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#RingOfFire (RoF) News – March 24, 2015

  • More on Noront buying Cliffs’ RoF assets  “A Thunder Bay mining expert is optimistic Noront Resources’ $20-million deal to acquire Ring of Fire claims from Cliffs Natural Resources is a step in the right direction.  John Mason, project manager of mining services with the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Corporation, says the unexpected sale was a pleasant shock to wake up to on Monday morning.  “I think really demonstrates Noront’s commitment,” Mason said ….”
  • One First Nation’s reaction to the Cliffs-Noront deal  “The Ontario government has put ‘a gun to the head’ of First Nations leaders trying to negotiate a fair deal in the Ring of Fire mining area in the James Bay lowlands, Neskantaga Chief Peter Moonias says.  His comments came within hours of Noront Resources announcement on Monday that it had struck a deal to buy Cliffs Natural Resources assets in the area.  Chiefs were informed of the deal at the same time as being told that the province has set an April 1 deadline for a decision on the next step in Noront’s environmental assessment for a proposed nickel mine in the Ring of Fire, Moonias said.  “There’s a hidden agenda,” he said. “We are being targeted with a gun to our head. We have no more opportunity to study the process.”  The deadline doesn’t allow enough time for community members in the nine First Nations closest to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits to be informed, Moonias said ….”
  • One analyst’s commentary on the deal  Ontario’s Ring Of Fire, Formerly ‘The Next Oilsands,’ Sold For Peanuts — A junior miner will soon be the biggest player in Ontario’s fledgling Ring of Fire mining development, after agreeing to pay US$20 million for the properties of Cliffs Natural Resources, a U.S. mining giant who has abandoned hope of developing the area ….”
  • Another analyst’s commentary  “Mining and natural resources company Cliffs Natural Resources Inc  stock jumped more than 11% in afternoon trading on Monday. Even after the nice pop, the stock is still down 32% for the year, and more than 80% from the 2014 peak …. The market is responding favorably to news that Cliffs is selling its chromium assets in northern Ontario’s so-called “Ring of Fire” region to small Canadian miner Noront Resources Ltd for $20 million ….”
  • Smelter Talk (1)  “The president and CEO of Noront Resources is not ruling out a ferrachrome smelter landing in Thunder Bay.  Alan Coutts on Monday said Monday nothing is written in stone, after his company spent $20 million to acquire more than 100 claims previously owned by a pair of Cliffs Natural Resources subsidiaries.  Cliffs had originally said Sudbury was its preferred location for the processing plant.  “We haven’t settled on anything yet,” Coutts said in an interview with CKPR Radio, adding there is no guarantee the facility will even be built in the province ….”
  • Smelter Talk (2)  “A proposal for a new smelter in Sudbury has been pushed further into limbo after Cliffs Natural Resources announced a deal to sell off its Ring of Fire assets.  The Cleveland-based company said Monday it had entered into a definitive agreement with Noront Resources to purchase its chromite deposits and associated claims for $20 million ….”
  • RoF gets a mention during Question Period in the House of Commons – this from federal RoF minister Greg Rickford:  “Mr. Speaker, our government remains committed to developing the Ring of Fire.  Last week, with my provincial counterpart, I had the pleasure of announcing a study on a service corridor for the regional community, which will support mining and increase accessibility for first nations communities. We will continue to work closely with the Province of Ontario on infrastructure projects that support mining and increase accessibility for remote communities …. it is the northern Ontario NDP members that northern Ontarians want to take a hike. Let us be clear about that.  We remain committed to supporting the province in its development of the Ring of Fire. Most recently, I was joined by my provincial counterpart at the world’s largest mining conference in Toronto to announce a regional community corridor study in the Ring of Fire. This is a major step forward for first nations and for the region.  Sadly, the New Democrats vote against this and in fact any measures that support or reflect the values or priorities of northern Ontarians.”

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