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Ring of Fire News – 27 Feb 12

  • “Many people at a mining information session Thursday night wanted to know how local communities will benefit from the roads planned for the Ring of Fire. More than 150 people came out to a Noront Resources open house in Thunder Bay. They had questions about jobs and the environmental impact of the Eagle’s Nest project, but many also wanted to know more about the proposed new road to get to the mine. Local Noront investor Don Paglaro said the road shouldn’t be just the company’s responsibility. “I think the government should not only put in some funding, but should maybe decide on a good route … one that benefits northwestern Ontario, which is Thunder Bay,” he said. Paglaro said he is excited about the Eagle’s Nest project, but he said he wants to make sure the road built to reach the mine also benefits isolated First Nations. “Not necessarily the closest or the cheapest way in, but one that is gonna perhaps connect to all the reserves and communities up there,” Paglaro said. Currently, Noront plans an east-west route between Pickle Lake and Webequie. Cliffs Natural Resources is planning a road extension north of Nakina for its Black Thor mining property. Yan Yan, who works for a First Nations organization, wondered if the two mining companies could join forces when it comes to building roads. “If we have the regional plan … I think that is more cost-effective,” she said. A regional infrastructure plan is exactly what Thunder Bay-Superior North MP Bruce Hyer wants to see. The NDP MP said it’s up to government — not individual companies — to plan transportation. “In the past we have always allowed the forest companies to decide where our road network was gonna go,” he said. Hyer added the provincial government needs to step in and help co-ordinate Noront and Cliffs’ road proposals for the Ring of Fire.”  Source More
  • Speaking of roads…. “The Ring of Fire will be top of mind for local delegates heading to the Ontario Good Roads Association Conference in Toronto (this) week. “The projects that are up there are going to make this province rich,” said Mayor Keith Hobbs. The economic impact on Sudbury for value-added services in the mining sector is $5 billion. In Thunder Bay, it’s around $450 million, which the mayor says is a good start, but is just that – a start. “There’s more businesses coming in all the time; more junior exploration companies are setting up shop in Thunder Bay. We have to make sure it happens on a large scale,” he said. Hobbs will be joined at the conference by Councillors Joe Virdiramo, Iain Angus, Brian McKinnon, Aldo Ruberto and Ken Boshcoff as well as city manager Tim Commisso and Fort William First Nation’s economic development officer Ed Collins. The committee will be presenting to seven different provincial ministers at the conference, but with a heavy focus on the Ring of Fire. The mayor said infrastructure and energy are two key pieces. They want to see the east-west corridor built from Webequie to Pickle Lake and a north-south road built from the Ring of Fire mine site to Nakina …. “  Source
  • Meanwhile, northeastern Ontario to start twisting arms a bit harder?  “Northeastern Ontario’s municipal leaders, our elected voices across the North, are worried that their voices are falling on deaf ears at the higher levels of government. The problem is so bad that Northern leaders are discussing whether to pool their money to hire professional lobbyists to speak out on behalf of the North at Queen’s Park. The issue was debated at length this past week when the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) held its Winter-Spring meeting at the McIntyre auditorium …. (NEOMA chair, and Timmins mayor, Tom Laughren) added that the North also to do more lobbying on the issue of hydro-electric energy rates, since it relates directly to the issue of whether the principals involved in the Ring of Fire mining development will be likely to build a ferro-chrome smelter in Ontario ….”  Source
  • Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli is leading a one-day sales mission to the Ring of Fire base camp March 9. “Last fall, I pledged to lead a group of regional mining firms to see the potential of this once-in-a-century opportunity. Today, I’m making good on that promise,” Fedeli said. The Ring of Fire is about 530 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and is the site of a cluster of world class, multi-generational chromite deposits. Chromite is processed into ferrochrome which is used in the making of stainless steel. Ohio-based Cliffs Natural Resources is the leading mining player in the region with its flagship Black Thor deposit. The total cost of the trip will be divided among the tour’s private-sector participants. Fedeli’s decision to organize such a trip came after his own visit there last summer convinced him there were tremendous opportunities for the local mining supply industry, which boasts 70 companies. “When I flew over for the first time, I immediately recognized the blue and white-striped tents from Canadian Can-Tex, located in Rutherglen,” Fedeli said. “I also saw stacks of drill rods – the same types that are manufactured by firms in North Bay and in Powassan,” he said.. “I knew immediately there was potential here that Nipissing companies have to take advantage of.” “  Source more
  • “The federal Liberal critic for Aboriginal Affairs is cautioning that communities in northern Ontario could see environmental and health effects like those seen in Alberta’s oilsands region, if regional planning and environmental assessments for the Ring of Fire are not done properly. Dr. Carolyn Bennett was in Thunder Bay on Feb. 20 to meet with Matawa First Nations, in advance of April’s northern Ontario prospectors’ conference in Kirkland Lake. Following her meeting with Matawa, Bennett said the current approach of doing individual environmental assessments for each Ring of Fire project is flawed. “It could be done in a much more coherent way,” Bennett said. “We should not be making the mistake of the oilsands, where everything is done in a very piecemeal way.” …. “  Source
  • “CBC News has learned two federal agencies want a more thorough review of the environmental impacts of chromium mining in the Ring of Fire. Documents obtained by CBC News under access to information show the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) was seeking advice earlier this year from other government departments. It wanted to know how much scrutiny it should give the proposed Cliffs chromite project, 540 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. In a June 2011 letter, the Canadian Wildlife Service said the agency should “err on the side of caution due to the many uncertainties” associated with the project “and the potential for impacts to migratory birds, species at risk and wetlands.” Madeline Head, who is with the environmental stewardship branch of the Canadian Wildlife Service, recommended the CEAA put the Cliffs project to “a higher level of assessment and scrutiny ensuring rigorous assessment of the project effects …” …. An Ontario manager with Environment Canada raised several concerns about the Cliffs project in his letter to CEAA last fall. Rob Dobos said there isn’t enough baseline information about hexalent chromium (a potentially deadly by-product of chromium mining) to determine whether there will be adverse effects on water quality and wildlife. He also said, if Cliffs decides to build its smelter on or near First Nations lands “the lack of applicable federal regulatory controls for these emissions would also be a concern.” Dobos recommended a regional environmental assessment process “that considers the interconnectivity and the cumulative impact of currently proposed and anticipated future developments within and connecting to the Ring of Fire.” ….”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-24 Feb 12 (PDF) here. All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act. The blog is not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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New (to me, anyway) blog worth following

Why haven’t I spotted this sooner?

insupportofmining

Interesting overall, but with good coverage of the Ring of Fire and First Nations partnerships in mining.

Curated and written by Wendy Parker, who, according to her bio, is “a writer and freelance communications specialist with more than 20 years high-level experience in journalism and government communications.  Much of my work has centred on Northern Ontario and its resource-based economy.  Naturally, then, I have a well-honed interest in the mining industry and the business enterprises that support it.”

Good stuff – welcome to our blog roll!

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Ring of Fire News – 20 Feb 12

  • BIG mention of the Ring of Fire in the Drummond Commission report prepared to outline ways to deal with Ontario’s deficit – an excerpt:  “…. This development of major mineral deposits in northern Ontario offers the prospect of substantial socio-economic opportunities for all northern residents, particularly Aboriginal Peoples. The government should collaborate with Aboriginals, industry and the federal government to maximize these opportunities …. Ring of Fire – The Ring of Fire development in northern Ontario represents a significant opportunity to both realize major mineral development in the region and improve socio-economic opportunity and quality of life for Aboriginal People and other residents of the north. Managed properly, the project will provide benefits over several decades. Success in the Ring of Fire will require collaboration between Aboriginal People, industry, and the federal and provincial governments. With a focus on creating a healthy workforce, education and skills training, and basic community infrastructure, the government should take innovative approaches to expand labour-market and training programs for First Nations communities. This approach would include implementing a full range of employment programs and related social supports that are available through social assistance for recipients living on reserve. These include education programs, job-specific training, literacy programs and programs that support young parents. The Commission is optimistic that industry partners will employ Aboriginal People throughout the life of the Ring of Fire and work as partners with government to deliver or fund (perhaps both) the employment and training services required. If voluntary efforts by the business sector lag, the government should consider putting a levy on mining-related activities to directly fund initiatives that will prepare Aboriginal People to participate economically in the Ring of Fire. The government should also enhance its efforts to develop partnerships with the private and not-for-profit sectors in supporting innovative programs such as “Right to Play,” which focus on promoting leadership among Aboriginal youth — essential for future growth and prosperity. The federal and provincial governments also have a responsibility to improve regulatory certainty in order to secure future investment and growth in the region. This should include streamlining and co-ordinating environmental assessment and regulatory processes to improve timelines while ensuring Aboriginal communities have the capacity to fully participate in these processes. Recommendation 13-8: Ensure that the government’s approach to the Ring of Fire maximizes opportunities for Aboriginal People and all Ontarians ….”  Report (~160 page PDF)
  • More on the Drummond team report:  “The president of the Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce says the province’s much-anticipated austerity report may have underestimated potential revenue streams, particularly in the Ring of Fire …. Harold Wilson said …. he told Finance Minister Dwight Duncan two years ago that revenue was what the province should be looking at to make up a portion of the shortfall. “I was kind of surprised,” Wilson said. “I thought they kind of understated the plus side. They could have been taking a look at that more. “The big question is how can the Ontario government try to help and support it so we can see the benefits of this as soon as possible?” In the report Drummond, a former chief economist with the TD Bank, recognizes the Ring of Fire as a significant opportunity to improve socio-economic opportunities in the North, and managed properly can provide benefits over several decades. It also means spending money, contrary to most of the 362 recommendations he made in his 540-page report, including labour support programs for First Nations people ….”  Source
  • L.U. economist Livio DiMatteo on the Drummond Commission report:  “…. The Commission is optimistic that industry partners will employ Aboriginal People throughout the life of the Ring of Fire and work as partners with government to deliver or fund (perhaps both) the employment and training services required. If voluntary efforts by the business sector lag, the government should consider putting a levy on mining-related activities to directly fund initiatives that will prepare Aboriginal People to participate economically in the Ring of Fire. All in all, this is not bad news for the north. The specific focus on the Ring of Fire and its potential benefits for Aboriginal peoples will hopefully provide an impetus for the provincial government to pursue this region as an investment frontier for the entire province ….” Source
  • Remember the Ring of Fire hearings at the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources?  One of the tidbits:  Cliffs still deciding where to put a smelter:  “…. There is still no word on where Cliffs will build its processing plant, but the company is supposed to be making an announcement sometime this first quarter, Kilgour said. “There are no guarantees here,” he said. “I think Sudbury is the best option, and Cliffs has stated that as well, but it’s a corporate decision that will be based on dollars, and I think the provincial and federal governments have to get involved to ensure this not only stays in Canada, but in Ontario.” ”  Source
  • More from said hearings:  “Ontario should look to Quebec for answers on how to overcome conflicts between First Nations and mining companies while developing the North, the House of Commons natural resources committee heard Thursday. Quebec is a better place to do business because its provincial government has historically been more adept at outlining the benefits aboriginals deserve when northern resources are exploited, witnesses told the committee’s MPs. “The Quebec advantage is largely that the provincial government has taken over the duty of consultation with the First Nations communities in northern Quebec and that’s become a very tried-and-true process,” said Wes Hanson, president and CEO of Noront Resources Ltd., one of the largest investors in the mineral-rich Ring of Fire region of northern Ontario. “Right now, Noront is working individually with communities and negotiating with individual communities separately, and it’s just not efficient,” said Hanson. “It’s probably the least efficient aspect of the whole process.” Quebec was forced to take the lead on the aboriginal file in the 1970s when its proposed James Bay hydro project ran into considerable opposition from Cree people in the region. The 1975 James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement is one of the earliest modern-day land claims and set out the rules for First Nation benefits under the project. “It’s evolved and it’s got 35 years of history,” said Hanson. “I think that’s what’s missing in Ontario.” The agreement laid the groundwork for other land claims in the province, like the 1978 Northeastern Quebec Agreement and the 2008 Nunavik Inuit Land Claims Agreement, which offer political certainty for businesses in nearly all of Quebec’s North. Quebec’s system is “the best in Canada,” said Kirk McKinnon, president and CEO of MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. “If you believe the Ring of Fire and the James Bay lowlands offer the opportunity I’m outlining for you, then it requires government leadership in order to bring order, stability and direction.” MacDonald, a small exploration company, is partnered with Hudbay, a much larger firm with operations in North and South America. However, Hudbay is reluctant to invest for fear of political wrangling, McKinnon said. “Companies do not like uncertainty. They are spending over one billion dollars in Peru, but they’re reluctant to spend it in Canada.” ….”  Source alternate source (PDF)
  • Committee members hear part of the reason for the confusion over consultation with First Nations individually and in groups:  “…. jobs training, a say over environmental impacts, funding for assessments – are owed to First Nations because of their aboriginal rights and title to the land, say their representatives. Yet that’s debatable, since First Nations have varying degree of powers over their natural resources, based on the kind of land claim they have and whether or not they’re completed. The patchwork of legal situations across the country is unavoidable in Canada. First Nations are culturally, politically and economically distinct and are under no obligation to function uniformly. What has arisen in this uncertainty are agreements signed without any reference to aboriginal rights and titles. In these cases, First Nations can sometimes decide later they disagree with the terms and walk away, creating a whole new round of uncertainty. Cliffs has a program to provide the Matawa First Nations with prescription drugs used to wean people off Oxycontin addiction. The First Nation requested the program, said William Boor, senior vice-president of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., who also attended the committee hearings. Cliffs did have IBAs with two of the First Nations in the project’s vicinity during the exploration stage, but those are no longer in effect as the project prepares for production, said Boor. The Ring of Fire is not the only place where aboriginal rights and titles are ambiguous. A brief survey of resource companies on the federal lobbyists registry reveals dozens are asking Ottawa for clarity on their duty to consult aboriginals near a project. The government is performing a review of the federal regulatory regime for major projects. “We need some direction from the Canadian government,” said White Tiger’s Coombes. “What I’m seeing right now disturbs me.” ….” Source
  • Some more tidbits from the hearings (highlights mine:  “Ore mined in the north should be refined in the north as it will mean the difference between “hundreds and thousands” of jobs for northern Ontario, Nickel Belt NDP MP Claude Gravelle said. New Democrat MPs at the Natural Resources Committee had mining companies and First Nations communities sitting side by side Feb. 13 acknowledging the need for real negotiations and partnerships on the business, refining and environment side of the massive Ring of Fire project, according to a news release. “The missing ingredient for Ring of Fire is obviously having real negotiations between the mining companies and First Nations to explore as concretely as possible business, jobs and training opportunities while respecting the environment and treaty,” Gravelle said …. “It was the most obvious message coming from the testimony (Feb. 13). Representatives of the (Matawa) First Nations and Nishnawbe Aski Nation testified they were “pro development” with qualifications, reminding MPs the region has been their homeland long before it became known as Ring of Fire, he stated in the release. “We believe it is important to address both the project-specific, as well as the cumulative and regional environmental effects, of the Cliffs and NORONT projects and to bring together the First Nations provincial and federal governments in an efficient process that will enable our community members to fully participate in the environmental assessment process,” Ring of Fire co-ordinator Raymond Ferris, from the Mattawa First Nations, said. Gravelle stated Cliffs Natural Resources vice-president William Boor testified that 60 per cent of the ore is projected to be refined in Canada, with 40 per cent of the concentrate exported abroad to help pay for operations. After hearing the mining companies signal job opportunities for Aboriginal communities, New Democrat MP John Rafferty cited concerns about the Conservative government ending the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Partnership. “It has helped prepare more than 18,000 Canadians for skilled jobs since 2003, but funding runs out this year. The government has not renewed support,” Rafferty said …. ”  Source
  • Cliffs Natural Resources “Notice of Commencement of Draft Terms of Reference for Provincial Environmental Assessment” published in Chronicle-Journal 13 Feb 12 (full document available at Cliffs web page here)
  • Noront Resources:  we shouldn’t have to pay the whole road-to-the-project cost, and no, we still haven’t decided where the smelter’s going  “…. Noront wants to see a public-private partnership to get that infrastructure going but its ultimately up to government to make it happen. “We don’t see that we should be owners of roads and power lines,” he said. “But we’ll be customers and we’ll pay our share.” While some companies have suggested a north-south rail corridor through Nakina to the ring of fire, Noront wants an east-west route through Pickle Lake. That route would not only help the ring of fire but also the Northern communities around it Semple said. “That’s one of the main drivers for our selection of the route,” he said. The nickel would most likely be shipped to Sudbury because of that city’s existing capacity. But the city processing Noront’s other big claim, chromite, is still being decided, Semple said. The company is still in its first phase with its chromite project, but Semple said Thunder Bay would be one of the cities in the running for its processor. He added, however, that it’s just too early to say where exactly such a facility might go.” ….”  Source
  • MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. announces the mobilization of a geophysical crew to begin a ground gravity survey over the Company’s VMS, Ni and Cr targets on the Butler Property in the Ring of Fire ….  The gravity data collected over the Butler property by the OGS – GSC gravity survey confirmed the Company’s interpretation of a large mafic – ultramafic package exists along the eastern portion of the property. The Company has drilled through and into some of the magmatic features to corroborate this interpretation …. The ground gravity survey is being conducted by Abitibi Geophysics and is expected to be completed in February, 2012. A drill program will follow upon completion of the survey and an interpretation of the results ….”  Source
  • Power to the North (1)  “Nishnawbe Aski Nation is calling for all 49 communities to be connected to the Ontario power grid by 2018. The NAN chiefs are looking for a northern electricity transmission system to be owned and operated by NAN regional utilities, with the planning, construction and eventual ownership of the system to be in the hands of First Nations. “We have serious issues regarding sustainable and affordable electrical energy in our communities,” said Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “While we are making strides in planning for the future of generation and transmission, we must deal on a daily basis with our current needs and challenges. 2018 is a reasonable timeline to complete the power grid expansion and connect all NAN communities to the transmission system.” Beardy said the transmission project will stimulate economic growth, provide for business opportunities and enable the development of renewable power generation within the communities ….”  Source
  • Power to the North (2)  “A group of eight Nishnawbe Aski Nation communities are working together to pursue affordable electricity for community members. “This is a huge step forward we are taking as a collective to resolve the systemic problem of underfunding and fuel shortages that plague our communities every year,” said Wawakapewin Chief Joshua Frogg during a Feb. 8 press conference at the Victoria Inn in Thunder Bay. “We are thankful for the opportunity to show our First Nations are committed to working together to resolve these issues.” Frogg signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) along with representatives from Eabametoong, Muskrat Dam, Nibinamik, North Spirit Lake, Poplar Hill, Weenusk and Wunnumin Lake to work cooperatively to pursue long and short-term goals to provide affordable electricity in their communities ….”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-20 Feb 12 (PDF) here. All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act. The blog is not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ring of Fire News – 13 Feb 12

  • Who’s speaking to federal politicians at a House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources meeting this week in Ottawa?  Well, at least ONE of the companies exploring in the Ring of Fire….  The list includes:  William Boor, Senior Vice-President, Global Ferroalloys (Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.); Ronald Coombes, President, White Tiger Mining Corp.;  Raymond Ferris, Ring of Fire Co-ordinator, Matawa First Nations; and Deputy Chief Stan Louttit, Nishnawbe Aski Nation.   Source (agenda for 14 Feb 12 Committee meeting) – Alternative link – PDF version downloadable here
  • New Chinese investment potential for the Ring of Fire?  “A Canadian investment bank is joining with a state-owned Chinese bank to establish a $1-billion fund that will invest in Canadian energy and mining projects. Toronto-based Canaccord Financial and the Export-Import Bank of China (Eximbank) say their Canada-China Natural Resource Fund will focus on public and private natural resources. It will raise money from investors in China and abroad. The joint fund was unveiled Thursday as part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s current trade mission to China. While news reports of the deal have focused on potential investment in big Canadian energy projects, specifically the Alberta oil sands, the fund could also affect Ontario’s mining sector, where Chinese involvement has been growing over the past few years. Last May, for instance, Toronto-based Noront Resources said it had dealt a 9.9-per-cent stake to Hong Kong-based Baosteel Resources, a subsidiary of one of China’s largest steel makers in a strategic investment that would support development of its promising nickel and chromite properties in Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral zone. Baosteel, which gained a seat on the Noront board, will have an opportunity to purchase up to 19.9 per cent of the company. In making the May announcement, Noront President and CEO Wes Hanson called it “the initial step in a potential long-term partnership that provides Noront access to one of China’s largest steel producers and China’s rapidly expanding stainless steel industry” Noront says it intends to spend about $15 million this year advancing its Ring of Fire properties in Ontario’s far north.”  Source more (news release) – more
  • Noront Resources Ltd. has identified more nickel sulphide and chromite mineralization at its McFauld’s Lake Project in the Ring of Fire mining camp. “While drilling to increase the chromite resource at Blackbird continued to return excellent results, the discovery of two new zones of nickel sulphide mineralization within 500 metres of (the company’s) Eagle’s Nest (deposit), highlights the tremendous exploration potential of this area,” company CEO Wes Hanson said in a news release. Both zones of nickel sulphide mineralization were identified by a new, ground-based geophysical survey that was completed in November,” he said. anson noted that the Eagle’s Nest feasibility study is progressing on time and on budget as is the resource update and preliminary assessment of the Blackbird chromite deposit. We continue to work closely with all levels of government to identify an environmentally and socially responsible plan for infrastructure development in Northwestern Ontario that will allow Noront to meet its objective of commercial nickel production by 2016,” he added. The company expects to release final capital and operating costs of the Eagle’s Nest Project in the second quarter of this year ….”  Sourcemore (company news release) – more
  • A head’s up from the Globe & Mail from last week on Noront:  “Today’s small-cap stocks to watch …. Noront Resources Ltd. (NOT-X), which lost 2.5 per cent on Monday, announced the remaining results from the company’s 2011 exploration program and provided an update on the Eagle’s Nest Project at the company’s McFaulds Lake Project, in the Ring of Fire, James Bay Lowlands, Ontario ….”  Source
  • KWG’s annual general meeting coming up February 29 in Montreal  Source
  • Hopes the Ring of Fire will help with jobs in, around Thunder Bay  “…. Steve Demmings, CEO of (Thunder Bay’s) Community Economic Development Commission, said some perspective is needed when examining (recent) census data. “The backdrop is one of the toughest periods of labour adjustment . . . in our region’s history,” he said. “We were in the midst of a very challenging global economic downtown, the worst in 50 years. “For years one of our fundamental pillars of the economy has been challenged — forestry. But I think that, when you look at what’s happening today . . . we are the eye in the storm in terms of having all the resources that the world wants. “The palladium, the gold, the silver, the chromium. The Ring of Fire. We’re seeing very strong demand for specific skill sets,” said Demmings ….”  Source
  • Hopes the Ring of Fire will (eventually) help with jobs in, around Thunder Bay  “…. While the Ring of Fire may be bringing jobs to Ontario’s North, it appears that, at least for now, they may be finding their way to the Northeast and not the Northwest. Sudbury, where Cliffs Natural Resources will likely build a ferrachrome processcing facility, is up 1.6 per cent, a sharp contrast to the overall 4.7 per cent decline in the Northwest, according to figures provided by Lakehead University economist Liveo Di Matteo. The LU professor said employment and gross domestic product dropped about 10 per cent over the past five years as the forest industry collapsed around us. But, given those numbers, he said, Thunder Bay has showd resiliency, so it’s not all doom-and-gloom. He even predicts, if the Ring of Fire does proceed as anticipated, growth may not be far behind.”  Source
  • Hopes the Ring of Fire will help with jobs in Ontario  “…. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce, which represents 60,000 businesses in the province, sees the dip in the economy and declining population growth as one issue. All the economic trends in the province, such as a faltering manufacturing sector, are related to population trends, said Angie Brennand, the chamber’s vice-president of policy and government relations. “Ontario is really facing a turning point in its economic history,” she said …. Numbers aside, Brennand still sees a need to position Ontario back on top. Among the suggestions to turn around the declining growth — and the economy — are delving into a resource-rich area of northern Ontario, known as the “Ring of Fire.” According to the Ontario government, the area stretching west of James Bay has one of the key ingredients needed to make stainless steel — chromite. The economic benefits could be a boon for local First Nations communities, if the area is heavily mined. Taking a page out of the West’s boom, Brennand said, tapping those resources should attract more newcomers to Ontario. “At the end of the day, if we can usher in Ontario’s next great economic era that will in turn, bring people and jobs to Ontario,” she said. “That will result in some pretty strong population numbers.” ….”  Source
  • Northeastern Ontario MPP:  Ontario should help build infrastructure, predicts Noront will be first to get going, says processing plant should go to Sudbury  “Gilles Bisson, Timmins-James Bay MPP went to visit the Ring of Fire area last week and said the government needs to get involved to keep the mining in Ontario …. “We believe the companies should be mandated to process it here an the government can offer up a carrot by paying part of the infrastructure such as hydro, water and roads, just like they do down south for big companies.”  MPP Bisson added that the NDP will be presenting their position outlining different ways the province can assist the companies in keeping all processing in Ontario …. He added that he believes Noront Resources Limited will be the first out of the gate this spring with the nickel and copper mines, followed by their chromite in four or five years.  “This is a perfect opportunity to help many in the north,” said MPP Bisson. “Once the nickel and copper are mined they can be shipped to Sudbury,” said MPP Bisson. “The government and companies could look at building new factories to deal with the chromite as well, currently Timmins and Sudbury would have the electric capability ….”  Source
  • Ontario Ring of Fire Co-ordinator’s Aboriginal rep back at his old job  “The province’s energy strategy needs serious work, says the head of the Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund. Harvey Yesno, the organization’s president, on Tuesday said Ontario must find a solution to high energy costs that have threatened developments like Cliffs Natural Resources proposed Ring of Fire ferrochrome processing facility. Yesno said in addition to up to 1,300 direct jobs being created by the project, the need for electricity could vastly improve the lives of remote First Nation communities, most of which use diesel power to generate expensive electricity, limiting their ability to grow ….”  Source  (According to Wawatay News, Yesno reportedly took a one-year leave of absence to take the provincial post last year – no word yet on who might replace him in the provincial co-ordinator’s office)

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 – 12 Feb 12 (PDF) here. All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act. The blog is not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ring of Fire News – 6 Feb 12

  • A parliamentary committee will study the massive chromite mining project in Northern Ontario, thanks to a New Democrat motion from Natural Resources critic and Nickel Belt MP Claude Gravelle. “We want to hear witnesses from First Nations communities, from Cliffs (Natural) Resources, the communities in the region, mining and environmental organizations,” Gravelle said in a release. The hearings are tentatively scheduled for the natural resources committee Feb. 14 and 16. Cliffs Natural Resources, a Cleveland-based company wants to open an open pit chromite mine in northwestern Ontario by 2015. It would also build a plant to process the chromite and has identified a spot near Capreol as a possible location. The plant would create as many as 500 jobs. Gravelle general First Nations support for the project, contingent on respect for treaty rights and sharing fairly in the project’s economic development, is one of the issues that need to be study (sic). The Ring of Fire is a massive 5,120-square kilometre area of pristine wildnerness sitting on an ore deposit some say may produce one of Canada’s largest mining operations ever. “The economic opportunities with Ring of Fire are apparent for the north, including a refinery smelter that needs to be in the north,” Gravelle said. “We have to be sure to do this project right and that means proper consultations and a role for First Nations and addressing the environmental concerns.” Gravelle said it is important that resources extracted in the north be refined in the province and not abroad. However, Cliffs has already said it wants to produce and ship chromite concentrate overseas.”  Source  Still nothing on the calendar of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Natural Resources yet.
  • HRSDC money for training Aboriginal mine workers.  “Funding from the federal government will go a long way to ensure Aboriginal youth have the right skills needed for the mining industry, says the executive director of Oshki-Pimache-O-Win. Kellie Leitch, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development, announced funding of more than $700,000 for the Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education and Training Institute on Saturday. The funding will go toward the organization’s Learning 2 Mine project, which will provide Aboriginal youth with training and experience they need to work in the mining industry. Rosie Mosquito, executive director of Oshki-Pimache-O-Win, said with the funding from the government they will be able to create a website for students as well as create three community-based courses that will be 12 weeks long …. “The world is focused on our piece of territory in the Nishnawbe Aski Nation,” Mosquito said. “There’s huge potential (in the Ring of Fire). We certainly like to help our young people to be able to seize those opportunities and those employment opportunities that are well paying not just manual labour. With this project, they will learn essential mining skills and basic life skills.” Leitch said the government wanted to focus on Aboriginal skills development and create a strong workforce. “These are young people interested in getting into the mining industry,” Leitch said. “The skills and development fund has existed with the government for some time and this program here was developed and put forth to our department and it was an excellent program with multiple phases. This was an opportunity for us to provide skills and opportunity to young Aboriginals in Northern Ontario” …. ”  Source – more in news release here
  • Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says he’s still working to streamline approvals (especially for the Ring of Fire).  “Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver …. continued his crusade to cut down on environmental approval timelines for major projects, to encourage the potential C$92-billion in mining investment the government sees over the next ten years. Oliver made specific mention of the chromite and nickel projects under way in Ontario’s Ring of Fire district, saying he hoped Cliffs Natural Resources’ Black Thor deposit and Noront Resources’ Eagle’s Nest project make their way through the regulatory processes without hitches ….  “It is my hope that these projects will pass through our federal and provincial regulatory systems and processes that are needed, and will do so smoothly,” he said. Oliver commented that the Ring of Fire, located in Northern Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands, was attracting significant investment, and could put Canada on the map for chromite production, currently dominated by South Africa, Kazakhstan and India. “It could also replenish Canada’s dwindling reserves of nickel and copper,” he said ….  “  Source
  • Ontario’s Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci:  government cuts coming, but still committed to creating Ring of Fire jobs.  “…. Despite the looming cuts, Bartolucci, who is also the minister of Northern Development and Mines, stressed that job creation in Northern Ontario is very important. “Our government and I … remain staunchly committed to creating jobs across the north through strategic investments in infrastructure, transportation and mineral development. Within that context, we will continue to look at ways in which to do things better and more efficiently. “Growth plans for Northern Ontario,” he (including) the Northern Highways Program, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, the Far North Act and mineral development will continue to be essential instruments in promoting northern economic development.” ”  Source
  • Matawa First Nations say it is going ahead with its bid to have a proposal for the first mine in the Ring of Fire subject to public hearings. “Yes, Matawa is still pursuing a judicial review regarding (a) request for a joint review panel environmental assessment,” Matawa spokesperson Jason Rasevych said …. in an e-mail. In November, Matawa said it would go to federal court to force the federal government to hold public hearings into a Cliffs Natural Resources project, which could be in production by 2015 …. Rasevych said Matawa is still waiting for a court date ….”  Source (PDF)
  • The Chief of Marten Falls First Nation says the recently released guidelines for an environmental assessment in the Ring of Fire aren’t enough. The government document outlines the rules Cliffs Natural Resources will follow to demonstrate the impact of its planned chromite mine north of Geraldton. It also says the federal government will delegate its duty to consult with First Nations on the mining project to Cliffs. Eli Moonias said he understands mining will go ahead, but wants it done right. “I ride an aluminum canoe and my motor is a Mercury, it’s made out of metal, and my tea pot in the morning is aluminum, so is my cup, so I’m living with the mining process,” Moonias said. “So I can’t say ‘alright let’s stop everything, stop the mine, don’t mine anymore.'” “What I can say is, let’s do it this way, let’s do this long process, let’s make sure we’re making the right decision.” Marten Falls is part of a court action to force a more thorough environmental review. It is one of the communities located closest to the development. Moonias said it’s the Crown’s duty to consult with the First Nation and to make sure the environment is protected. “That’s the government’s job to provide that process which provides that assurance,” he said.”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 Jan-4 Feb 12 (PDF) here. All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act. We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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