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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – May 2, 2015

  • “Noront Resources Ltd completes ‘Ring of Fire’ acquisition after winning court approval — Noront Resources Ltd. has completed its acquisition of chromite assets in Northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” just days after the transaction looked like it might fall apart ….” – “Noront Announces Granting of Approval and Vesting Order and Closing of the Acquisition of Cliffs Chromite Assets”“Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. completes sale of its northern Ontario chromite assets”“Noront Resources Continues Forward in Ring of Fire”“Noront’s Ring of Fire purchase closes” “Noront seals Ring deal with Cliffs” –  –  –  –
  • “Cliffs nets $7.5M more than expected in Ring of Fire sale” — Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced Tuesday that it has completed the sale of its chromite assets in the Ring of Fire to Noront Resources Ltd.  “The assets were sold under a revised purchased agreement for US$27.5 million in cash, which is an increase of U.S. $7.5 million over the previously announced sale price of US$20 million,” the company said in a new release ….” –  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Announces an Increase in the Sales Price for Chromite Assets”“Noront ups the ante, finalizes Ring of Fire chromite purchase”  “Noront ups the ante, finalizes Ring of Fire chromite purchase”
  • First Nation chiefs still POed about Cliffs chromite sale —  The chiefs of Marten Falls and Aroland First Nations said the sale of Cliffs Natural Resources’ chromite properties in the Ring of Fire to Noront Resources was not a fair one.  In an April 25 statement, Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland said the bidding process was not “inclusive and transparent, leading to a potential unfair and biased outcome.”  The chiefs insist there is a “superior” bidder who has First Nation support, will benefit Cliffs’ creditors and help advance the chromite project ….” – more
  • “Noront Completes Acquisition of Securities of KWG Resources Inc. — Noront Resources Ltd. has completed the indirect acquisition of 111,733,215 common shares of KWG Resources Inc. from Cliffs Greene B.V. in connection with the previously-announced broader transaction pursuant to which Noront acquired certain other assets from affiliates of Cliffs Greene. The Purchased Shares of KWG are held by Noront’s wholly-owned subsidiary Noront Muketei Minerals Ltd.  As a result, Noront beneficially owns approximately 13.8% of the issued and outstanding common shares of KWG as at the date of acquisition ….”
  • “Rail idea in Ring of Fire gathering steam — The City of Timmins this week gave its formal approval to the Mushkegowuk Council plan to create a new railway link from the James Bay coast to the Ring Of Fire mining development.  The issue was put forward in a resolution of support (PDF) to be sent to the office of Premier Kathleen Wynne, to Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle and to the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA).  The support from Timmins is for an initiative first described in a Daily Press news story back in January when Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Lawrence Martin said there were plans in the works for Mushkegowuk to buy the Ontario Northland railway.  Martin revealed that a Toronto-based rail investment group, TGR Rail, had the funding in place if the province was ready to give the go-ahead for the purchase. Martin explained that a new rail line could be extended beyond the existing ONR line that runs from Cochrane to Moosonee ….”
  • “U of T instructors seek funds for Ring of Fire research — In early April, Shadi Ramos and Fionn Byrne, two Landscape Architecture instructors from the University of Toronto, launched a 40 day Kickstarter campaign for research on the Ring of Fire …. Trained as landscape architects, Ramos and Byrne are uniquely positioned to study and document the existing biophysical and sociocultural conditions surrounding the Ring of Fire. They will begin by traveling to the isolated communities of northern Ontario which will be affected by the future development to document and photograph this unique Canadian geography, showing the tremendous beauty of its landscape, the realities of living in the north, and the geology that holds so much value and potential for future development. After spending time in the north they will complement their collection of site photographs with plans, maps, analytical drawings and infographics that document the scale and scope of the site’s current and projected future situation ….” – Ring of Fire by Fionn Byrne & Shadi Ramos (Kickstarter page)
  • “Ontario Regional Chief Candidate Urges Joint Budget Planning with Ontario — On one hand, the Ontario Liberals must be commended for their fiscal determination in this years budget. On the other hand, there is much to be desired regarding the lack of fiscal foresight and commitment to do business with First Nations in Ontario based on ‘treaties’ as shared arrangements,” says Chief Isadore Day …. First Nations are sparsely highlighted in the 2015 Budget; Building Ontario Up. The province cannot go on generating taxes and extracting resources from ‘treaty’ lands without addressing treaty as a historical business arrangement. Yes, there is the ‘Ring of Fire’ – we must support the best results possible, meaning environment as well as economic outcomes; but what about the rest of Ontario’s revenues on treaty regions? ….”
  • “Province murky on its budget commitment to Ring of Fire — While the province reaffirmed its $1-billion commitment to transportation infrastructure for the Ring of Fire, the timeline for any government spending remains murky.  Nickel Belt (NDP) MPP France Gélinas expressed her disappointment after the Liberals announced the budget April 23 that the Ring of Fire funding had been taken out of the budget and pushed back to 2018, when Ontarians are due to return to the polls ….”
  • “(Federal #RoF) Minister Rickford Highlights the Benefits of Economic Action Plan 2015 for Northern Ontario — The Honourable Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, (Friday) delivered keynote remarks at an event hosted by the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce, the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission and Ambassadors Northwest …. Economic Action Plan proposes to invest $23 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, for technological innovation in the area of rare earth elements and chromite, a key mineral and a focus of exploration in the Ring of Fire region. Unlocking the potential of commercial production of these elements represents a significant economic opportunity for Northern Ontario and all of Canada ….”
  • “Sudbury letter (from Fed #RoF Minister Rickford): MP wrong on Ring of Fire — I am disappointed but not surprised to read that Claude Gravelle, NDP member of parliament for Nickel Belt, is misleading your readers about the content of our federal balanced budget. Despite his claim otherwise, Budget 2015 indeed includes new support for the Ring of Fire, which would be evident had he bothered to read it.  As stated on page 218: “Chromite deposits located in Ontario’s Ring of Fire have production potential that could make Canada a significant global producer, processor and supplier of products that contain the critical metal chromium.”  Our budget therefore specifically proposes to allocate an additional $23 million to stimulate technological innovation needed to develop rare earth metals and chromite ….”

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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – April 24, 2015


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#OnBudget 2015: #RingOfFire Mentions

Summary – all generally old news for anyone tracking developments in the Ring of Fire:

  • Cough up some infrastructure money, feds – we’ve earmarked our $1 billion;
  • Even though Canada and Ontario are funding a road study in the area;
  • That Infrastructure Development Corporation’s still there; and
  • We still have that Framework Agreement with First Nations around the Ring of Fire.

From the Budget speech:

“…. Mr. Speaker, if the federal government wants a stronger Canada, it must invest its fair share in the projects that strengthen Ontario’s economy.  That also includes helping to develop the Ring of Fire to spur economic growth and create jobs.  Our government has committed to invest $1 billion to build infrastructure, including transportation, in the region.  We need a federal partner in this initiative, Mr. Speaker ….”

From the full Budget documentation (426 page PDF) – highlights mine:

“…. Moving Ontario Forward is a plan to create jobs, boost  productivity and revitalize communities …. Outside the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA), it will allow us to invest in priority projects such as helping more communities gain access to natural gas, continuing to improve roads and highways and investing in the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario ….”

(….)

“…. In the 2014 Budget, Ontario committed up to $1 billion for strategic transportation infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire region, located about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Ontario is calling on the federal government to match the Province’s investment to develop the necessary infrastructure.  Recently, Ontario and the federal government announced more than $785,000 for a joint study in the region. Funding is being provided to remote Matawa communities to examine the benefits of developing an all-season transportation corridor connecting First Nation communities in the area with existing roadways. The road would establish a transportation corridor connecting 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. The study supports Ontario’s plan to drive development in the Ring of Fire and ensure its tremendous potential can be realized for First Nations, Ontario and Canada.  In the summer of 2014, Ontario established the Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation to move forward in a smart, sustainable and collaborative way with First Nations, the private sector and communities ….”

(….)

“….  Ontario’s Ring of Fire area, located about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, has the potential to drive the creation of good, high-paying jobs in northern Ontario. The Ring of Fire holds significant deposits of minerals, including the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America, as well as nickel and other minerals. Chromite is the key ingredient of stainless steel.  Ontario has taken a leadership role in driving progress in the Ring of Fire region.  The Province has committed up to $1 billion for strategic transportation infrastructure development in the region. The Province calls the federal government to the table as a willing and active partner to match Ontario’s investments and seize the opportunities in the Ring of Fire.  The Province continues to make progress in the Ring of Fire region. In the spring of 2014, a landmark Regional Framework Agreement was signed with Matawa member First Nations to discuss and negotiate an approach for development in the First Nations’ traditional territories. This process will help ensure that First Nations participate in and benefit from Ring of Fire developments, and that regional environmental impacts are considered.  In the summer of 2014, the Province established the Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation to move forward in a smart, sustainable and collaborative way with First Nations, the private sector and communities on infrastructure development in the region.  Recently, Ontario and the federal government announced more than $785,000 for a joint study in the region. Funding is being provided to remote Matawa communities to examine the benefits of developing an all-season transportation corridor connecting First Nation communities in the area with existing roadways.  Ontario is in a position to move forward with partners on this important project in the north that will create jobs, provide opportunities for First Nation communities, and boost the northern economy ….”

More from the media, once they write it ….

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Federal Budget 2015 #RingOfFire, Chromite Mentions

This, from page 218 of the Budget document released today:

“…. To date, the Government has invested more than $35 million towards the development of the Ring of Fire, including Aboriginal capacity building, support to small business and skills development and training ….”

Any new money?  Sorta-kinda – this, from page 217:

“Economic Action Plan 2015 proposes to allocate $23 million over five years, starting in 2015–16, from Natural Resources Canada to stimulate  the technological innovation needed to separate and develop rare earth elements and chromite.”

Ontario’s initial reaction?  This from money minister Charles Sousa:

“….  There was no reference to the Ring of Fire in the budget other than a minor $20-million fund, Sousa said.  “That is a slap in the face,” he said. “We are here to try to find ways to invest and position ourselves for the future, not for the next election.”  ….”

More, as it comes in ….


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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – April 15, 2015


 

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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – April 9, 2015

  • Some good news for the RoF?  “Ontario extends industrial electricity rate program permanently — A temporary provincial electricity program aimed at levelling the competitive playing field for Northern industry has been made permanent.  At a Tuesday news conference at the Resolute pulp mill in Thunder Bay, officials with the provincial government announced that the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program would become permanent.  The program helps about 26 large industrial businesses slash electricity costs by up to 25 per cent.  The program came after industry complaints that it was increasingly becoming too difficult to compete in Ontario because of high energy prices ….”- “Ontario gives northern industry permanent relief from energy costs”“Industry welcomes extended electricity rate”“Mining firms in Sudbury benefit from program”Northern Development and Mines news release:  “Ontario Commits to Ongoing Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program Funding”
  • Meanwhile, Ontario’s Tories say they’ll look at power rates, too  “If elected leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, Christine Elliott plans to start her tenure with a thorough review of provincial energy policies.  The leadership candidate and current MPP for Whitby-Oshawa said one of her first orders of business would be convening a panel of experts immediately after the results of the vote are announced on May 9 to begin developing a plan to make energy rates more competitive and affordable.  “It’s probably the single most important issue I hear about from residential consumers as well as commercial consumers,” she said ….” –
    more
  • Some other electrical developments among First Nations near the RoF  “EA stage approved for First Nations power project — The Ontario government has approved the amended terms of reference for the proposed Wataynikaneyap power transmission line, which permits the project to move into the environmental assessment stage ….” – more on the project here
  • Lawyers include RoF in list of latest “indigenous conflicts across Canada”  “…. Northern Ontario’s mining region, nicknamed the “Ring of Fire” and located in the James Bay Lowlands, had run into development issues as a result of opposition by nine Matawa First Nations. Last year, the nations signed an agreement in relation to the development. Since signing the agreement, the province has agreed to create a framework for working with First Nations. However, the Matawa nations have now asked for a moratorium on all permits, so as to halt further development and planning until a framework for consultation is established ….”
  • An interesting idea from a NW Ontario think tank  “…. What if Noront sold half of their claims to the Matawa Tribal Council for $50-million? The Matawa would borrow the money with government-backed loans, similar to the taxpayer investments we’ve seen with auto companies, oil fields and infrastructure projects.
    Noront shareholders and financial backers would have their investments solidified by a now debt-free company. The investment world would see that all players are moving in the same direction, creating an environment for further partnerships that would move development forward. The First Nations in the Ring of Fire area would be partners in the investment, training, jobs, risks and profits. Money they earn on their stake would finance a deserved standard of living ….”Copy of op-ed if previous link doesn’t work
  • Another Liberal MPP shares the “make the feds pay” message  “…. Sault MPP David Orazietti …. said the province is committed to playing its part to create infrastructure that will see the Ring of Fire develop and grow the province’s economy but needs to see the federal government at the table …. the (RoF) minerals can’t be mined until a transportation system and power grid are built in the remote area of the province, which is expected to cost billions of dollars.  “The challenge is with the federal government and them matching our investment for infrastructure. We cannot do this alone and we have a lack of support with the federal government,” he said.  Orazietti said “the Ring of Fire is our economic development opportunity the federal government should recognize. It makes good sense.” ….”
  • Same message from a NW Ontario economist Livio Di Matteo  “…. Ontario business needs an unwavering federal commitment to new physical infrastructure, particularly with respect to transportation. Three areas worth considering are …. federal support to develop the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario via road access and electricity transmission to help the region become an investment frontier for both Ontario and Canada ….”
  • “Noront Issues Interest Shares, Makes Board of Directors Change and Grant of Stock OptionsNoront Resources Ltd. …. announced that payment of interest in the amount of $380,250 for the first quarter of 2015, pursuant to a loan agreement with Resource Capital Funds V L.P. dated February 26, 2013, will be satisfied by delivery of 728,588 of the Company’s common shares at an effective price of $0.5219 per Interest Share. The Interest Shares will be delivered on April 10, 2015 subject to a four month hold period, expiring on August 11, 2015 ….”
  • More on Cliffs getting out of things  “Cliffs to put mines, rails, ports up for sale in Quebec, N.L. — Idled Quebec iron ore mines, railways and port facilities, are about to be put up for sale as part of a court-supervised exit from eastern Canada by Cliffs Natural Resources ….”

 

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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – April 2, 2015

  • Noront’s side of the story re: it’s buy “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 ….”
  • “The president and CEO of Noront Resources acknowledges the acquisition of the claims formerly held by Cliffs Natural Resources is a game changer for the Ring of Fire. Alan Coutts was in Thunder Bay on Friday in hopes of meeting with Matawa chiefs regarding the announcement earlier this week of Noront now holding nearly 65 per cent of the Ring of Fire. While he did not get to meet with the chiefs, he said the consultation process needs to be completely re-evaluated. “I think we’ll probably have to take a couple of steps backwards to change the relationship and dialogue but ultimately it will allow us to go forward a lot further,” Coutts said at the company’s Thunder Bay office. “We’re potentially redefining the landscape of how industry, First Nations and government work together for the entire nation.” Matawa chiefs expressed concern about the sale, accusing the company of working outside of the framework agreement that had been signed last year and objecting to First Nations not having any input in the transaction ….”
  • What’s an online poll at the Sudbury Star say about Cliffs sale of assets to Noront? “…. The Star asked its readers this week whether they believe the “recent Ring of Fire shakeup … will speed up development in the region.” The answer? A resounding no. More than 400 online respondents — 63% of people — believe it will have little impact. Only 24% of those who voted are optimistic the sale will awaken the dormant project, while 13% are unsure of what could happen. The Star only received one call about this topic, from a gentleman who is more concerned about the environmental effects of chromite mining, than who owns the rights to the deposits ….”
  • Online petition calls for Ontario to let Noront get going “…. The Ministry (Ministry# PR-13-10102) Granted Noront Resources an exploration permit April 19,2013. This permit is for a duration of 3 years with possibility of 3 year renewal. The public consulation period was held Feb. 26 2013-March 28,2013. There were no comments recieved. The shareholders of this company expect the law to be upheld for for Noront Resources and for this company to be allowed to explore as per the permit recieved. The share holder price has been damaged and we demand the release of permits or compensation for losses ….”
  • A bit of online dissatisfaction about whazzup in the RoF?  “I’m an investor in a company called Noront Resources …. Will the Ontario government and the RoF Secretariat, along with the Deputy Minister’s Aboriginal predecessors and Mr. David de Launay himself, explain to all of Ontarians, so too all of Canadians, why this project has been placed on hold because the FNs claim that crown land, and the minerals therein, is theirs as traditional territory, nay, as holding Aboriginal Title and treaty rights? …. Bob Rae now says that FN consent will be required, beyond consultation and reasonable accommodation backed by treaty courts, if the Ring of Fire is to be developed. He’s a lawyer. On what grounds does he base this off? …. They refuse to give the “Social License To Operate” if “Free, Prior and Informed Consent” is not met as a standard. Of course, they decide what that standard means in the end. Again, how is that fair to the rest of Canadians? Do Canadians understand the implications? ….”
  • One idea for what to do with the RoF’s riches “Ontario should look to socialist Norway if it wants to capitalize on the rich mineral deposits of the far north’s Ring of Fire. Like Canada, Norway has a resource-based economy, exploiting extensive reserves of oil, natural gas minerals and lumber. Half its export revenues come from oil and gas. Unlike Canada, Norway is not in hock up to its eyeballs. In fact, it’s the second-wealthiest country in the world. Every Norwegian is, theoretically, a millionaire. That’s a million kroner, which translates to about $177,000 US apiece. That’s because, unlike many other resource-rich countries and provinces, Norway put its oil revenues, from taxes, fees and ownership stakes, into a fund where politicians couldn’t get their spendthrift hands on them ….”
  • Linking education, Aborignal youth and the RoF  “Dr. David Pearson, who is a well known scholar, who has had his own radio and televisions programs, as well as being a Professor at Laurentian University and key person in the development of Science North, was the keynote speaker at the Northeastern Ontario Mines and Mineral Symposium dinner held in Kirkland Lake. From the start of his talk when he asked people in the room to imagine they were 12 years old and living in a remote fly in First Nations community, he surprised many in the room with the subject of his talk. Most of the people attending the dinner were delegates to the symposium and were either directly or indirectly employed in exploration and mining. The tile of Dr. Pearson’s talk was Valcanos, Chromite and Hope for the Far North. Based on the title of the talk and Dr. Pearson’s background in geology, it was reasonable to expect hear a talk about the history of the mineralogy that makes up the Ring of Fire. Instead what guests heard was his unique approach to get First Nations children to use their imagination and create an interest in geology, so they would be able to take part in the mining developed that is expected in the coming years ….”
  • “Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Kathleen Wynne being unable to get along is holding back Ontario business. That was the message from a speech by Allan O’Dette, president of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, to the annual general meeting of the Perth and District Chamber of Commerce at the Best Western Plus Perth Parkside Inn and Spa in Perth …. “We cannot tolerate our politicians not getting along,” said O’Dette. “That, frankly (is) holding us back,” he said, pointing specifically to inaction on the Ring of Fire mining development project some 400 km north of Thunder Bay, as a large example. He said that “this petty political cycle between Ottawa and Queen’s Park,” is especially unpopular with younger voters. “They will not tolerate partisan politics any more. And neither should you.” ….”
  • Not in Ontario, but still worth watching …. “The duty to consult is a Crown responsibility. But what happens when the Crown’s consultation is inadequate? Can a company that suffers losses as a result claim compensation from the Crown? A recent decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Moulton Contracting Ltd. v British Columbia, 2015 BCCA 89 indicates that it will be very difficult for companies to seek compensation from governments even where the Crown is found to have mishandled its consultation obligations ….”
  • Have a great Easter holiday!

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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – March 27, 2015

  • First Nations not happy with Noront being the lead player?  “Matawa First Nation Chiefs re-affirmed their commitment to a community based processes for Ring of Fire Development, including creating environmental protections and economic opportunities which are driven by their community members, not just industry plans ….”moremoremore
  • An Ontario minister responds  “The Minister of Northern Development and Mines is taking the concerns of First Nation leaders seriously and says they have an important role to play in the development of the Ring of Fire. “The province, our government, remains absolutely committed to continuing the work we are doing with the Matawa First Nations related to implemented the regional framework agreement,” said Michael Gravelle (Lib., Thunder Bay-Superior North) Thursday morning ….”
  • Editorial (1)  Chiefs rain in Ring parade …. While many people viewed Noront Resources’ plan this week to acquire the vast chromite properties of Cliffs Natural Resources as a welcome shot in the arm of the stalled Ring of Fire mining project, Matawa First Nations Chiefs were grumpy …. Rather than express optimism at Noront’s move, the chiefs said in a statement Wednesday that the company, “seems intent on driving this agenda rather than working together” …. Matawa needs to re-think its hasty and inappropriate response to the first good news about the Ring of Fire in a while.”
  • Editorial (2)  “…. There’s a feeling now that development will still happen, but at a slower pace than before, which may give government power-brokers the time to research and prepare recommendations for financial support that will really make a difference.  That doesn’t mean they should sit on their laurels just because the rush of a few years ago has worn off and, in fairness, they haven’t ….”
  • Meanwhile, “Mushkegowuk Council has announced that it will explore possible alliances with the Quebec Crees to bring a new hydro transmission corridor to Ontario and ultimately, to the Ring of Fire. Grand Chief of Mushkegowuk Council, Lawrence Martin met last Monday in Val d’Or with Jack Blacksmith, Chairman of the Board of Compensation and President of CreeCo (Cree Regional Economic Enterprises Co). They outlined the economic potential of such a corridor project. The parties also discussed possible support, collaboration and sharing of information between Cree governments and their economic organizations ….”
  • Noront to KWG:  Let’s talk “KWG Resources Inc. is pleased to have been invited to talks with Noront Resources Ltd. when informed this morning of the proposed purchase by Noront of the Ring of Fire assets of Cliffs Quebec Iron Mining ULC. “This is positive news for us,” said KWG CEO Frank Smeenk. “Noront CEO Al Coutts has invited us to discuss our future plans to develop our properties in partnership with the First Nations. We are delighted with this evolution of the Ring of Fire’s opportunities and are hopeful that our relationship with our Big Daddy joint venture partner will become more constructive and collaborative. We think that the transportation and processing options we have developed can now be pursued in concert with our two governments and the First Nations constituencies to see the mineral assets of both Noront and KWG go into production.” ….”
  • “KWG Resources Inc. jumped 20% on volume of 4.2 million Tuesday after the company announced that it has been invited to talks with Noront Resources Ltd., the junior that has agreed to acquire Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Ring of Fire properties in northern Ontario ….”
  • In other RoF corporate news …. “Bold Ventures Inc. is pleased to report that KWG Resources Inc. has made the third optional payment of $700,000 to Fancamp Exploration Ltd. in satisfaction of the option agreement whereby KWG may earn up to 80% of Bold Venture’s chromite interests and up to a 20% working interest in Bold Ventures interest in all “other metals” in the Koper Lake Project. The payment was made in shares of KWG Resources Inc …. KWG has until September 30, 2015 to expend an additional $2.2 million in exploration work on the claims in order to earn Bold’s 50% interest in the Koper Lake Project, of which KWG will hold 80% of Bold’s chromite interests and 20% of Bold’s interest in all “other metals”. Should KWG not proceed to make the $2.2 million of expenditures by September 30, 2015, Bold has until March 2016 to make those expenditures or the balance of any unexpended portion of the $2.2 million in order to earn the first 50% interest in the property. Bold is Operator of the Koper Lake Project ….”
  • Glass-is-half-full analysis  “Once billed as the economic equivalent of Canada’s oil sands industry, the vast oil deposits in the country’s western provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, where 97% of its oil reserves reside, Ontario’s Ring of Fire chromite region held the promise of being an engine of economic growth in its own right worth somewhere north of $120 billion. Unfortunately it was also mired in parochial biases and competing interests that served to quench any fire for success ….”
  • Why yet another player, with skin in the game, is interested in the RoF  “The Ring of Fire, an Achaean greenstone belt in Northern Ontario, has become synonymous with – and infamous for – chromite. Cliffs Natural Resources was until couple years ago to put the region on the map as a new global mining centre of the stuff. It has, as many will recall, scuttled those plans and agreed to sell its assets – chiefly a series of chromite deposits, but also a lot of interesting exploration claims – in the Ring of Fire to Noront Resources, the leading junior still operating in the remote region. Among other chromite assets it is chiefly developing a modest-sized nickel-copper-palladium deposit. At the heart of the deal is Franco-Nevada, the leading gold royalty company. It’s lending Noront $22.5 million to cover the $20 million acquisition cost of the assets. Along with the five-year loan at 7% interest, payable in an accumulated lump sum at the end, it’s also paying Noront $3.5 million to secure Franco-Nevada a couple NSR (net smelter return) royalties. Most directly, Franco-Nevada is to get a 3% NSR in Cliffs’ large chromite deposit, Black Thor ….”

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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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