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

Ring of Fire News, Week ending 27 Jun 11

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.


  • The Matawa First Nation communities have been offered up to $9.6 million over three years to develop core capacity to participate in the Ring of Fire initiative. “The funding was intended to support whatever specific community needs were identified,” said Christine Kaszycki, Ontario’s Ring of Fire coordinator. “There are a range of things that are available and the communities have the opportunity to submit a funding request and through that identify the approach that they would be taking as part of their proposal.” The Ring of Fire has been a hotbed of mineral exploration activity in recent years, home to a potentially large deposit of chromite, a mineral used to make stainless steel. The area is located in the James Bay lowlands near the traditional territories of Webequie and Marten Falls. The five remote fly-in communities of Eabametoong, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, Nibinamik and Webequie have been offered $1.5 million over three years, the three communities along Hwy. 11, Constance Lake, Ginoogaming and Long Lake #58, have been offered $450,000 over three years and Aroland has been offered $750,000 over three years….” (Source:  Wawatay News, 24 Jun 11)
  • Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Michael Gravelle, told a Ring of Fire transportation conference in Thunder Bay that other governments, not just Ontario, will have to contribute to developing any transportation infrastructure into the Ring of Fire area.  (Source:  CBQ-FM Thunder Bay, 23 Jun 11)
  • Speaking at the same conference, Gravelle was quoted saying, “The decision on the location (of processing facilities) is ultimately production-driven, and will be made by the (mining) companies based on factors including sustainability, cost and profitability…. We expect the decisions we make on transportation, infrastructure and other considerations will support those production and community decisions.”   He is also quoted saying, “If I was specifying that it should be in one community I would be certainly in a position where it would be difficult for me to maintain the kind of credibility I need to continue our work with Cliff’s (Natural Resources) and with the other companies.” (Sources:  Chronicle-Journal, 24 Jun 11, clipping available here; Tbnewswatch.com, 24 Jun 11)
  • Mining camp workers employed by Cliffs (Natural Resources) and who walked off the job …. held a quiet demonstration outside (the ROF infrastructure conference mentioned above).  Representative Harry Baxter Sr. said they were there to show conference delegates, companies and the public that all is not well in the Ring of Fire. Baxter said the workers “have no benefits, no safety standards, no insurance.” He said more than two dozen camp workers walked off the job, protesting what Baxter said were unsafe conditions and a pay cut to $140 a day. Baxter said the pay is inadequate for those who live in the remote North where expenses are much higher than elsewhere. They are taking their concerns to a First Nations chiefs meeting at the Valhalla Inn on Friday, he said. Cliffs spokesmen have said the camp manager resigned amid the walkout and will be replaced. The other workers, they said, are welcome to return to their jobs. They also said the company would meet with the workers to discuss their concerns.”  Cliffs’ senior VP of ferralloys, Bill Boor, was also quoted saying he is contacting workers who left the work site to “discuss their problems directly with them.” Boor is also quoted saying “Their concern is that they’re going to now get taxed, and therefore their take-home pay will be reduced. We’re going to pay competitive wages, and in fact in this issue, we’re going to make sure people’s take-home pay does not go down. If that means we have to pay more because somebody who was a registered contractor, for example, is now subject to taxes, we’re going to take that on.” (Chronicle-Journal, 21 Jun 11, clipping available hereChronicle-Journal, 23 Jun 11)
  • KWG Resources Inc. advises that its subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation has acquired by staking, two 16-unit mineral claims adjoining to the south of the Fancamp Exploration Ltd claims 3012257 and 3012258. The north-eastern corner of the eastern-most claim is within Koper Lake. As such, the new claim encompasses that portion of the western shore of Koper Lake that has been the logistics hub for activities in the area. The claims are outside of the areas of interest provided for in KWG’s agreements with Spider Resources Inc., and UC Resources Limited. The companies are also pleased to announce the appointment of Bruce Hodgman as a Vice-President of Canada Chrome Corporation.”  (Source:  KWG news release, 21 Jun 11)
  • “A Lakehead University professor has suggested a Ring of Fire endowment fund for future generations in northern Ontario. “Natural resources in a sense are like a gift – it’s like winning a lottery,” said Livio Di Matteo, a professor of economics at Lakehead University. “When you win a lottery, it’s great to spend some of it and have a good time. But at the same time if you want to prepare for tomorrow, it’s also a good idea to save a large portion of it and then only spend the income.” ….”  (Source:  Wawatay News, 24 Jun 11)
  • A Lakehead University economist suggests blimps.  “…. Development of the Ring of Fire will require transportation infrastructure and the Ring of Fire Conference held in Thunder Bay yesterday discussed proposals for transportation infrastructure. Of course, the proposals have a familiar ring – building new all-weather roads as well as building a new rail line. These are expensive pieces of transportation infrastructure and will provide access to the Ring of Fire and immediately adjacent areas. There are many First Nations living in Ontario’s Far North who rely on winter roads for bringing in supplies and these ice roads have become increasingly fragile with the shorter winters brought about by climate change. A railroad or road to the Ring of Fire would not necessarily meet the needs of all remote First Nations. One solution that would be cost-effective in meeting the needs of First Nations as well as providing a means to transport heavy equipment and supplies for mining companies lies in an old technology that is receiving some updates – Lighter Than Air Vehicles, also known as airships ….”  (Source:  Netnewsledger.com, 24 Jun 11)

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

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