Ring of Fire News


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

#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – June 29, 2015


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Update: #RingOfFire (#RoF) News – June 19, 2015

  • A few late adds following yesterday’s post – enjoy!
  • “A major company involved in the Ring of Fire has passed the first step towards moving forward. The Ministry of the Environment confirmed on Friday they had accepted an amended environmental assessment terms of reference submitted by Noront Resources for their proposed Eagle’s Nest mine. The terms of reference is the first step in the environmental assessment process. It serves as a work plan that outlines the studies and consultations the company most conduct to determine whether the mine will have proper protection for environmental and human health. Noront first submitted their terms of reference document to the province in April 2012 for a proposed nickel, platinum and palladium mine within the Ring of Fire. It took more than three years before the province accepted an amended version of the terms of reference ….”moremoreOntario’s Noront Eagle’s Nest Multi-metal Mine EA information page
  • A new face at Noront   Noront Resources Ltd. announced today that Stephen (Steve) Flewelling P.Eng., has joined the company as Senior Vice President, Mining & Projects. Steve is a senior mining executive with more than 30 years of experience in exploration, feasibility planning, project development, construction and operations. He has worked domestically and abroad in a variety of roles and across multiple commodities. “We are extremely pleased to have Steve join our team,” said Alan Coutts, President and CEO Noront Resources. “His depth of knowledge and breadth of experience in project development will be a tremendous asset as we move forward with our Eagle’s Nest Mine and other projects in the Ring of Fire.” ….” – LinkedIn profile


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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – June 19, 2015

  • Provinces the key to resource-revenue sharing with First Nations – The Globe and MailSpecific revenue sharing has been shown to generate new wealth while creating business opportunities
  • Sound familiar?  “Ont. premier defends slow progress in Ring of Fire — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is defending the slow progress in developing the Ring of Fire by saying it takes time to get things right ….” – “Ring of Fire development takes time, says Wynne” – “Ring of Fire moving forward, Premier suggests”
  • RoF still ONE provincial infrastructure priority:  “Ontario’s Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca and Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure Brad Duguid have released the following joint statement …. The priority projects that Ontario has put forward to the federal government, including six highway expansion projects, two GO transit projects, the Maley Drive extension in Sudbury, a number of nominated Small Community Fund projects, and a call for the federal government to match Ontario’s $1 Billion commitment to the Ring of Fire, have not received any response ….”
  • “NAN committed to Ring of Fire , says Grand Chief Yesno — Officials with Nishnawbe Ask Nation says mining and other developments in the Ontario’s far North won’t take place unless First Nations are the decision-makers at the forefront of that development.  “The days are long gone when industry or government can exploit our land and the resources it contains,” NAN Grand Chief Harvey Yesno declared in an address to the Ontario Mining Forum held in Thunder Bay on Wednesday.  As proof that NAN is determined to lead in the Ring of Fire development in the lower James Bay area, Yesno said the identification of key transportation corridors will be based on First Nation knowledge of local topography, sacred sites, cultural heritage and environment and resource development activities ….”
  • More from NAN (PDF)  “NAN is currently developing a strategic and innovative strategy that will position our 49 First Nations as active partners in delivering and financing comprehensive regional transportation infrastructure across our territory in Ontario’s remote north,” said Grand Chief Harvey Yesno during his keynote address to the 5th Annual Ontario Mining Forum in Thunder Bay …. NAN is moving forward with the identification of corridor options based on First Nation knowledge of local topography, sacred sites, cultural heritage, and environment and resource development activities. This new approach will provide certainty for First Nations and the business community.  NAN is also developing a strategy to lead the planning, development, procurement and implementation of a regional transportation infrastructure plan to maximize the social and economic benefits across NAN territory.  NAN is investigating the possibilities of ‘bundling’ for public-private partnership (PPP) financing of multiple transportation development projects to increase funding and financing options from the public and private sector sources. A ‘bundling’ strategy will combine many public infrastructure projects on shared Treaty territories together to maximize potential funding solutions by combining and coordinating several public infrastructure projects together to access new and more significant sources of financing ….”
  • Federal Liberals:  Easier for China to buy companies = better for RoF?  “The Liberal Party would open more of Canada’s economy to Chinese investment and ease restrictions on the sale of oil companies if it wins the fall election.  Developing Canada’s natural resources will require massive foreign investment and the federal government should do everything it can to foster ties with potential international partners, Liberal members of Parliament Scott Brison and Chrystia Freeland said Tuesday at Bloomberg’s Ottawa office …. Poor global ties have hurt TransCanada Corp.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline as well as domestic projects including Quebec’s Plan Nord and Ontario’s Ring of Fire, Brison said.  “I honestly believe Mulroney would have been able to get Keystone XL approved with Reagan or Bush, and Chretien would have got it done with Clinton,” Brison said, referring to past Canadian and U.S. leaders ….” – more Chinese-RoF links from late last year here
  • “MacDonald Mines Sells Its Hornby Property — MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. announces that effective June 5, 2015, it entered into a Mineral Property Acquisition Agreement with KWG Resources Inc (“KWG”) to sell the mineral claims known as the Hornby Property, located 80 kilometres southeast of Webequie Ontario. The Hornby Property is comprised of five claims totaling about 15.7 square kilometres and is adjacent to the Big Daddy Chromite Discovery ….”


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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – June 12, 2015

  • Some Noront optimism (or fingers crossed?)  “The head of the leading junior miner in the Ring of Fire feels it’s getting close to obtaining provincial approval to advance to the next phase of developing its nickel-copper deposit in the James Bay lowlands. Al Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources, is expecting good news from the province within a few weeks on the much sought-after terms of reference on its environmental assessment report of its Eagle’s Nest project. “From my conversations with the province, I think we’re very close to having something that’s going to work for all of us,” said Coutts ….”
  • “KWG Resources Inc. has agreed to acquire the 5-claim Hornby Property from MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd. for 4 million treasury shares of KWG. The vendor will retain a 2% NSR, half of which may be purchased by KWG for $1 million at any time prior to production from the property. KWG will also have the first right to buy the balance of the NSR at any time the holder proposes to sell it. The Hornby Property claims constitute an extensive holding adjoining the southerly boundary of the Big Daddy Joint Venture property immediately to the north and would effectively double the surface area available for possible future mining operations at the Big Daddy deposit and the adjoining Black Thor deposit. The property is also adjacent to the Koper Lake property to the west that contains the Black Horse chromite deposit ….”
  • Good question  “A fall court date has been set to hear an appeal by KWG Resources on a disputed access corridor to the Ring of Fire. But will the Toronto junior miner’s noted adversary, Cliffs Natural Resources, show up? KWG announced that the Ontario Court of Appeal has set Oct. 20 as the date to hear their argument to retain control of a long string of mining claims that it wants to use for an underground slurry pipeline from its chromite deposit in the James Bay lowlands. The respondent is Cliffs Natural Resources, which sold off its chromite properties this past spring to Noront Resources and has since departed Ontario. Both parties have until June 29 to file their materials. KWG owns 30 per cent of the Big Daddy deposit which it once shared in an acrimonious relationship with Cliffs. The Ontario government, through the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, is an intervenor in the proceedings ….”
  • Some editorial advice for Ontario’s new Tory party leader “…. For now, all Brown has to do is criticize the Liberal government, whether it’s high energy rates choking Northern businesses, the stalled Ring of Fire development, nursing cuts and the general sense of alienation many in the region feel. That’s what opposition leaders do. However, Brown will eventually have to develop real policy alternatives as the 2018 election draws near ….”
  • An interesting way to raise some capital  “Abitibi Royalties Inc. is pleased to announce the official launch of the Abitibi Royalties Search. “The Royalty Search” is an easy to use website that allows mining companies and prospectors a quick way of accessing capital in this difficult commodities market. What We Are Offering: Abitibi Royalties is offering to pay, for a specified period of time, the claim fees/taxes related to: 1) Existing mineral properties or 2) Staking of new mineral properties In return for paying these fees, Abitibi Royalties would be granted a net smelter royalty (“NSR”) on the property. Many claim holders are having a difficult time paying the fees associated with their property and face losing the mineral claims or they do not have the capital needed to stake new properties …. Abitibi Royalties Inc. (CVE:RZZ) holds a 3% NSR on the Odyssey North discovery, Jeffrey Zone and the eastern portion of the Barnat Extension and a 2% NSR on portions of the Gouldie and Charlie zones all at the Canadian Malartic mine near Val-d’Or, Quebec. In addition, the Company holds 100% title to the Luc Bourdon and Bourdon West Prospects in the McFaulds Lake (“Ring of Fire”) area, Ontario ….”
  • A bit of analysis from TVO’s “The Agenda” …. “Can the Ring of Fire keep its promises to First Nations? — First Nations communities in Ontario’s northwest live in conditions the vast majority of Ontarians would find unacceptable. But will the enormous wealth promised by the Ring of Fire mineral deposit really change that? ….”
  • …. with a pretty short & sweet answer from Mining Watch Canada, via Twitter   “Spoiler: no ….”
  • First, they came for the loggers ….  “Mayors from Northern Ontario and Quebec are banding together in a fight against they describe as the “negative impacts from environmental extremism.” Forestry companies have been targeted by special interest groups like Greenpeace for harvesting within the Boreal Forest which spans across the country including much of Northern Ontario. Hearst Mayor Roger Sigouin, Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis and Timmins Coun. Mike Doody, who is also chairman of the North Eastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) were among the leaders who attended a recent meeting in Ottawa involving mayors from 22 communities in Ontario and Quebec. These three along with Timmins Mayor Steve Black held a press conference at city hall Tuesday to discuss their aim to raise awareness of what they feel is an attack on communities that rely on resource-based industries. Sigouin said if environmental lobby groups are successful in making it impossible to carry out forestry it will be “just like a dropping a bomb in Northern Ontario to kill all of the communities.” Politis said, “What we have to become better at is counter-messaging …For Greenpeace to suggest any deforestation takes place at all in Canada, let alone Northern Ontario, is completely false and irresponsible.” ….”
  • (Not exactly #RoF, but) Some think tank ideas to change Fednor  “New research calls for the federal government to restructure its Northern Ontario economic development organization FedNor to better meet the needs of local communities. “The current mandate, structure, and approach to regional economic development of the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario have a detrimental effect on the organization’s policy engagement in the region,” says Brock University political scientist Charles Conteh, who wrote the report, released June 9 by the Northern Policy Institute ….”
  • Not about mining, but applicable in general  “…. I think this means a new outlook on how to get projects – and, yes, pipelines – built in Canada is needed. Yes, the courts have made it clear that a pipeline won’t get built without the full and informed consent of every First Nation that’s affected along any potential route. But rather than looking at those communities as obstacles to be overcome, the energy sector should treat them as business partners in waiting. And if it asks the right questions, it might just get the answer it’s been looking for all along.”
  • More on how to deal with First Nations from the Globe & Mail  “…. These three events – and there are others – at least slightly modify the apparently entrenched narrative that “reconciliation” has not been tried in good faith by governments, and that the failure to achieve agreements nudging Canada toward “reconciliation” has been entirely the fault of governments. They bear some blame for the unhappy state of current affairs, to be sure, but not all of it. Political failures have opened a path for eager courts to march boldly into aboriginal affairs, so that most of the action has been created by “judge-made law.” ….”


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#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – June 5, 2015

  • “KWG Resources Inc. reports that the Registrar of the Ontario Court of Appeal has notified the parties that October 20th, 2015 has been fixed for the hearing of the appeal of Canada Chrome Corporation of the decision of the Divisional Court of the Ontario Superior Court made in July 2014 overturning the decision of the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner. The respondent in the appeal is 2274659 Ontario Inc. and the intervenor is the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. Both parties have until June 29, 2015 to file responding materials if they elect to do so. 2274659 Ontario Inc. was formerly a subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (“Cliffs”) and is now wholly-owned by Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront”) ….”
  • Noront’s latest update on their #RoF work  “…. In May, Noront took receipt of the physical and intellectual property associated with its acquisition of properties previously owned by Cliffs Natural Resources in the Ring of Fire. While the company’s near-term focus remains on its Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum-palladium deposit, Noront plans to evaluate development opportunities for other resources in its project pipeline in parallel with the advancement of Eagle’s Nest …. The next steps are to convene a cooperative discussion with the First Nation communities most directly affected by development, with the goal of: negotiating a Benefit Agreement; completing the Environmental Assessment activities; and working together on community readiness initiatives. Concurrent with the permitting of Eagle’s Nest, Noront will review the technical and social data related to its newly acquired chromite properties. By early 2016, the company expects to complete both a strategic plan for chromite development and a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA) over these deposits, including its previously held Blackbird deposit. To ensure there is a broad level of engagement on development of these projects, including the associated infrastructure required for a bulk commodity, Noront has proposed a separate discussion forum with local First Nations and the provincial government. In addition, the company has received exploration permits from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) and intends to conduct regional geophysical surveys followed by drilling in this very prospective region to advance regional exploration over the consolidated mineral land package that Noront has compiled (which amounts to roughly 66% of the landmass of the Ring of Fire) ….”more (alternate link)
  • Check out all the #RoF players attending the 5th Annual Ontario Mining Forum in Thunder Bay 17-18 June – you can click on the “Day 1” and “Day 2” buttons to get more details about who’s speaking about what when.
  • A chance to watch Canada’s #RoF minister on video with an update “Kenora Member of Parliament Minister Greg Rickford is Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. Minister Rickford says that despite less than favourable market conditions that work on the Ring of Fire mining project is continuing ….”
  • Lakehead University economist mentions #RoF in a column as an example of how one should manage expectations  “…. The Ring of Fire is a classic example of how economic development is viewed in the north. There are expectations that the Ring of Fire’s mining development will bring about an economic boom and create a cornucopia of jobs. All that is needed is federal and provincial government infrastructure spending to kick-start the process. The reality is that, in the absence of market demand, government spending alone will not create mining development. Moreover, modern mining is capital intensive and mass job creation prospects are limited. Indeed, more of the benefits from mining are on the supply chain side. Rather than viewing the mining frontier as a coming boom that will quickly fix the northern economic malaise, it would be more realistic for northern Ontario to look at it as a long-term process of relatively modest, but sustained development ….”
  • The latest on what could be an interesting race in the Kenora riding (where the incumbent is Canada’s #RoF minister, and the federal NDP’s #RoF advisor wants the NDP nomination)  “…. in front of a crowd of Liberals at the Kenora Travelodge, Bob Nault was nominated as the Liberal candidate for the Kenora riding for the upcoming 2015 General Election. Nault, the former Minister of Indian Affairs and MP for Kenora-Rainy River for 16 years, was excited to be named the candidate. “I’m honoured and proud to once again represent the Liberal Party of Canada in Kenora. Today, we start the real work of speaking to Northerners about the problems facing our region and our plan to address those issues. Under the leadership of Justin Trudeau, we will present a plan more in line with Northern values.” ….”
  • A Globe & Mail resource revenue sharing tie-in to this week’s Truth & Reconciliation Commission recommendations (with a hat tip to resource legal beagle Bill Gallagher for spotting this first) …. “…. the Supreme Court is increasingly stepping in as arbiter. In decision after decision, it is asserting that First Nations have a legitimate claim to a say and a share in the wealth of resources on Crown land. If Ottawa and the private sector will not negotiate solutions, the courts may well impose them. But progress along that route will be protracted, expensive and imperfect. Are Canada’s political leaders – Conservative, NDP or Liberal – willing to take a great leap, to negotiate with First Nations leaders as equals in search of solutions that benefit all? Are there First Nations leaders willing to enter those negotiations in good faith? Are there First Nations communities willing to endorse the solutions they reach? ….”
  • …. as well as the Financial Post’s take  “…. One priority must be not to make things worse in a misguided attempt to make them better (the original sin of residential schools). Last year’s Supreme Court decision on aboriginal land title in the case of the Tsilhqot’in Nation in B.C. was sold as strengthening requirements for consultation. This seems an admirable measure but in fact creates uncertainty, not least by greatly extending lands under possible dispute. The ruling declared that it did not give native people a veto, but it opens the possibility of endless court wrangling. Consultation is indeed essential. The danger is that by trying to make reparation for past sins by granting additional powers to challenge development, the decision may have compensated for alleged cultural genocide by handing natives the weapons of economic suicide ….”


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