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

Ring of Fire News – 29 Mar 13

  • Have a great Easter holiday!
  • Bob Rae:  Integrity Commissioner says I’m good to go negotiating for First Nations  “The federal conflict of interest commissioner has cleared interim Liberal leader Bob Rae, who is about to step down from that post and become an ordinary MP, to serve as a chief negotiator for First Nations in Ontario on sustainable development issues.  Rae said he does not yet have a formal offer to take on this new role, but has explored the possibility with chiefs and confirmed to Postmedia News that the federal ethics watchdog, Mary Dawson, sent him a letter earlier in March with guidelines on how to proceed.  Rae said the letter spelled out her interpretation of the law, which he accepts and supports.  “The principle of the (Conflict of Interest) Act is a member of Parliament is allowed to carry on their life,” Rae said in a telephone interview Monday. “I’ve made my living as a mediator and an arbitrator for a number of years before I was elected to Parliament – and as a lawyer – so it’s not unusual for MPs to have a law practice or to have a mediation practice. So that’s the principle that’s applied.”  He added that he would disclose any income or financial interests that come in from outside of Parliament, while respecting his duties as an MP. Rae will end his term as Liberal interim leader when a new permanent leader is named April 14.  “The other side of the coin is you’re not allowed to use your position as an MP to promote someone else’s private interests or your own private interests, and again the law is very clear on that,” Rae said.  He also noted that the role he envisions doesn’t relate to federal government relations with First Nations, but rather to negotiations with the provincial government on greater revenue-sharing and environmental protection for northern mining projects as part of a development plan known as the Ring of Fire ….”  Sourcemore
  • Green group calls for mediation in Ring of Fire  “Just as the federal government strives to speed up environmental reviews of major mining and energy projects, approvals for the giant Ring of Fire proposal in Northern Ontario are getting increasingly tangled.  On Monday, a key environmental group asked for provincial government mediation on how Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. plans to develop a giant chromite deposit in the fragile muskeg of the James Bay lowlands.  The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society says Cleveland-based Cliffs is dramatically changing its plans for a mine without properly consulting with the public.  “Several major alterations have been incorporated at the last minute and without the benefit of public scrutiny,” the Wildlands League chapter of CPAWS says in a letter to Ontario Environment Minister Jim Bradley.  The letter says Cliffs is backing away from a long-term plan to do a combination of open-pit mining and underground mining, opting to stick with only open pit.  It also notes Cliffs is conidering only a single route – a north-south road that would be heavily subsidized – to transport chromite ore out of the area, instead of considering other ways, such as an east-west corridor that could link first nations to much-needed infrastructure.  At stake is the framework Cliffs has set up for Ontario regulators to examine the environmental implications of its proposal ….”  Sourceletter to Ontario’s Minister of the Environment (PDF)
  • Cliffs sells off some Zenyatta  “Cliffs Natural Resources Exploration Inc. (“CNRE”), an affiliate of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) (“Cliffs”), announces that it has sold 1,540,000 common share purchase warrants (the “Warrants”) of Zenyatta Ventures Ltd. (“Zenyatta”), representing approximately 3% of the issued and outstanding securities of Zenyatta on a partially diluted basis. The Warrants were sold by CNRE by way of a private purchase agreement.  Following the sale of the Warrants, Cliffs (and its affiliates) owns a total of 5,175,000 shares of Zenyatta, representing approximately 11% of Zenyatta’s outstanding shares, and 1,660,000 common share purchase warrants; 660,000 of which entitle the holder to acquire one common share of Zenyatta for $1.00 until June 23, 2013, and 1,000,000 of which entitle the holder to acquire one common share of Zenyatta for $1.50 until December 23, 2015 …. “  Source
  • Calls for telecommunications infrastructure around the Ring of Fire  “Greenstone wants improved telecommunications across the region, especially in and around the Ring of Fire.  Greenstone mayor Renald Beaulieu and councillors from that municipality held a special meeting at the Victoria Inn Tuesday. The meeting featured representatives from several Ontario ministries including the Ministry of Natural Resources and Northern Development and Mines.  One of the meeting’s talking points included a proposed $3.9 million investment to improve telecommunication infrastructure in the region. The upgrades would include the installation of additional fibre and networking equipment in order to improve Internet access in the area.  The upgrades would also provide the capacity necessary at Nakina to support a broadband expansion to the Ring of Fire and would also allow remote First Nations to have greater Internet access.  But online access is one of four priorities the municipality is pushing for. Accessibility, power and people round out the other three.  Beaulieu said they are looking for partners to fund these projects including the province ….”  Sourcemore from the Greenstone conferencemore
  • Meanwhile, Fort William First Nation hosts mining conference, too  “Predictions of a mining boom in Northwestern Ontario have been brewing for a decade or more.  With the Ring of Fire ready to roll in the next five years, and several other mines set to come on stream in the next 20 years, Fort William First Nation wants to ensure its residents are ready to capitalize.  On Monday the community, situated to Thunder Bay’s south, hosted the Fort William First Nation Mining Conference, promoting its vision of becoming a mining hub for Aboriginal communities in Ontario’s north and trying to forge the necessary partnerships to make it happen.  Representatives from several mining giants, including Cliff’s Natural Resources and Noront, were on hand outlining their plans in the region, giving an overview of the types of jobs that will become available when the work begins ….”  Source
  • Noront’s reaction to the federal budget  “Noront Resources, as a development stage mining company focused on the development of its Eagle’s Nest Mine within the Ring of Fire (James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario), is encouraged with the Federal Government’s commitment of support for the Ring of Fire and the mining industry.  The Economic Action Plan announced on March 21, 2013 states that the Federal Government has budgeted $4.4 million over three years for the Ring of Fire’s Capacity Building Initiative through the Federal Government’s Responsible Resource Development Plan. The Initiative, operated under the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario (“FedNor”), provides targeted support to communities directly adjacent to the Ring of Fire. The funding is available for activities such as business skills development, strategic business planning and Aboriginal youth engagement which are designed to ensure that First Nations benefit fully from resource development opportunities associated with Ring of Fire projects.  “It is clear after reading the Economic Action Plan that the Minister responsible for FedNor and the Ring of Fire, Tony Clement, and the Federal Government have listened to our ideas based upon our experiences in the Ring of Fire,” said Chairman and Interim CEO of Noront Resources, Paul Parisotto. Mr. Parisotto added: “We would like to thank the Government for addressing the needs of our industry alongside the legitimate concerns of our First Nations neighbours and partners.” Mr. Parisotto further added: “The mining industry has proven it is a strong contributor to Canada’s long-term growth and prosperity, and continued investment by all stakeholders will allow the true growth potential of the industry, including the Ring of Fire, to be realized.”  Noront Resources plans to begin mine development in 2015 from one of Canada’s highest-grade nickel, copper, platinum group elements discoveries and be in commercial production by 2017.  Noront also places great importance in its relationship with Canada’s First Nations, seeing them as long-term partners. Noront has established and implemented a comprehensive community-engagement programme to benefit the First Nations communities near the Ring of Fire. Recently Noront was awarded the Mining Magazine 2012 Editor’s award for corporate social and environmental responsibility. Noront has recently entered into a partnership with the Matawa First Nations and Confederation College to support training initiatives for the local communities. Noront also supports youth educational camps which are held in the communities each year.  “Noront is here for the long-haul and want to be recognized as a good corporate citizen”, Parisotto finishes. “We look forward to continuing our good working relationships and partnerships with the public, our First Nations neighbours and our governments.” ….”  Source
  • More calls for all-season roads  “Weather conditions that were more typical for northwestern Ontario created a better winter season for communities that depend on the winter road network. But while those served by the winter roads say it has been successful this year, First Nations leaders are still pushing for all-season road access.  Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno said that until this winter it had been several years since all remote communities that rely on winter roads for transportation were able to receive most of their fuel, building supplies and other materials over winter roads, because the weather has been too mild.  “Last year was a bad year, a couple of years there we just didn’t [get anything],” he said.  “It caused … a financial havoc for communities because they [end up having] to fly in the fuel and goods and services.”  And there are still the tragedies that occur as people attempt to traverse the ice that may or may not be ready to bear weight.  Despite this year’s generally better weather conditions, one person who travels the winter road regularly said early snowfalls initially left the ice weak on some lakes. As a result, two people died while operating grooming machines that plunged through the ice, said Leo Anderson, who works in building maintenance for the Keewaytinook Okimakanak tribal council.  “If there’s too much snow before we get ice, then we … have a couple of problems,” he added. “We lost two people, which was terrible.”  Grand Chief Yesno said he expects the seasonal roads will continue to be unreliable in the years ahead.  “The ultimate goal is all-weather roads, eventually, over time,” he said ….”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-28 Mar 13 (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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