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

Ring of Fire News – April 12, 2013

  • Head’s up – spending some time with family for the next while, so you’ll have to hit the Blog Roll sites until I get back to this after the Victoria Day weekend – thanks for your patience!
  • Changes at Cliffs  “…. On March 15, 2013, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (the “Company”) filed a Current Report on Form 8-K reporting that Richard Ross provided notice of his decision to not stand for reelection to the Board of Directors of the Company at the Annual Meeting of Shareholders to be held on May 7, 2013. Mr. Ross provided further notice on April 3, 2013 with his decision that it would be in his and the Company’s best interests to resign from the Board of Directors effective immediately due to scheduling conflicts that would preclude Mr. Ross from fulfilling his commitments to serve on the Company’s Board between now and May 7, 2013 ….”  Source
  • More KWG updates  “KWG Resources Inc. and Bold Ventures Inc. have launched their exploration programs under the option agreements between them and Fancamp Exploration Ltd.  Two drills are testing the horizon of the Black Horse chromite discovery in which KWG may earn up to an 80% joint venture interest. A third drill is focusing on exploration for magmatic massive sulphides type mineralization (copper-nickel sulphides and PGMs) similar to that discovered on the northwesterly adjacent Noront property. All three drills were initially drilling deep targets and only one was nearing the target zone of the Black Horse chromite horizon when operations were halted. It had recovered core from a 50 meter intersection of quartz veining in talc schist similar to Noront’s Triple J gold discovery on their adjacent claim. Based on the strike orientation of the Triple J zone, its extension onto the Koper Lake project claims is being further investigated ….”  Sourcemore
  • Meanwhile, “Black Horse venture awaits exploration permits”
  • Developing the Ring of Fire chromite deposit in northern Ontario could bring decades of economic benefits for the region and the rest of Canada, the federal government’s point man on the challenging and ambitious venture said on Monday.  “We understand the importance of developing this series of projects. We see how important it is not only to the region, but its significance ultimately to the province and the country,” Tony Clement, the minister responsible for leading the push to develop the region, told Reuters.  “We are talking about a 100 years of mining activity that will spin-off jobs and economic activity for generations,” he said in an interview in the government’s Toronto offices with views over Lake Ontario ….”
  • FedNor announces money for the (now in draft form) Thunder Bay-Fort William First Nation mining strategy  “The Honourable Tony Clement, Minister for FedNor, today announced that the Harper Government is investing to help the City of Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation capitalize on mining development opportunities in the region, including the Ring of Fire.  “Our Government is focused on helping communities grow, create jobs and strengthen the regional economy,” said Minister Clement. “Today’s announcement will help the City of Thunder Bay identify, plan for and develop mining-related businesses opportunities to diversify the regional economy and maximize employment creation for area residents.”  With $75,000 in FedNor funding, the City of Thunder Bay is undertaking a mining readiness strategy in partnership with Fort William First Nation and the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Corporation ….”  Source
  • Speaking of FedNor, the FedNor Minister reminds the NDP of all the good FedNor does  “Re FedNor Annual Funding Cut $23 Million By Harper — Viewpoint, April 8:  For a man so concerned about the economic well-being of Northern Ontario, why is John Rafferty pushing Thomas Mulcair’s job-killing policies that would devastate the region? The NDP MP for Thunder Bay-Rainy River and his leader proudly boast that the NDP will raise corporate taxes to the tune of $34 billion, weigh down industry with a disastrous carbon tax and opposes resource development like the Keystone XL pipeline.  For all of Rafferty’s and Mulcair’s bluster about FedNor funding, the NDP doesn’t get what makes the economy tick or how jobs are created. In his whirlwind 72-hour tour of Northern Ontario, Mulcair decried magical funding numbers for FedNor he seemed to make up on the fly. Not only are the numbers pure fiction, but the real catastrophe is what would happen to job creators if Rafferty and Mulcair jacked up their taxes 20 per cent as the NDP intends. I guess Rafferty’s and Mulcair’s plan is to tax businesses more, take their money and then redistribute it through FedNor? …. FedNor is an important resource that has supported key infrastructure projects like the Thunder Bay Airport and with this week’s announcement of $75,000 to help the City of Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation capitalize on mining development opportunities in the region, including the Ring of Fire. The funding will help the city identify, plan for and develop mining-related businesses opportunities to diversify the regional economy and maximize employment creation for area residents ….”  Source
  • No private member’s bill to keep all processing of minerals pulled out of Ontario in Ontario  “The Ontario Liberals and Conservatives voted Thursday to defeat a private member’s bill that would have amended the Mining Act to require any resources mined in Ontario also be processed in the province.  The bill was introduced by NDP MPP Michael Mantha, that party’s Northern Development and Mines critic, and was defeated after second reading by a vote of 70 to 18.  “My bill would have given Ontario’s mining industry a bright future,” Mantha said in a release after his bill’s defeat. “By keeping our resources in the province, there is the potential of job creation in many sectors. We would ensure that the unprecedented wealth of resources in the Ring of Fire is used to create good value added jobs for Ontarians.”  Mantha introduced Bill 43, An Act to amend the Mining Act to require resources to be processed in Ontario, to prevent situations like the closing of the Xstrata copper and zinc metallurgical plants in Timmins three years ago ….”  Sourcemoremoremore
  • NDP MP pissed at no mention of the big James Bay Port Authority/rail line into the Ring of Fire in the federal budget  “…. MP Charlie Angus (NDP–Timmins-James Bay) said he was upset to look through the federal budget and see only cuts to rail service across the country …. MP Jay Aspin (Conservative—Nipissing–Timiskaming) was also among those leading the charge praising the new proposal.  In December, Aspin said about the plan that, “It’s got to move ahead … everybody has got to get behind this – everybody,” adding that his role would be to work and advocate on behalf of the proposal in the House of Commons.  But on Thursday, Angus took Aspin to task for seemingly being unable to accomplish that.  “The idea of the James Bay Port Authority was brought up by Jay Aspin as an alternative to the fact the (provincial Liberal) McGuinty government was walking away on Ontario Northland and the train,” said Angus. “It involved this big pitch that rail was going to tie into the Ring of Fire, and it would go up to a port in James Bay and it would be a federal component. It was a big dream, and I was thinking, ‘OK then, let’s make it happen.’ ….”  Source
  • Many of Ontario’s junior mining companies are struggling to catch up with the law this month as new regulations under the province’s century-old Mining Act have just come into effect.  According to Garry Clark, executive director of the Ontario Prospectors Association, many companies didn’t understand what the new rules required of them, which has resulted in some getting caught offside the law and abruptly having to halt exploration work.  Companies that didn’t obtain the necessary plans and permits now required by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines “have effectively had their exploration work shut down while they wait for these to go through… there are quite a few tied up in the process right now, and most of them are taking longer than 30 days,” says Clark, throwing off scheduling and costing companies more money.  Even amongst those companies that did understand what’s required, many find the regulations too onerous for an industry already in dire financial straits.  The industry has been warning of an impending exodus of mining companies and mining dollars from the province – at a time when both the federal and provincial governments are banking on the tens of billions of dollars that mineral development could mean for Ontario’s north ….  Some Aboriginal groups, however, are also concerned about the inflexibility with which the new timelines are being applied. While initially “cautiously optimistic” about the new regulations, Shawn Batise, says the requests for engagement the Wabun Tribal Council is receiving from industry are overwhelming: “Today we got 12 requests, 8 yesterday, 6 the day before, 20 last week…” And reviewing these plans and permit applications, and engaging in consultations with industry, takes time and resources that many First Nations simply do not have.  “With the number of requests we are receiving, we are already missing deadlines,” says Batise, with the result that government is approving permits over First Nations’ objections. A problem, he says, that must be fixed if the new system is to play out as planned.”  Source
  • When the federal government introduced its environmental assessment regime last year, a great hue and cry arose from the Canadian media, aboriginal groups, non-governmental organizations and the public.  The concern was that Ottawa was getting out of the environmental assessment business for all but the largest projects and that, as a consequence, many formerly subject to federal EA would go ahead without proper environmental scrutiny. The changes were welcomed by resource industries, which have long been subject to multiple EA processes at the federal, provincial and even local level, not to mention the second level of such review undertaken at the project permitting stage, all of which they argued was duplicative and unnecessary.  But not long after the regime came into place, it became evident that, while many projects were indeed no longer subject to federal EA, some industries, principally mining and gravel, found themselves subject to a process from which they had previously been exempt. While this unexpected consequence has received little attention and commentary, it is important, as it has caused a significant shift in the environmental review process as it applies to these, and potentially other industries.  Last July 6, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 1992 (CEAA 1992) was repealed and replaced with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), alongside a series of amendments to other statutes, which collectively aimed at streamlining the regulatory review of Canadian natural resource projects ….”  Source

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Ring of Fire News – April 5, 2013

  • Cliffs latest money numbers being shared April 25, 2013  Sourcemore
  • KWG rooting around the Ring of Fire  “KWG Resources Inc. and Bold Ventures Inc. have launched their exploration programs under the option agreements between them and Fancamp Exploration Ltd.. Two drills are testing the horizon of the Black Horse chromite discovery in which KWG may earn up to an 80% joint venture interest.  A third drill is focusing on exploration for magmatic massive sulphides type mineralization (copper-nickel sulphides and PGMs) similar to that discovered on the northwesterly adjacent Noront property. All three drills were initially drilling deep targets and only one was nearing the target zone of the Black Horse chromite horizon when operations were halted. It had recovered core from a 50 meter intersection of quartz veining in talc schist similar to Noront’s Triple J gold discovery on their adjacent claim.  Based on the strike orientation of the Triple J zone, its extension onto the Koper Lake project claims is being further investigated ….”  Source
  • First Nation concerns about implementing changes to Ontario’s Mining Act ….  “Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee has asked Minister Michael Gravelle to postpone the mandatory implementation of the new mining regulations. “We would like the chance for our leadership to meet with their citizens to discuss concerns with regulations that did not go through a proper consultation process,” said Grand Council Chief Madahbee about the regulations that were to take affect yesterday. The Anishinabek Nation is requesting the opportunity for a meeting with the Minister and the establishment of a bilateral table on mining as was committed to by Ontario on September 24, 2012. “We hope to use a bilateral table so that the Anishinabek Nation and the ministry can work together through a mutual process as consultation and accommodation should be.” The Anishinabek Nation has concerns in the following four areas:  1. Recognition of Anishinabek inherent and treaty rights;  2. Requirement for Resource Revenue Sharing;  3. Requirement for Environmental Stewardship; and 4. Requirement for Providing Resources for Capacity at the local level to permit First Nations to meet the heavy demands that the new regulations require ….”  Source (Anishnabek Nation news release) – moremoremoremore (In Support of Mining blog)
  • …. and Ontario’s mines minster responds  “We remain committed to promoting mineral exploration and development while respecting Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Our goal is to provide clarity to industry by encouraging early engagement and ongoing relationship building with Aboriginal communities.  These new rules enhance notification and consultation with Aboriginal communities and private landowners potentially impacted by proposed exploration activities, they help protect sites of Aboriginal cultural significance and new provisions for exploration site remediation reduce the impacts of early exploration activities. I was certainly grateful to have the opportunity to discuss these changes directly with Grand Chief Madahbee just last week, and reaffirmed our commitment to establish a bilateral table on mining. Modernization of the Mining Act, and now the supporting regulations, is the result of comprehensive consultations.  Between January 1, 2010 and January 31, 2012, over 70 discussions and consultation sessions were undertaken with Aboriginal groups and communities, industry stakeholders, environmental organizations, and municipal representatives. Following a five-month voluntary period, new regulations for exploration plans and exploration permits came into effect April 1, 2013.”  Source
  • Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne OK with working with Bob Rae helping First Nations in Ring of Fire, but wants some sort of “terms of reference” on consultation, saying there’s no “shared understanding” about what consultation means  Source (interview with APTN)
  • City of Thunder Bay releases latest version of Mining Strategy  “The city needs to address gaps in infrastructure, energy and education if the region expects to benefit from an expected and upcoming mining boom. Those were the main recommendations found in the city’s mining readiness strategy. The City of Thunder Bay released the draft final report of the strategy at a media conference Friday at the Victoria Inn. The report contained about 50 recommendations and used 10 advanced mining projects as a base to help create a prediction of the economic impact to the region as well as to look at the shortcommings (sic.) that would need to be addressed. The strategy will act as a priority guide for the city as it attempts to meet the increasingly tight deadline in order to meet the demands for the hundreds of mining projects. Program manager for the strategy Stephen Lindley said infrastructure, energy and training were the top imperatives that need to be addressed soon ….”  SourceDRAFT Mining Readiness Strategy (398 page PDF) – Mining Readiness Strategy page
  • Federal NDP Leader & Official Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair makes the rounds of the north ….  “Success in the Ring of Fire could face two major hurdles, says the leader of the official opposition. While speaking to local media in Thunder Bay Tuesday, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair said cuts to FedNor and not consulting with First Nations could impede progress of the Ring of Fire development ….”  Sourcemoremore
  • …. as well as Ontario Conservative Leader Tim Hudak  “Unions and radical environmentalists are threatening Ontario’s economic progress, Tory Leader Tim Hudak says. Hudak on Tuesday blamed unions — particularly public sector unions — for stalling Ontario’s economic recovery, and environmentalists for stalling development of the Ring of Fire, a vast northwestern Ontario mineral deposit. “What the oilsands are to Alberta, what potash is to Saskatchewan, the Ring of Fire could be for the province of Ontario … it’s too bad that the Liberals seem to be captured by radical environmental groups,” Hudak told reporters at Queen’s Park. Hudak said the Liberal government and the New Democrats are too busy listening to the unions and not the rest of Ontarians. “The problem that we have is that we have public sector union bosses who are running the government right now. And they seem to have access to the front door to Kathleen Wynne as premier,” he said. “I think it’s just unfortunate that the NDP and Liberals seem to be so singularly focused on appeasing the public sector union bosses, it’s causing a province to go bankrupt and it is costing us jobs. Nobody is going to invest in a province that has huge debts.” ….”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 8 Mar-5 Apr 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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