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Ring of Fire News – March 31, 2014

  • More here from media on the signing of a Ring of Fire framework agreement between Ontario and Matawa’s First Nations.
  • The province is prepared to make a “very significant” infrastructure investment in the Ring of Fire, said Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines during a visit to Sudbury, March 27. “Our commitment to a major investment is locked in. It’s real,” Gravelle said in an interview after speaking at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon. “We have not spoken about that figure specifically and I’m not in a position to do that right now.” Gravelle made the comments a day after the province signed, what he called, an “historic landmark” framework agreement with the nine communities of the Matawa First Nations on how to move forward with mineral and community development in the Ring of Fire, a string of massive chromite and nickel mineral deposits in the James Bay lowlands ….”
  • The Government of Ontario won’t put a number on the “significant investment” it is committed to making to develop infrastructure in the Ring of Fire. But whatever that figure is, it wants the federal government to match it. Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle told reporters in Sudbury on Thursday it’s important to have discussions about developing the vast chromite deposits “without setting the bar, without putting a figure in place.” That’s because the costs of developing transportation, power and other infrastructure will vary according to whether access to remote first nations communities is factored in or not. But Gravelle insisted the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne is committed to investing heavily and is looking for that same level of commitment from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives ….”
  • Analyst:  Not much hope yet for Cliffs’ return  “…. Let’s just say it’s but one checkbox ticked off in a long list of boxes needing checks. The Ontario government said it’s signed an agreement with Matawa First Nations laying out a framework for developing the province’s northern mineral resources. Although a minimal achievement, it’s an important one because a lack of cohesion among all the parties involved was key to Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE: CLF ) indefinitely suspending work on its $3.3 billion Ring of Fire chromite project last year …. each announcement is simply another part of the slog through the morass. And if Casablanca Capital gains control of Cliffs Natural Resources’ board it will demand the chromite project be sold. Investors, therefore, shouldn’t get their hopes up that all the boxes will be checked off for Cliffs anytime soon.”
  • FedNor’s staff boss on the Ring of Fire  Future development of the Ring of Fire will depend more on the business case for companies to develop the rich mineral deposit, than the role government has to play in the region, said Aime Dimatteo, director general of FedNor. Dimatteo addressed the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce Tuesday, and echoed Bob Rae, now the chief negotiator for the Matawa First Nations in the Ring of Fire, regarding the government’s role in the region. “It is a business decision,” Dimatteo said. “Bob Rae is very right, in that at the end of the day the businesses will make the decisions on whether they’re going to go forward with these projects.” …. Dimatteo said FedNor has worked quietly to create the building blocks for the Ring of Fire development. “We want to make sure we have all the elements in place,” he said. “We’re trying to be as proactive as we can.” ….”
  • More editorial commentary on Greg Rickford getting bumped to federal natural resources minister (while still working the Ring of Fire)  “…. Rickford’s promotion is good news for Northern Ontario which now has senior ministers in both governments actively trying to get the important Ring of Fire project over its hurdles and into production to stimulate this region’s economy following its bout with forestry failures. If Rickford and Gravelle can jointly steer the development forward soon, Ontario’s North will finally be able to breathe easier.”
  • A bit of “comic” commentary  “Alphonse and Gaston were two newspaper cartoon characters created in the 1920s by Frederick Opper, and the “glacial” progress of Ontario’s Ring of Fire harks back to them. Alphonse and Gaston were two waiters who never got anything done because they were too polite. “After you Alphonse,” Gaston said. “No, you first, my dear Gaston,” replied Alphonse. It’s very reminiscent of what is happening with Ontario’s Ring of Fire, a massive planned chromite mining and smeltering development project in the mineral-rich James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario. No one seems willing to be the first to launch the $60 billion mineral discovery in the area ….”
  • Elsewhere in the Ring of Fire ….  “Bold Ventures Inc. and KWG Resources Inc. are pleased to report that the 5,000 metre drilling program which commenced January 18th has been completed. The program met its objective of extending the Black Horse chromite deposit to depth. A total of six holes were drilled during the program: three on the Black Horse deposit and three on an untested gravity anomaly known as the C-6 target, one kilometer northeast of the Black Horse. It should be noted that further work, at depth, in the vicinity of the C-6 target remains to be accomplished in order to adequately test the nickel potential in this vicinity ….”


 

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