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

Ring of Fire News – November 24, 2012

  • Cliffs cutting some operations …. “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) announced today a decision to delay portions of its Bloom Lake Mine Phase II expansion in Quebec and idle a portion of its production at two of its U.S. iron ore operations, Northshore Mining in Minnesota and Empire Mine in Michigan. The Company is adjusting its 2013 operating plans for its North American iron ore businesses to align with expected sales volumes. These production decreases are driven by increased iron ore pricing volatility and lower North American steelmaking utilization rates.  Joseph A. Carrabba, Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, “Disciplined capital allocation is core to our operating strategy and reducing higher cost production will enhance our financial flexibility in both the short and longer term. Despite today’s announcement, we are still committed to our investments in Canada and believe Bloom Lake will deliver significant long-term value over time.” …. At Bloom Lake Mine in Eastern Canada, Cliffs is suspending certain components of the Phase II expansion, including the completion of the concentrator and load out facility. As a result, construction related to these activities will cease and third-party contractors will be demobilized effective immediately. Pre-stripping activities to develop the working faces of Bloom Lake’s ore body, supporting both Phase I and Phase II mine development will continue. Also, Cliffs will continue its environmental projects related to completing Bloom Lake’s water and tailings management system and ore storage facility. Depending on market conditions, Cliffs expects to complete Phase II construction in early 2014 …. Effective Jan. 5, 2013, Cliffs will idle two of the four production lines at Northshore Mining in Minnesota. Cliffs will also temporarily idle production at its Empire Mine in Michigan beginning in the second quarter of 2013 in the form of an extended summer shutdown. These production curtailments will impact approximately 125 employees at Northshore and 500 employees at Empire mine, respectively. Full-year 2013 expected sales volumes for U.S. Iron Ore remain unchanged at 19 – 20 million tons as previously disclosed by the Company ….”  Source (company news release) – moremoremoremoremoremore (In Support of Mining blog)
  • …. and the market reacts  “What: Shares of miner Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF  ) fell 12% today after announcing a reduction in planned output.  So what: The company said it will delay an expansion of an iron ore mine in Quebec and shut down some production in the U.S. because of low material prices. The announcement was actually made yesterday and the stock moved slightly higher, but upon further review, investors are seeing this as a sign of long-term weakness. Analysts at Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS  ) downgraded the stock to sell and put a $25 price target on the stock.  Now what: This is one of the few mining stocks that has been able to maintain a profit, but the price pressure it too much to handle right now. Steelmaking has slowed because of a stagnant economy, and the resulting demand decrease is now hitting results. I think this stock is worth buying on the dip, because the long-term demand trends globally aren’t working in its favor ….”  Sourcemoremoremoremoremoremore
  • Water worries near proposed Cliffs plant in Sudbury?  “Cliffs Natural Resources says it’s evaluating a number of water sources, including the Vermilion River, for its proposed ferrochrome smelter in Capreol in Sudbury — and that has the local stewardship committee concerned.  Vermilion River Stewardship chair Linda Heron said the river can’t take any more development.  “For years the water levels have been going lower and lower, so we question what we can afford to lose additionally out of the river,” she said.  There are already five proposals for hydro-electric dams that could end up on the Vermilion River, in addition to the Cliffs project. Xeneca has four proposed Hydro electric dams on the Vermilion River, and Water Power Group plans to put a hydroelectric dam in Capreol ….”  Source
  • Cliffs dumps graphite properties  “Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. is pleased to announce that the Company has reached an agreement with Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Canada Inc., an affiliate of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., for the acquisition of 100% of the Albany graphite deposit.  Zenyatta has recently exercised its right and acquired an 80% interest in a claim block (4F) by having spent $10 million on exploration over the last 2 years at the Albany project. The Company has now acquired Cliffs’ remaining 20% interest (total of 100%) in the claim block referred to as 4F, which holds the Albany graphite deposit ….”  Sourcemore
  • First Nation trade school coming?  “Two international aid agencies are stepping up to improve First Nations education in northwestern Ontario by helping create an Aboriginal trade school in Thunder Bay.  Currently 70 per cent of First Nations students on reserve don’t complete high school. Chiefs and educators hope the option of a trades-oriented education will give them the motivation they need to get a diploma.  “That will be another lifeline for our young people,” Nishnawbe Aski Nation Deputy Grand Chief Goyce Kakegamic said. “[Students will say] ‘there is hope, I can work as a brick layer or work in the mining sector’.”  But federal funding for First Nations education has been capped for years, so Kakegamic brought together a planning group of about 30 people last week to discuss a different way of financing a trade school …. “  Sourcemore
  • James Bay First Nations seeking “unique mining plan” for area  “In response to what it claims are shortfalls with Ontario’s new mining act, Muskegowuk tribal council says it has started discussions with the province on the creation of a unique mining plan for the Mushkegowuk region.  Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Stan Louttit said it may be time for Ontario to implement specific legislation and policies giving First Nations consent over mining and exploration activities in the Mushkegowuk region.   Louttit said a clear regional plan would add certainty for industry and First Nations alike.  “We believe the recent changes to the Mining Act still do not fully acknowledge the rights of First Nations,” Louttit said in a press release. “Government, the mining companies and the public have to wake up to the harsh reality that First Nations are here.”  “We are unique, we are different, we have Treaty Rights and (government and industry) should know that consultation and consent are critical and mandatory for any activity on our homelands,” Louttit added …. Louttit also noted that the Mushkegowuk First Nations are collectively developing one regional land use plan to clearly identify which areas of the region will be considered open for future mining developments, and which areas must be protected for traditional uses …. “  Source
  • Canada’s Natural Resources Minister:  We want to make sure there’s consultation with Aboriginal groups  “Federal Minister of Natural Resources Joe Oliver states, “Our plan for Responsible Resource Development has an entire component dedicated to ensuring Aboriginal consultations are consistent, accountable, meaningful and timely. We are committed to action that ensures Aboriginal peoples fully benefit from these emerging economic opportunities.” The Minister addressed the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association’s 20th Anniversary Conference in Toronto on Monday.  The Minister highlighted the importance of Responsible Resource Development to jobs for Aboriginal peoples and Canada’s economy. The Minister discussed how the Federal Government’s plans will contribute to further increasing Aboriginal people’s participation in the mining and exploration sector.  “The Harper Government is fully committed to supporting Canadian jobs, economic growth and long-term prosperity,” said Minister Oliver. “Our plans support the 31,000 Aboriginal peoples employed in our natural resources sector and will result in opportunities for thousands more.”  The Mining Association of Canada estimates that 7.5 percent of Canadians employed in mining are Aboriginal — making mining Canada’s largest private employer of Aboriginal peoples.  “This government is demonstrating leadership that is resulting in new economic opportunities for Aboriginal communities across Canada,” said Oliver, “Our commitment to creating new markets and keeping taxes low is contributing to an estimated 600 projects over the next 10 years that will increase Aboriginal jobs and economic benefits.” ….”  Sourcemore
  • Scotiabank VP:  Don’t give up on mining  “Despite a reduced demand for commodities in the current tumultuous global economy, emerging economies, including China, would support commodity prices and Canada’s continuing role as a significant mining jurisdiction.  In a keynote address to the Economic Club of Canada, Scotiabank VP of economics and commodity market specialist Patricia Mohr provided a bullish outlook on minerals and metals prices over the long term, despite this year’s slowdown.  In her address, Mohr looked at the fundamental drivers of the mining business, and in particular the role of China and ’emerging markets’ as consumers of minerals and metals products.   While China is in transition to lower-trend growth, further industrialisation, modernisation and urbanisation would continue to drive demand for metals. Mohr pointed out that metals and minerals account for one-third of Canada’s net exports of all commodities and resource-based manufactured products.  New mining plays – such as the world-class Labrador Trough iron-ore region and The Ring of Fire chromite development, in northern Ontario – would continue to provide significant economic benefits to Canada ….”  Sourcemore

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-23 Nov 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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