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 – 29 Aug 11

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  • Ontario names Ring of Fire Advisory Council, opens Ring of Fire office in Thunder Bay   The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry has opened a Ring of Fire Office on James Street in Thunder Bay.  Managing the office will be former Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund President, and Director for Aboriginal Community and Stakeholder Relations with the Ring of Fire Secretariat Harvey Yesno.  The first four members of a Ring of Fire Advisory Council have also been announced:  former Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage;  President of Sudbury’s Laurentian University (and former assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) Dominic Giroux;  Ontario Mining Association president (and former Conservative Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Northern Development and Mines) Chris Hodgson; and former president of Confederation College, Patricia Lang (link to PDF of College bio).  (Sources:  Ministry news release and backgrounder, 25 Aug 11; Chronicle-Journal, 25 Aug 11; tbnewswatch.com, 25 Aug 11; Northern Ontario Business, 26 Aug 11; Wawatay News, 26 Aug 11; Sudbury Star, 26 Aug 11)
  • “Prefeasibilty study predicts 3 year payback for (Noront) Ring of Fire project – TSX-V-quoted Noront Resources on Tuesday published the results of a prefeasibility study into its Eagles Nest nickel-copper-platinum project in Ontario’s Ring of Fire, outlining a $734-million capital investment for a one-million-ton-a-year mine. The study, which Micon conducted, predicted a three-year capital payback, and gave the project a C$560-million net present value at a 6% discount rate. Noront CEO Wes Hanson said this was the first mineral reserve published for the emerging Ring of Fire camp, and that it was a “milestone” that will “accelerate meaningful discussion on infrastructure” development in the area. “It positions the company to begin negotiating downstream agreements that will provide future funding for continued development of the project without excessive shareholder dilution,” he added in a statement …. According to Hanson, Noront will complete a feasibility study on the Eagles Nest project in the first quarter next year, with first commercial production set for 2016 ….” (Sources: company news release, 23 Aug 11; miningweekly.com, 24 Aug 11; Canadian Mining Journal, 24 Aug 11)
  • Next Noront Resources annual meeting:  10 Nov 11 in Toronto (Source:  company SEDAR filing (PDF), 19 Aug 11)
  • Without the necessary transportation infrastructure, development in the Ring of Fire cannot happen, said Raymond Ferris. “They need the infrastructure,” said the Matawa First Nations’ Ring of Fire coordinator, noting a proposed railway from the Ring of Fire area to Nakina is vital. Ferris spoke about the infrastructure needs of First Nations communities surrounding the Ring of Fire Wednesday afternoon at the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation Technical Conference and Trade Show at the Valhalla Inn. “They can’t fly out the chromite; it’s too big of a bulk,” he said. “From what I hear, the railway is the cheapest mode of transportation. The road is going to be close to 400 per cent more in transporting costs.” Companies like Cliff’s Natural Resources have offered to provide money for the railway, but a company official said in June that ultimately it will be provincial infrastructure. Ferris said First Nations are also looking at taking ownership of the project …. Ferris also said it’s important for the remote communities to be involved to protect the environment and their culture ….” (Source: tbnewswatch.com, 24 Aug 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-27 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.


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Ring of Fire News – 22 Aug 11

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Information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.


  • FedNor money reportedly to be used to help First Nations deal with the Ring of Fire.  “Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund plans to support small and medium-sized businesses in the 33 communities it serves in northwestern Ontario with a recent $1.36 million investment from FedNor. “In addition, it will help us meet the growing need for investment capital so Aboriginal people can benefit from business opportunities related to resource developments, including the area known as the Ring of Fire,” said NADF chair Madeline Commanda. NADF will use $960,000 to offer business support services and access to capital to small and medium-sized enterprises over a three-year period. A further $400,000 will be used to provide small and medium-sized enterprises with repayable loans, equity and loan guarantees ….”  (Sources:  Wawatay News, 18 Aug 11; FedNor news release, 11 Aug 11)
  • Grassy Narrows court decision = impact on licensing/exploration in Ring of Fire?  “A northwestern Ontario aboriginal community is declaring victory in its 11-year court battle to stop logging on traditional lands — a ruling their lawyer says could have legal implications for similar disputes across Canada. The Grassy Narrows First Nation challenged the province’s right to permit industrial logging on its traditional lands, saying it infringed on their hunting and trapping rights under a treaty they signed in 1873 …. Robert Janes, a lawyer for the First Nation, said the judge noted in her 300-page ruling that the federal government promised to defend their rights, but hasn’t done so for many years. The ruling will likely have legal implications for similar disputes in Ontario — such as the massive Ring of Fire chromite deposit in the north — and in other parts of the country, he said. It may even change government policy. “Madam Justice Sanderson was very clear that each treaty has its own history, has to be dealt with on its own, but there’s clear implications for the other treaties and the way they’re to be interpreted,” he said. Ms. Sanderson also made it clear that the federal government has a duty to protect the rights of aboriginal people, Mr. Janes said ….”  (Source:  Globe & Mail, 17 Aug 11)
  • Rencore Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the first diamond drilling program to commence on its wholly owned mining claims in the James Bay Lowlands of Northeastern Ontario (Ring of Fire Area) within the Webequie First Nation Traditional Lands. This initial program tests approximately one half of the high priority drill targets that Rencore has in the Ring of Fire area. The other half of the drill targets that Rencore has in the Ring of Fire area are found within Kasabonika Lake First Nation Traditional Lands (“KLFN”). That program, yet to be initiated in the KLFN, is pending conclusion of ongoing negotiations …. The Rencore mining claims, subject of this initial drill program, are strategically located between 30 and 60 km northwest of the Webequie First Nation community along the postulated western extension of the main Ring of Fire structure. This structure hosts a number of Chromite Deposits as well as Nickel-Copper-PGE MMS and Copper-Zinc-Lead VMS deposits presently undergoing economic mining studies by their owners. The 8 drill targets being tested by Rencore with approximately 1200 meters of drilling are the highest priority anomalies resulting from an electromagnetic and magnetometer VTEM airborne survey carried out over the mining claims and surrounding area during 2010 by GeoTech Ltd. of Aurora, Ontario. The helicopter supported drilling program will be carried out under contract with Cyr Drilling Ontario Inc. with Webequie Logistics Ltd. providing crew accommodations and local labour requirements ….”  (Source:  company news release, 18 Aug 11)
  • Cliffs Natural Resources, the top US iron-ore miner, has agreed with a group of lenders to bump up its revolving credit facility to $1.75-billion, with the option of expanding it by an additional $250-million, according to a regulatory filing on Wednesday. The loan, which replaces a 2007 $600-million facility, matures in August 2016 and will go towards refinancing existing debt, general working capital needs and for other purposes including buyouts, the company said. In June, Cliffs issued a prospectus to raise up to $872-million in a share offering to pay down its debt, but this week said the market collapse of early August had prompted it to rather launch a share buy-back in the immediate term. The company owns iron-ore mines in the US and Canada, and also plans to build a ferrochrome smelter in the Great White North, which it will feed with chrome from its projects in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire area ….”  (Sources:  miningweekly.com, 17 Aug 11; )
  • Ontario Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner says he wants to focus on creating more local jobs. Schreiner paid his first visit to Thunder Bay on Saturday as part of his tour of Northwestern Ontario. Schreiner and Green party candidate for Thunder Bay – Superior North Scot Kyle toured downtown Port Arthur before meeting with local party supporters …. Schreiner said he was in support of mining development projects such as the Ring of Fire as long as developers managed the project in an environmentally friendly way and kept jobs in northern Ontario ….”  (Source:  tbnewswatch.com, 21 Aug 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-21 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).

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Ring of Fire News – 15 Aug 11

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Information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.


  • Premier McGuinty:  Ontario’ll put up infrastructure money for Ring of Fire (as soon as we see how much the private sector puts up).  “The Ontario Liberals will wait to see how much money the private sector is willing to invest in infrastructure to develop the Ring of Fire chromite deposits before it puts government money into the area, said the premier. The province will “definitely” have to help build infrastructure, such as roads, to bring the project online, but it wants to “maximize” its opportunities before it does so, Dalton McGuinty told reporters in northern Ontario Saturday afternoon. Any public investment would have to be shown to benefit Ontarians — and especially northern Ontarians — and that includes businesses and First Nations. “We’ve got an opportunity to do this in a way that’s never been done before so we’re excited about that,” McGuinty told reporters at Sudbury’s Laurentian University. “But, yes, at some point in time, it will call for an investment in infrastructure,” said the premier ….” (Source: Toronto Sun/QMI Media, 13 Aug 11)
  • Ontario NDP leader:  if it’s mined in Ontario, it’ll be processed in Ontario.  “In a campaign swing through northern Ontario, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath vowed to stop resources mined in the province from being exported if they can be processed here. “Companies are pulling them out of the ground and shipping them elsewhere for processing and it doesn’t have to be that way,” Horwath said Monday from Dubreuilville, Ont. “We need to be conscious about what is happening with our natural resources. It helps us put some control over how much of our resources get processed and it creates good jobs for Ontario families.” ….”  (Sources:  Toronto Star, 9 Aug 11; Ontario NDP news release, 8 Aug 11)
  • Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry:  Ontario NDP doesn’t get it.  “…. “What the NDP appears to be willfully ignoring is that in Ontario we process minerals from other jurisdictions — from Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said. Even the United States, Peru and Chile send ore to Ontario to be smelted. “If they are prepared to say they are going to close the doors by absolutely demanding processing take place in Ontario they are very much risking hundreds of jobs that are there now,” Gravelle said from his Thunder Bay riding ….”  (Sources:  Toronto Star, 9 Aug 11; ministerial statement, 9 Aug 11)
  • Editorial:  Ontario NDP doesn’t get it.  “…. As mining resurges in importance, Horwath wants ore processed here wherever possible instead of being shipped away to less-expensive locations. Northern communities are already tripping over themselves trying to convince Cliffs Natural Resources that theirs is the best location to process chromite ore from the Ring of Fire development. Cliffs can simply send the stuff wherever it wants and Ontario has disadvantages beginning with higher electricity costs than any other jurisdiction Cliffs is considering. What is Ontario promising Cliffs to convince it to process its chromite here? Under Horwath’s plan, if a suitable smelter exists, it would be guaranteed the right to process the ore that Cliffs and others take out of the ground. The danger here is that a sole, protected enterprise would inevitably become uncompetitive and might ultimately fail. Then it would be up to government to bail it out, a result that would serve no one in the long run.”  (Source:  Chronicle-Journal, 10 Aug 11)
  • Technology Centre:  Don’t put all your economy eggs solely into the Ring of Fire basket.  “…. The Ring of Fire not only sounds exciting but seems to hold great promise for the future of our economy. Regional communities are busy strategizing and committing resources toward ensuring that their community realizes the benefits and wealth from this development. The Northwest has the resources and the world wants them. Many believe that our economic woes are solved! This worries me. I sense that we are once again focused on the resource economy dream. Have we learned any lessens from what happened with the forestry sector? The Northwest’s economy was driven by the forest sector with minimal diversification, innovation and value-added activities ….”  (Source:  Letter to the editor, 10 Aug 11)
  • Mining Watch Warning via Twitter Cliff’s approach in BC doesn’t bode well for Ontario’s Ring of Fire.”:  “Tl’azt’en Nation issued a stop work order to Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., a company that is illegally operating on their territory. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is a large US mining company based in Ohio. Tl’azt’en Nation Chief Ralph Pierre says, “Cliffs is a multi-billion mining company from the United States that seeks to develop properties in central British Columbia and in the Ring of Fire deposit in northern Ontario. They are a multi-national company from a developed country so they should know better than to lie to the Indigenous People.” In April of this year, Cliffs committed to postpone their 2011 mineral exploration program until a signed exploration agreement was in place with Tl’azt’en. Negotiations immediately commenced in May and then company used unethical means by making commitments to our trapline holders to gain their support. Instead of continuing negotiations directly with the Chief and Council, the Cliffs consultants did an ‘end run’ and promised to assist Keyoh holders in the remote village of Middle River (the closest Tl’azt’en village to the exploration site) with telephones, internet service, clean water, sewage upgrades, church repairs, jobs, etc …. ”  (Sources:  Mining Watch Twitter post, 14 Aug 11, Tl’azt’en Nation news release, 11 Aug 11)
  • Canada, Ontario agree to joint assessment panel for proposed mineral project near several northern Ontario First Nations (not this one, though).  “Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent and Ontario’s Minister of the Environment John Wilkinson announced today the establishment of a three-member joint review panel for the environmental assessment of the proposed Marathon Platinum Group Metals and Copper Mine Project in Ontario. Minister Kent, in consultation with Minister Wilkinson, has appointed Dr. Louis LaPierre as the Panel chair, and Dr. David Pearson and Dr. Philip H. Byer as Panel members. Biographical information on the Panel chair and members is available in the accompanying backgrounder. The Panel has a mandate under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act to consider whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. After the conclusion of the review process, the Panel will prepare a report setting out its conclusions and recommendations relating to the environmental assessment of the project ….”  (Source:  Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency news release and backgrounder, 9 Aug 11)
  • Melkior Resources Inc. is pleased to announce that drilling on its 100% owned McFaulds East Rim property located in the Ring of Fire area, James Bay, Ontario is ongoing. The McFaulds East Rim property consists of 1208 claim units covering 193.28 km2. In addition to drilling East Rim, Melkior drilled Riverbank and Broke Back, which recently signed a revised letter of intent with Green Swan Capital Corp …. Riverbank and Broke Back combined consist of 69 unpatented claims covering 147.84 km2 ….”  (Source:  company news release, 12 Aug 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-14 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).

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Ring of Fire News – 8 Aug 11

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Information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.


  • Northern Development, Mines & Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle on Ring of Fire in pre-provincial-election statement: “we are all hoping to see the first mine there possibly ready to open within five years, with a significant training program put into place now so that Aboriginal and Northern workers can get those good-paying jobs in the future ….”  (Source:  Statement, 4 Aug 11)
  • KWG sells off Ring of Fire smelter royalties to Anglo Pacific Group PLC…. “KWG Resources Inc. has completed the sale of net smelter royalty interests (“NSR”) in the Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy chromite deposits to Anglo Pacific Group PLC for US$18 million. Half of the purchase price has been received by KWG and the remaining 50% has been received by an escrow agent to be held in escrow for a period of three months as security for KWG’s indemnification obligations to the purchaser in connection with the transaction ….”  (Source:  KWG news release, 4 Aug 11)
  • …. or put another way:  “Anglo Pacific Group has bought 7207565 Canada Inc from KWG Resources Inc. for US$18m. 7207565 Canada Inc owns a 1% net smelter royalty interest in the Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy chromite deposits, owned and operated by Cliffs Natural Resources, in the Ring of Fire region of Northern Ontario, Canada. Cliffs Natural Resources is currently undertaking an environmental assessment for Black Thor as part of its project development plans, and once constructed anticipates the production of ore for both direct sale and integrated ferrochrome production. Cliffs has also announced a commitment to engage with First Nations communities affected by the development to ensure the creation of opportunities for enhanced social wellbeing and economic prospects for those communities ….”  (Source:  Anglo Pacific Group news release, 2 Aug 11)
  • Ring of Fire Resources getting out of McNugget property?  “Ring of Fire Resources Inc. announces that it has engaged IBK Capital Corp to divest its 36.75% interest in its McNugget JV Project for cash. Macdonald Mines Exploration Ltd. (“BMK”) has the remaining 63.25% interest in the project and is the operator ….”  (Source:  Ring of Fire Resources news release, 4 Aug 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-4 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).

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Ring of Fire News, 2 Aug 11

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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.


  • KWG sells smelter royalties to raise some money  “TSX V-listed KWG Resources on Tuesday said it agreed to sell smelter royalties in three of its chrome deposits in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire to Anglo Pacific Group for $18-million.  KWG owns 28% of the Big Daddy chrome project, with US miner Cliffs Natural Resources owing the rest, and also held a 1% net smelter royalty on the Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy assets.  “The group anticipates that the royalties from these chromite deposits, the largest known deposits of chromite ore in North America, will provide long term cash flows and continuing revenue growth for shareholders,” London-based Anglo Pacific chairpserson Peter Boycott said.  Cliffs aims to complete a prefeasibility study on the Black Thor project by September, with a full feasibility due for completion late next year.  First production has been pencilled in for 2015 ….”  (Sources:  KWG news release, stockmarketwire.com and miningweekly.com, 2 Aug 11)
  • Latest quarterly results from CLF  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. today reported second-quarter results for the period ended June 30, 2011 . Consolidated revenues were up 52% for the second quarter to a record $1.8 billion, from $1.2 billion in the same quarter last year. Operating income for the second quarter was $617 million, an increase of 69% from the comparable quarter in 2010 …. The Company expects to incur the following growth-related cash outflows …. Approximately $45 million related to its chromite project in Ontario, Canada ….”  (Sources:  company  news release, quarterly report, 27 Jul 11)
  • Sudbury-area MPP:  Sudbury’s still a good place for a smelter (even if nobody else returns reporter’s calls)  “Cliffs Natural Resources of Cleveland has yet to decide where it will build a smelter to process chromite concentrate from its Ring of Fire properties in northwestern Ontario.  A promotional video on the Cliffs’ website about the company’s three chromite deposits in the zone (Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy), entitled Value Beneath the Surface, highlights Greater Sudbury as one of the four communities where an enclosed chromite electric arc furnace facility could be built ….  In February, Cliffs indicated in a report it was using Greater Sudbury as a “base case” for a chromite smelting facility and said the site was a “brownfield” or no longer in use piece of industrial land about 25 km from Capreol.  Sudbury Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci said this week he wants to Cliffs set up the chromite processing facility in Ontario, his preferred site being the proposed location near Capreol.  “As a community, we are making a very, very attractive case why that mining plant should be started in Capreol,” he said.  When asked about the province’s higher hydro rates being a deterrent to Cliffs picking an Ontario site, Bartolucci said it would still make sense to build the facility in this province.  “We have put in place a very, very competitive tax structure that will see the costs offset by the incredible tax benefits the government offers,” he said.  The MPP said the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation is the lead player in the local push to land the processing plant in the Nickel Capital.  Neither Ian Wood, acting director of economic development at the city, nor Doug Nadorozny, the city’s chief administrative officer, could be reached for comment. Company officials could not be reached, either ….”  (Source:  Sudbury Star, 29 Jul 11)
  • Wildlands League, Noront to Ontario:  Help First Nations develop land use plans  “The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Wildlands League and Noront Resources Ltd. are coming together and urging the Ontario government to begin land use planning with First Nations communities within the Ring of Fire chromite deposit.  In a letter addressed to various government ministers, the public interest group Wildlands League and Canadian mining company Noront highlight the “urgent need” to develop and approve compressive land use plans that will protect First Nations’ land while preventing delays and missteps for mining companies developing in the area.  “What First Nations communities need to see is the options available to them and the cost and benefits of those options,” said Anna Baggio the director of conservation and land use planning at Wildlands League.  Land use agreements are part of the government’s Far North Act, which aims to protect 50 per cent of Northern land (225,000 kilometres) from development while providing stability for mining companies exploring and developing in Northern Ontario. Baggio said land use agreements with First Nations communities and should have been implemented last fall when the Far North Act was initially passed …. “What it is, is getting a plan and moving that plan forward. Time is of the essence and the sooner development happens the sooner we are able to develop projects that are socially and environmentally responsible,” said Noront Resources’ president and chief executive officer Wesley Hanson …. “There are some companies that have not come to the table to sign exploration agreements, but more are becoming aware now,” said Webequie’s head band councillor Elcie MacDonald. “Nothing is going to come out of it unless they sign the exploration agreement.” …. Noront Resources and the Wildlands League said that without a plan to replace land use agreements, the path to responsibly and effectively developing Ring of Fire could be damaged.  “The First Nations knowledge is vital to consider in any type of infrastructure development because they have traditional areas that would impact them and knowing those areas in advance and being able to plan out development without impacting the traditional way of life of life in communities,” said (Noront CEO Wes) Hanson.  Baggio said the letter has yet to prompt a response from the government, but she does expect that the Ministers will respond.”  (Source:  Kenora Daily Miner & News, 27 Jul 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1 Jul – 2 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).

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