Ring of Fire News


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

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

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