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

Ring of Fire News – November 28, 2013

  • Ontario:  WTF?  “Ontario says it was taken by surprise when it heard Prime Minister Stephen Harper dismiss the development in the Ring of Fire region as Ontario’s problem, given that repeated calls by the province for the federal government to play a role in the project have gone unanswered in recent weeks.  In a telephone interview with CBC News on Monday, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle said Harper’s comments came “as a surprise.”   “To simply be somewhat dismissive and say it's a matter of provincial issue or provincial jurisdiction, certainly took me a little bit aback,” Gravelle said.  The prime minister was asked, during a news conference in Winnipeg on Friday, what role the federal government had in getting the development in the Ring of Fire back on track after a major U.S. mining company suspended its operations in the area a day earlier.  Harper said “this is a project that is primarily under provincial jurisdiction because ultimately resources belong to the provinces and resource development is a provincial responsibility.” ….”  Source
  • “Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle is rejecting the idea the province is primarily to blame for problems holding up the Ring of Fire chromite find in northwestern Ontario ….”  Source
  • Premier:  But we’re not blaming the feds, you know  “…. I’m not blaming the federal government. Let me be really clear about that: I’m not blaming the federal government. What I am saying, which is what we have said all along, is that there are many partners who are needed in order to be able to explore and exploit the resources and the possibility of the Ring of Fire. It is impossible for one company or one order of government to do this. It’s a huge project, and from the beginning we have said that we need the private sector, we need First Nations and we need the federal government and municipalities to work with us so that we can develop that resource. That is not inconsistent; in fact, it is consistent with what we have said from the beginning. And I will be calling on Prime Minister Harper, as I have already done, to work with us ….”  Source
  • Premier:  Still, we’ll keep pushing Ottawa  “Ontario will keep the heat on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to help get the northern Ring of Fire mineral belt into production following a setback last week, Premier Kathleen Wynne said Monday.  Her comments came after Harper seemed cool to federal support for the potential $60 billion project in a remote area 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay last week.  “The prime minister and his ministers have sung the praises of the opportunities in the Ring of Fire and I believe it’s incumbent upon them . . . to take part in the project and to be full partners,” Wynne told reporters …. “They have been full partners in other projects across the country,” she added, referring to energy projects in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador ….”  Source
  • Prime Minister’s Office:  We’ll get back to the Premier  “…. As of late Tuesday, an official in Wynne’s office says they still don’t know if a visit to Ottawa on Dec. 5 will include a discussion with Harper on the Ring of Fire. The PMO declined to comment.   “The Premier’s Office has requested a meeting and we will reply in due course through the proper channels, not media,” wrote Carl Vallee, Harper’s press secretary, in an email.”  Source
  • Letter from Ontario’s  mines minister to federal Ring of Fire minister:  how ’bout it?   “…. This is an investment not just in Ontario’s, but Canada’s future. It is about more than tomorrow, this is about the next 50 to 100 years. Now is the time to act and support resource development, jobs and growth in Northern Ontario. It is exactly the moment when Ontario’s invitation to a partnership through a development corporation should be accepted with enthusiasm. That would be in the interest of the people of Ontario that both our governments represent.  I would appreciate the opportunity to sit down with you as soon as possible to more formally discuss the important role of the federal government in this vital economic development project.”  Sourcemoremoremore
  • Political Talk (1)  “If Cliffs Resources and the provincial government are playing poker over the Ring of Fire development, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says the mining giant has decided to fold.  “It’s a major blow and a major setback for Ontario,” said the Progressive Conservative member. “…(Cliffs) have closed their Thunder Bay and Toronto offices. This is not a ploy… They have no confidence in this provincial government. They have waited for five years and there is nothing.”   Fedeli’s comments come on the heels of the announcement last week from Cliffs Resources that it was halting all work towards their Ring of Fire plans to develop a chromite mine in what has been called the biggest mining discovery in Canada in a century ….”  Source
  • Political Talk (2)  “New Democrat Leader Andrea Horwath called on the Liberal government to make public the agreements it made with Cliffs Natural Resources regarding the Ring of Fire ….”  SourceMore from what was said in the Ontario Legislature
  • Political Talk (3)  “New Democratic Leader Andrea Horwath called on Premier Wynne to release her government’s agreements with Cliffs Natural Resources so Ontarians can see whether the Liberals lived up to their end of the agreement ….”  Source
  • First Nation leader:  They’ll be back  “One of the main Aboriginal players in the Ring of Fire mining-belt saga says Cliffs Natural Resources may well come back to Northwestern Ontario, if only to try and recoup its losses.  “I don’t think they want to just throw $500 million (in pre-development costs) away,” Martin Falls First Nation Chief Eli Moonias said Tuesday.  “They will try and get it back.” ….”  Source (alternate link – PDF)
  • Bob Rae/Matawa  “Squabbling between the federal and provincial governments is getting in the way of companies trying to develop Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral deposit and causing problems for the area’s First Nations, says former premier Bob Rae, just days after a major mining company quit the area over delays.  Mr. Rae, who is representing the Matawa First Nations in negotiations with the province over the development of the region, delivered this warning Tuesday to a business crowd, including mining executives, at the Empire Club in Toronto …. “It is, to me, deeply troubling that the two governments still can’t agree on who’s responsible for what,” Mr. Rae said. “This is challenging for First Nations. It’s also challenging for companies that are trying to do business. We need to create some certainty.” ….”  Source
  • Cliffs’ decision:  Online survey says government has to get “more active”  Source
  • Editorial (1)   “While no one should minimize implications of the indefinite departure of Cliffs Natural Resources from the Ring of Fire mining belt, other players remain in place and with them, other possibilities …. Are there drawbacks in a private railroad over a public road? Potentially, it could be restricted by the owners on any number of fronts, though KWG has said it would be available to all.  There are benefits to both proposals, but neither KWG nor Cliffs has been willing to compromise on the essential route.  This presents the province and its Ring of Fire development corporation with yet another challenge to getting what should be the economic salvation of the North under way. But it must begin to do what the provincial government has so far avoided doing. It must get decisive and force issues into solutions and ultimately into opportunities for all concerned. The status quo is no longer an option.”  Chronicle-Journal (alternate link)
  • Editorial (2)  “The ongoing interest of a number of mining concerns in the vast Ring of Fire region is not what holds public attention today. Neither is it the creation of a development corporation to manage the project or negotiations between the province and First Nations. Rather, it is the sense of lost opportunities that comes with the indefinite departure of the mineral belt’s biggest player. There is a growing suspicion that something is wrong and that the province is not saying so …. Uncertainty has already crept into the Ring of Fire good-news story. With suspicion growing about timing and motives, and a suggestion Ottawa may be backing away, the province has the unenviable but important task of restoring full credibility to a project many feel has not been well managed.”  Chronicle-Journal
  • Editorial (3)  “When Cliffs Natural Resources announced a couple of years ago it was going to establish a ferrochrome production facility in Capreol in connection with a planned chromite mine in the Ring of Fire, there was naturally disappointment in Timmins.  Timmins was one of four communities in the running to have this facility.  However, following that decision, city officials were quickly pointing out Cliffs were not the only player within the James Bay lowlands.  Among those was Noront Resources, which has been looking at mining nickel, copper and platinum in that area, and is now at the stage of submitting an environmental assessment for a proposed mining operation.  In fact, there are close to 40 firms that have staked claims within the Ring of Fire – though not all of them are mining companies.  One should keep that in mind in the wake of Cliffs’ announcement last week that it is suspending its chromite project within the James Bay lowlands …. Should we be panicking after all the promising things that have been said about the Ring of Fire? Is this the end?  Absolutely not.  It might seem trite to confidently state the minerals are in the ground and that they’re not going anywhere.  But that is the truth ….”  Timmins Daily Press
  • Meanwhile, at least one First Nation’s interested in getting a piece of the (still-proposed) “rail to the Ring” action  “Wally Bannon wants his community to be involved in construction of the transportation route to the Ring of Fire mineral development area.  “I want to see Fort William and many of our other Robinson Superior members a part of developing the $800 million road or the $1.2 billion railroad from Nakina (located about halfway between Thunder Bay and North Bay on Hwy. 11) to the mine,” says the economic development director for Fort William First Nation. “I want to be a partner in that.”  Bannon says his community has already started up a road construction and aggregate company, which rebuilt 16.2 kilometres of community roads over the past summer. Up to 45 community members were employed at various stages during the $7 million project.  “We had no experienced people, we had a few pieces of equipment,” he recalls. “So we had to go out and find someone that could train, someone that knew how to develop the road to a point that it was on time and on budget and then train those individuals from our First Nation to be able to perform and develop with the building of the roads.”  Bannon says the project was successful and the community is now looking to secure road construction contracts in Thunder Bay and area.  “There is some interest in regards to MTO needing some crushing of rock,” Bannon says, noting the community purchased a mobile rock crusher which is now available for contract jobs. “We’re not looking to take on a $10 million or $15 million project; we’re looking at a project that we can do and make some money at.” ….”  Source
  • And finally, some news from one of the OTHER players in the Ring of Fire …. “KWG Resources Inc. is very encouraged with the results of ongoing metallurgical test work to determine the thermodynamics of metalizing the chromite from the Black Horse deposit by its reduction with natural gas.  “We have reported to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines some of the conclusions being derived from this work which may have profound and positive consequences for the Development Corporation that the Minister has announced,” said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “We were gratified to contribute to the discussion, at Minister Gravelle’s invitation, about the many considerations for the infrastructure expansion that the Development Corporation will undertake. As our own test work indicates, ‘getting it right’ may need a little more thinking-through and is very much worth taking the time for.”   KWG also announces that it has closed a third tranche of its previously announced flow-through private placement, the subscriptions to which now total $2.1 million. The company has received conditional listing approval to complete a final subscription of units for $300,000 on or before December 23, 2013. Each unit comprises one flow-through treasury share and one warrant which may be exercised to acquire a further flow-through share for $0.10 at any time within three years. The units may be acquired by qualified investors for a subscription of $0.05 each ….”  Company news release

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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