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Ring of Fire News – June 14, 2013

  • In case you hadn’t already heard, Cliffs has hit the pause button on its Chromite Project EA work (Chronicle-Journal) – more from Wawatay News, northernlife.ca and the Toronto Star
  • “While critics accused her government of “dropping the ball,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said Thursday she wasn’t rattled by this week’s announcement that Cliffs Natural Resources will stop working on its environmental assessment for its big Ring of Fire project In a conference call with Northern media outlets, Wynne dismissed a suggestion that Cliffs is upping the pressure on the province to get its chromite mine approved in a more timely manner.  “I’m not seeing it that way,” she said. “I’m seeing it as the natural course of things.”  On Wednesday, Cliffs ferroalloys vice-president Bill Boor said the company is temporarily halting its work on its environmental assessment process because, after two years, the parties involved still can’t agree on what the project’s terms of reference should be.  Boor also cited “unfinished agreements with the government of Ontario that are critical to the project’s economic viability.”  Wynne said Boor’s announcement “doesn’t change our position to see development in the Ring of Fire.” ….”
  • Cliffs Natural Resources’ work in the Ring of Fire may have come to a screeching halt, but the minister of Northern Development and Mines said he’s determined to see the project through.  “I do remain very optimistic about this project,” Michael Gravelle, who’s also the MPP for Thunder Bay, said on the phone. “I think it needs to be understood … that this is a very transformational, large project, in a part of the province that’s never seen development before.  “It’s important that we get this process right. Clearly there are a number of parts that are crucial to this before we can move for ward, and one of them is environmental assessment.” ….”
  • The future of a ferrochrome smelter in Sudbury is in question after some grim news from Cliffs Natural Resources …. Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk said she’s not surprised Cliffs’ environmental assessment has been put on hold, but said she’s not worried about the impact this may have on the local economy or jobs.  “There’s other plans in place, there are other mines that are opening, there’s a lot of activity,” she said. “It’s the cycle of mining, that’s what mining’s all about.”  The Minister of Northern Development and Mines said the province has yet to sign off on the Sudbury smelter because of the switch in Liberal governments.  “We are very committed to seeing a ferrochrome processing facility in the province and in northern Ontario,” Michael Gravelle said ….”
  • Meanwhile, Noront is good to go  Noront Resources Ltd. wishes to announce that its plans for the development of its deposits in the Ring of Fire have not changed in light of the announcement made by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. to temporarily suspend their Environmental Assessment (EA) activities for its chromite project in the Ring of Fire. Noront has continuously developed alternative plans, including the use of an East-West corridor, if the planned North-South access route proposed by Cliffs did not materialize.  “In addition to supporting a North-South access route, Noront has always supported an East-West alternative approach for the development of the Ring of Fire that balances First Nations objectives, the environment and job growth …. The proposed route, an East-West all-weather corridor, would build upon existing winter roads to minimize environmental impact and cost. As a result, this routing would also directly benefit four Matawa First Nations and can be developed in a more timely fashion. It is expected this route could be expanded to support further developments in the Ring of Fire ….”
  • More on that east-west route thing  “It’s a suspension, not a cancellation. Yet the June 12 announcement from Cliffs Natural Resources dumped cold water all over Ontario’s Ring of Fire. By putting the region’s largest project on hold, the company has also shelved plans for an all-weather road to the south, a vital link some other companies were counting on to develop the McFaulds Lake area about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. But Noront Resources quickly responded that its own projects are “still good to go” thanks to a proposed east-west road. Not to be outdone, KWG Resources pursues the feasibility of north-south rail.  Seemingly a Plan B, Noront’s east-west corridor was actually the company’s first idea. It would link the Eagle’s Nest project to Highway 808, roughly 230 kilometres southwest. But in May 2012, the Ontario government conditionally agreed to help finance the north-south route, part of Cliffs’ $3.3-billion proposal to build the Black Thor mine with road access to a new processing facility near Sudbury. On that basis, Noront used the north-south route in the base case for the September 2012 Eagle’s Nest feasibility study. Noront retained the east-west route as back-up.  Prudently, it now seems ….”  More on this angle from the In Support of Mining Blog here
  • On the “what’s gonna happen to Ontario Northland’s railroad assets?”, the Premier joins the conversation  “…. Without answering where the status is with the divestiture of the ONTC, (Premier Kathleen) Wynne did say that Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle has been very public that the sale of the ONTC is not the only option and is listening closely to the concerns and options the advisory committee has to offer ….” – more here
  • In other Cliffs news, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced today that Francis McAllister, lead director, has elected to retire from the Company’s board of directors effective immediately. Mr. McAllister has served on Cliffs’ board since 1996 …. Mr. McAllister announced his retirement from Stillwater Mining as the company’s chief executive officer, earlier this month. Stillwater Mining, based in Billings, MT, is the only U.S. producer of palladium and platinum. The company is the largest primary producer of platinum group metals outside of South Africa and the Russian Federation.  The Board of Directors further announced that it had elected James F. Kirsch, former chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ferro Corporation, to be its lead director coinciding with its July 2013 Board meeting ….” – more 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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