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Ring of Fire News – February 27, 2014

  • Whazzup with the smelter“The province has been silent on the future of a proposed $1.8-billion refinery in Capreol, that would have been tied to Cliffs Natural Resources’ involvement in the Ring of Fire. Cliffs stopped work on its $3.3-billion Ring of Fire development in 2013 due to a number of major hurdles. Those included a lack of agreements with First Nations in the area, and a lost appeal to the Ontario Mining Commission late last year that would have allowed the company an easement on the property to begin planning the necessary infrastructure. When asked about the future for the planned refinery in Capreol, Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines, said the province needs to make decisions on transportation and infrastructure in the Ring of Fire before it can move on to proposed projects like the refinery. “They are one company,” Gravelle said about Cliffs. “There are other companies with very specific proposals and interests in the Ring of Fire.” ….”
  • Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle knows he has work to do. “We need to make some decisions on infrastructure,” said Gravelle in an interview with the News about the Ring of Fire mining find in the remote James Bay region of Northern Ontario. Once touted as the biggest mining find of the century in the province, the development has stalled over the past year with drilling activity almost stopping completely and global mining giant Cliffs Natural Resources saying it’s pulling out of the region. But Gravelle says work is still being done around the Ring of Fire and the most important ingredient is getting it right. “We’re all eager to see the project move forward, but we’re also eager to see that we do it in the right way,” said Gravelle. At the moment the Ring of Fire project is in the bureaucratic wash cycle simultaneously going through consultations/negotiations with First Nations, and environmental assessment and the number crunching analysis of how to get the ore from a remote challenging terrain to market. It is work Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli believes could be going a lot faster. During a recent trip to the Noront and Cliffs camps in the Ring of Fire, Fedeli said he is concerned about the speed of the roll out since the mining find was discovered in 2007 ….”
  • Canadian Mining Journal staffer’s column  “Sorry, but I find it hard to get excited by the recent news that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has broken ceremonial ground on a new all-weather highway from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk. As much as I favour any infrastructure work the Feds are willing to pay for, I have to question why a 140-km gravel highway (that’s been on the books since the Diefenbaker years in the 1960s) now gets a push and will still be on the books until it’s scheduled to be completed in 2018? Sure, the PMO’s office says, “The link that hooks up to the Dempster Highway running through the Yukon is expected to deliver many economic benefits and save northerners hundreds of dollars a year in shipping costs.” BUT, and that’s a big ‘but,’ is saving northerners hundreds of dollars worth it because I can think of a number of other highway projects that would not only save money but moreover, help make it? …. What about a road into Ontario’s Ring of Fire? That’s a road that should, almost must be built for the sake of “economic development” because like it or not, those vast resources buried in Northern Ontario are more of a key to Canada’s economic well being than anything the far north can offer right now.” As much as I like and understand many of the people who live and work north of the 60th parallel, the truth of the matter is that a road to viable resources is far more important than a ‘dream’ road to frozen reserves.”
  • Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce hosts Ring of Fire chat up  “The Ring of Fire needs the attention of southern Ontario. “I’m a Northern Ontario person and I understand the impact of projects like this on Northern Ontario and on southern Ontario but not very many people do,” said Paul Semple, the chief operating officer of Noront Resources. “I think when people realize there are manufacturing opportunities, there’s other opportunities that start from the south, they’ll see the significance of this project to Ontario.” The Ontario Chamber of Commerce released a report titled Beneath the Surface: Uncovering the Economic Potential of Ontario’s Ring of Fire last week stating that once the project ia active, it will generate up to $9.4 billion in GDP over 10 years and sustain up to 5,500 jobs annually. At a luncheon hosted by the local chamber of commerce to discuss the report at the Airlane Hotel Wednesday, Semple said the importance of the report is raising awareness of the Ring of Fire throughout Ontario, not just in the North. “We tell the story to everyone who wants to listen,” he said. “I don’t think the average person in southern Ontario would get it because they don’t have some tie to mining but I think it goes a lot further than that.” ….”moremore 
  • One market analyst’s take  “Because of competing interests and parochial biases, the vast potential of Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral development project lays dormant, but the provincial government may yet break the logjam holding progress back as it lays the foundation of a road map for the way forward ….”
  • One reporter’s take on the transition  “The guys have just finished a Chinese food lunch and are parked in front of the TV, riveted to men’s Olympic hockey, Canada vs Finland, in the Esker Camp recreation room. Next door, a young chef cleans up the cooking show-worthy kitchen — complete with icemaker in the dry camp — and preps for the usual Friday night feast. This time it’s prime rib, which they alternate with steak and shrimp every other week. “We don’t mess around here,” says the burly manager on Cliffs Natural Resources’ half of the exploration camp, which sits on land claims owned by Toronto rival Noront Resources. Only a handful of miners from both companies are left at the remote Northern outpost now that drilling has stopped, so the vibe is collegial — particularly since Cleveland-based Cliffs dropped the bombshell three months ago that it was shelving its massive chromite mining project here in the Ring of Fire mineral belt. Up to 200 miners worked here a couple years ago, operating drill rigs that dug a kilometre underground for core samples to prove the grades of mine-worthy ore. Now a dozen men share an awkward co-existence in a virtual ghost town, the whirling snow substituting for tumbleweed. While the U.S. firm is in mothballing mode, Noront is loading up on fuel and other supplies as it gears up to start construction next year on its Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum mine – bumping Cliffs as the most likely to finally tap into the metals-rich region touted to be the next Sudbury basin ….”
  • A bit of legal beagle analysis of Noront’s next steps  “Noront Resources Ltd. submitted a draft environmental assessment report (the “Report”) for its project located in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire (the “Eagles Nest Project”). The Report responds to a federal-provincial co-ordinated environmental assessment process, governed by the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act (“EAA”) and former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (“CEAA”). The assessment process is intended to identify, mitigate, and possibly prevent negative effects that designated projects may have on the surrounding environment. For the Eagles Nest Project to proceed, federal and provincial governments must approve it. If the project is approved, Noront expects commercial production at Eagles Nest by 2017/2018 ….”
  • This, from a senior Noront official and outgoing president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, via Twitter  “Ontario smart to focus on developing northern infrastructure development and let companies build smelters.”
  • This, from an environmentalist, via Twitter  “Too many people are promoting Ring of Fire like a cash cow. Time to turn down the rhetoric. It’s creating unrealistic expectations.”
  • Meanwhile, KWG Resources Inc. announces that it has closed the last tranche of its previously announced flow-through private placement, the subscriptions to which totaled $2.33 million. The last tranche totaled 1,400,000 flow-through units at $0.05 each for gross proceeds of $70,000. 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. All securities issued are subject to a four-month hold period ….”
  • A Sudbury-based junior mining company isn’t ruling out a settlement agreement with the province to relinquish its claims on its dormant gold properties in northwestern Ontario after a dispute with a First Nation community. Northern Superior Resources is suing the Ontario government for $110 million for failing to consult with the Sachigo Lake First Nation after multiple disagreements with the band caused the company to abandon exploration on its mining claims in late 2011. “I have no ambition to go to court,” said company president and CEO Tom Morris. “It serves no purpose to any party. But we do need to get this resolved.” The gold exploration outfit claims the company was hurt by the inaction of the Ontario government and wants compensation for the $15 million invested in exploration since 2005 as well as the estimated value of its three gold properties located near the Manitoba border ….” – Company’s Statement of Claim (PDF) – Ontario’s Statement of Defence (PDF) – more from Northern Superior Resources on the lawsuit –  more from media – more

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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Ring of Fire News – February 20, 2014

  • Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC):  Ring of Fire is a HUGE opportunity – get stuck in, province and feds!  “The highly touted Ring of Fire mineral belt in Northern Ontario is expected to generate nearly $2 billion in tax revenues and up to 5,500 full-time jobs in the first 10 years of mining activity, says a new report.  The Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s action plan and economic analysis, to be made public in Toronto Thursday, also calls on the federal government to make the Ring of Fire a national priority.  The report says that within the first decade of development, the mineral-rich area will generate up to $9.4 billion in GDP and nearly $6.2 billion for the province’s mining industry.  Hoping to spur activity in the stalled region, the chamber is calling on Ottawa to take a more active role in the financing of the lucrative mining camp, since it stands to be the primary benefactor of tax revenues — and that “should provide a compelling incentive to invest.”  “At a minimum, it should match any provincial investments in the Ring of Fire infrastructure,” says the “Beneath the Surface” report ….”moremore from other news media (Google News) – OCC news releasemore from OCC
  • Reaction to Ontario hiring Deloitte to move the Ring of Fire Development Corporation along (1a)  “…. Federal Minister Greg Rickford states, “Economic Action Plan 2014 reaffirmed our government’s commitment to the new Building Canada Plan.  We look forward to the Government of Ontario identifying its priority infrastructure projects under Building Canada, including those projects related to the Ring of Fire”.  “We also look forward to Ontario providing the Government of Canada with details on the proposed Development Corporation,” adds the Kenora MP and Minister responsible for the Ring of Fire. “Our Government believes that the Ring of Fire is a legacy resource development project with the potential to contribute significantly to the economic future of Northern Ontario” ….”
  • Reaction to Ontario hiring Deloitte to move the Ring of Fire Development Corporation along (1b)  “….  Greg Rickford, the federal minister responsible for the file, says it’s up to Ontario’s provincial government to apply for infrastructure funding under the new Building Canada fund announced last week.  “We have always been clear that the Build Canada fund contemplates these large-scale, economic development-based, responsible resource development projects,” Rickford said in an interview. “That’s what it’s intended to do.”  “But those resources have to align with the priorities of the province — so to the extent that the province says ‘this is our major file, this is where we want considerable resources to go into,’ … then we can do that.”  That could eat up a huge portion of Ontario’s $2.4-billion share of the 10-year federal fund.  “That’s for Queen’s Park to sort out,” said Rickford ….”Building Canada Fund information
  • Reaction to Ontario hiring Deloitte to move the Ring of Fire Development Corporation along  (2)  “…. Opposition politicians were quick to criticize Gravelle’s announcement Friday as lacking in substance. Nipissing Progressive Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli, who just returned from his fourth visit to the Ring of Fire, said virtually no progress has been made on establishing the development corporation three months after it was announced.  He also expressed his support for the rail transportation option proposed by KWG Resources.  New Democrat Northern Development and Mines critic, Algoma-Manitoulin MPP Michael Mantha, said Friday’s announcement by Gravelle was a “stark reminder of the Liberal government’s inability to spur development in the mining sector.  “The Liberal government continues to govern by press release; all talk no action,” said Mantha.  He called the hiring of Deloitte LLP “a plan to make a plan to make a plan. Industry, as we have seen, are packing up and leaving, taking their investment dollars and good jobs elsewhere,” he said.”more from opposition politiciansmore
  • Reaction to Ontario hiring Deloitte to move the Ring of Fire Development Corporation along (3)  “….  Noront Resources vice-president of Aboriginal affairs Glenn Nolan said it’s a good idea to bring the company on board in order to get some clarity and direction in the Ring of Fire.  “We’d like to see the idea move forward, to advance. That’s our only issue,” he said.  As the only company that has a feasibility study done, as well as a submitted Environmental Assessment with a proposed East-West Road from Pickle Lake, they should be considered as the primary option when it comes to infrastructure.  “We’re the only company that actually has anything of substance,” he said ….”
  • Meanwhile, Noront continues to offer itself as the solution  “Sticking to the basics, keep their eye on the ball and concentrate on making contact is the strategy Noront Resources is continuing as it continues to outpace all others in the most touted mining discovery in a generation – the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario.  CEO and president of Noront Alan Coutts brakes down the complexity of his specific proposal to create a viable mine in one of the remotest parts of the province.  “You don’t need to go for the grand slam homerun right away. You just need to get a base hit,” said Coutts.  After years standing in the on deck circle Noront is preparing to take its best swing for that base hit this year applying for permit approvals for a permanent road to the mine site about 500 km north of Timmins. The road would run east-west from Pickle Lake above Thunder Bay running mostly along a route that serves four First Nations communities via winter road.   With a 282 km route to cover across James Bay Lowlands the company is saying it is the best way to push their proposed Eagle’s Nest deposit from very expensive find to an active mine.  The road is plan A in a draft environmental assessment proposal submitted jointly to the federal and provincial governments this past December with plans to submit a formal proposal early this year so work can start next winter to connect the Ring of Fire by something other than air transport.  While the company has some ideas about how to build the road, paying for it is something that remains up in the air. Noront is prepared to budget an amount of money in the tens of millions of dollars towards it but believes the government should also be at the table. The east-west route could bring direct year-round road access to the First Nations of Webequie, Naskantanga, Nibinamik and Eabamatoong – all currently fly-in communities relying on diesel generation – along with the possibility of hooking into the provincial grid ….”
  • More of the latest from Cliffs  “Though some shareholders of Cliffs Natural Resources have been calling for his replacement, the Sudbury native who put the brakes on what had been expected to be the first operating mine in the Ring of Fire has been given a promotion.  Cleveland-based Cliffs last week elevated Gary Halverson so that he is the company’s CEO as well as president.  Halverson, 55, was hired in November as Cliffs’ president and chief operating officer.  “We are confident that Gary is the right candidate to lead Cliffs, given his proven experience with international and long-term mining operations and understanding of the global commodities industry,” said a Cliffs news release.  A few days after Halverson was hired, Cliffs announced that it was stopping all pre-development work on a proposed ROF chromite mine about 550 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay ….”
  • Analyst commentary  “Like most relationships, the affair between Cliffs and Canada started off with a long slow flirtation, then got hot and heavy, cooled off, and eventually got downright dysfunctional. On a Valentine’s Day press conference, Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF) told Canada “It’s not you, it’s me.” ….”More Cliffs analysis
  • The latest on another Ring of Fire player  ” Fancamp Exploration Ltd. is the subject of a Mining MarketWatch Journal Review offering insight and opportunity afforded investors. FNC.V is a junior miner with ownership interests in several exceptional advanced-stage flagship properties that it originated and has since vended. FNC.V is positioned for potential extraordinary share price appreciation over the coming months and years as the reality of the large inherent value that the Company possesses is understood by the market and milestones by its partner companies are achieved.  The full Mining Journal review may be found at http://miningmarketwatch.net/fnc.htm online ….”
  • Another possible way, from the In Support of Mining blog  “The Quebec government has stunned the natural resource sector with an announcement that it will trade public funding for a big equity stake in oil and gas development in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  It’s an interesting move, and Ontario’s provincial leaders should take notice.  In a Thursday announcement, the PQ government said it was striking two separate equity deals with all the companies that hold exploration permits on Anticosti Island, in exchange for funding their drilling programs.  The first of the deals will see Quebec contribute $70 million for a $100-million drilling program undertaken with two Canadian-based juniors, Pétrolia Inc. and Corridor Resources, who will throw in their exploration licences, and the French firm Maurel & Prom, which will invest up to $43 million in the program. The province will hold a 35-per-cent stake, while the others split the rest.  A second deal contemplates a $45-million government investment in a $90-million program undertaken with Quebec-based junior Junex, which will transfer its land rights into the joint venture for a 20 per-cent-stake. Another partner would be brought in to complete the set.  As Junex described it, the two-phase exploration program will be financed by Ressources Quebec and “a third party industry player who remains to be identified and who will be at arm’s length,” in return for an 80-per-cent stake in “a special purpose vehicle created for the project which will control 100 per cent of Junex’s Anticosti Island permits.”  So the move comes with a hefty price tag. But, according to the government, the yet-unproven Anticosti development could represent a $45-billion boon to the province over the next 30 years, in the form of royalties, taxes and return on equity. If the play comes through, it could also help reduce the province’s reliance on foreign oil …. Yes, there is risk associated with the move.  Risk of losing public money. Risk of looking bad.  Risk of provoking backlash from environmental organizations.  Risk of being castigated by ROC commentators for profligate ways and a socialist mindset.  But there is also the promise of significant profit that could benefit the province well into the future.  Are there any lessons here for those who would develop Ontario’s far northern Ring of Fire mineral zone? …”
  • More analyst commentary  “…. Without a doubt, the value of the Ring of Fire’s current and future potential mineral discoveries are in the hundreds of billions of dollars and these multi-generational mines will provide enormous wealth and employment opportunities for the surrounding First Nations communities. This is an economically and socially transformative project that will positively impact not only Ontario’s northwestern frontier but the entire country as well.  But current provincial indecision over what type of transportation – rail or road – that would best spur economic development of the mining camp, various legal challenges between Cliffs and KWG over access to a coveted north-south route, First Nations negotiations about resources revenue sharing, and provincial/federal conflicts over how to pay for transportation and power infrastructure are all stalling the massive chromite projects as well as further exploration efforts.  With a possible provincial election on the horizon, the lack of progress in the Ring of Fire may affect the outcome of many northern ridings. Considering that current polling indicates no party with a commanding lead, these northern ridings may ultimately impact on who becomes the next Premier of Ontario.”

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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Update – February 14, 2014

A few new tidbits following yesterday’s update …. 

  • We have a facilitator of sorts to bring together the Ring of Fire Development Corporation!  Minister Michael Gravelle speaking in Thunder Bay has announced that the firm Deloitte LLP has been tasked with the responsibility for helping to establish the Ring of Fire Development Corporation.  Deloitte LLP will act as an independent, neutral third party resource for key partners.  Minister Gravelle stated, “I asked you to come here today to update you on the progress of the Ring of Fire Plans” …. One of the main issues has been creating all season access to the Ring of Fire. Gravelle said the issue is very complicated and that getting it right is critical”.  Strategic infrastructure is key. Discussions with First Nations, and the federal government is ongoing and positive …. Gravelle is encouraging and inviting the Federal Government to step up. Gravelle commented that he is disappointed that the Ring of Fire was not mentioned in the recent Federal Budget.”more from other media
  • More from the MNDM Info-machine on how Deloitte will be helping out  “…. Deloitte LLP will work with Ring of Fire partners to set clear paths and timelines for decision-making, create guiding principles for the development corporation, and seek consensus on the corporation’s next steps.  Work is also underway to help partners build a common understanding of infrastructure needs in the region. A third-party research report will examine existing infrastructure proposals and establish a common technical basis to inform decisions to maximize the economic and social potential of the Ring of Fire region ….”
  • On that bit about the feds “stepping up”, could this be a potential option???  “Prime Minister Stephen Harper …. released important details on the New Building Canada Plan, including support that will ensure small communities have stable, long-term and unprecedented access to funding for vital infrastructure projects. He was accompanied by Denis Lebel, Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, and Paul Calandra, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and for Intergovernmental Affairs.  Details released today relate to key elements of the New Building Canada Fund, including dedicated funding for small communities, Provincial-Territorial allocations, project categories eligible for support, cost-sharing thresholds, and public-private partnership (P3) screening requirements.   The new Plan details announced today will provide municipalities, provinces and territories with the information they need to plan public infrastructure projects in their jurisdictions ….”BackgrounderMore info from Infrastructure Canada
  • How the province is taking an interest (but not taking sides) in that Mining Commissioner decision appeal  “The Ontario government said it’s not taking sides in asking to participate in a court appeal launched by Cliffs Natural Resources over access issues to the Ring of Fire.  A statement released through the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) said the province seeks to intervene solely on “questions of law and takes no position” between the appellant and respondent.  Cliffs seeks to overturn a September ruling by the Ontario’s Mining and Lands Commissioner that denied the Ohio mining company overland access to its Big Thor chromite deposit in the James Bay lowlands.  Cliffs wants access to a string of mining claims staked by KWG Resources, a Toronto-based junior miner, to run a road north, 320 kilometres, to its deposit.  KWG, through a subsidiary company, has set aside those claims for a future railroad to its Big Daddy chromite deposit ….”
  • Cliffs Update (1)  Some of the latest financials …. “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. …. reported fourth-quarter and full-year results for the period ended Dec. 31, 2013. Full-year revenues of $5.7 billion decreased $181 million, or 3%, from the previous year. The lower revenues were primarily driven by slightly lower global iron ore sales volumes and significantly lower market pricing for metallurgical coal products. This was partially offset by a 12% increase in coal sales volumes. Cost of goods sold decreased by 3% to $4.5 billion driven by lower cost rates for Cliffs’ North American Coal business and favorable foreign exchange rates. For the full year, Cliffs recorded net income attributable to Cliffs’ shareholders of $414 million, or $2.37 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $899 million, or $6.32 per diluted share, in 2012. The full-year results for both 2013 and 2012 include special item charges related to certain asset and goodwill impairments and noncontrolling interest adjustments. Excluding these special items, which are detailed in the attached “Non-GAAP Reconciliation”, full-year 2013 adjusted net income attributed to Cliffs’ shareholders was $672 million, or $3.85 per diluted share, higher than full-year 2012’s adjusted net income of $493 million, or $3.46 per diluted share ….” – latest annual report filed here
  • Cliffs Update (2)  …. as well as who the new CEO is, officially ….   “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.  announced …. that its Board of Directors has appointed Gary B. Halverson, 55, formerly president and chief operating officer, to president and chief executive officer, effective immediately.  He also serves as a director on Cliffs’ Board.  James Kirsch, Cliffs’ chairman of the Board, said, “We are confident that Gary is the right candidate to lead Cliffs given his proven experience with international and long-term mining operations and understanding of the global commodities industry.  Since joining Cliffs, Gary has executed a number of key strategic initiatives to strengthen the Company and enhance value for all Cliffs’ shareholders.” ….” 
  • Cliffs Update (3)  …. as well as an open letter to shareholders saying the company’s good to go  “….We are confident that our plan will improve long-term financial and operating performance to create value for all shareholders.  To the extent that Casablanca offers additional ideas that would enhance shareholder value, we stand ready and willing to continue to engage with them on a private basis ….”
  • Cliffs Update (4)  One glass-is-half-empty take  “Cliffs Natural Resources is facing a shareholder insurrection as it makes moves to reel in spending.  The Ring of Fire explorer and Ohio-based iron ore miner is cutting its capital expenditures in half with a proposed 2014 budget of between US $375 million and US $425 compared to the US $862 million spent in 2013.  An expansion at its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec is being stopped, its Wabush iron mine in Labrador is being shuttered, and late last fall, Cliffs halted all exploration activity and technical work at its Black Thor chromite project in the Ring of Fire, placing it on indefinite suspension.  The Ohio miner is also fighting a backwater action against New York-based investment firm, Casablanca Capital, which wants Cliffs to spin off its international assets from its American operations ….”more media coverage

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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Ring of Fire News – February 13, 2014

  • Ontario, NDP:  What wasn’t mentioned in the federal budget 2014?  “…. The Harper government was willing to invest in Alberta’s oil sands and large energy projects in Newfoundland and Labrador, but won’t partner with Ontario to develop the huge Ring of Fire mineral deposit or meet its infrastructure needs, said Wynne ….” More
  • Sudbury-area business:  What wasn’t mentioned in the federal budget 2014?   “….(David Boyce, chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, said) “The budget does provide some infrastructure funding, but we would like to have seen some infrastructure funds allocated for development of the Ring of Fire project, which is an important one for our community. We do think for that project to move ahead we’re going to need some contribution by the federal government to infrastructure in Northwestern Ontario.” ….”
  • Maybe Canada’s Finance Minister’ll have a chance to explain himself at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) meeting next month?  This, from PDAC president Glenn Nolan (who also works for Noront), via Twitter  “Ran into jim Flaherty at the AC lounge 2 nite (7 Feb 14). He said he would like to attend the @the PDAC convention this year. The place to be it seems”
  • Commentary assessing Ontario Premier’s work with Aboriginals, including on Ring of Fire issues  “…. The challenge facing Wynne in the coming months is significant.  By making aboriginal issues such a visible priority, the premier has raised the bar for what she’ll need to accomplish. And she must do it in the context of a province that has a history of sometimes fractious confrontations with its aboriginal populations, with a minority government mired in deficit.  The stakes are high. And if Wynne fails to deliver, aboriginals may be left feeling that the Ojibway honour song, once so historic, ultimately fell on deaf ears.”
  • NDP MPs, MPPs visit Ring of Fire (1)  “….  This past Friday I had the opportunity along with several federal NDP MP’s to travel to the Ring of Fire and meet with First Nations and Miners to discuss the future of the Ring of Fire.  As the NDP’s Northern Development and Mines Critic I have been critical of the Liberal government’s mismanagement of this file.  Last Thursday we sat down with Matawa Tribal Council and the Ring of Fire Secretariat in Thunder Bay to discuss the current obstacles facing the development of a plan for the Ring of Fire.  The estimated $50-billion deposits in chromium (stainless steel products) and other minerals were hailed as once in a life time opportunity.  Cliffs Resources, the Cleveland-based mining company, spoke optimistically of a 2017 start, as well as promised thousands of jobs and a smelter near Sudbury.  Cliffs recently halted all activity citing lack of leadership from the government and failure to create a development plan for the companies and First Nations to work together.  Other Ontario companies like KWG and Noront are still currently operating in the region ….”
  • NDP MPs, MPPs visit Ring of Fire (2)  “…. The last half of the week was more positive as I played host to many New Democrat MPs in Thunder Bay prior to heading out on a tour of the Ring of Fire.  On Thursday, I was joined by NDP MPs Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt), our Aboriginal Affairs Critic Jean Crowder (Nanaimo-Cowichen), and our Deputy Leader Megan Leslie (Halifax) for a townhall meeting that focused on how to develop the Ring of Fire in a profitable and environmentally responsible way with the support and approval of the First Nations communities that live in the area and who hold claim over much of the territory.   The four of us were joined Friday by others for a tour of the region including; NDP Natural Resource Critic Peter Julian (Burnaby-New Westminster), Romeo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou), and Mike Mantha the NDP Member of Provincial Parliament for Algoma – Manitoulin.  Together, we are touring the region with several stops include a meeting with the Matawa Tribal Council, Eabametoongn First Nation, and a site visit to KWG’s Koper Lake chromite mine among others ….”
  • Tory MPP visiting Ring of Fire  “MPP Vic Fedeli will visit the Ring of Fire …. to get a first-hand update on the once-in-a-lifetime mining development opportunity in Northern Ontario.  This will be Fedeli’s fourth trip to the site.  “While the government likes to do a lot of talking about the Ring of Fire, I’m going to put my boots on the ground there once again to see what, if any, progress has been made since my last trip there,” he said.  “I specifically will be looking for opportunities for Ontario Northland to play a direct role in helping develop the Ring of Fire.  The best way to ship ore is by rail.” ….”
  • Latest on an appeal of the Mining Commissioner’s decision on KWG’s “all the way up to the Ring claims” issue  Ontario has applied for intervenor status in a case involving two mining companies in the Ring of Fire.  Last year the province’s Mining Commissioner rejected a request by Cliffs for an easement to build a road over claims held by KWG Resources.  Cliffs is appealing the decision in Divisional Court, arguing the decision undermines the public interest in the multiple use of Crown land — and will prevent the development of valuable mineral deposits.  According to a statement by KWG Resources, the Minister of the Attorney General will bring a motion in the Ontario Divisional Court “for leave to intervene in the appeal of the decision of the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner released last September.” The motion for leave will be heard on April 28 and the hearing of the appeal has been scheduled for June 16-17 …. The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines said the government’s intervention would focus on the interpretation of the Mining Act.  “The Province seeks to intervene on questions of law and takes no position as between the Appellant and Respondent with respect to the facts, or findings of fact, that may be at issue in the Appeal,” the ministry told CBC News in an email ….”  More from the In Support of Mining blogmoremoremoremore
  • Ontario extends funding for Aboriginal communities interested in working on consultation, partnerships  “Ontario is continuing to support local projects that create jobs and promote economic development opportunities in First Nation communities.  Through the New Relationship Fund (NRF), Ontario is supporting First Nations, Métis communities and Aboriginal organizations as they build consultation capacity, industry partnerships and engage in sustainable economic development …. Originally announced as a four-year commitment in 2008, Ontario will continue to invest in the New Relationship Fund on an ongoing basis, given the success of the program.  Ontario is increasing the amount available for core-consultation capacity projects from a maximum of $80,000 per year to $90,000 per year ….”  More
  • Lookit what else Matawa’s negotiator’s is doing these days  “Renée Pelletier, managing partner of Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP is pleased to announce that the Honourable Bob Rae, PC, OC, O.Ont, QC, former Premier of Ontario, and former Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada will join the firm as a senior partner …. Mr. Rae’s files will include on-going work as chief negotiator for First Nations in talks with the Ontario government on the development of the Ring of Fire, senior advisor to the Mississaugas of the New Credit, and working with the First Nations Limited Partnership in British Columbia ….”
  • Latest on hedge fund pressure on Cliffs to break ‘er up  The executive that activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital would like to see lead Cliffs Natural Resources Inc would focus on supplying steelmakers in the United States, not selling into the competitive global iron ore market.  Lourenco Goncalves, whom Casablanca named as its preferred candidate for CEO on Wednesday, said in an interview that it is too early to say how he would “unlock” the value of Cliffs’ international assets, but it could happen in several ways.  Last month Casablanca publicly urged Cliffs to spin off its international operations, form a master limited partnership from its U.S. assets, sell non-core assets and double its dividend, among other things …. Goncalves was also negative on the mothballed Black Thor chromite project in northwestern Ontario’s Ring of Fire region, saying he would sell the project if possible.  Cliffs suspended the project indefinitely last year, citing an uncertain timeline and risks associated with developing infrastructure ….”
  • Cliffs latest official response to the hedge fund pressure  “….The Governance and Nominating Committee of Cliffs’ Board will review Casablanca’s notice in due course.  The Company noted that it has a strong Board and management team in place to execute its plan to enhance shareholder value, including Gary Halverson as incoming CEO.  The choice of Mr. Halverson as incoming CEO follows an exhaustive search by the Board, together with a leading executive search firm, which began in July of 2013.  Following a comprehensive search, the Board determined that Mr. Halverson was the right leader given his deep international and large scale mining industry leadership experience ….”
  • Cliffs update (1) Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced …. it expects its full-year 2014 capital expenditures to be in a range of $375 – $425 million, a greater than 50% year-over-year reduction from its full-year 2013 capital spending of $862 million. This decrease is driven by a significant reduction in the Company’s expansion and tailings and water management capital spending at its Bloom Lake Mine in Québec. Cliffs also announced that it will idle production at its Wabush Mine in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador by the end of the first quarter of 2014 ….”
  • Cliffs update (2) Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (11 Feb) announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend on the Company’s common shares of $0.15 per share. The cash dividend will be payable on March 3, 2014, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Feb. 21, 2014.  Cliffs’ Board of Directors also declared a quarterly cash dividend on the Company’s 7.00% Series A Mandatory Convertible Preferred Stock, Class A (“Series A preferred stock”), of $17.50 per share, which is equivalent to approximately $0.4375 per depositary share, each representing 1/40th of a share of Series A preferred stock. The cash dividend will be payable on May 1, 2014 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on April 15, 2014 ….”
  • Cliffs update (3)   Cliffs holding Q3 update media conference call tomorrow
  • Cliffs update (4)   One analyst’s prediction  “Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) will announce its fourth quarter results on February 13. Given the higher iron ore prices this year compared to levels in 2012, we expect the company to post higher year-over-year revenues and profits.   Iron ore prices were higher in the fourth quarter as China defied slowdown expectations. However, a lot of new supply is set to hit the market in the next few years. Large players such as BHP, Rio Tinto and Vale are going ahead with their expansion plans almost simultaneously. This will push down prices and put pressure on margins of higher cost producers like Cliffs.  In November, Cliffs decided to suspend the Ring of Fire chromite project in Canada’s Ontario province for an indefinite period of time. This will be a setback to its diversification efforts. Last month, Casablanca, a hedge fund with a substantial stake in Cliffs, recommended that the company should spin off its international operations into a separate entity to improve the investment rating of its U.S. business ….”
  • KWG, Bold Ventures drill, funds ahead  “KWG Resources Inc. and Bold Ventures Inc. are pleased to report that 10 million KWG treasury shares will be delivered for the option payment due to Fancamp Exploration Inc …. As previously reported, KWG is funding a further $2 million program under its agreement to earn from Bold an 80% interest in any chromite discovered within the claims optioned by Bold from Fancamp hosting the Black Horse chromite occurrence. Two drills are presently operating ….”  More
  • Oooopsie …. A mining company and a construction and mining services company have been fined under the Public Lands Act for illegally building a mining camp.  Vancouver-based Fancamp Explorations Ltd. pleaded guilty and Webequie Logistics Ltd. of Thunder Bay was found guilty of carrying out construction work without the authority of a work permit. They were fined $10,000 and $5,000 respectively. Webequie Logistics Ltd. was also found guilty of disobeying a stop work order and fined $5,000.  Webequie Logistics Ltd. president Clayton Downton, of Thunder Bay, and director Samuel Lappage, of Cochrane, Alberta, were found guilty, and fined $2,000 and $2,500 respectively, for carrying out construction work without a work permit. Lappage was also fined $2,500 for disobeying a stop work order ….”
  • Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce hosting Ring of Fire session  “Join us on Wednesday, February 26th, for the Northwest release of a groundbreaking report on the economic opportunities presented by Ontario’s Ring of Fire, the resource-rich region located in the James Bay Lowlands.  This luncheon will feature an overview of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s major findings, including an analysis of how the development could impact job creation, government revenues, and GDP in Ontario.  Guests will hear from an expert panel featuring representatives from Ring of Fire stakeholders ….”

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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Ring of Fire News – February 7, 2014

  • KWG, Bold back at ‘er  Bold Ventures Inc. and KWG Resources Inc. are pleased to report that KWG is funding a further $2 million program under its agreement to earn from Bold an 80% interest in any chromite discovered within the claims optioned by Bold from Fancamp Exploration Ltd. hosting the Black Horse chromite occurrence. KWG may also earn a 20% interest in any other metals discovered on the property …. “
  • KWG continues to raise bucks  KWG Resources Inc. has received conditional listing approval for an increase to $2,500,000 of its private placement of flow-through units which is extended to February 7, 2014.  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.  KWG closed another tranche of the private placement consisting of 2,150,000 Units for gross proceeds of $107,500 bringing total proceeds for the private placement to $2,255,000 ….”
  • Cliffs Natural Resources In 1000 Words: Uncertainty Abounds – I invested recently in Vale at close to $13. My investment in Vale was my introduction to the mining & metals industry, and I’m interested in exploring it more. I know there are good reasons for concern like seemingly unsustainable Chinese iron demand and in turn iron prices, but in general the pessimism surrounding the industry seems to be intense and overdone, and that’s often where I find opportunities.  So now I am looking at a company that the market seems to be especially pessimistic on, Cliffs Natural Resources (CLF). This Cleveland-based mining & metals company’s stock is almost 50% off its 52 week high of $37.62 and has a short float of 34% ….”
  • Noront seeks environmental, health & safety manager  Noront Resources is actively seeking a Manager, Environment, Health and Safety, to provide leadership and technical expertise towards the successful permitting and acquisition of social license to operate on new projects and innovative development for their HS&E programs. We are looking for a Dynamic Leader who is a hands-on individual to ensure compliance for existing operations and to manage development for their HS&E programs to a world class level ….”
  • Training continues to get First Nation workers ready  “There are lots of mining opportunities out there,” stated Louie Mendowegan, Environmental Liaison Office in Aroland First Nation. The RoFATA program is being operated by Matawa First Nations through its own training delivery organization, known as Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment & Training Services (KKETS).  Fifteen students from Aroland First Nation started their Mining Readiness Program under the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA).  The goal with the RoFATA training is to move from training to employment.  $5.9 million in funding has been provided for the training from Service Canada, and Minister Greg Rickford the Minister responsible for the Ring of Fire.  Three hundred and forty participates are signed up for the training, across Matawa communities. Two hundred and sixty people will continue with the training into the second and third tier training ….”
  • Speaking of First Nations, mining and education ….  The Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) supports the Government of Canada and Assembly of First Nation’s (AFN) collaborative commitment to reform First Nations education. Today, the AFN and the federal government came together to introduce of the First Nations Control of First Nations Education Act to reform education in an effort to improve K-12 education outcomes for First Nation students ….” – more on the changes here, here, here and here
  • The latest from Ontario’s Premier on the Ring of Fire  Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was in North Bay on Wednesday, at a business on Voodoo Crescent, which is a part of North Bay’s newest industrial park, adjacent to the Jack Garland Airport ….  She also spoke to the issues surrounding the Ring of Fire and the importance of infrastructure and development projects having the proper footing to get started within the North, saying it was critical to get to the resources and opening up that resource industry in the province.  The Premier says that, in her discussions with Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper, the Federal Government has expressed interest in getting the development started so that the infrastructure is ready to start bringing Ontario’s natural resources to an international marketplace.  “He (Harper) is open to doing that and understands that the infrastructure is critical,” Wynne says.  Wynne also says that there is training and initiatives so that First Nation communities can be heard and take part in the development of the Ring of Fire, with talks that are underway so that all of the local communities can benefit from this large long term development.  “If we don’t find a way to work with First Nation communities to ensure that everyone who is affected by that potentially $60 billion dollar development, then we’re not going to be able to develop, “says Wynne.  She pointed out that not just one company is set to benefit from the potential to expand the mining of Chromium, but that small companies also stand to gain.  She says that the Ontario Government has been working very hard on the project and is committed to doing it, however, they are committed to doing in a way that includes the communities and the municipalities while building infrastructure and creating economic development ….”
  • Ontario finance minister:  howzabout some $, Ottawa?  “Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa says the federal government is picking the pockets of Ontario taxpayers to the tune of $1.4 billion in a bid to balance its books and help other provinces.  In an interview Thursday, Sousa blasted the Conservative government in Ottawa for cutting transfer payments to Ontario at a time when every other province saw increases …. A rail line is needed into a region of Northern Ontario called the Ring of Fire, site of a massive chromite deposit that is used to make stainless steel.  “That would give us a $60 billion opportunity,” Sousa said. “That is huge for the province and for Canada.”  Sousa is in the midst of a province-wide tour for prebudget consultations ….”
  • Canada’s Ring of Fire Minister on the latest  “Federal Minister Greg Rickford says “Noront is now leading the charge. They were perhaps a little underestimated. In the wake of Cliff’s very clear announcement, Noront is moving ahead with the environmental assessment process. We’re all very hopeful that that will go live sooner rather than later.” ….”more
  • Federal NDP’ers visiting the Ring of Fire, then holding a public meeting in Thunder Bay  The federal NDP are heading into the Ring of Fire.  Deputy leader and environment critic Megan Leslie (NDP, Halifax) is one of several MPs in Thunder Bay Thursday before taking a trip to communities near the Ring of Fire.  Leslie said the proposed development will make a national impact on everything from First Nations rights to natural resources to the environment.  “We’re here really on a learning tour,” Leslie said.  Leslie said the MPs want to take what they learn back to Parliament Hill to put pressure on the federal government, which she said has only paid lip service to the development so far despite saying it is a priority …. The NDP are holding a public meeting at the Oliver Road Community Centre on First Nations, environmental and energy issues Thursday evening (13 Feb 14).”
  • Sudbury letter to the editor  “The Cliff’s chromium smelter project proposed for Capreol is on hold but there is no doubt that Cliffs or some other corporation will develop the huge chromium deposits in the Ring of Fire. The people of Ontario own these resources. As owners, we should benefit from our assets and we also have responsibilities related to them.  Because we live in the north, we have to look out for ourselves.  We need to apply this same kind of “we look after us” attitude to our assets in the Ring of Fire ….”
  • Kenora-area municipal politicians to talk Ring of Fire, other stuff  “Representatives from across the Kenora District are gathered in Pickle Lake, for the Kenora District Municipal Association conference. The three day conference continues in Sunday, and the main topics will be forestry, mining and tourism. Kenora Mayor Dave Canfield says one of the things he’s looking forward to most is a presentation on mining. “There’s a big slate of events. We have a tourism panel, a forestry panel and a mining panel. We actually have somebody speaking to us from Noront Resources. It’s probably the mine that’s the closes to any type of production in the Ring of Fire area,” he said ….”

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.

Filed under: Uncategorized

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