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

Ring of Fire News – December 4, 2013

  • Agree or disagree with the premises, a “must read”:  a business journalist’s primer and plain talk on Cliffs  “Dear Ontario, there’s been way too much off-base and irresponsible commentary in the province about Cliffs Natural Resources’ decision to shelve its Ring of Fire chromite project. And so, in the spirit of afternoon reality TV and the very best perma-tanned psychiatrists with books to peddle, it’s time we both sat down and you got a little straight talk ….”  Source – alternate link 
  • Ontario Mines Minister:  still working with Cliffs ….  “The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines continues to work with Cliffs Natural Resources, despite their hesitance to continue with the project. Minister Michael Gravelle says they’re still working with Cliffs, as part of their discussions with 27 companies and individuals holding about 12,850 mining claims in the region.   Cliffs Natural resources made the decision to stop allocation capital for the mining development in the Ring of Fire, as they were concerend about infrastructure. They said they would be stepping back indefinitly, until a definite and viable plan was in place for the creation of infrastructure necesary for mining activity in the region.   Gravelle says they recognize the importance of infrastructure in the region, and are hoping to create all that is needed to move the project forward ….”  Source
  • …. but it’s not JUST about Cliffs  “…. There continues to be tremendous opportunity in the Ring of Fire. Development in the region has the potential to create thousands of jobs and significantly strengthen the economy of this province, and, in fact, the entire country, for years to come.  The province continues to work diligently to ensure we are ready to support this development and remain firmly committed to working with any and all interested parties to develop the region. Development in the region has always been about more than one company.  Currently there are 27 companies and individuals holding approximately 12,850 active mining claims in the region and we remain committed to working with all our key partners.  This does include Cliffs ….”  Sourcemore
  • Ontario:  From surprise to disappointment  “Comments from the federal government downplaying the importance of the Ring of Fire are disappointing, says Ontario’s mines minister.  Michael Gravelle said he is pursuing a meeting with the federal minister responsible for FedNor, and premier Kathleen Wynne is attempting to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Gravelle said recent remarks out of Ottawa suggesting the Ring of Fire is primarily a provincial issue flies in the face of past comments stating the economic opportunities the mining development could have for the country.  “We know that this is a project of true national significance, and I say that because that’s how the federal government has spoken about the project,” Gravelle said ….”  Source
  • No guesses on timelines from First Nations negotiator  “As mining companies wait on the sidelines, aboriginal groups and the Ontario government haven’t even set guidelines for negotiations over how to develop and share the mineral-rich Ring of Fire area, a lawyer representing the indigenous groups said.   Until there’s more certainty over what will be discussed, such as environmental concerns, infrastructure and resource sharing, it’s too soon to say when companies including Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. and Noront Resources Ltd. will be able to mine the Canadian region, said Bob Rae, 65, a former federal Liberal party leader.   “I’m very reluctant to predict the timing,” Rae, who represents the nine indigenous groups in the Matawa Tribal Council, said last week in an interview. “Aboriginal communities historically, and governments and companies, often see the issue of time from a different perspective.” ….”  Source
  • Noront:  We’re still good to go!  “Cliffs Natural Resource has decided to ice its Black Thor chromite mine project, but Noront Resources, a Ring of Fire neighbour, maintains its still full speed ahead on development of its deposits.  Noront “reaffirmed” its plans to continue development of its Eagle’s Nest mine project and remains on track to deliver its environmental assessment (EA) by year’s end.  “Noront’s schedule is based on the Eagle’s Nest project being the first mine developed in the Ring of Fire,” said company president and CEO Alan Coutts in a Nov. 20 statement. “Our projections have not been dependent on the development plans of other mining companies.” ….”  SourceNoront executive’s Twitter reminder of same message 
  • Noront gets some positive mention in a business & competitiveness report  “Ontario Mining Association member Noront Resources was singled out as a bright spot on the future economic development horizon by the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity.   The organization’s recently released twelfth annual report “Course Correction: Charting a new road map for Ontario” offers several suggestions to accelerate stagnant growth …. Within the write up on the Ring of Fire, Noront is highlighted significantly.  “Noront is a business that should be emulated across Northwestern Ontario,” said the report.  “Noront is taking its corporate social responsibility seriously and is devoting substantial capital and time to investing in local talent and preserving the natural habitat.”  “Noront (which has been working in the Ring of Fire region since 2007) has invested more than $150 million in exploration and plans to proceed to development with its Eagle’s Nest project within the next five years,” said the report.  “Noront is a commendable industry player for many reasons.” ….”  Sourcereport 
  • Northern Ontario NDP’er trying to get Ring of Fire on federal radar   “Nickel Belt (Sudbury) MP Claude Gravelle thinks it’s time to open a new channel of dialogue between Ottawa and Queen’s Park on the Ring of Fire.  The Ontario government’s pleas for the federal government to buy into mining development in the James Bay lowlands appear to have fallen on deaf ears.   Gravelle wants to stop the political rhetoric and dive into the details as to what exactly the Wynne government wants.  He’s bringing forward a motion before the federal standing committee on natural resources to call the Government of Ontario as a witness to better understand what their needs are to move the stalled multi-billion dollar chromite and base metal project forward ….”  SourceMP’s statement
  • University research team offers self, upcoming conference up to help sort things out  “…. Lakehead University’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration (CESME) was established to help address these issues and act as an honest broker among all the parties involved in the future development of Northern Ontario’s rich mineral resources …. By mixing insightful presentations with provocative roundtable discussions, this conference will broaden our understanding of the policy gaps inhibiting sustainable resource development in the North and develop recommendations for various levels of government.  CESME is uniquely positioned to facilitate this process by offering a neutral space for parties to come together and share goals and concerns, in addition to making available its diverse range of researchers with the necessary skill sets to move things forward.  Working together to identify the policy gaps and create constructive solutions, we have the potential to revive the optimism that surrounded mineral development just a few months ago and turn Thunder Bay into the vibrant economic driver it can be, not just for Northern Ontario, but the whole province ….”  Sourceconference agenda
  • Editorial  “Bob Rae is a man of many hats. He’s been the NDP premier of Ontario, the interim federal Liberal leader and is currently the chief negotiator and counsel for the Matawa First Nations.   Now, at least temporarily, he’s playing the role of rational adult, calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop their petty squabble over the development of northern Ontario’s massively lucrative Ring of Fire, 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay …. Unless more voices like Rae’s demand accountability, delays to the development will continue. Certainly, the vast tracts of minerals won’t wither away. But the project could be Ontario’s version of Alberta’s oilsands, creating desperately needed employment at a time when other industries are cutting loose thousands of workers.  It’s hard to imagine the political obtuseness needed to let an opportunity of this scale slip away — yet that’s exactly what we’re watching unfold. What a shame.  Perhaps federal and provincial politicians need reminding that the economic doldrums are weighing heavily on Ontarians. Voters aren’t in the mood for lost opportunities.”    Toronto Star
  • rabble.ca writer’s take on the Fraser Institute, First Nations and resources  “According to the Fraser Institute, it is only First Nations’ stubborn insistence on non-existent rights and blindness to inevitable benefit that prevents them from being a willing partner to resource development.  Released yesterday, the report, Opportunities for First Nation prosperity through oil and gas development, successfully repeats some well-known fact …. First Nations are failing to be a willing partner.  Apparently, that willingness would be present if only they understood, as the Fraser Institute does, that they have no inherent rights, that the duty to consult is an inconvenient invention, that the Harper government and the extractive industries are only there to help, and that the only consequences to development are its inevitable economic benefits.  If only those stubbornly blind First Nations would understand.”  Sourcereport
  • TSX infrastructure warning  “For junior mining companies hoping to get listed on the main Toronto Stock Exchange, having a gazillion-dollar deposit in the middle of nowhere is not good enough.   The TSX has sent a clear message to these firms that they need a credible plan to get their product to market. Otherwise, they are not getting off the Venture exchange, where capital is far more scarce.  Earlier this month, the TSX issued a notice targeting companies with bulk commodity projects (like coal, iron ore and chromite) in remote areas. To get a listing on the main exchange, these companies were told they need a plan to develop or access infrastructure, along with a cost estimate for that plan.  Ungad Chadda, senior vice president of the TSX, said the exchange was getting queries from miners that were not clear about these issues. He said the exchange wants to avoid listing miners that have a “fatal flaw right out of the gate.”  “A lot of times you’ll get [companies saying] ‘Oh, I’ve got this multi-trillion asset – this is great!’ And they haven’t really thought through how to get it [to market],” he said ….”  SourcemoreTSX notice 
  • Some not-great crystal ball news for Canada’s mining industry in general  “Canada’s battered mining industry is in for another turbulent year with companies becoming  “desperate” to slash costs, innovate and find new mines amid an aging workforce, says the chairman of Deloitte in Canada.  In a sneak peak of the accounting firm’s upcoming annual industry trends report, Glenn Ives said Thursday that the current downturn that has seen miners mothball large projects and company shares plummet will likely continue next year.  “We’ve reached a turning point in the industry,” he said in an interview …. How to handle soaring costs will continue to dominate the ailing industry, the sixth annual report says …. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. shocked the industry when it announced last week that it was pulling back from the minerals-rich Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario because it couldn’t afford to move forward without the okay from the province to build an all-weather road to the remote site ….”  Sourcereportmore 


 

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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