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Ring of Fire News – October 24, 2013

  • What’s Cliffs Need, Exactly, from Ontario to Get a Road Up to the Ring of Fire?  “…. If it can’t build the road, Cliffs will have to consider shutting down operations, said Bill Boor, vice-president of ferroalloys.  “I guess it would be fair to say that we have to think about it,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press.  “We haven’t made any decision along those lines and we hope we don’t get to that point.” …. the company isn’t prepared to take on the cost of buying KWG …. The only viable solution is for the government to step in, Boor said. It could expropriate the surface rights (of KWG’s mining claims along a right-of-way leading to the Ring of Fire) or withhold a portion of the surface Crown land for the public interest.  Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle wouldn’t say whether he will intervene or even consider it. But developing the Ring of Fire “remains a top priority” for the governing Liberals, he said ….” – variations on this theme from Cliffs in other media outlets here, here, here, here and here
  • Commentary on the Latest from Cliffs  “…. Cliffs has a point that uncertain signals from the province, and lengthy negotiations with First Nations in the Ring of Fire can slow advancement on any mining project there.  But a squabble with KWG over a transportation corridor – remembering the two are partners on the Big Daddy project – is a terrible reason to walk away from a breakthrough chromite discovery. Even less becoming to its corporate image, is Cliffs’ veiled threat to shut down a second potential mine project in Ontario.”
  • More Commentary on the Latest from Cliffs (also available here if previous link doesn’t work)  “…. Whereas Cliffs earlier said it wanted to talk to the province about finding other Crown land on which to build its road, it now suggests Ontario could simply expropriate the high ground Cliffs and rival KWG seek to use.  That does not sound unreasonable if KWG is granted something in return …. Ontario needs to place this matter atop its development priority list, get key players into one room and insist on reaching a compromise in the interests of all concerned.”  BTW, the paper corrected the original statement that KWG wanted an east-west road
  • NW Ontario Mayors on a Road to the Ring  (also available here if previous link doesn’t work)  “While the province endured another tongue-lashing in the legislature Tuesday over accusations it’s bungling the Ring of Fire development, some observers wondered why the government still won’t commit to building a main access road to the rich mining region.  “A road must be seen as an investment both in terms of mining development and human capital,” said Red Lake Mayor Phil Vinet, a former miner …. “In our last meeting with Mr. Gravelle, he assured us there is a lot being worked on behind the scenes,” said Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association president Dave Canfield.  “Our main concern is that once (mining development) is ready to go, will the province have the infrastructure in place to be ready for it,” Canfield added ….”
  • Meanwhile, a First Nation Leader Questions the Legality of KWG’s Staked Claims “A staked corridor into the Ring of Fire was done illegally, accuses a First Nations chief ….  Marten Falls chief Eli Moonias said Wednesday that the corridor was staked illegally and without consultation with his community while members were protesting near the Ring of Fire in 2009.  “If they had worked with us from the beginning we might not be in the position that we’re in now,” he said during an interview with CKPR Radio Wednesday.   Moe Lavigne, KWG’s vice-president of exploration and development, said that under the provincial mining act the only way to make claims is to stake them, which is what the company did.  “They are legal,” he said.  Marten Falls was consulted when the claims were staked, Lavigne added.  Harry Baxter, who was chief of Marten Falls at the time, even had a company that provided logistics and fuel to KWG.  “He wasn’t there when the consultation took place, it was his predecessor,” Lavigne said, adding that KWG has always had a difficult relationship with Moonias ….” – a bit more here
  • Letter to the Editor:  Matawa First Nations Seeking Mo’ Money (also available here if previous link doesn’t work)  “Creating constructive solutions to obstacles of mammoth resource development projects like the Ring of Fire and in the grassroots design of a pathway to prosperity for the Matawa First Nations primarily rests with the First Nation peoples of the land …. Matawa Economic Development receives inadequate support from government with the current level of services not meeting the needs of the First Nations …. A strategic investment from FedNor and Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada is the full support of individual Matawa First Nations and tribal council economic development initiatives. Matawa First Nations management is optimistic that the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund’s review of its programs will consider the needs of the First Nations in the development area and evolve the granting process with flexible, creative features to support them ….”
  • Back to Cliffs’ – their latest financials are out, with a short-and-sweet summary via @CliffsNR  We reported improved 2013 Q3 Revenue of $1.5 Billion, a slight year-over-year increase ….  Third-Quarter Operating Income Increased by 194% to $224 million and Year-to-Date Cash Flow from Operations Increased 149% to $686 Million”  –  more details from the Company’s info-machine here
  • In the midst of all the hand-wringing about Cliffs, a reminder from Noront Resources, via Twitter“Ring of fire development not reliant only on one company to make it happen. @NorontResources #sustainable development #aboriginal training”
  • Noront’s CEO drops by Webequie First Nation (picture shared via Twitter) ….
  • …. while the company helps get a teacher there to help out  “Thank you @NorontResources for flying our teacher Zoee to #Webequie (23 Oct) to work with the grade 7&8’s on their show!” (more here)
  • Ring of Fire in Ontario’s Legislature (1)  What the Premier said responding to questions in the Legislature:  “…. we have a lot of faith in the folks who are involved in building those relationships and in the negotiation with the First Nations. But I want to be clear that it is a very complex thing. I don’t know if the member opposite is aware of how many First Nations communities are involved, whether he’s aware of the need to make sure that the social supports and training supports are in place so that First Nations young people and residents of communities can take part in this economic growth, and whether he understands that there are a number of companies who have vested interests.  There are a number of moving parts. I can tell you, drawing on my time as Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, that if we do not get this right in the first instance, if we do not build these relationships and make sure the training and supports are in place, then we will not be able to develop the Ring of Fire. It’s as simple as that ….”
  • Ring of Fire in Ontario’s Legislature (2)  What the Minister of Natural Resources said responding to questions in the Legislature“…. I have full confidence in Justice Iacobucci, who is seized with the negotiations on this, as well as Bob Rae, who is representing the First Nations in the area. I know that the Premier and the Minister of Northern Development and Mines have met with the Matawa Tribal Council and the First Nations, because they are an integral part of ensuring that this development proceeds and moves forward.  We understand that this is a sizable, very significant development in the province of Ontario, and it will take some time to get this right. Our government is committed to moving this project forward …. The Minister of Northern Development and Mines is committed to working with all parties, the communities. We think there’s tremendous potential for the community of Greenstone to play a very significant role in this development to bring new jobs and new opportunities to Ontario ….”
  • Ring of Fire in Ontario’s Legislature (3)  What the Minister of Northern Development and Mines said responding to a (softball) question in the Legislature“We know that in order for a community to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity, they need to be ready, and that’s the kind of work that’s under way in our ministry. I’ll mention the work we did with the Matawa First Nations on a historic framework agreement, and community readiness strategies for communities such as Thunder Bay and Greenstone, which will ultimately be the transportation hub for the Ring of Fire.  I want to encourage all members to speak to us about the work that we’re doing, because indeed that’s going forward in a positive way. We’re having discussions with all interested companies. Those discussions obviously will include important infrastructure links. We recognize how important infrastructure is …. Let me tell you this: We are assessing a number of options that will see the greatest benefit for Ontarians ….”
  • Ring of Fire in Ontario’s Legislature (4)  More on what was said this week at Queen’s Park here, here and here
  • Have a great weekend!

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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