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Ring of Fire News – June 19, 2014

  • New Ring of Fire (RoF) study (1) This, from a regional think tank ” Northern Policy Institute released a report …. that provides timely recommendations for government and industry on proposed infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire. According to the report authored by former Deputy Minister of Transport Canada, Nick Mulder, an Authority model similar to the Airport/Port Transportation Authority model would be a more effective model in the Ring of Fire infrastructure development than a traditional Crown Corporation model.   Currently, there are major challenges facing mineral development in a remote area of Northern Ontario known as the Ring of Fire including who will pay for the required infrastructure and how it will be organized, planned, managed and implemented. In the Airport/Port Transportation Authority model proposed by Mulder, the onus and risks would be placed on all stakeholders and not just on the provincial government and taxpayers. Says Mulder, “Under a Crown Corporation model, the responsibility would be on the shoulders of the Province. The provincial government would be expected to review and approve plans on all major projects, fund the largest portion s of the costs and accept most of the risks. Simply put, the buck would stop at Queen’s Park” ….” moremore
  • KWG Resources: We like the Institute’s idea! “KWG Resources Inc. applauds the release …. by the Northern Policy Institute of its Commentary No. 1 | Friday, June 13, 2014, The Airport/Port Transportation Authority Model, Is It Applicable for Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Development? authored by Nick Mulder. “The Northland Development Corporation Bill that we proposed to all candidates who recently sought election to the Ontario Legislature, is fashioned after the governance model of a Port/Airport Authority”, said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “We originally concluded that the federal government might be the better sponsor of such a corporation, because the Ontario government had then declared its intention to dispose of the assets of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission. These are legacy assets that can assist the Ring of Fire deposits to achieve very long-term economic viability in a highly competitive global market for stainless steel inputs. If our Bill is adopted by Ontario’s newly-elected parliament, it would effectively create a provincial Transportation Authority on the model of the many such very successful federal agencies across Canada. However, the Bill can as easily become the charter of a federally incorporated Transportation Authority and so benefit from the sponsorship of the governments of both Canada and Ontario. As both governments have pledged their support for development of the Ring of Fire, this might be a most elegant means for their collaboration.” ….”more
  • And speaking of KWG …. “KWG Annual And Special Meeting Of Shareholders To Convene June 30, 2014 — KWG Resources Inc. has postponed until June 30, 2014 the convening of its Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders at 11:00 a.m. (local time) at Suite 3800, Royal Bank Plaza, South Tower, 200 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario ….”
  • Some very pessimistic assessments of Cliffs  “The price of iron ore is collapsing. Unless it rapidly reverses its course, Cliffs Natural is not going to be around for long ….”moremore
  • New RoF study (2)  This, from environmental NGOs  “With the Ontario government poised to spend $1 billion to promote development in the Ring of Fire, a new paper from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada and Ecojustice identifies risks inherent in the current planning legislation and provides a solution. Ontario’s Far North is the world’s largest ecologically intact area of boreal forest. It contains North America’s largest wetlands, is home to a number of at-risk species, including caribou and lake sturgeon, and is a one of the world’s critical storehouses of carbon. First Nations depend on these systems for food and medicines, sustenance of culture and spiritual values, their livelihoods, and rights. At the same time, the remote region contains potential world-class deposits of minerals that offer economic opportunities. Getting it Right in Ontario’s Far North: The Need for Strategic Environmental Assessment in the Ring of Fire (Wawangajing) points out that the current planning approaches in the Far North are piecemeal and narrowly focused on specific projects, or pieces of projects. Because of this, cumulative ecological and social effects, planning for regional infrastructure (roads, transmission lines, and railroads), and regional coordination, are not properly considered ….”more
  • A bit of pre-environmental-NGO-report academic commentary  “…. What is clearly needed is a regional-scale examination of how to encourage and guide Ring of Fire development so that it delivers multiple, lasting and fairly distributed net benefits. Such an initiative must respect the rights and interests of the First Nations affected by Ring of Fire development. It needs everyone at the table — federal, provincial and aboriginal governments, proponents and other stakeholders. And it can work only if the process is transparent enough to be credible, and only if the agenda goes beyond immediate issues to aim for desirable results 100 years from now ….”
  • Waiting to see the fall-out from the Ontario election ….  “The future of the Ring of Fire is in the air until the Ontario government returns to the legislature on July 2. “We’re all waiting to hear what the cabinet may be,” said John Mason, project manager of mining services for the Community Economic Development Commission, on Wednesday, Day 1 of the two-day Ontario Mining Forum being held at the Valhalla Inn ….”
  • …. with not long to wait  “Premier Kathleen Wynne and her cabinet will be sworn in to office at Queen’s Park on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 ….”
  • Post-election editorial  “…. Federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford and his Ontario counterpart, Michael Gravelle, have been cautiously talking about how their governments will jointly encourage the development. Ontario had been urging Ottawa to commit equally to funding a transportation corridor to get supplies in and ore out. But when Rickford said Ontario could apply for Building Canada funds just the same as anyone else, Wynne turned it into a campaign promise to spend $1 billion unilaterally while criticizing Ottawa for not acting as decisively. There is some urgency to all of this. New U.S. carbon emission reduction targets will push up demand for the very minerals found in the Ring of Fire to produce the required technological innovations, along with the chromite it can supply for North American stainless steel. Once Ottawa gets on board the demand will be even higher. On this front especially, Ottawa and Ontario need to get along.”
  • (Not strictly RoF, but) Competing land rights issues not just being hashed out in Canadian courts  “In March 2014, an Australian court ruled that the Ngarla Peoples’ native title cannot be extinguished by preexisting mining leases. In 2007, the Ngarla Peoples secured native title to lands in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. The lands overlapped with a mining concession, awarded in 1964 and currently being developed by subsidiaries of BHP Billiton Limited, Itochu Corporation, and Mitsui & Co. The court was asked to determine whether this was grounds for termination of the Ngarla Peoples’ native title, on the supposition that both sets of rights cannot be exercised simultaneously. The court decided that this was not grounds for termination, but maintained that native title can be temporarily suspended if it conflicts with the interests of mining leaseholders. Although the ruling prioritizes the rights of mining leaseholders over those of native title holders, it creates a legal basis for their coexistence, and highlights why companies should be foreword-thinking in their approaches to Indigenous community engagement ….”

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