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Ring of Fire News – March 8, 2014

  • From the big PDAC convention in Toronto this week:  In Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire, Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. remains the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk aboutA Tuesday lunch panel at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention focused on the giant undeveloped deposit in the James Bay Lowlands and what has to be done to move it forward.  There were some encouraging comments in that regard from former premier Bob Rae, who is representing the Matawa Tribal Council in its negotiations with the province over Ring of Fire development. He said the two sides are “making good progress at the bargaining table,” and he is optimistic that they will reach a framework agreement soon. That is good news for all involved.  But the panel largely ignored the broader questions investors have about the Ring of Fire: Does it make economic sense for a major mining company to invest the capital required for this highly remote project? And do any of them want to? ….”
  • The latest from Bob Rae  “The Ring of Fire’s slow road to development is inching along thanks to talks between First Nations and Queen’s Park, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC) annual conference heard Tuesday.  The vast pristine wetland region in northern Ontario that became subject to rapid interest on the part of mineral investors a few years ago now has much of its fate in the hands of negotiations between Ontario and the Matawa First Nations.  “We’re making good progress at the bargaining table,” said Bob Rae, the former federal Liberal leader who is now chief negotiator for the Matawa First Nations.  Rae is in talks with retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Frank Iacobucci, the lead negotiator for the Ontario government.  “We are working hard on a framework agreement,” said Rae, speaking during a panel discussion at PDAC. “I believe we will have one soon.” ….”moremore
  • More from Rae speaking in Sudbury this time  “Aboriginal people in the Far North are looking for the same benefits from mining in the Ring of Fire that Sudburians have always sought from mining in the Nickel City, says Bob RaeThe former Ontario New Democrat premier, who is representing the Matawa Chiefs Council in negotiations with the province on revenue-sharing in the Ring, said that situation is no different than Sudbury’s.  Sudbury caucus colleagues from the early 1990s, such as former Nickel Belt MPP and NDP Finance Minister Floyd Laughren, used to press Rae to make sure mining companies returned a benefit to the community, Rae said Thursday night.  “That’s what aboriginal people are asking for,” Rae told about 300 people attending the Goring Family Lecture Series at Laurentian University’s Fraser Auditorium.  Rather than waiting for government handouts, the chiefs of the nine nations in Matawa First Nations Management want to become genuine economic partners in developing infrastructure and managing “how things are going to be done in the Ring of Fire,” said Rae.  He spoke on the topic Mining and First Nations: Sustainability is the Only Option, saying there was no better place to talk about sustainability than Sudbury ….” – more from the same talk here and here
  • From panel discussions elsewhere …. Development within the Ring of Fire needs the attention of Southern Ontario and the rest of Canada.  That’s one of the main barriers Josh Hjartarson, vice president, policy and government relations for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, believes is preventing the massive chromite mining project in the lower James Bay area from going forward.  “People in Timmins, Sudbury and Thunder Bay know about the Ring of Fire,” he said. “They have a clear understanding what the potential is but they don’t have that in the living rooms of Toronto, Hamilton or Windsor. That’s what needs to happen. This isn’t just a Northern play. It is an Ontario-wide play.”  According to a report recently released by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, there’s an estimated 9.2 billion tonnes of chromite reserves in the world with Ontario holding the fourth largest at 220 million tonnes.  The report goes on to say that the Ring of Fire project could generate $9.4 billion and sustain up to 5,500 jobs.  Hjartarson called the project a big opportunity for Ontario.  “There’s certain sectors in Ontario that are really suffering right now,” he said. “We know in manufacturing there’s been heavy job losses in the last 10 to 15 years. We’re looking for opportunities to show where we can be a global leader, where can we create those really high paying jobs. This is an obvious solution.”  Hjartarson was one of four panelist who took questions regarding the Ring of Fire development at a Timmins Chamber of Commerce event held at Cedar Meadows Resort and Spa ….”
  • More on the Cliffs-Casablanca fracas  The war of words between Cliffs Natural Resources Inc and Casablanca Capital escalated on Friday, after the activist investor rejected an offer to end a proxy battle to win control of the iron ore miner’s board.  Casablanca, Cliffs’ fifth-largest shareholder with a 5.2 percent stake, wants Chief Executive Gary Halverson gone, and the company to spin off its “riskier” international operations from cash-generating U.S. assets.  The hedge fund, which started its campaign in January, nominated six directors for election to Cliffs’ 11-member board on Thursday.  Cliffs had offered to let Casablanca appoint two independent directors and a third director was to have been appointed on mutual agreement, the company said in a statement issued early Friday morning.  Cliffs also said it acceded to Casablanca’s request to postpone the May 13 record date – the date on which an investor must own shares to be entitled to vote – for its annual meeting.  Casablanca, however, issued a statement later in the day denying making such a request.  “The board that owns virtually no shares and has presided over an 80 percent value destruction is in our view showing its true colors by indefinitely postponing a shareholder vote and falsely suggesting that the delay was advocated by Casablanca,” the fund said ….” – more from Cliffs here and here, and from media here
  • Also, lookit the fauxCliffs page Casablanca has put up – interesting, indeed
  • KWG Resources Inc. announces that it has acquired 3,350,000 Common Shares in the capital of GoldTrain Resources Inc. at a price of $0.02 per share in settlement of $67,000 of debt owed by GoldTrain.  As a result, KWG now owns 10,634,000 Common Shares representing approximately 18.03% of the issued and outstanding Common Shares of the Company.  KWG has acquired the securities for investment purposes and has no present intention of acquiring additional securities of GoldTrain. Depending upon its evaluation of the business, prospects and financial condition of GoldTrain, the market for GoldTrain’s securities, general economic and tax conditions and other factors, KWG may acquire more or sell some or all of its securities of GoldTrain ….”

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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