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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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