Ring of Fire News

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

Ring of Fire News, 26 Jul 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.


  • Cliffs drops by Timmins again to talk smelter talk.  “The Timmins Economic Development Corporation and the City of Timmins recently hosted a representative from Cliffs Natural Resources. Cliffs is looking for a community to host their Ferrochrome Production Facility …. Dave McGirr chairman of the TEDC noted that “we have been working with Cliffs Natural Resources for quite some time now. We prepared a detailed background document describing why Timmins would be the logical choice for Cliff’s Ferrochrome facility. We described our local labour force skills set in great detail and we also showcased a variety of local sites that meet their baseline requirements.” Mayor Tom Laughren noted that this is Cliff’s second visit to the community …. During this most recent visit the Cliffs representative met with local mining and community leaders. Christy Marinig the CEO of the Timmins Economic Development Corporation stated that “the local experience of working in and operating a large global business from Timmins was a focal point of the conversation. These leaders were able to elaborate that we are a community that knows how to deliver shareholder value while being safe, productive and profitable. Cliffs is expected to make a final decision on the location of the Ferrochrome facility later this year.”  (Sources:   TEDC news release,  20 Jul 11;  Timmins Times, 21 Jul 11)
  • KWG brings a northern Ontario First Nation leader onto the board of its diamond-hunting arm.  “KWG Resources Inc. is pleased to announce that Her Worship Chief Theresa Okimaw-Hall has been elected a Director of Debut Diamonds Inc. …. Theresa Hall served as a full-time presiding Justice of the Peace for nine communities in Northern Ontario for over sixteen years, and is the first Cree woman to be appointed to such a position. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Native Studies from Laurentian University. Theresa is the former Chief of Attawapiskat – the first female Chief ever in that community. She was Chief during her community’s negotiations with De Beers Canada for its Victor diamond mine, and she always led with forward-thinking vision and determination. She served two terms but decided not to seek election for a third term in order to give others the opportunity to lead. She currently serves as director of land use planning for the Mushkegowuk Council at its office in Timmins …. “  Source:  KWG news release, 21 Jul 11)

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

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Ring of Fire News, 18 Jul 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.


  • Matawa First Nation chiefs:  no development in our traditional territory without our say so.  “…. all nine Chiefs from Matawa First Nations communities signed a historic declaration, making the commitment to stand together to protect the natural resources and territories of member First Nations. The Mamow- Wecheekapawetahteewiin- “Unity Declaration”, states that the nine Matawa communities agree that they “must stand together in order to ensure our nation is protected. Therefore, we assert our Aboriginal and Treaty Rights to the land, water and resources by requiring our written consent before any development activity may proceed.” The “Unity Declaration” further states that; “Failure to consult, accommodate and receive the consent of the First Nation(s) to proceed with any work or activity is an unjustified infringement upon our Aboriginal, Treaty and Custodial rights as First Nations.” The declaration that was unanimously supported comes after a Matawa summit that was held in Neskantaga First Nation in early June, 2011, that focused on the development of a unified strategy to move forward on future developments and the protection of the First Nations lands, waters and resources. Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation says; “With this declaration, we hope to send a very powerful message to industry and government – Matawa First Nations are working as one. Any development occurring around any of our First Nations communities will impact us as one and this needs to be recognized”. Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation says; “The nine First Nations take the position that our traditional territories are under our control and approval to operate in our territories and cannot be given by the government or any other entities” ….” (Source:  Matawa news release, 14 Jul 11)
  • KWG backs the Matawa Chiefs’ declaration.  “KWG Resources Inc. welcomes the announcement yesterday of the Unity Declaration made by the Chiefs of the nine First Nations of the Matawa Council of First Nations. “This is an exceedingly encouraging development”, said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “There has been a lot of jockeying amongst all the players affected by the Ring of Fire discoveries, and the Chiefs are demonstrating their profound wisdom in determining to act together to confront those opportunities for all of their communities and people.” “We are in complete agreement with Chief Moonias of the Marten Falls First Nation when he observed, in the press release announcing the Unity Declaration: ‘Our First Nations do not oppose responsible development but as the people of the land, we want to benefit from these potential mining developments and negotiate meaningful employment and business opportunities for our communities, while ensuring the environment is not at risk’. …. “ (source: company news release, 15 Jul 11)
  • Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs and city officials visit Webequie First Nation seeking support for a smelter.  “…. The trip was also about making sure the First Nation community, near the Ring of Fire, knows that Thunder Bay wants to win the fight with Sudbury and Greenstone, as Hobbs calls it, for a ferrochrome processor. With 25,000 Aboriginal people in Thunder Bay, Hobbs said the processor would help all citizens in the city. “We want jobs for our people and Aboriginal people,” he said ….” (source: tbnewswatch.com, 14 Jul 11)
  • Calls for a “Mining Marshall Plan” for northern Ontario.  “…. Ontario needs to help build the necessary key transportation routes to develop the North’s enormous and strategic mineral potential. These include a railway to the Ring of Fire mining camp and all-weather highways to replace winter ice roads to isolated Aboriginal communities …. Ontario must provide more competitive power rates for mining and refining operations ….  Ensure that the processing of major mineral deposits mined in Ontario be done in the province ….  Allow the development of peat fuel as a power source for isolated First Nations communities, the Ring of Fire mining camp, and as a partial fuel for the two coal-fired power plants in Thunder Bay and Atikokan …. A thorough geoscience assessment must be conducted of any lands designated for parks and local Aboriginal communities must be consulted and allowed a veto …. A reasonably short provincial commission on mining regulation should be established ….  There must be an immediate provincial commitment to invest millions for building the necessary infrastructure (working water treatment plants, high quality schools and training facilities, medical centres, and perhaps even motels) in the five First Nations communities closest to the Ring of Fire mining camp. Then over the next decade repeat this development strategy in the other Aboriginal communities across the North. By increasing the capacity of First Nations communities to significantly benefit from mineral exploration and development – which should be a government, not industry, responsibility – resource conflicts will be less likely to rise up …..”  (source:  Canadian Mining Journal, 11 Jul 11)
  • Ontario Conservative Party election promise:  Minister of Northern Development, not the Ring of Fire Co-ordinator, will co-ordinate development in the area.  “…. We will turn the promise of the Ring of Fire into a job-creating reality. Ontario is sitting on a gigantic opportunity – tens of billions of dollars worth of jobs and prosperity. That’s bigger than the Sudbury Basin. It is a once-in-a-century opportunity for the North, for Ontario, and for Canada. Yet Dalton McGuinty’s Liberals have dragged their feet, refusing to jump on the high-value jobs and investments that are waiting. We will not let this historic opportunity pass us by. We will champion the Ring of Fire, representing the voice of Northern Ontario throughout the entire province. We will convince people in Southern Ontario that the Ring of Fire matters to them. And wherever government policy is a barrier, we will be open to all options to remove those barriers. We will make the Minister of Northern Development and Mines the government point person for moving the Ring of Fire forward. It is far too important to leave to a single middle manager in the bureaucracy as Dalton McGuinty has done ….” (page a9, Changebook North, Ontario Conservative Party platform, downloadable – 4.2MB PDF – here)

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

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Ring of Fire News, 11 Jul 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.


  • Ontario’s mines minister Michael Gravelle following a transportation corridor conference:  there’s only going to be one transportation corridor into the Ring of Fire.  “…. “It was a very positive, amicable session, but (the companies) do have some differences. What came out of that was they recognize they have to come together on this as well. Certainly they will be crucial on making that decision …. There clearly is an understanding by all three companies despite their different visions that there needs to be one vision for the transportation corridor, so I am optimistic that we will be coming to a decision on that as soon as we can …. We heard the companies this morning talk about potentially if all things move forward in a positive way to begin construction of some sort by 2013 …. that is their ambitious timeline.”  (Source: Wawatay News, 7 Jul 11)
  • Northeastern Ontario municipalities and the Ontario Mining Association say it’s time for Ontario to share mining tax revenues.  “Northern municipalities want an equitable share of the rich mining tax revenue currently collected by the provincial government. The Province has collected over half a billion dollars in Ontario Mining Tax revenue over the past 5 years.  Alan Spacek, President of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) stated, “Northern Ontario is a vast storehouse of mineral wealth. In recent years, Northern Ontario has returned record levels of revenue to the provincial government. Northern Ontario is once again a major economic contributor.” Tom Laughren, Vice President of FONOM and Mayor of Timmins noted, “Unfortunately for Northern municipalities, much of the wealth generated by mining leaves the region in the form of corporate profits, Federal and Provincial corporate income tax, and resource specific taxes or fees such as the Ontario Mining Tax. This has created significant hardship for all Northerners. We are
    facing increasing cost pressures related to the provision of vital local services and an additional source of revenue would be of great benefit to our people.” One glimmer of hope is in the form of a key recommendation contained in the Ontario Mining Association’s (OMA) March, 2011 report Action Plan for Ontario: Taking Advantage of a Critical Window on Opportunity. Chris Hodgson, President of the OMA stated “The OMA would also like to see local municipal and First Nation communities have a greater share in the benefits of mining through the existing levels of mining tax.” President Spacek agrees. “We support entering into respectful discussions between municipalities, First Nations and the Provincial Government, culminating in the sharing of Ontario Mining Tax revenues with municipalities and First Nations.” ….”
    (Source: FONOM news release, 5 Jul 11)
  • A branch of KWG’s now official a railway company.  “KWG Resources Inc. subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation received formal acknowledgement from the Registrar of Shortline Railways of receipt of its application for a licence to construct and operate a shortline railway under Ontario’s Shortline Railways Act, legislation which governs provincial railways in Ontario. “This is one small step in a long journey”, said Canada Chrome Vice-President Bruce Hodgman, “but it is a seminal one and we look forward to working with Ontario and its railway regulators on moving forward our proposed Ring of Fire Railroad”.” (Source: company news release, 7 Jul 11)
  • Another branch of KWG’s going over all the claims staked for a railway corridor to the Ring of Fire, looking for more mineral potential information.  “…. Debut to (joint venture) with KWG to analyze Canada Chrome till samples – KWG agreed to provide access to the valuable geotechnical database covering a 330 kilometer north-south transect through the base-metal-rich and diamond-bearing area from the Ring of Fire to Nakina.  The database was created as a result of a mechanized-auger soil sampling program conducted by Golder Associates that collected nearly 6000 soil samples from 811 borings on claims staked by KWG subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation. Debut will process the glacial till horizons at its cost under a reciprocal joint venture agreement, to recover heavy and indicator minerals. Diamond discoveries following from the analysis of these samples will be the property of Debut while metal discoveries resulting from the work will be the property of KWG.  The analysis is expected to be completed in the next number of months at a budget of $1 million ….” (Source:  company news release, 6 Jul 11)
  • More data for Noront’s plan for a more detailed mine plan.  “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to report initial metallurgical results for the Eagle’s Nest deposit, part of the Company’s McFaulds Lake Project in the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario. During the 2010 drill program, a series of holes were drilled into the Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper and PGM deposit in order to obtain samples for metallurgical testwork …. Mr. Paul Semple, P.Eng and Noront’s Chief Operating Officer noted “These positive results confirm the metallurgical assumptions made during the NI 43-101 Preliminary Assessment report and the metallurgical characteristics are similar to most other Canadian nickel copper deposits. Further testwork will focus on finalizing equipment sizes and the optimization of grade/recovery relationships based on further discussions with interested smelters.” “ (Source: company news release, 7 Jul 11)
  • Some highlights from a Noront “Corporate Presentation” publicly available online:  Out of total 2012 budget of $17.6 million, approximately 6% ($1,056,000) is earmarked for “First Nations Consultation.”  Current estimates show “site start up commissioning” for 2016.  Company aims to work with First Nations to “Work cooperatively with the local First Nation communities to develop a regional land use plan that benefits all stakeholders and recognizes the environmental sensitivity of the James Bay Lowlands.”  Latest estimated transport infrastructure costs: Pickle Lake to Webequie, 200 kms, $180 M; Webequie to site, 95 kms, $15M. (Noront Corporate Presentation dated 23 Jul 11 – 13.4MB PDF – downloadable here)
  • A consultant says its time for First Nations to develop and share their own “how to develop in our area” procedures.  “…. Michael Fox, president of Fox High Impact Consulting, called for a First Nations position paper from the Ring of Fire communities during his June 23 presentation at the conference. “The best thing I think is to actually have all the communities here affected by the Ring of Fire come up with their own community position paper and share their lands and resource policies or their consultation protocols so we can find that common denominator so we can actually do planning with the communities as required under the Far North Act,” Fox said …. Gravelle envisions the Ring of Fire mineral development area evolving on the same regional scale as some of Ontario’s other historic mineral deposits in Red Lake, Kirkland Lake, Timmins and Sudbury.” (Source: Wawatay News, 7 Jul 11)
  • An environmental group is helping some First Nations develop watershed plans, and is eying some watersheds in or around the Ring of Fire.  “…. Wildlands League will be collaborating with communities and tribal councils in the Far North of Ontario, who live on or near four (4) major rivers over the next two (2) years to advance watershed planning. The four major rivers, the Albany, Winisk, Attawapiskat and the Severn watersheds are four (4) of only 12 left in North America south of 55 degrees that remain undammed and unregulated (although there is a diversion on the Albany River near its headwaters upstream) thus making them ecologically significant. The Ekwan is another river community members have expressed concerns about too. This project will support tribal councils and indigenous communities, who are often most impacted by water quality and water quantity changes, “to develop culturally-appropriate, community-based approaches to watershed stewardship,” including “advancing mutually-supported river-system goals.” …. Exploration continues in places like the Ring of Fire, which is considered by some to hold one of the world’s largest chromite deposits in the lowlands of Hudson’s Bay. It is expected that the activities in the Ring of Fire will have a direct impact on at least three (3) of the major rivers including the streams, creeks, rivers and tributaries in the Ogoki, Kapiskau and the Ekwan watershed catchment areas. While a coalition of environmental organizations has called on the federal government to set up a joint-review panel to ensure that mining development is monitored closely and that these activities adhere to environmental standards, the silence has been deafening thus far…. ” (Source: blog post, 7 Jul 11)

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

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Ring of Fire News, Week ending 5 Jul 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.


  • Remember when KWG’s VP Moe Lavigne became a member of the board of Greenstone’s economic development corporation?  Now, KWG Resources & Greenstone are seeking big federal money for a railroad.  “KWG Resources Inc. is pleased to announce that its subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation, together with Greenstone Economic Development Corporation, have today filed an application with PPP Canada for consideration of funding support of up to $496 million for the construction of a railroad to the Ring of Fire mining discoveries in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario.  On May 4, 2011 PPP Canada launched Round Three call for proposals of the P3 Canada Fund, encouraging provinces, territories, First Nations and municipalities to consider the P3 model for their public infrastructure needs. The P3 Canada Fund is a merit-based program designed to generate an increase in P3 public infrastructure. Eligible projects can receive up to 25% of the direct cost of construction for a P3 project.  Canada Chrome Corporation has undertaken preliminary engineering and construction cost estimates to build a railroad from a junction with the Trans-Canada line of the Canadian National Railway at Exton, Ontario. The project is presently estimated to cost $1.984 billion.  The co-applicants made the submission for themselves and a joint venture anticipated to be formed with the Municipality of Greenstone and a First Nations Regional Economic Development Corporation to be created by the Matawa and Mushkegowuk First Nations ….”  (Source:  company news release, 24 Jun 11)
  • “…. Lakehead University business dean Bahram Dadgostar said there are plenty of countries, including China and India, that are looking to Ontario for its resources, but without the labour pool or proper resources to get it from point A to point B, they’ll go elsewhere.  That goes ditto for companies looking to invest from within the North American market, especially in places like the Ring of Fire and other mining opportunities.  We don’t have a connection to the North, we don’t have those things,” Dadgostar said. “We have to look at what infrastructure is required to attract industry. People around the world are looking for opportunities, but they go where (they can make the most money).”  In other words, companies won’t build railways and roads, he said ….”  (Source:  Tbnewswatch.com, 29 Jun 11)
  • Noront Update (1): Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to report final assay results from the 2010 /11 winter exploration program at the Company’s McFaulds Lake Project in the James Bay lowlands, Ontario …. Noront’s President and CEO, Wes Hanson, states: “The exciting discovery of pervasive nickel mineralization and establishing the geometry of the AT-12 ultramafic dike are very significant events. Preliminary estimates suggest that AT-12 averages 0.30 to 0.35% nickel, comparable to many nickel projects currently being evaluated for economic exploitation. The Company believes AT-12 may be amenable to bulk mining methods, which would significantly increase the life of our Eagle’s Nest advanced development project and could potentially increase that projects throughput rate ….”  (Source:  company news release, 28 Jun 11)
  • Noront Update (2):  “…. On June 17, 2011, the Company staked six mineral claims comprising 32 units on open ground that lies directly to the north of Noront claims 4226694 and 4226662 (and directly south of Fancamp Exploration Limited’s claims 3012257 and 3012258). These two 16-unit claims were formerly claims 4221148 and 4221149 of MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. Another exploration company active in the Ring of Fire has announced that they have staked these claims.  The Company has filed notice with the Mining Recorders Office contesting the validity of the staking by the other company.  Noront also staked another 16-unit mineral claim, further to east. This claim lies directly to the north of Noront’s claim 4226616 and lies on the west shore of McFaulds Lake, and was formerly claim 4212366 of MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd ….”  (Source:  company news release, 28 Jun 11)
  • What Cliffs Natural Resources is telling investors about its Ring of Fire work“…. Cliffs’ Chromite project represents the start of Ferroalloys, a new business for Cliffs – Upon completion, Cliffs will be the only North American chromite mining and processing operation …. Ferrochrome Production Facility: Site location studies on-going anticipated need for 1-2 km site (brownfield preferred) – Power cost and grid stability are key drivers for selection – Canada relies on hydroelectric power which offers clean electric energy with long-term price stability – Power constraints elsewhere are driving up cost curve …. Feasibility study will be completed in 2012, leaving the environmental assessment (EA) and permitting process as the determinants of start-up timing – Investigations of environmental baseline conditions underway – Submitted a “Project Description” in May – First step in EA process – Permits needed for construction and operation may be issued by governmental agencies only after the EA is successfully completed …. Cliffs chromite mine will be world class, positioned in a AAA country and with very low mining costs – Cliffs is working to develop an efficient transportation network and build a state-of-the-art furnace operation to supply world markets with both chromite ore and ferrochrome – Ferrochrome processing is critical to access North American and European markets that don’t have processing capacity – Significant value and access to growth markets will be generated from the chromite ore delivered to Asian customers – With a very large potential resource, Cliffs has the ability to expand its position in the market through time ….” (Source:  Cliffs 2011 Analyst and Investor Day Presentation; full report here, , Ring of Fire development section (PDF) here)
  • Industry Canada’s latest summary of Ontario’s economy includes this on the Ring of Fire“…. Future investment is expected as large chromite deposits are mined in the Ring of Fire area located in the James Bay Lowlands. The Ring of Fire is the only chromite deposit in North America and could be the largest in the world.  Cliffs Natural Resources is currently in the planning process of a project to extract the resource. Capreol, Timmins, Thunder Bay, and Greenstone are potential sites for a smelter related to the chromite project, which would create 500 jobs during construction and 500 jobs during operation ….”  (Source:  Industry Canada’s  Ontario Economic Overview:  June 2011 Update, full report available (PDF) here)
  • A Thunder Bay-area peat business is seeking a piece of the Ring of Fire action.  “Peat Resources Limited has renewed its permits on 19,000 hectares of peatlands in the Upsala area of northwestern Ontario and has received a Letter of Authority from the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources to carry out surveys and resource evaluations of peatlands in the McFaulds Lake (Ring of Fire) region …. The McFaulds Lake peatlands are of special interest because of their proximity to Ring of Fire mineral exploration activity. Proposals for development of these base metal deposits point to the need for over 50 MW of power at the remote mine sites and up to 300 MW at a ferrochrome processing facility at a location to be determined in northern Ontario. Peat Resources Limited is in discussion with the mining companies, provincial government authorities including the Ring of Fire Secretariat and First Nations of the region. The company is urging consideration of the use of peat fuel to supplement the energy needs of these mining and ore processing developments as well as the introduction of peat-fuelled combined-heat-and-power systems in remote (off-grid) First Nations communities ….”  (Source:  company news release, 5 Jul 11)

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

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