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

Ring of Fire News – 21 Jul 12

  • AFN Supports Ring of Fire Evictions (as Chiefs Meet with Ontario to seek Moratorium) ….  ” …. (newly elected AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo said) Canada had signed on to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which gives First Nations the right to “free, prior and informed consent” on anything to do with resource development …. Atleo warned politicians at all levels that his people are ready to play hardball if they are not accepted as true partners.  Indeed, the Assembly of First Nations took a step in that direction Thursday when they passed a resolution backing an eviction of mining companies in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire metals deposit.  Several chiefs met with the Ontario government on Wednesday to ask for a moratorium on work in the Ring of Fire area so that they could be properly consulted on the way forward, well before operations actually begin.  “You don’t do it after. You do it prior,” said Chief Sonny Gagnon of the Aroland First Nation.  Chiefs also want government funding to pay for their own experts to examine the effects of the mining development.  Their requests were rejected, Gagnon said.  So the next step is to make good on an eviction noticed issued earlier this month, giving companies a month to leave or else face a blockade.  The AFN backed this approach in their resolution on Thursday.  “Right now, we’re being bullied by a mining company, a giant mining company in a desperate province,” said Chris Moonias, a band councillor from the Neskantaga First Nation ….”  Sourcemore
  • …. while Northeastern Ontario Chief Predicts Blockades  “…. Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee of the Anishinabek Nation, which includes 39 Ontario communities said he’s anticipating more blockades before year’s end. “We’ve tried courts, letters and meetings. We’ve gone to the United Nations * everything in terms of a diplomatic route * but it’s not working.”  Madahbee said First Nations are not against development altogether * quite the contrary * projects that include profits for and a partnership with First Nations won’t be blocked. “If we get our fair share, there’s no problem” …. Atleo said he will try to convince government that dealing in good faith with First Nations is the best way forward but he also said, if it comes down to it, the AFN will support chiefs who choose to block roads to raise awareness about their rights …. “  Source
  • Editorial:  Time for new AFN National Chief Atleo to Use Relection Mandate  “…. Challenges, really, for there are two.  First, he must quell those voices among First Nations who claim Atleo is too tight with Ottawa. Healthy consultation will achieve more than still more confrontation which now wearies many Canadians.  Atleo*s second obstacle is cobbling together something resembling a united front among an assembly of traditionally but notoriously independent members in order to convince them and the other levels of government to build a model of success around a new natural resources boom.  For the first time ever there exists a path for First Nations to lift themselves out of the poverty and dependence that for most is the norm. The exceptions have been those whose leaders used opportunity to their advantage.  Whether it was building a local economy around business or the proximity of forests, oil, gas or minerals, there are a relative few First Nations who got out of the old traps and built a new life for their people.  Here in the Northwest there is mostly rancor where there could instead be a meeting of minds to involve First Nations around the hugely promising Ring of Fire mineral deposit.  There is enough raw material to enrich the companies hoping to mine it, the First Nations surrounding and beyond it, and the larger region supporting it to make a new life around a new relationship among all these parties. Put reasonable rights together with responsibility and opportunity and big things will happen.  Let us see Atleo * on behalf of his members * work with Ottawa, Queen*s Park and mining leaders to forge this new relationship for the good of all the people of Northern Ontario.”  Source
  • New Chiefs of Ontario Regional Chief Seeks Resource Revenue Sharing Framework  “Ontario’s new regional chief wants to see First Nations get a cut of royalties and taxes collected from resource extraction projects on traditional lands ….  Stan Beardy told Wawatay that it is not enough for industry and governments to simply provide jobs and training to First Nations people in exchange for access to resources on First Nations’ land.  Beardy said that the treaty relationship, where First Nations agreed to share the land and resources, means that the wealth generated by both the provincial and federal governments from that land should be shared with First Nations.  “We agree that when we talk about benefits (from resource extraction) we talk about guaranteed jobs and training, across the board, for First Nations people,” Beardy said. “But also there has to be a discussion on arrangements in regards to sharing the wealth. That means not only being compensated for being displaced from your homelands, but also we’re talking about sharing the wealth of the funds collected by the governments for user fees, royalties and taxes” …. He said resource royalty sharing with First Nations has to be discussed as part of the national agenda.  In order for that to happen, Beardy said governments at both provincial and federal levels have to enact laws that guide how industry and government interacts with First Nations on resource extraction projects …. Beardy added that the Ring of Fire has provided a chance for First Nations and the Ontario government to create a new framework on how resource projects are handled, that could then serve as a model for the rest of the country.  “In the statements made by (First Nations) people today in regards to resource extraction like the Ring of Fire, they make it very clear that we*re not against resource development, but we have to make sure that we benefit,* Beardy said.  *The principal is that we agree to share in the wealth derived from the development of our natural resources.*  He said that one of his first tasks as regional chief will be to develop a framework with input from all Ontario First Nations to identify priorities across the province.”  Source
  • Canadian Council of Chief Executives:  Resource Companies Have to (Truly) Work With First Nations  “Aboriginal peoples must be true partners in resource and energy projects, and Canadian companies should work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis communities to help them realize the benefits of economic development, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE) says in a new report.  “Many of Canada’s richest resource and energy assets are found near Aboriginal communities,” says the report, copies of which were sent to all Canadian premiers and territorial leaders in advance of their meeting in Halifax later this month. Titled Framing an Energy Strategy for Canada, the submission offers a series of recommendations for a Canadian energy strategy.  The CCCE is the senior voice of Canadian business, representing the CEOs and entrepreneurs of 150 leading companies.  In its submission to the premiers, the CCCE acknowledges that Aboriginal peoples have *legitimate concerns* about major resource developments, *including implications for land claims, the impact on their communities and way of life, as well as on the land, air and water around them.”  At the same time, the report says that energy and other resource development projects can provide native communities with a wide array of benefits, such revenue-sharing agreements, equity interests, improved employment opportunities, training and service contracts with Aboriginal-owned businesses. …. ”  Source (news release)ReportMoremore (via In Support of Mining blog)
  • Noront Offering Stock Options To the Team  “Noront Resources Ltd. reports that the Board of Directors has granted an aggregate 2,500,000 incentive stock options to directors, officers and employees, at an exercise price of $0.46 for a period of five years. The exercise price is equal to the closing price as at July 18, 2012.  The options were granted pursuant to Noront’s stock option plan and are subject to regulatory approval ….”  Source
  • Citigroup Drops Cliffs Price ….  “Investment analysts at Citigroup cut their target price on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources to $80.00 in a note issued to investors on Monday.  The analysts wrote, “We estimate 2Q EPS of $1.65 vs the consensus of $1.87 on revenues of $1,749 mln and EBITDA of $520 mln. We have updated our longer- term model based on our new commodity forecasts. We have lowered estimates taking *12 to $6.63, *13 to $7.50 and *14 to $7.50, and target to $80 from $92.”  Shares of Cliffs Natural Resources traded down 1.42% during mid-day trading on Monday, hitting $45.94. Cliffs Natural Resources has a 52 week low of $44.40 and a 52 week high of $102.00. The company has a market cap of $6.545 billion and a P/E ratio of 4.23.  Cliffs Natural Resources last announced its earnings results on Wednesday, April 25th. The company reported $2.63 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.16 by $1.47.  Cliffs Natural Resources*s revenue was up 6.9% compared to the same quarter last year. Analysts expect that Cliffs Natural Resources will post $7.95 EPS for the current fiscal year ….”  Source
  • …. while Global Hunter Gives Cliffs Stock “Neutral” Rating  “Investment analysts at Global Hunter Securities began coverage on shares of Cliffs Natural Resources in a note issued to investors on Wednesday. The firm set a *neutral* rating on the stock.  The analysts wrote, “We look for a meaningful improvement in its profitability in 2013 as it ramps up its two iron ore expansion projects and cuts costs. Its two expansion projects were in startup during the first half of 2012 and had development costs. It is rationalizing its asset mix and disposing of three small properties. We believe management will look to bring in a partner for the $3.3 billion Black Thor chromite project. While we believe CLF shares are attractively priced, we suggest investors postpone taking a position until the slowdown in the global steel industry is fully reflected in its shares. Therefore, we are initiating coverage on Cliffs Natural Resources with a Neutral rating”  …. “  Source
  • ….  as Cliffs Takes on 15% of First Point ….  “First Point Minerals Corp. announces that Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Inc., an affiliate of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., has notified First Point of its intention to exercise its pre-emptive right, which was granted under the terms of the Option Agreement between the parties dated November 12, 2009, as amended (the “Option Agreement”), to acquire sufficient securities of the Company in order that Cliffs will hold a 15% ownership interest in First Point …. Closing of the Cliffs Private Placement, which is subject to acceptance by the TSX Venture Exchange, is expected to occur on or about July 25, 2012. The common shares and warrants issued by way of the Cliffs Private Placement will be exempt from prospectus requirements and will be subject to a four-month hold ….”  Source
  • …. and Seeks a Geologist in Toronto and Land Administrator in Thunder Bay  Geologist job posting (alternate link) – Land administrator job posting (Alternate link)
  • (Not Exactly in the Ring of Fire, but)  Mining Company Lashes Out, Claims Ontario Playing Favourites with Cliffs  ” “Certainty of title and access to Crown land is paramount to our industry, but only the Crown can provide the certainty required to secure major investment to develop projects like the potential new gold camp at Lake Abitibi, Ontario”, states Darryl Stretch, President of Solid Gold. “No obstacle should stand in the way because, like the Ring of Fire, the Solid Gold project may be a once-in-a-century economic opportunity to the benefit of all Canadians” …. Results of early drilling (near Wahgoshig First Nation) suggest there is potential for discovery of multiple deposits all along trend.  As a result, Solid Gold identified further funding to finance a more aggressive exploration and a follow-up drill program.  Unfortunately, however, sampling and analysis from the follow-up program has yet to be completed because in November 2011 Solid Gold found itself in the middle of a conflict between First Nations and the Crown respecting asserted aboriginal rights over the region, including the Property. The planned financing was lost …. The Ontario Bar Association is one of many calling on the Crown to provide greater clarity on who must do what in the area of aboriginal consultation. “Clarifying the requirements for proponents, the role of government and the rights of stakeholders, including aboriginal groups, is increasingly crucial if Ontario is to be home to a responsible, stable and efficient mining sector that successfully competes for investment money and jobs.”  The duty to consult First Nations is borne from the honour of the Crown. In this case, a start-up junior public company and its resource exploration investors, with no capacity and no resources, are unfairly singled out to uphold and pay for the honour of the Crown. Worse, this has effectively handed First Nations veto over Crown land and the ability to make unlawful demands …. The Crown is also discriminatory in its inaction and approach (read courting Cliffs) while trampling the rights of junior public companies and other defenceless minnows. The rule of law is at the heart of our society and without it there can be neither peace nor order nor good government …. It is for the Crown to declare to the Court that it has met its constitutional duty to consult and accommodate WFN, so that Solid Gold can access all of its mineral claims and proceed with further exploration. We ask that this be done within 30 days, failing which the Crown should be ordered by the Court to erect a “Closed for Business” sign at the provincial border on day 31 ….”  Source (company news release)
  • New CEAA Regs Out  “The Government of Canada is releasing new regulations required to implement the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012).  CEAA 2012 provides an improved federal environmental assessment process that focuses on major projects that have the potential to cause significant adverse environmental effects …. A public comment period on the regulations regarding project descriptions and cost recovery was held in May 2012 and comments received were considered in the finalization of those regulations.  For the coming into force of the new legislation, the activities identified in regulations that may be subject to a federal environmental assessment are those that were listed in the Comprehensive Study List Regulations under the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, with some modifications to ensure the new regulations work with the provisions and structure of CEAA 2012.  The regulations will be published in Canada Gazette, Part II on July 18, 2012 ….” Source (CEAA news release) – Prescribed Information for the Description of a Designated Project Regulations (Canada Gazette version) – Cost Recovery RegulationsRegulations Designating Physical Activities (Canada Gazette version)

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-20 Jul 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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