau ….”
  • Meanwhile, some question Mushkegowuk’s priorities  “….While the Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Lawrence Martin is wanting to move the proposed rail and seaport at such great speed and velocity, the issue of (missing and murdered indigenous women) remains a big problem that isn’t prioritized ….”
  • December 2013:  Lakehead University Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining & Exploration holds a policy conference on “the Role of Government Policy in Sustainable Mining Development”  February 2015:  Lakehead University Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining & Exploration publishes a paper from said policy conference, mentioning, in part, “…. On infrastructure in the Ring of fire, there was agreement that both levels of government need to develop plans that balance the needs of industry with those of local Aboriginal communities. But it is also necessary to have a realistic picture of potential development projects and what they might contribute to the northern economy over time.  Public investments in infrastructure need to be guaranteed by private sector investment and development in individual projects ….”
  • In other “reports just out” news …. The Working Group on Natural Resources Development, set up as an independent body by the Assembly of First Nations and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada today released its final report, Advancing Positive, Impactful Change. The report builds on discussions with First Nations leaders, industry and experts and sets out key themes and recommendations outlining potential ways to increase First Nations participation in natural resources development projects …. the report recommends that the dialogue on First Nations involvement in natural resource development be taken up nationally by governments and First Nations across Canada, with the support of experts, industry, and non-governmental organizations. This is necessary for moving forward on key issues like resource revenue sharing and other important matters ….”“FIRST NATIONS AND NATURAL RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT:  Advancing Positive, Impactful Change” (PDF) – Globe & Mail
  • And what’s the Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellgarde saying about this latest report?  “This is an issue that is critical to First Nations and all Canadians and any movement forward must respect and recognize First Nations rights and title.  First Nations need to be involved in resource development during all phases. We bring the added element of ensuring the protection of lands and waters.  Sustainable economic development is what we want. I encourage First Nations to review the report and consider next steps consistent with our right to self-determination.  I look forward to continuing the conversation and dialogue around the issues raised in this report including the implications for rights and title.” 

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Canada, Ontario Provides #RingofFire $ for First Nation Road Study

This, from The Canadian Press:

“Some of Canada’s most remote and impoverished First Nations communities isolated within northern Ontario’s so-called Ring of Fire region are getting funding to conduct a study on how to open the area to development.  However, at least one critic suggested the study, which is to look at establishing a year-round transportation corridor in part to allow mining operations, would be redundant.  The study will be led by the Webequie First Nation in partnership with the First Nations of Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Nibinamik, with the federal and Ontario governments each contributing $393,814 ….”

More on the proposed “regional community service corridor study” from the Government of Canada here.


 

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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – February 16, 2015


 

 

 

 

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Mo’ Details on Gravelle-Rickford Meeting This Week

According to this media account:

  • The two Ministers spent about an hour together with “senior officials” from both Ontario and Canada.
  • Ontario mines minister Gravelle confirms Noront Eagle’s Nest property is “the project that will open up the Ring of Fire.”
  • Ontario is working on an application to Building Canada Fund, with Gravelle saying any projects “will respect the environmental assessment process and extensive consultations with First Nations in the Ring of Fire area.”
  • Other priorities discussed at the meeting include expansion of broadband and expanding hydro power to First Nations in the area.

 

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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – January 28, 2015


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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – January 23, 2015

  • What Business Wants in the RoF (1)  “Northwestern chambers of commerce urged the Wynne government to rein in spending, get cracking on the Ring of Fire, address the growing skills gap, and strive to deliver cheaper power to Northern manufacturers. The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce (NOACC) issued a joint release that they submitted their input during pre-budget consultations. “We highlighted the incredible opportunity in the mining sector and the need for provincial support through investments in infrastructure and skills training to ensure we can realize the potential,” said NOACC president Nathan Lawrence. “Bold action” is needed to balance the provincial budget or since the government’s fiscal situation poses “negative consequences for all Ontarians.” The chambers said investor confidence in Ontario is being hurt by delays in drawing up the Ring of Fire environmental assessment process and the failure on the government’s part to bring in Ottawa as a development partner ….”
  • What Business Wants in the RoF (2)  “Businesses in the region have a few ideas for the province before it unveils its latest budget. In a written submission to the Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs, the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce have highlighted mining, energy and skills shortages as key areas it wants the province to focus on. That and addressing the deficit, which local chamber president Charla Robinson said is limiting the province’s ability to invest in areas to grow the economy …. On mining, the chambers want to see progress in the Ring of Fire, specifically in getting Noront Resources the approval it needs to work on its environmental assessment. Robinson said there is a way for the company to continue that work while the province negotiates with the Matawa Tribal Council. “Right now they’re basically sitting and waiting,” she said of Noront ….”
  • What James Bay First Nations Want in the RoF  “The Mushkegowuk Tribal Council is considering the idea of teaming up with a Southern Ontario rail company to purchase the rail division of Ontario Northland with an eye to expanding rail service on the James Bay Coast and eventually to the Ring Of Fire mining development. Mushkegowuk represents the First Nations Communities along the James Bay Coast. Mushkegowuk grand chief Lawrence Martin revealed Thursday afternoon that his organization has been approached by TGR Rail Canada Ltd, which is one of the companies bidding on the divestment of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. “They gave us a proposal to consider in which we would look at an MOU (Memorandum Of Understanding) to discuss the possibility of a partnership with them,” said grand chief Martin, speaking to the Aboriginal Energy Symposium in Timmins Thursday afternoon …. “…. “I can’t discuss amounts at the moment, but we have the funds to do whatever is required,” (Ron Dancey, the chairman of the board for TGR Rail) added. “We have the financing in place to purchase the ONR and to do the upgrades to the ONR. We also have financing arrangements in place to extend it up to the Ring Of Fire.” ….”moremore
  • What the Green Party Wants in the RoF  “David Robinson says he has a comprehensive plan that would move the Ring of Fire development plan forward. The Ring of Fire is a rich ore deposit in a remote section of northwestern Ontario, which no land transportation access, but a promise of billions of dollars worth of chromite and other metals. The province has taken heat for not producing a plan to allow development to move forward, and work in the area has effectively stalled. Robinson, the Green Party candidate in the Sudbury riding byelection, said his plan includes developing a regional governance structure for those areas of Northern Ontario without functioning local governments. Regional government for the Far North will greatly strengthen the voice of people living in the area – and those expected to reside in the North when the Ring of Fire is developed ….”
  • Feds (Still) Not Happy  “The much vaunted Ring Of Fire mining development is bogged down in bureaucratic studies along with bickering over where to build a new road, or rail link, to what is clearly the newest, richest and most promising mining development in Ontario so far this century. That was part of the assessment offered in Timmins this week at an impromptu news scrum with federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, the MP for Kenora and the minister for FedNor. But Rickford also said he is still hopeful the project will blossom …. Speaking in Timmins Tuesday, Rickford said it has become obvious that the private sector is not willing to move forward on the development at this time. “Obviously the Ring Of Fire and the platinum group of metals represents an opportunity at some point,” Rickford told reporters. “The market has had trouble of getting to the point where any company can justify moving ahead very quickly with an extractive exercise. “But as I have always said, the real economic legacy is actually setting up the infrastructure for this. And that’s what we’ve been focused on. The Build Canada fund is intended to focus on infrastructure projects.” Rickford did not specifically throw darts at Queen’s Park, but he said the Ring of Fire development corporation set up by the Liberals last summer is not working. That agency is run by four senior public servants ….”
  • KWG Picks New Info-machine  “KWG Resources Inc. is pleased to announce that it has retained the services of RBL Communications Inc. (“RBL”) to implement and manage a complete online awareness and marketing program (the “Program”). Over the next 12 months, the Program will provide KWG with exposure on prominent Tier 1 Financial websites such as Kitco, Stockhouse, Seeking Alpha, Reuters and many others. Additionally, RBL will blueprint and develop a brand new KWG website featuring a responsive design, SEO framework and full social media integration. The Program is designed to significantly enhance KWG’s online footprint and allow for near real-time distribution of news, updates, interviews, and media ….”
  • Some Kudos to a RoF Pioneer  “MacKenzie (Mac) Watson, one of the Ring of Fire discoverers, was inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, Jan. 15 in Toronto …. As president of Freewest Resources and Quest Uranium, Watson has been associated with the discoveries of the Holloway gold mine, the chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire, and the Strange Lake rare earths project in Quebec. He has provided bursary and scholarship support to his alma mater, the University of New Brunswick, Lakehead University, and has mentored young geoscientists and served with industry associations ….”Watson’s Mining Hall of Fame profile
  • More general legal analysis about consulting First Nations in general  “The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) has released two recent seminal decisions that will significantly impact resource development projects where Aboriginal interests might be affected. As M&A activity in the infrastructure, oil and gas and mining sectors unfolds in 2015, we expect buyers of and investors in Canadian targets involved in resource development to pay increasing attention to whether appropriate consultation and accommodation have occurred with local Aboriginal communities, particularly those with existing or potential title claims ….”PDF version of article

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#RingofFire (RoF) News – January 13, 2015

  • PM, Ontario Premier (briefly) talk RoF face-to-face 5 Jan 2015 in Toronto  “Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says she received no specific commitments from Prime Minister Stephen Harper at their first face-to-face meeting in more than a year …. Harper and Wynne discussed the economy, the importance of ongoing investments in infrastructure, including in the Ring of Fire, the auto sector, provincial trade barriers and the quality of First Nations’ drinking water ….”moremore
  • From the PM’s statement on the meeting “…. They spoke of a number of important issues related to jobs and the economy. Specifically, they agreed on the importance of ongoing investments in infrastructure, including the federal government’s new Building Canada Fund. They also discussed the need to remove barriers to internal trade, the importance of continued support from both levels of government for the manufacturing and automotive sectors, as well as the important role of resource development for the Ontario and Canadian economies ….”
  • This from Ontario’s mines’ minister post-PM-Premier-meeting  “A collaborative partnership between the provincial and federal government is crucial in developing the Ring of Fire. That’s what Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle said is clear after Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne met with Prime Minister Stephen Harper met early Monday evening to discuss the economy, including nationally significant infrastructure projects like the Ring of Fire. Gravelle said he had already spoken to Conservative Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford over the holidays about the mining project, but the recent meeting between the two leaders has encouraged the two ministers to speak further on the topic ….”
  • Council of Canadians rep on the PM-Premier meeting: RoF could help some FNs (and hurt the water of others)  “…. The “ironic” part is that along with the water contamination risks of extracting $30-billion worth of chromite over a 5,000-kilometre area of pristine wilderness, which would include tailings ponds for the mining waste and hydro-electric dams to power the operations, the road would go through boreal forest and over several major waterways posing further water risks in the traditional lands of the Marten Falls, Webequie, Neskantaga and other First Nations. The Neskantaga First Nation has been without potable water since 1995. So, did Harper and Wynne discuss access to water for First Nations only in the context of advancing a water-destructive mining agenda? ….”
  • This from the Chief of Webequie First Nation on the RoF in general  “We have heard a lot in the news recently about whether resource development in the Ring of Fire in Ontario will ever become a reality. Newspapers are filled with discussion about why progress has not been faster, of companies abandoning development projects, and of concerns that Ring of Fire development may never be achieved. These discussions focus on the wrong questions. If Ring of Fire development is to be successful, the question should not be whether the development is happening fast enough. It should be whether the process is taking place based on a foundation of recognition and respect for Webequie First Nation and the other Indigenous nations who call this land home ….”
  • “KWG Resources Inc. announces that it has received from the US Patent Office’s International Searching Authority the International Search Report in response to its application to patent a new process for the direct reduction of chromite utilizing natural gas, a carbon reductant, and a catalyst formulation. The Search Report indicates that the Searcher found the applicant’s claims are novel and that prior art does not teach or fairly suggest anything similar. The Report also indicates that the claims have industrial applicability as defined by PCT Article 33(4) because the subject matter can be made or used in industry. “This is a major step forward in our prosecution of this patent application,” said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “We will now determine in which countries to seek patent protection of this process, beyond Canada and the United States of America. Our discussions and negotiations with chromite industry participants have helped us understand how and where this innovation might best be commercialized, as we have recently shared with Minister Rickford as he requested.” ….”

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