Ring of Fire News


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

Ring of Fire News – July 23, 2014

  • Premier, yesterday during Question Period, on the $1B question  “We have committed to setting up a development corporation that would include all of the parties, and we very much hope that the federal government is at the table, because in order for that infrastructure to be completely developed and in order for those chromite and mineral deposits to be realized, we need everyone working together. We have committed $1 billion. We are firm in that commitment. We will work to set up a development corporation …. we are going ahead. We are working to set up the development corporation, because we believe that this is an opportunity that will benefit not just the region, not just the province, but the country.”
  • Toronto transportation consultant raises good question  “Trains or trucks? That is the burning question that must be answered in the debate over the Ring of Fire’s transportation options. In a bygone era, the overwhelming choice would have been rail. As generations of Canadian school children once learned, it was the railways that opened up Northern Ontario and most of the country, economically and socially. Even in the subsequent era when rail lost its monopoly, trains remained the winners when it came to providing access to large, long-term resource developments. The construction of the CP and CN branch lines to Manitouwadge’s copper mines in the 1950s is a prime example. But trains haven’t fared well in these competitions in Canada in recent years, even as they are growing in importance in other developed and developing nations. Consequently, many rail proponents regard the Ring of Fire’s modal choice a litmus test for the direction of transportation policy, federally and provincially. Will rail solutions once again be part of the Canadian planning and decision-making processes? ….”
  • Green Party on the Ring of Fire  “A motion calling for responsible development of the Ring of Fire, passed at the Green Party of Canada’s biennial meeting in Fredericton, puts “the party in the game” and shows it has good ideas other parties might want to consider. Sudbury’s Steve May attended the convention and was surprised to learn every person attending had heard about the rich chromite deposits 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay — whether they were from British Columbia or New Brunswick. May has been thinking of the Ring of Fire as a regional issue, “but had I lived in Alberta in the early ’80s, I might have thought the development of the tar sands was a regional issue. “We know it’s not,” he said of the Ring of Fire. “It’s a national project.” Before delegates to the convention met, they agreed to put a motion on the weekend agenda calling for a five-pillar policy to develop the area. It addresses community benefits, energy, transportation, value-added industry and lifecycle planning for extracted resources. To maximize the Ring of Fire’s economic potential for Canada, the Greens’ policy is calling for the creation of a working group to assess the feasibility of a value-added stainless steel industry as a requirement of development ….”Green Party news release on convention (no apparent links to resolutions passed)
  • More on Aboriginals training to be ready for Ring of Fire jobs  “Better career options are the goal for many of the Matawa First Nations trainees currently pursuing Ring of Fire Training Alliance (RoFATA) Tier 2 and 3 training. “(My goal is) to eventually get a really good career where I can support my family and move out of Thunder Bay into a different community,” said Caitlin Cheechoo, mother of a three-year-old son and one of about 60 Tier 3 RoFATA trainees who have completed about three weeks of their 12-week program at Confederation College in Thunder Bay. “Right now, all together, we’re learning the math and English components and then we branch out to our own individual (pre-trades program).” Cheechoo is focusing on the Pre-Trades Carpentry program, one of five programs offered through the Tier 3 RoFATA training. The other programs are: Pre-Trades Electrical, Pre-Trades Plumber, Pre-Trades Heavy Duty Equipment Mechanic and Pre-Trades Construction Craft Worker. “I just like the hands-on working with everything,” Cheechoo said ….”
  • Documentary film maker eyes Ring of Fire  “Lalita Krishna has no intention of following the same contrived script that’s evident in the mining reality shows currently being embraced by network television. The award-winning Toronto producer of television documentaries intends to drill down to the essence of the multi-faceted world of mining by documenting the lives of the people who toil at the grassroots edge of the industry. Krishna recalls spending four bone-chilling days with Barb Courte Elinesky, CEO of two Thunder Bay drilling companies, and her rugged crew shooting video in a remote exploration site in Greenstone last March. The conditions were harsh, a vehicle became stuck on an access road, and they returned to their hotel in Beardmore one night after an exhausting day to find all the restaurants closed. “When I was with Barb in that extreme environment; the drama happens naturally, you don’t have to create those situations or stage anything.” The mining industry is new subject matter for the Indian-born Krishna, who worked as a producer at TV Ontario before venturing out on her own as an independent documentary producer ….”
  • KWG Resources Inc. announces that it will not reconvene its Annual and General Meeting of Shareholders on July 30, 2014 at 11:00 am (local time) at the offices of Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP, Suite 3800, Royal Bank Plaza, South Tower, 200 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario. The special resolutions to amend the Company’s articles to include the authority to issue preference shares and to let all shareholders wishing to do so acquire with each fifty of their present shares one new multiple-voting share (provided that these may be converted back into the fifty subordinate voting shares at any subsequent time of their choosing) have been withdrawn. “While there is substantial support for both initiatives, some of our largest shareholders feel that they would prefer to have an opportunity to subsequently approve the specifics of any proposed preferred share issue when terms have been negotiated,” explained KWG President Frank Smeenk ….”


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Questions about RoF Development Corp?

  • May 25, 2014, CBC.ca:  “…. Wynne …. re-launched the creation of the Ring of Fire development corporation. The corporation had been previously announced, but the Liberals now say they will create the consortium within 60 days of being elected ….”
  • July 3, 2014, “Speech from the Throne to open the 41st Parliament of Ontario” “…. Within the next 60 days, your government will establish a Ring of Fire development corporation and move forward in a smart, sustainable and collaborative way with First Nations, the private sector and communities to unlock the enormous mineral potential in Northern Ontario ….”
  • July 16, 2014, Sudbury Star “Significant work is being done to establish a Ring of Fire development corporation and keep a campaign promise that it be done within 60 days of a Liberal government being elected.  But it’s not clear when the clock began ticking on that 60-day guarantee, says Michael Gravelle, who was reappointed Northern Development and Mines minister by Premier Kathleen Wynne.  Nor is it clear what exactly is meant by “establishing” the development corporation.  Gravelle doesn’t know if the 60 days started when he was sworn in June 24 or when his government delivered its Throne Speech on July 3.  And he and his staff are working to determine what exactly will be in put place during the 60-day commitment.  “We are not there yet in terms of determining exactly what form it will take other than that we are grateful to have the opportunity to move this project forward and to have this kind of a timeline in place,” said Gravelle in a telephone interview Tuesday from Queen’s Park ….”

If you believe the campaign speech, the deadline is August 11th.

If you believe the Speech from the Throne, the deadline is September 1.

The clock is ticking – pick your time to set the alarm.

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Ontario Budget Backpedalling on Ring of Fire?

  • May 25, 2014, Kathleen Wynne speaking in Thunder Bay:  “…. we will commit a billion dollars, with or without the federal government involvement, towards the transportation infrastructure that will help make the Ring of Fire a reality”
  • July 14, 2014, Budget 2014(b) speech:  “Mr. Speaker, we will invest $1 billion in transportation infrastructure for the development of the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario.”
  • July 14, 2014, page 63, Budget 2014(b) document (400+ page PDF):  “Planning to invest over $130 billion in public infrastructure over the next 10 years, including …. Committing up to $1 billion towards  infrastructure development for the Ring of Fire contingent on matching investment by the federal government.
  • July 14, 2014, page 89, Budget 2014(b) document:  “The Province is willing to commit up to $1 billion towards infrastructure development, contingent on matching investment by the federal government.”

Hmmmm …..

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Ring of Fire News – July 11, 2014

  • Supreme Court of Canada decision: Ontario CAN issue logging permits, BUT ….  “…. The central question on this appeal is whether Ontario has the power to take up lands in the Keewatin area under Treaty 3 so as to limit the harvesting rights under the treaty, or whether this is subject to Canada’s approval. Ontario and only Ontario has the power to take up lands under Treaty 3. This is confirmed by constitutional provisions, the interpretation of the treaty, and legislation dealing with Treaty 3 lands …. Ontario’s power to take up lands under Treaty 3 is not unconditional. When a government — be it the federal or a provincial government — exercises Crown power, the exercise of that power is burdened by the Crown obligations toward the Aboriginal people in question. Here, Ontario must exercise its powers in conformity with the honour of the Crown, and the exercise of those powers is subject to the fiduciary duties that lie on the Crown in dealing with Aboriginal interests. For Treaty 3 land to be taken up, the harvesting rights of the Ojibway over the land must be respected. Any taking up of land in the Keewatin area for forestry or other purposes must meet the conditions set out by this Court in Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada (Minister of Canadian Heritage), [2005] 3 S.C.R. 388, 2005 SCC 69. If the taking up leaves the Ojibway with no meaningful right to hunt, fish or trap in relation to the territories over which they traditionally hunted, fished, and trapped, a potential action for treaty infringement will arise ….” – The Canadian PressCBC.caReutersFinancial Post Netnewsledger.comQMI/Sun MediaAPTNmore via Google News
  • Fraser Institute report: Recent Supreme Court decision = more uncertainty for business in B.C.?  “…. The judgment reaffirms that consultation processes and the justification of infringements of Aboriginal rights and title are the responsibility of the Crown and not project proponents. It will mean that if development is to occur on Aboriginal title land against the wishes of the First Nation, governments will have to be advocates for third party projects. Where there is no consent, and the potential infringement cannot be justified, proposed projects may be set aside by the court. This is also true for existing development projects. This puts current and potential development at risk and results in increased uncertainty for economic development in British Columbia ….”  Fraser Institute news release – media coverage (Google News)
  • Ontario’s response to the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court decision includes Ring of Fire mention  “…. The Tsilhqot’in Nation decision builds on earlier decisions of the Supreme Court, including the Delgamuukw, Haida and Mikisew cases, that have given meaning to the constitutional protection of aboriginal and treaty rights and established principles that guide governments in their relationships with aboriginal communities …. It’s also in the spirit of these earlier rulings that, this year, the government signed a historic regional framework agreement with the nine Matawa member First Nations for negotiations on sustainably developing the Ring of Fire. It’s one of the most significant mineral regions in the province, with mineral potential known to be worth $60-billion, including the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America. This government-to-government relationship ensures that these First Nations participate in, and benefit from, proposed development in the Ring of Fire. We’ve also announced the creation of a development corporation that aims to bring together key mining companies, First Nations, and the provincial and federal governments to develop infrastructure in the Ring of Fire region ….”
  • From the KWG Info-machine  “Toronto stockbroker Pope & Company announced …. that it has initiated research coverage on KWG Resources Inc. Well-known mining analyst Jay Turner recommends the shares of KWG as a speculative buy with a target price of $0.20. “Jay has done an outstanding job of researching, interpreting and understanding our published views of the opportunities for the creation of an enterprise following from the discoveries in the Ring of Fire”, said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “We are very gratified with both the coverage and the recommendation, which is quite unusual for a junior exploration company. We appreciate the confidence!” ….”
  • More from the KWG Info-machine  “KWG Resources Inc. retracts from its press release issued this morning …. The earlier release advised that Toronto stockbroker Pope & Company announced this morning that it has initiated research coverage on KWG. A Market Surveillance Officer of the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (“IIROC”) required that the noted recommendation contained in the initial report be retracted as this is considered not to be balanced disclosure on the part of the Company ….” 
  • MOAR pessimism about Cliffs  “Cliffs Natural Resources’ battle with Casablanca Capital continues. The troubled miner has offered a settlement to the activist investor one more time. According to a Cliffs Natural Resources press release, the company has offered three seats on the Cliffs Board to Casablanca. What’s more, the board would be cut to nine members from current eleven if Casablanca accepted the proposal. Casablanca’s response was fast, and the activist investor rejected the offer. In my previous article on this story, I argued that both Casablanca’s and Cliffs Natural Resources’ plans were dubious. However, there seems to be another trap on the way for Cliffs Natural Resources, and that’s indecision ….”


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Ring of Fire News – July 4, 2014

  • First off, happy 4th of July to American readers!
  • Ontario’s Speech from the Throne mentions Ring of Fire  “…. Within the next 60 days**, your government will establish a Ring of Fire development corporation and move forward in a smart, sustainable and collaborative way with First Nations, the private sector and communities to unlock the enormous mineral potential in Northern Ontario. Your government commits $1 billion for transportation infrastructure to help access the Ring of Fire.  Your government will continue its efforts to bring the federal government to the table as a willing and active partner, and will seek a matching federal commitment to seize the opportunity for Ontario and Canada that lies in the Ring of Fire ….”more 
  • ** – that means no later than 1 Sept 2014
  • Ontario Premier names new Secretary of the Cabinet (Ontario’s top civil servant)  “Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has named Steve Orsini as Secretary of the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council. He will lead the Ontario Public Service effective July 9, 2014 ….”Orsini bio
  • More on that Supreme Court decision on Aboriginal title on land, from Noront  “The Supreme Court of Canada recently granted a declaration of Aboriginal title over a tract of Crown lands to the Tsilhqot’in Nation of the west central interior of British Columbia. This is the first time in Canadian history that Aboriginal title has been definitely established and affirmed.  Noront President & CEO Alan Coutts commented as follows:  “Noront Resources has involved local First Nations communities in the development of its Eagle’s Nest mine project from the very start incorporating several of their concerns into the very design of the mine. It has always been our intention to develop Eagle’s Nest in collaboration with the local communities as a true partnership. We don’t see the recent Supreme Court decision regarding native title in B.C. as a negative impact on development in the Ring of Fire; rather, it validates the approach we have taken over the last five years.” ….”
  • Lots more legal analysis of Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia also available over at lexology.com
  • The Annual Meeting of the shareholders of KWG Resources Inc. was convened Monday morning and elected Cynthia Thomas, Douglas Flett, Thomas Pladsen, Donald Sheldon and Frank Smeenk as directors. The shareholders also appointed McGovern, Hurley, Cunningham LLP, Chartered Accountants, as the auditors of the Company. Frank Smeenk, Thomas Masters and Luce St. Pierre were then respectively re-appointed as the Company’s President, Chief Financial Officer and Secretary and Douglas Flett was elected Chairman of the Board …. The meeting was adjourned to July 30, 2014 to then consider the special resolutions to amend the Company’s articles to include the authority to issue preferred shares and to let all shareholders wishing to do so acquire with each fifty of their present shares one new multiple-voting share (provided that these may be converted back into the fifty subordinate voting shares at any subsequent time of their choosing) ….”KWG news release
  • Northern mayors on the Ring o’ Fire  “Northern Ontario cities and towns need to speak as a single voice to be effective in getting the province to pay attention to the priorities of the region, said mayors meeting in North Bay Thursday.  While Northern Ontario accounts for 88% of the province’s area, it only has 6% of the population, and that can mean problems getting its voice heard.  “We realize to be successful we have to stick together,” explained North Bay Mayor Al McDonald. “And that’s what these meeting are all about, to reconfirm what is important to Northern Ontario and how we create jobs and bring wealth to our part of the province.”  McDonald says the group concentrated on issues such as economic development, energy costs, the ONTC and Ring of Fire …. McDonald says their next move is to put all their thoughts on paper, and request meetings with eight ministers at the Association of Municipalities of Ontario meeting in London next month.”
  • Ontario small business trying to twist Ottawa’s arm  “….  The Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) along with seven other chambers across the province, including Thunder Bay, have written a letter to Minister of Natural Resources and FedNor Greg Rickford, who also represents the Kenora riding as a Member of Parliament.   The letter is asking for the federal government to match the province’s commitment of $1 billion in funding for infrastructure in the Ring of Fire ….”OCC news release
  • Have a great weekend! 


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