Ring of Fire News


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

Initial Reaction to Cliffs’ “I’m REALLY outta here!” announcement

  • Cliffs’ news release
  • Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Micheal Gravelle’s statement
  • Ontario NDP (1)  In a news release, NDP mines critic Michael Mantha said, “years of Liberal mismanagement of Northern resources are to blame for tonight’s announcement that Cliffs Natural Resources will be indefinitely suspending operations in the Ring of Fire”
  • Ontario NDP (2)  “….. The opposition NDP were quick to jump on the Liberals, blaming government mismanagment for threatening to extinguish the Ring of Fire.  “The decision by Cliffs Resources to halt operations in Northern Ontario demonstrates how the provincial government has no plan to develop and grow the mining sector,” said MPP Michael Mantha, the party’s Northern Development and Mines critic.  “For years now all players from industry to First Nations to municipalities have spoken out on the need for a strategy on infrastructure, electricity prices, resource sharing and employment opportunities, yet the Liberals have dropped the ball.”  Mantha added the too-little-too-late effort of the governing Liberals could cost the province billions in potential economic development ….”  Source
  • Ontario NDP (3)  “…. New Democrat Michael Mantha said the Ontario Liberal government has been talking about the Ring of Fire, a massive chromite mining venture planned for Northern Ontario, for several years without taking the needed leadership role to make it happen.  Government needs to move on roads or rail infrastructure, address high energy costs and work with companies, municipalities and First Nation communities to resolve outstanding issues, he said.  “Their plan was to implement a plan to develop a plan and nothing has happened out of that plan,” Mantha said. “We had heard from Cliffs that they were quite concerned; everybody had heard from Cliffs that they were quite concerned.  “Others wanted to invest into Ontario and this is definitely sending the wrong signal,” he said ….”  Source
  • Ontario NDP (4)  “…. There were four major issues that needed to be settled, all involving the province, Nickel Belt NDP MPP France Gelinas said.  One was access to electricity, specifically an industrial hydro rate. Another was a resolution regarding the transportation corridor to move chromite ore out of the Ring of Fire.  Cliffs was looking for the province to sign off on its environmental assessment plan, Gelinas said, and agree to what it wanted Cliffs to submit. “The province hasn’t even given them that information,” she said ….”  Source
  • Ontario Conservatives (1)  “…. Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka and the PC critic for Northern Development and Mines, blamed the Liberals, while downplaying weak global markets.  “That’s pretty normal in the mining business – things go up and down – and that’s all the more reason why the government needed to act faster to make things happen,” he said. “They did a lot of talking, but haven’t made much progress on the ground. It’s unfortunate, when you know all the jobs that could come from that development.” ….”  Source
  • Ontario Conservatives (2)  “…. The Conservatives say the Liberals “sold hope” that the Ring of Fire would bring new jobs and industry to the hard-hit north and its aboriginal communities.  But they say the Liberals ignored the warning signs as development stalled due to conflict over access to the site ….” (no attribution of quote)  Source
  • Ontario Conservatives (3)  “…. PC MPP Vic Fedeli said the Liberal government has dropped the ball from the very beginning.  “They failed to grasp what was needed to kick-start this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Fedeli said ….”  Source
  • Bob Rae/Matawa  In a Twitter post, Matawa Ring of Fire negotiator Bob Rae said, “In #TBay this morning (21 Nov 13) for meeting with Matawa Chiefs – Cliffs’ decision won’t slow down efforts to end cycle of poverty for first nations”
  • Municipal:  Sudbury  “…. Greater Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk said she was shocked by the announcement.  “It took me totally by surprise,” Matichuk said. “I understand it’s a business decision, but I’m very, very disappointed.”  Matichuk said the city has done everything it can to make the smelter a reality, but said Cliffs is clearly exasperated by the lack of progress and apparently didn’t want to keep spending money on a project with so much uncertainty.  “You can only bleed money from a company for so long,” she said …. Ward 7 Coun. Dave Kilgour, whose ward includes Capreol, said Wednesday’s bombshell took him by surprise.  “Complete shock and disbelief,” is how he describes his reaction. “All the recent conversations we’ve had with Cliffs, they gave no indication they were going in this direction.”  He said lack of consistent action from upper levels of government contributed to the problems, and “that has put the entire project at risk.  “So the next steps will have to be from the provincial and federal governments to get this back on track,” Kilgour said. “This project is critically important to all of Ontario and Canada.” ….”  Source
  • Municipal:  Thunder Bay (1)  “…. Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs said Cliffs’ decision could be good news for Thunder Bay.  “I’m not really concerned, other than we’ve lost an office and we’ve lost some staff, and that’s value added to our community. So that’s a loss,” he said.  “But I’m a ‘glass-half full’ person, and we’re going to make the most out of this.”  He pointed to the fact other mining companies may step in to the Ring of Fire with other proposals in mind ….”  Source
  • Municipal:  Thunder Bay (2)  “…. Mayor Keith Hobbs is taking a different line of thinking.  “As far as the Ring of Fire is concerned, I now feel that Thunder Bay is back,” states Hobbs.  “Back in the hunt for a processor and possibly a stainless steel mill”.  “Perhaps Exton and Thunder Bay could make a joint submission. KWG wants a road, Noront wants a road”.  Hobbs adds, “All roads lead to Thunder Bay! There are many more mining companies in the Northwest”.  “Cliffs is only one player,” concludes Hobbs ….”  Source
  • Municipal:  Thunder Bay (3)  “….  Ontario is still open for business, despite Cliffs Natural Resources indefinitely halting their chromite project in the Ring of Fire.  That’s the message the mining services project manager for Thunder Bay’s Community Economic Development Commission wants to send to potential investors.  “This creates a little bit of uncertainty from the investment standpoint around the globe,” said John Mason of Cliffs’ Wednesday announcement.  “This message went around the globe very quickly last night. It speaks to receptivity for risk capital to Ontario for exploration development and mining.” ….”  Source
  • Noront Resources (1)   Noront, the other company with a major development in the Ring of Fire, “reaffirmed plans for development of its Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum group metals mine in the Northern Ontario Ring of Fire. Although Cliffs Natural Resources announced the suspension of its chromite project.  Noront remains on track to deliver its Environmental Assessment (EA) by the end of 2013.”  Source
  • Noront Resources (2)  Speaking at a public open house in Thunder Bay Wednesday night, company officials are quoted saying the company “hopes will break ground by winter of 2015. With a draft environmental assessment ready by the end of the year, the company said its positioned to go ahead in the area whether other companies are ready or not.”  Source
  • KWG Resources (holding the mining claims on which Cliffs wants to build a road to its project from Nakina)  No company announcement at this point, but LOTS of sharing items highlighting Cliffs’ announcement via KWG’s Twitter account
  • Industry observer analysis  “…. “We must not panic and remember the Ring of Fire holds one of the richest chromite deposits in the world, as well as many other valuable minerals, $60 billion and counting,” said Stan Sudol, a Toronto-based mining analyst. “That high value will definitely attract larger companies who will see the enormous benefits of mining a strategic mineral like chromite, which is critical for industrial and military uses.”  Sudol said the mining sector is experiencing a global slowdown, which could have played a role in Cliffs’ decision.  “Many other companies are delaying or suspending very good projects, and even if there were no delays, Cliffs would have significant financial challenges in developing the project at the present time,” he argued ….”  Source
  • Financial sector analysis  “…. H. Fraser Phillips at RBC Capital Markets told clients that the international mining and natural resources company’s decision to pull out by the end of 2013 removes an uncertainty lurking over its shares.  “It has been our view that the project would take years to developed if it could ultimately be developed at all,” Mr. Phillips said.  He noted that Cliffs can now focus on allocating its capital and resources to its core iron ore assets such as the Bloom Lake mine in Quebec.  Based on estimates from the company’s July 2012 investor day, the project required ferrochrome prices $1.40 per pound to produce an internal rate of return between 14% and 17%.  But with prices closer to $1.00 today, Mr. Phillips believes the project economics were “questionable at best.” ….”  Source
  • Commentary  “…. This move by Cliffs is a loud and ringing alarm bell. It is not too late yet to start fixing the issues – and those issues will likely be fixed by bringing in new partners to the table …. Perhaps now is the time to really get the project right.  That should include a complete plan that ensures that jobs in the Ring of Fire project and monies in the Ring of Fire project are maximized in Northwestern Ontario. Very bluntly put, once the minerals are gone, there must be a large Alberta style Heritage Fund that First Nations, and Northwestern Ontario can fall back on …. Now is the time to put the pieces in place, like Minister Greg Rickford has been doing with efforts like the Ring of Fire Training Alliance (RoFATA) with the Matawa First Nations. In many cases, the Harper Government gets a lot of critical commentary on how the Aboriginal files is handled. However the federal government is putting millions of dollars into skills and job training is taking very needed steps that Ontario needs to follow ….”  Source
  • More from media outlets here (Google News search)

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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