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Ring of Fire News: June 1-20, 2011

The Ring of Fire News blog shares public information in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act, and is not responsible for the accuracy of the original material.  Inclusion of material or sources here should not imply endorsement or otherwise by the Ring of Fire News blog.


  • Over two dozen First Nation and non-native workers employed by Cliffs Natural Resources have walked off their job-site in the Ring of Fire Mining Camp this weekend.  Protesting poor wages, deteriorating working conditions and inadequate health & safety infrastructure, workers at the camp are taking an indefinite stand against the Cleveland-based mining giant, Cliffs Natural Resources.  Workers describe an average week‘s work in the Cliffs Mining Camp as moving out bulk samples of Chromite, weighing up to 200 tons or 400,000 pounds. This labour intensive work is carried out by hand and manpower exclusively and involves manually loading rocks into 15 gallon pails and onto airplanes …. The company had no comment on the situation when contacted Monday morning.” (Sources:  netnewsledger.com, tbnewswatch.com, Postmedia News, 19-20 Jun 11)
  • “…. (Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael) Gravelle told reporters that a Ring of Fire infrastructure conference will be held in Thunder Bay next week to discuss how to build transportation links to area, which includes a massive chromite deposit that Cliffs Natural Resources, among other companies, plans to develop.  “Right now, we have two or three different visions on how we should be developing it,” he said. “We want to see if we can come to some agreement on how this should be done. It’s a priority on the part of the government. This is a tremendous opportunity for generations to come … for all northerners.”  Two of those visions are a road and a railway line ….” (Source:  Sudbury Star, 17 Jun 11)
  • The Municipality of Greenstone brings another big name into the fight to have a smelter built in the area.  “KWG Resources Inc. is pleased to announce that M. J. (Moe) Lavigne, KWG’s Vice-President of Exploration & Development has been elected to the Board of Directors of the Greenstone Economic Development Corporation. Mr. Lavigne is a resident of Thunder Bay and is also a Vice-President of KWG’s subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation, which is examining the feasibility of constructing a railroad from Exton, Ontario to the mineral discoveries 340 kilometers north in the Ring of Fire area of the James Bay Lowlands ….” (Source:  company news release, 20 Jun 11)  This, following the hiring of former Ontario cabinet minister George Smitherman to help the community and Aroland First Nation lobby for a smelter.  (Source:  news release, 31 May 11).
  • The (City of Thunder Bay’s) Community Economic Development Commission announced Monday the addition of John Mason as project manager for mining exploration.  Mason said during an afternoon news conference that he’s excited about the growth potential and job creation opportunities that lie ahead.  “The activity is monumental right now, both exploration activity and mining activity,” Mason said. “Those are really the two related disciplines that will be my target audience. Those companies bring tremendous wealth and economic development in general to Northwestern Ontario.”  The Community Economic Development Commission’s CEO, Steve Demmings, said Mason’s mining expertise adds dramatic strength toe the CEDC as a whole.  “We’re in a position where everything in the ground, or on top of the ground, is in demand by India and China,” he said. “They are the developing countries, they have 33 per cent of the world’s population and things like chromium, silver, iron and ore are all very important to developing economies.” …. “  (Sources:  netnewsledger.com, tbnewswatch.com, 10-13 Jun 11) – General statement of job duties (City of Thunder Bay memo, 9 Sept 10)
  • KWG Resources Inc. has received the final report from Xstrata Process Support on its Big Daddy chromite metallurgical testing. The report confirms that the samples collected from four bore holes of the Big Daddy chromite deposit are amenable to refining at relatively modest energy consumption resulting in high yields of refined ferro-chrome product. The report observes:  “The results indicate a material that is highly reducible considering its high chromium content and which, during smelting, produces a high grade alloy at high chromium recovery, providing essential operating parameters are satisfied …. Under conditions such as those summarised above, the Big Daddy ore can be expected to return chromium recoveries of 92-93% into a high carbon ferrochrome alloy grading around 58-60% Cr, with 6-8% C, 1% Si and the balance iron ….”  (Source:  company news release, 10 Jun 11)
  • One reason for a Lakehead University law school, according to one member of a task force working on the idea, is the  Ring of Fire development:  “…. The Ring of Fire is a massive area approximately 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay that’s widely believed to contain mammoth deposits of chromium, nickel, copper, platinum, and palladium.  According to some estimates, the Ring of Fire contains enough chromite, a mineral not previously found in North America that’s used to make stainless steel, to supply world markets for the next 100 years. Some predict Thunder Bay will boom like Sudbury, Ont., did following the discovery of nickel.  The economic benefits of the Ring of Fire are tantalizing, but in order to access them, the parties involved will need to accommodate the constitutionally protected rights of Métis and First Nations peoples.  The Ring of Fire itself is located on the traditional territories of a number of First Nations, and the access route needed will cut through them. Both mining industry representatives and aboriginal stakeholders, not to mention provincial and federal government decision-makers, will need legal advice and guidance on their respective rights.  They include treaty and constitutional rights, land claims, and the law as it relates to mineral and resource development, all of which are precisely the topics Lakehead’s faculty of law will focus on. This guidance can’t come too soon.  The lack of development of the Ring of Fire so far has been attributed, at least in part, to blockades set up by First Nations ….” (Source:  lawtimesnews.com, 6 Jun 11)
  • Noront Resources closes partnership deal with China’s Baosteel Resources International.  “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the closing of the previously announced strategic investment by Baosteel Resources International Co., Ltd., part of The Baosteel Group, one of China’s largest steel producers. Baosteel has acquired 20,234,967 Units of Noront at a price of $0.86 per Unit …. Net proceeds of the common share portion are approximately C$17.4 million and Baosteel’s ownership interest in Noront post transaction will be 9.9% …. Proceeds of the strategic investment will be used to fund the fiscal 2012 Budget of $C17.6M. Key objectives for the coming year include:  completion of a feasibility study on the Eagle’s Nest nickel sulphide deposit in Q1, 2012; expansion of the Blackbird chromite resource in Q1, 2012; exploration for additional nickel sulphide mineralization including Eagle 2; completion of a pre-feasibility study on the Blackbird chromite deposit including an initial analysis of ferrochrome production; on-going consultation with local First Nations communities and permitting of the project with the relevant federal, provincial and regional government agencies ….”  (Source:  company news release, 2 Jun 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited also available here (PDF).

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One Response

  1. […] of the Chinese, remember Noront’s partnership with China’s Baosteel from 2011 (last bullet)?  One wonders how long Baosteel’ll have the resources to keep playing in the #RingOfFire as it […]

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