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

Ring of Fire News – December 12, 2013

  • Really?  Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli confirmed in a conference call with reporters Dec. 4 what many people had long assumed: the province has offered Cliffs Natural Resources a special hydro rate for its Ring of Fire project …. When asked about the implications for Cliffs, Chiarelli said a separate arrangement had already been struck.  “In the Ring of Fire, it’s generally known that in our discussions with Cliffs, we were making, for that project, which is a seminal project, not only for Northern Ontario, but for the Province of Ontario, that accommodation is being made on the price side,” Chiarelli said.  “I can’t tell you any more, because the negotiations (with Cliffs) are ongoing … But there is a significant accommodation for the Ring of Fire on the table in those discussions.” ….” – more on the deal that dare not speak its own name here
  • KWG Resources Launches Awareness Program via AGORACOM – KWG Resources Inc. will issue 282,500 shares at $0.05 to AGORACOM Inc for the first payment under the shares for services contract announced November 7, 2013. The shares will have a hold period of four months ….” – more on the awareness campaign here
  • Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced …. that P. Kelly Tompkins, 57, currently executive vice president, chief administrative officer & president, Cliffs China, has been appointed executive vice president, external affairs & president, global commercial. Mr. Tompkins will assume the expanded responsibility for leading Cliffs’ commercial group which includes global sales, marketing and logistics functions. Mr. Tompkins also will maintain executive oversight responsibility for Cliffs’ strategy and business development activities as well as its legal, government, environmental, sustainability, and risk activities worldwide. As previously announced, Donald J. Gallagher will retire effective Dec. 31, 2013 ….”
  • Noront Resources Ltd. reports that the company has changed its fiscal year end from April 30 to December 31, effective as of December 31, 2013. Accordingly, for the new fiscal 2013 period, the Company will report its annual consolidated financial statements for the eight month period ending December 31, 2013 compared to the twelve month period ended April 30, 2013. The Company changed its year end in order to bring its financial year end in line with the majority of producing mining companies. In accordance with the change in year-end the Company’s Board of Directors has changed its annual review period to align with the new year-end.  In addition, the Company’s Board of Directors has granted options to acquire an aggregate of 3,620,000 common shares of Noront (“Common Shares”) to directors, officers and employees, with an exercise price of $0.17 per Common Share, the closing market price on the date of grant December 10, 2013, exercisable for a period of five years ….”
  • More from Premier Wynne on her meeting with the PM  “…. Wynne explained her original hopes didn’t exactly materialize after talks with Harper, but added she was more optimistic than she had been that the feds would eventually come on board with funding. She didn’t directly respond when asked whether the project could move ahead without it.  “I think it’s clear (Harper) recognizes how important the Ring of Fire is as an economic development opportunity,” said Wynne. “He has said he’s open to considering the development corporation, which is the mechanism we believe will get the infrastructure built. It was a good conversation and I’m very glad he was willing to engage with us.  “We’re not giving up on the Ring of Fire. We are carrying on.” ….” – still more here
  • More messaging from Ontario’s Minister of Natural Resources David Orazietti to the feds  “…. The Sault MPP called on the federal government to demonstrate serious financial support for the Ring of Fire development in Northwestern Ontario, similar to a $6 billion loan for Labrador’s Lower Churchill hydroelectricity project and “hundreds of millions” for oilsands in western Canada.  The Ring of Fire mining project could bring in $60 billion of revenues.  “This is about fairness for Northern Ontario residents and we want to see the same types of investments in major Northern infrastructure projects that are not only good for Northern Ontario, but they’re good for the whole country,” said Orazietti.”
  • Meanwhile, Sudbury MPP continues to root, root, root for the home team when it comes to a chromite refinery  “The man who was minister of Northern Development and Mines when Cliffs announced it was building a $1.8-billion refinery near Capreol says now is not the time to panic.  “It’s not falling apart,” Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci said Wednesday, “although this is not the greatest news we’ve heard in regard to this project.”  Bartolucci said Cliff’s decision to suspend all work on the Ring of Fire — including work on the Moose Mountain refinery — is at least partly due to low commodity prices for chromite. And the recent ruling by the mining commissioner denying Cliffs access to land owned by another mining company to build a road to the site was another blow.  “But I will not end my political career with this project leaving Sudbury,” Bartolucci said, who announced earlier this year he would not run in the next election. “I worked very, very hard to make sure the ferrochrome processing facility was located (in Capreol).” ….”  We’ll see ….
  • And the view from the federal Ring of Fire minister?  “The federal minister responsible for the Ring of Fire, Greg Rickford, remains optimistic as he offers an update on talks between Ottawa, Toronto and First Nations.  “I think that Cliff’s business decision was a bit of a setback, but I’ve encouraged my provincial counterparts to work collaboratively,” he said,  After a meeting between the prime minister and the premier late last week over roads and bridges for the project, there’s still a bit of back and forth over who should pay, as well as which level of government should play what role.  “What I heard from the premier yesterday, and had not seen up until that point, was the virtues of working collaboratively,” he said ….”
  • From an Ottawa Citizen editorial:  “It would be quite an understatement to say that the Ring of Fire mineral project in northern Ontario is the most significant economic development opportunity for Ontario First Nations the province has ever seen …. For the federal government …. this is a chance to not just talk about First Nations poverty, but actually do something about it.”
  • At least one environmentalist is underwhelmed by the editorial – this, from CPAWS Wildlands League’s Anna Baggio, via Twitter:  “it’s too bad the Ring gets overhyped like this, creates unrealistic expectations that mining is answer to poverty …. Edit falls for myth mining is “answer to poverty, drugs” It’s not. It’s not a panacea for all that ails communities
  • It will be at least a decade before development in the Ring of Fire begins, predicts one strategist.  An expert on First Nations, government and corporate relations in resource development, Bill Gallagher said nothing is going to happen in the Ring of Fire until there is major progress from the province when it comes to First Nations support.  Author of the recently published “Resource Rulers” Gallagher, who is also a lawyer, highlights 150 court cases in Canada that have been a battleground over resource development and First Nations are the victor. While other provinces have caught on to the notion that nothing will happen without the backing of First Nations, Ontario is stuck in a time warp ….” – previous “glass is half empty” commentary from Gallagher here
  • More from the environmentalist lobby  “Oh the gnashing of teeth and pulling of hair that has occurred in various media outlets and around the province since news broke that Cliffs will suspend indefinitely its Chromite Project in northern Ontario. It wasn’t a surprise to those of us who follow global market prices, corporate boardrooms and here at home the environmental assessment processes. The project had been sputtering for quite some time.  With news of the indefinite suspension by Cliffs, there has been a lot of finger pointing and apportioning of blame. But I think this is a distraction from bigger, more important issues such as how should Ontario develop its non-renewable resources in the Ring of Fire? “The Ring” is more than Cliffs after all. How should we address neighbouring First Nations decades long infrastructure needs? How do we make sure the Ekwan, Attawapiskat and Albany Rivers will be clean and healthy forever? How do we all make best use of limited public resources? How do we ensure there is transparency and integrity around decision-making and that First Nations are respected? ….”
  • An Anishinabek Nation leader is calling on Premier Kathleen Wynne to immediately convene a discussion on the implications of treaty rights on resource extraction in Ontario.  Chief Isadore Day, Wiindawtegowinini, Serpent River First Nation, told delegates at the Northern Leaders Forum that the withdrawal of Cliffs Resources from the giant Ring of Fire chromite development in Northwestern Ontario indicates the need for clear guidelines to be established about the rights of First Nations to be full partners in any resource-based activity on their traditional lands.  “The Growth Plan model presents an opportunity for everyone in Ontario to recognize Treaties in Ontario. We want the premier and Minister Gravelle (Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines) to start talking about treaties immediately.  Recent challenges with the Ring of Fire is tells us that there is a lack of treaty recognition and First Nations need to be included as a full partner in discussions.” ….”

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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