Ring of Fire News

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

#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – January 25, 2016

  • #RoF infrastructure hopes from the President of the Mining Association of Canada  “In the midst of a significant economic downturn, the mining industry is working hard to weather the storm, says the head of an Ottawa-based industry lobby group.  “The mining business is cyclical and even though we don’t like it, we are used to it,” said Pierre Gratton, president and chief executive officer of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) … He said his association is hopeful the Trudeau government will align with that of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and commit to funding for the Ring of Fire, one of Ontario’s largest potential mineral reserves …”
  • An update on one of the more background-ish U.K.-based #RoF players  “A number of investment brokers have recently updated their price targets on shares of Anglo Pacific Group. According to the latest broker reports outstanding on Monday 25th January, 3 analysts have a rating of “strong buy”, 0 analysts “buy”, 1 analysts “neutral”, 1 analysts “sell” and 0 analysts “strong sell” … Its Early-stage royalties include Dugbe 1 Gold Project, Railway Deposit (Pilbara), Ring of Fire Chromite Projects and Isua Iron Ore Project …”
  • More on Noront’s finance machinations  “Noront Resources announced the closing of its extension on its US$15 million convertible debt debenture.  The Toronto Ring of Fire project developer has extended the term of its US$15 million convertible debt debenture with its largest shareholder, Resource Capital Fund (RCF).  The debt comes due on June 30 with all other terms and conditions remaining the same including the interest rate of 8 per cent per annum payable in shares or cash at the option of RCF …”
  • One MPP’s read, from Toby Barrett (Conservative agriculture, food & rural affairs critic, Haldimand-Norfolk)  “… People striving to develop resources tell us they’re under siege in the North – the Endangered Species Act, the Far North Act, and a plethora of rules and regulations, never ending consultation and a dragging of feet by government.  Land use planning environmental assessments have all been delayed and still remain outstanding. According to the government, the delays are due to the time it has taken to consult with Aboriginal communities … As our resource-based economy continues to flounder, it’s unconscionable the world’s largest chromite deposit sits stalled …”
  • More on the Chinese helping (at least) look at a railway headed north  A Canadian mining company and Chinese railway builder have taken another step toward development of a north-south rail link to the Ring of Fire mining camp.  KWG Resources Inc. and China Railway First Survey and Design Institute Group Co., Ltd. (FSDI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (19 Jan 2016)  setting out the terms for mutually proceeding with a feasibility study for the design and financing of a railroad into the James Bay lowland …”moremoremoremoremoremore

 

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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – January 15, 2016

  •  So, how’s #RoF going, according to the mines minister’s update on his Mandate Letter promises?   This, from the update: “Discussions between Ontario and the Matawa-member First Nations continue and are guided by the Ring of Fire Regional Framework Agreement (RFA), which sets out principles and objectives that will help us chart a path forward … Since September 2014, my ministry has contributed $8.7 million to communities and tribal councils … In March, I announced a $785,000 investment with the Government of Canada, which enables Webequie First Nation, along with the First Nations of Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Nibinamik, to complete a regional study considering an all-season transportation corridor … We are committed to working collaboratively with the federal government to ensure that development moves forward in a way that maximizes the benefits for First Nations communities, as well as for Ontario and Canada.”
  • Responding to the update, opposition’s gotta oppose “… Although he has great respect for Gravelle as a Minister, Timmins – James Bay MPP Gilles Bisson said the entire letter is an attempt to put a positive spin on a track record that has seen progress on the mining development virtually grind to halt for seven years …”
  • Ontario’s Premier hasn’t forgotten the #RoF “… (During a visit to Thunder Bay this week, Kathleen) Wynne also spoke briefly about the Ring of Fire development and reiterated her promise of a billion dollars. While there are still no details about how that money will be spent, Wynne added it has been “locked away.” “
  • … and same with Ontario’s finance minister “The province is thinking long term when it comes to Northern infrastructure Charles Sousa says. The provincial finance minister, who held a pre-budget consultation meeting in Thunder Bay Thursday, said infrastructure investments in the North will help economic and social growth and make the region more competitive. While much of the development in the Ring of Fire is stalled, Sousa said the industry is cyclical and the province’s $1 billion commitment is still on the table regardless. “It’s wrong not to for us to be fostering economic prosperity and promotion of growth,” he said. “We’ve got to think long term.” …”
  • #RoF remains part of a bigger-picture transport study under way “The province is about a year away from rolling out a multi-modal transportation strategy for the North. Since 2011, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) has been studying how people and freight move across the region … Tija Dirks, the MTO’s director of transportation planning, estimates a final report will be presented to premier and cabinet by January, 2017 … Extending infrastructure into the Far North to reach the mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire will be included in the strategy. Dirks said her ministry is working closely with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines in supporting the Ring of Fire project. “The actual decision on how to proceed to support the actual mineral development will probably happen on its own track, but where this broader Northern strategy can help is making sure all this other secondary and tertiary supports and rest of network works to support that.” …”
  • In corporate news, Noront continues to raise funds “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the closing of the previously announced extension on it US$15 million convertible debt debenture and sale of a 1% NSR. Noront has extended the term of its US$15 million convertible debt debenture with its largest shareholder, Resource Capital Fund V. The debt now comes due on June 30, 2016 with all other terms and conditions remaining the same including the interest rate of 8% per annum payable in shares or cash at the option of RCF. The Company has also closed the previously announced sale of a 1% NSR royalty over the Eagle’s Nest deposit to RCF for the sum of US$2.5 million. The agreement contains a buy-back provision whereby Noront can repurchase 50% of the royalty for US$3.125 million for a period of 30 months. The proceeds from this transaction were used to extinguish a US$2 million bridge loan payable to RCF and for working capital …”more

 

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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – January 11, 2016


 

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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – January 4, 2016


 

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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – December 18, 2015

  • KWG drops by for a visit “KWG Resources Inc. met on (7 December) with the Mayor, CAO and EDO of the Municipality of Greenstone to discuss mutual plans being pursued by them with the Aroland First Nation for the possible development of beneficiation facilities at Exton, Ontario adjacent to the Aroland First Nation Reservation, in Greenstone’s Nakina ward …” (P.S. – It’s a “reserve”, not a “reservation” in Canada.)
  • Noront has a good day on the markets “The stock of Noront Resources Ltd is a huge mover (this past Monday)! The stock increased 9.46% or $0.035 on December 14, hitting $0.405. About 71,378 shares traded hands. Noront Resources Ltd has risen 6.00% since November 15, 2015 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 9.68% the S&P500 …”
  • Noront’s Eagle’s Nest makes into (at least one of the lists of) the top ten anticipated projects “The reason for the project’s inclusion here is not all down to economics. When Cliffs Natural Resources pulled out of its huge chromite project in the Ring of Fire, it left a sizeable dent in Canada’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines’ plans for the region. As a result, the government has now pinned its hopes on this 150-200,000 tpa nickel-copper-PGE project, which it anticipates leading to a host of spin-offs to open up the area. Simply put, it cannot afford to let it go the same way as Cliffs’ development, so it may look to invest in infrastructure that the project could potentially use. A March update of its 2012 feasibility study economics envisaged initial capital of C$609 million, a $265 million net present value (8 percent discount), an 18.9 percent internal rate of return and a three-year payback period at prices of US$12,613/t of nickel, US$6,020/t of copper, US$1,126/oz of platinum and US$735/oz of palladium. There is potential to develop Eagle’s Nest concurrently with the Blackbird, Black Thor and Big Daddy chromite deposits, which could potentially bolster the economics. A bigger project factoring in all of the major claims would capture the imagination of regulators, but come with a top-heavy capital cost that would be hard to fund in this environment.”
  • Ontario’s mines minister defends the Ring of Fire Secretariat during Question Period in the Legislature“The fact is that the Ring of Fire Secretariat has been doing very remarkable work and working with First Nations, working with industry. There’s no question there have been challenges related to the timelines. I’m very pleased that I got an opportunity to speak with the Auditor General in advance of her releasing the report so that we could discuss the fact that, indeed, setting precise timelines—factors such as commodity pricing, and factors such as the extraordinarily important work we do with First Nations, which I know you would consider to be an absolute priority, as well as the reality of the infrastructure needs and us being able to work with a positive and co-operative federal government, are key to putting those timelines in place. So the Ring of Fire Secretariat continues to do extraordinarily important work, work that I know they want to carry on, and we’re very supportive of that.”
  • … as well as the Ring of Fire Development Corporation: “… In terms of the Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corp., their key task is to bring the partners together. That includes—very much, we hope—First Nations, includes industry and, may I say, also includes the federal government. They have also been crucial to putting in place some key technical infrastructure studies which again are crucial in terms of us making decisions through the partnerships on the transportation infrastructure corridor that’s going up to the Ring of Fire. We recognize how crucial it is in terms of a resource development project. It’s in a remote part of the province that has never seen development before. Those are big decisions …”
  • As the final report of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission comes off the presses, one analyst points to resource development as a type of reconciliation already under way “… General commentary on the Canadian resource sector focuses more on protests – a legitimate part of the contemplation of resource development – than on collaboration. Criticism of Canadian mines, pipeline companies, oil and gas firms, hydro projects and the like garners a lot more attention than joint business ventures, training and employment programs, and increased revenues for Indigenous communities. But this imbalance in public awareness has masked a promising story, one of true and widespread reconciliation, where Indigenous communities and governments have learned to work together and share, to a significant degree, the economic benefits of resource development Reconciliation needs a new story, one that looks to beyond the problems of the past and that focuses on the achievements of the present and the prospects to do even better in the future. Canada can and must do much better than we have, and the Canadian public appears to agree. Reconciliation through resource partnerships may well lead Canada toward a more equitable and shared future.”

 

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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – December 3, 2015


 

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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – November 27, 2015

  • Remember all the hints about some level of Chinese interest in the Rof here, here, here, here and here? Finally, a firm nibble …. “A Chinese railway design firm will examine the engineering data related to KWG Resources’ proposed Ring of Fire transportation corridor, creating the potential for a future collaboration between the two parties. KWG and China Railway First Survey & Design Institute Group Co., Ltd. (FSDI) have signed a confidentiality and non-disclosure agreement, which includes a three-year standstill provision, that will give China Railway access to KWG’s engineering data. “The parties intend to explore the possibility of a negotiated transaction between them for FSDI to undertake a feasibility study for KWG on all aspects of the construction of a Ring of Fire transportation corridor and railroad, including terms for construction financing facilities,” reads a Nov. 24 statement from KWG. The Chinese company will present its findings “as soon as possible,” according to the statement, “in preparation for discussions in early 2016.” KWG has retained a third party, Golden Share Mining Corp. (GSH) as its representative and advocate in China. GSH will receive a finder’s fee if the collaboration goes forward ….” – more from media here, here and here, more about FSDI here (caveat: that link looks like it hasn’t been updated in ~10 years, so reader beware) and here
  • Remember all that court action over the mining claims along the proposed route of the proposed railway line to the RoF? The litigation grind continues …. “A three judge panel of the Ontario Court of Appeal has reserved its decision following arguments presented today by Noront Resources Ltd. and the Attorney General of Ontario to the appeal of KWG Resources Inc. subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation. The Court of Appeal had previously on January 27, 2015 issued an Order granting leave to appeal the decision of the Divisional Court of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released July 30, 2014. As reported on August 1, 2014, the Divisional Court decision ruled that CCC’s consent should be waived in an application for an easement to build a road over its mining claims ….”
  • Noront raising a few bucks “Noront Resources Ltd. (Tuesday) announced the closing of a private placement of 4,824,218 flow-through common shares at a price of $0.50 per flow-through common share for gross proceeds of $2,412,109. The common shares are subject to a statutory hold period of four months plus one day which will expire on March 25, 2016 ….”
  • A documentary look at First Nations’ take on the RoF A new documentary on the Ring of Fire aims to open people’s eyes to the First Nation perspective on the mining project. The film tells the stories of people who live in First Nation communities near the resource development site. Director and producer Paul Rickard spent months living and interviewing people in the communities. “After our first week I was in those communities, they would say, ‘Are you still here?’ I said, ‘Yeah. What do you mean?’ ‘Well, when most people come in, they fly in the morning and leave on the afternoon flight’,” he told CBC News. “So, it’s the first time they actually had anyone interested in media to actually spend time with them.” ….”
  • Not ZACKLY RoF, but north of there, anyway …. “An exploration team from De Beers Canada was expected to be in northern Ontario’s remote Weenusk First Nation …. to seek community support to conduct diamond exploration work. Weenusk First Nation, or Peawanuck, is a small community of nearly 400 people, 1,400 km north of Toronto, on the shores of the Winisk River. The Cree community is divided on whether or not they support mining in their ecologically sensitive and undisturbed traditional lands. The people of Peawanuck have only one store and the local school goes to Grade 8. Many live off the land, fishing and hunting caribou. They are concerned about the consequences of mining development ….”

 

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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – November 19, 2015

  • The chromite tax thing again? “Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli presented evidence in the Ontario Legislature (5 Nov 2015) that the Wynne Liberal government is considering a chromite tax. “I ask the minister, did the Liberal government ever propose a chromite royalty? Is that why Cliffs left Ontario?” Fedeli asked during Question Period. Cliffs, an American Natural Resources Company, suspended the project in 2013 after numerous delays and difficult discussions with the province and the First Nations communities. After the Northern Development and Mines Minister refused to provide a direct answer to that question, Fedeli confronted him with documents released during the Gas Plant Scandal which show such a tax is indeed on the table ….” – more on this here and here
  • More digs from Ontario’s NDP “…. Last year, mining giant Cliffs, who spent $550 million in the Ring of Fire, said they can no longer do business with this Liberal government and sold their claims at a massive loss to Noront for $20 Million. They said they had “zero hope” and that every investment dollar spent here was a disaster. Noront Resources is one of the few remaining mining companies operating in the Ring of Fire. According to inside sources, the Ontario mining company is expected to halt spending by the end of year, causing enormous job losses if the Liberal government doesn’t make progress with infrastructure and First Nations agreements. This liberal government has had eight years and failed to come up with a plan that will create good jobs, build infrastructure, reduce the high price of electricity and work with First Nations. They have done nothing. I will continue to demand that this government support resource development in the north, working with communities, First Nations and industry to create good jobs.”
  • Editorial: “Open the north; get on with it — Ontario has just completed the fourth Northern Leaders Dialogue. Provincial, municipal and indigenous leaders gathered in Thunder Bay to discuss issues around development and transportation, part of the province’s growth plan for Northern Ontario. The advent of exploration around the rich Ring of Fire mineral belt has added urgency to the notion of opening the North. Yet there remains much indecision on whether transportation should be rail or road, east-west or north-south. Who should pay what share of the cost? While Ontario spins its wheels, what are neighbouring provinces and other jurisdictions doing? ….” – more on the Leaders Dialogue here, here and here
  • At least one Liberal MP “gets” access to the North (not just for industry, either) “…. (Kenora MP Bob) Nault, who was a railway union negotiator before his career in federal politics, said an all-weather access road into Ontario’s remote north is a no-brainer, noting that most provinces, including Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta, have one. Without a road, “two thirds of my riding remains isolated,” he said. Nault, who spent nearly five years as an Indian Affairs minister, said that in his view previous First Nation leaders were not as open to the concept of an access road which, he said, “should not just be about providing access for mining companies.” ….”
  • More reaction to that Finanical Post article “Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle came under fire in the provincial legislature Thursday for inaction at the Ring of Fire, with the NDP charging that the Liberals are on track to kill a $60-billion mining project. The questioning followed a report earlier this week from the Financial Post that Noront Resources Ltd. warned the province that it will stop work unless they can show some progress has been made on First Nations agreements and infrastructure for the remote mining development. The company has spent millions on the Eagle’s Nest project in the Ring of Fire but work and spending could stop by end of December if progress isn’t made ….”
  • An analyst’s take on some Noront numbers this week “The stock of Noront Resources Ltd is a huge mover today! The stock decreased 3.16% or $0.015 on November 16, hitting $0.46. About 214,822 shares traded hands or 64.29% up from the average. Noront Resources Ltd has risen 6.00% since October 18, 2015 and is uptrending. It has outperformed by 8.54% the S&P500. he move comes after 8 months negative chart setup for the $108.91M company. It was reported on Nov, 17 by Barchart.com. We have $0.40 PT which if reached, will make Noront worth $15.25 million less ….”

 

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Ontario Mines’ Minister: Ring of Fire, Noront Good to Go

This from Michael Gravelle, from an exchange in Ontario’s Legislature yesterday, during Question Period:

“…. Noront Resources made it very clear that they remain committed to the project, and we’re working very closely with them. In fact, they announced that they are moving forward on an exploration project within the Ring of Fire area themselves.

As a government, we remain absolutely committed to the project. We have our commitment of $1 billion for the transportation infrastructure corridor locked in, thanks to the Minister of Finance. We are looking forward to an opportunity to have a discussion with the new federal government to engage in the process that was not very successful in the past with the previous government.

We are engaged in a regional framework discussion with Matawa First Nations, and we have set up a development corporation to move that forward. So we are indeed making very positive progress ….”

More back-and-forth here and here – Ring of Fire Q’s & A’s collected here (via Dropbox.com).


 

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Updates: Nervous Noront, Who’s Who in the New Cabinet Zoo

  • First, some industry news ….
  • “The dominant company in Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” mineral belt is threatening to suspend its work, sources say, putting a big question mark over future development plans in the region. Noront Resources Ltd. has warned both the Ontario government and First Nations communities in recent days that it will stop working unless it can demonstrate some tangible progress to investors, according to sources. The company and its key lender, Resource Capital Funds, are increasingly frustrated with a lack of movement on government infrastructure commitments, First Nations agreements and other matters. The longer these issues drag on, the harder it will be for Noront to raise new capital ….”
  • “Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is concerned the possible work stoppage in the Ring of Fire could impact North Bay mining supply businesses. Fedeli’s fears came after the Financial Post reported Noront Resources Ltd. warned the Ontario government and First Nations communities that it will stop work unless it can show some progress to its investors ….”
  • “Noront is not threatening to walk away from the Ring of Fire its CEO says. The Financial Post ran a story with anonymous sources Tuesday saying the company has threatened to walk away from its Eagle’s Nest project if it doesn’t see progress from the province and First Nations soon. Alan Coutts said that same day the company announced a new exploration program in the area with nearby First Nations as participants. “We don’t have any plans to shut down operations,” he said. “I don’t want to get into speculative stuff but we’re active.” It’s a weak market out there, especially for a junior company like Nortont but Coutts said they’ve been finding the money they need and that’s happened because they’ve shown progress. “There’s activity, there’s alignment and there’s progress in the Ring of Fire,” he said. Obviously the company would like to see firmer plans from the province on infrastructure for the project but Coutts said there are current discussions on those issues. Commitments were hard to come by from the federal government but now that the Liberals are in power, he sees more alignment between them and the province ….”
  • “Even as it starts a new exploration program in the Ring of Fire this week, the mineral belt’s lone main player admits it’s never been tougher to secure the funds for such projects. “I don’t want to sound gloom-and-doom, but it is a tough market out there and investors want to see progress,” Noront Resources CEO Alan Coutts said Wednesday. Noront has earmarked $600,000 to resume exploration in the area of its existing proposed Eagle Nest nickel mine about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Though metal prices, including nickel, are down, Coutts said the Toronto-based company remains committed to getting its mine up and running about four years from now. It’s expected to cost $700 million to build the mine. “We’re in a trough right now, but we know these things are cyclical and we want to be ready to go into production (when prices rebound),” he said. Coutts was asked to respond to a National Post story which cited an unnamed source who suggested Noront might pull out of the Ring of Fire — as did former main player Cliffs Natural Resources — if the project stalls. Coutts wouldn’t comment directly on the story, but acknowledged the company has been urging the province to make good on an earlier commitment to spend $1 billion on key RoF infrastructure, including roads and hydro ….”
  • In other news, the newest PM doesn’t seem to have named a lead Ring of Fire minister yet, but here’s a few of the new key players in Cabinet for the RoF:
  • James Carr, Minister of Natural Resources (the lead portfolio under the Conservatives);
  • Navdeep Singh Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development (also Fednor Minister);
  • Catherine McKenna, Minister of the Environment & Climate Change (for environmental stuff);
  • Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure & Communities (to deal with that still-outstanding infrastructure question hanging out there);
  • Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs (to deal with First Nations in the RoF area); and
  • Jane Philpott, Minister of Health (to help deal with at least some First Nation concerns about the potential social & health effects/needs linked to developing the RoF area).

 

 

 

 

 

 

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