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

Ring of Fire News – 7 May 12

  • So, where’s the Cliffs smelter going?  “The long-awaited announcement regarding the location of Cliffs Natural Resources’ chromite smelter is being kept under wraps for a bit longer. Cliffs spokeswoman Pat Persico said Thursday an announcement isn’t expected to be made (Friday) as some may have hoped. On (1 May 12), during his first speech in Thunder Bay about Cliffs’ big chromite project in the Ring of Fire, company president Joseph Carrabba said an announcement would be made in a matter of days. After Tuesday’s speech, some area First Nations leaders were left with the impression that Cliffs is not considering their preferred location for a 300-megawatt smelter — the Exton railway siding near Aroland First Nation. Under a “base-case” scenario outlined some time ago, Cliffs said a smelter would be built at an existing brownfield on the outskirts of Sudbury, where it would have ready access to hydroelectric power and skilled labour …. ”  Source more more – In Support of Mining blog’s take – more – more more
  • Meanwhile, City of Sudbury hiring staff to manage all the new development there (including mining) ….  “(Sudbury) City council has voted unanimously to hire three more staff to deal with expected glut of building applications and permits over the next few years. In what several councillors referred to as a good news story, the city’s chief building official walked them through dozens of projects totalling more than $5.6 billion planning for Greater Sudbury over the next three or four years. While most of this planned investment is wrapped up in several large mining projects, the expected building boom will come from every sector of the economy, Guido Mazza said Tuesday …. it’s the mining projects that concern Mazza the most. They include $3.4 billion for Vale’s various infrastructure projects, $750 million for Quadra FNX’s Victoria Mine redevelopment, $119 million for Xstrata Nickel’s Fraser-Morgan project and — hopefully — $1 billion for Cliffs Natural Resources’ Ring of Fire ferrochrome smelter in the city ….”  Source more
  • …. and a request for some information from Ontario by the Chief of Aroland First Nation  “Aroland First Nation has filed a request for disclosure to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) on information relating to Cliffs Chromite mining project in the area known as the Ring of Fire under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Aroland is one of the First Nations that will be directly impacted from the Cliffs initiative which includes the construction of an open pit mine, ore processing facility, ferrochrome production facility and an integrated transport system that will include a 340 kilometer North-South all-season road corridor from the mine site to just west of the community of Aroland. A number of major environmental impacts have already been identified and has raised concerns with First Nations closeby. The First Nation states, in a media release, “The decision to file a freedom of information request was made when it came to light that the Ontario Government and Cliffs have been holding confidential meetings, concealing information and are preparing to make an announcement”. “We need to find out what has been going on behind closed doors. Our community is going to be impacted by the Cliffs project along with many others, but we were not part of these meetings, nor were local municipalities. We believe Cliffs and the province are holding discussions behind all of our backs about the ferrochrome processing plant, the mine, the infrastructure, and more,” said Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation. The Chief explains, “We need to find out the extent of these exclusive meetings. They are deciding the future for everyone in Northwestern Ontario without consulting any of us ….”  Sourcemore
  • More disappointment from Aroland about Cliffs  “The Chief of Aroland First Nation says Cliffs Natural Resources is misleading its investors about the discussions surrounding its chromite property in the Ring of Fire, located in the James Bay lowlands. Sonny Gagnon said Cliffs is telling people it is having good discussions with First Nations — and that the environmental assessment (EA) process is moving along. “Very good discussions with the external stakeholders, and with the First Nations and with the governments and the environmental impact study is moving along,” Cliffs CEO Joseph Carrabba said on a first quarter earnings conference call, April 26. Gagnon says that’s inaccurate. “I told [the CEO] ‘where did you get your information from? The EA process, we’re not happy with it’,” Gagnon said after he and other chiefs met with Carrabba earlier this week. “‘You’re not discussing nothing with the First Nations, so what are you talking about?’” Gagnon said the CEO offered to retract his statements, but Gagnon said it’s too late and the information is already out there ….”  Source
  • Some big questions from the Mayor of Greenstone for Cliffs, too  “On May 4, 2012 the Mayor of Greenstone, wrote an ‘Open Letter’ to the President and CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources. Here is the text of that letter …. 1. You mentioned that Cliffs doesn’t come in and roll over local interests. With that in mind, could you please tell me if you are aware that area First Nations have unanimously endorsed the principle that the ore body should be refined in the same territory from which it is extracted? 2. Before or since establishing Capreol as the “base case” for the refinery, did Cliffs actually consider other sites or seriously review information that was put forward? …. 9. What price does Cliffs place on project implementation? As the time-line continues to slide, will Cliffs consider changing tactics to gain a hand in partnership rather than the current approach, which is heading towards confrontation? 10. If, in fact, Cliffs actually spent any time evaluating Exton as the Refinery site, did the benefit of keeping to your Project schedule not offset the added one time cost for improvements to the electricity infrastructure? (Keep in mind that such infrastructure costs would be shared amongst multiple parties) ….”  Source
  • NW Ontario small business calling for more certainty in mineral exploration, “Northern Heritage Endowment Resource Rent Fund”  “The Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce (NOACC) held our 77th Spring Meeting & AGM in Sioux Lookout, Ontario from April 27-29, 2012. This year focused resolutions were brought forward and approved by the membership, dealing with some of the critical issues affecting our region, including: Permanent Protection of Industrial Fibre Supply; Reducing Uncertainty in Mining Resource Development for Ontario; and the Use of Wood in Mid-Rise Construction-Changes to Ontario Building Code. These three resolutions will also be championed at the Ontario Chamber of Commerce AGM next Saturday in St. Catherine’s …. Andy Scribilo, NOACC President stated that “Working together for Northwestern Ontario not only strengthens our community, but increases our ability to accomplish goals through collaborative efforts, and adds further credibility when lobbying the government for proactive change in the region” ….”  Source (news release) – alternate site for news release (Google Docs) Full list of resolutionsResolution: Reducing Uncertainty in Mining Resource Development for OntarioResolution: Northern Heritage Endowment Resource Rent Fund
  • First Nations (continue to be) underwhelmed with changes to Ontario’s Mining Act  “Changes to the Ontario Mining Act require direct consultation with the Anishinabek Nation, says Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini. The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines recently posted a number of regulatory proposals for the second phase of new regulations under the Mining Act on Ontario’s Regulatory and Environmental Registries. Ministry officials provided Anishinabek leadership with a written request to comment on the proposed regulations via the Environmental Registry by May 1, 2012. The Anishinabek Nation asserts that First Nations have the right to be consulted and their interests accommodated on a direct, government-to-government basis on mining legislation that affects their treaty territories …. “ Anishinabek Nation news release more from In Support of Mining blog
  • Column: What a difference a few months make  “Remember back in January when all sides were talking about the new relationship between the federal government and First Nations? Phrases like resetting the relationship, unlocking the potential and realizing the promise were being bandied about by everyone involved. Those days seem like a long time ago …. In a severely worded press release, NAN warned that northern Ontario may see direct confrontations between First Nations and mining companies on traditional lands this summer. Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose said the first step for any regulatory change should have been developing a process that recognizes the rights and interests of First Nations. Instead the government is downsizing one of First Nations most effective means of making indigenous voices heard on resource projects. The result will be less First Nations input into regulatory reviews of resource projects, even when those projects are on traditional territories. That means First Nations will have to work even harder to make their voices heard early in the development stage, during the consultation process …. NAN’s response to the changes was full of harsh words. If their predictions come true and a flurry of direct action strikes at development across northern Ontario, the harsh words of this past week will seem tame in comparison. It really makes one wonder. What happened to the new relationship everyone was talking about only three months ago?”  Source
  • Some management changes at Cliffs  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. …. announced the realignment of its corporate strategy, global communications and investor relations functions into a single, new organizational structure effective immediately. The Company indicated Steven Raguz, senior vice president — corporate strategy and treasurer, will provide executive leadership for the new organization and, as part the realignment, also announced the following management changes: Steve Baisden named Vice President, Strategy — Asia. Mr. Baisden, previously vice president of investor relations and communications, is appointed to the newly created executive development position of vice president, strategy — Asia. In this new role, Mr. Baisden will enhance the Company’s understanding of Asia and other eastern hemisphere countries, provide a corporate presence in Asia and, working with Mr. Raguz, help lead strategic analysis of global opportunities …. Jessica Moran Promoted to Director — Investor Relations …. Patricia Persico Promoted to Director — Global Communications. Ms. Persico, formerly senior manager, global communications, will provide strategic direction for the Company’s development, management and execution of internal and external communications, branding, marketing communications and media relations. She will lead the global communications team and also work directly with the investor relations and public affairs functions to build the Company’s brand and reputation ….”  Company news release
  • Noront’s Twitter feed temporarily hacked  “@NorontResources NORONT RESOURCES TWITTER ACCOUNT HAS BEEN HACKED. OUR SINCEREST APOLOGIES – WE ARE WORKING AND TRYING OUR BEST TO RECTIFY THIS ISSUE.” Link to Twitter post
  • Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver: Ring of Fire “tremendously important” to Canada’s resource base  “…. “What I see is an enormous opportunity to create employment,” said Oliver, through the creation of jobs for Aboriginals in mining, expanded rail and road transportation, power generation, transmission line development and smelter operations. ‘There are chances of equity participation and opportunities for community funding. This can be transformative in a very positive way” for remote communities dealing with high unemployment. The federal budget released in late March outlined the government’s plan to overhaul the environmental approvals for major resource projects, but as of mid-April, the legislation had yet to be tabled in Parliament. Oliver said a federal regulatory process must be put in place that’s “efficient, effective, expeditious” and welcoming to foreign investment, but won’t compromise the legitimate concerns of First Nations and other stakeholders from voicing their concerns …. He provided no specifics as to when policy or a regulatory framework would be revealed since Ottawa must respect provincial ownership of natural resources. But, he added, “we’re talking months, not years.” ….”  Source
  • FedNor D.G.: Don’t forget Ring of Fire for opportunities  “FedNor Director General Aime DiMatteo advises regional entrepreneurs interested in expanding their businesses to look beyond traditional markets to sell their products in the global community …. The Ring of Fire also offers unprecedented opportunities for regional investment. According to DiMatteo, research and development is expected to generate $35 billion, create thousand of junior class exploration jobs as well as training and business development opportunities over the 100 year life time of the project.   FedNor is working with First Nations to provide federal government input on development in the mineral exploration zone to ensure the project (provincial jurisdictions not withstanding) provides the best support for communities. “We’ve got to get the Ring of Fire right. There’s enough activity that we need to maximize (opportunities) as much as we can,” he concluded. “We don’t want to see resources leaving the north without benefit to communities.” “  Source
  • Canada’s Environmental Assessment Agency seeking input on proposed changes to what information has to go into initial project paperwork  “The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is seeking public comment on proposed regulations required to implement the proposed Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 …. The regulations under development will prescribe: the information to be included in a project description; and the services and amounts for which the Agency could recover costs from the proponent of a project undergoing an environmental assessment by a review panel …. Interested parties are invited to provide comments in the official language of their choice by May 23, 2012 ….” CEAA news release Consultation Document:  Regulations Required to Implement the Proposed Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 Apr-5 May 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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