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

#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – February 29, 2016

  • Remember that court case on the mining claims along the route between Nakina & the RoF? The planned development of Northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” mineral belt got a potential boost (last) Wednesday when an appeals court ruled that a small junior mining firm should not have exclusive access to a transportation corridor. The decision opens the door to construction of a north-south road to the Ring, which is thought to contain about $60 billion of chromite and other minerals. The Ontario government supports a road, in part because it would link up with remote First Nations communities. …”
  • Put another way, KWG Resources no longer has exclusive rights on a strategic transportation corridor to the Ring of Fire. On Feb. 25, an Ontario appeals court upheld a divisional court ruling from last year that allows other mining companies to apply for an easement to use the 340-kilometre long route into the remote exploration camp in the province’s Far North …”
  • Great opening lines in the Ontario Court of Appeal ruling: ” “Mining is the art of exploiting mineral deposits at a profit. An unprofitable mine is fit only for the sepulchre of a dead mule”: T.A Rickard, The Romance of Mining (Toronto: MacMillan Co., 1944). The same might be said of an inaccessible mine. This appeal sees two mining companies fighting over access to valuable chromite deposits in northern Ontario …”
  • Next steps? This, from KWG: “… The application for an easement to build a road has never proceeded and KWG will now put before the Minister of Natural Resources the details of the railroad feasibility study to be undertaken to insure that surface tenure may be assured as an assumption in the study, that the consolidated aggregates may be mined from the claims to provide material for the railroad bed, and that the claimholder’s priority to consolidated aggregate is maintained …”
  • And Noront’s take? “… the company announced that The Court of Appeal for Ontario today upheld a Divisional Court decision in the matter of mining claims staked by KWG Resources along a North-South corridor to the Ring of Fire. The decision allows a proponent to apply for an easement along the corridor without requiring the consent of the claim holder (KWG). Noront inherited the case as part of its Cliffs acquisition that was completed in April, 2015 …”
  • Any Ring of Fire mentions in Ontario Budget 2016? This, from page 65 of the full budget document (408 page PDF) – note the lack of an attack on Canada for not coughing up its share of infrastructure money: “…Ontario has also committed up to $1 billion for strategic transportation infrastructure development in the Ring of Fire region, located about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. The Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation has been established to support smart, sustainable and collaborative development in the Ring of Fire region, and has completed a number of studies to help inform infrastructure planning. The Province also continues infrastructure planning with First Nations. Ontario and the federal government jointly funded a community-based study of all-season access roads and the Province is also providing funding to First Nation communities for capacity building and social supports. For example, approximately 2,000 clients from Matawa First Nations communities have participated in education and skills training programs. The Province also continues to work actively with industry partners on development opportunities. The Ring of Fire project will support economic development in northern Ontario and provide benefits for Indigenous communities, Ontario and Canada as a whole…”
  • And Gilles Bisson’s (NDP MPP for Timmins-James Bay) take on the budget? “… Bisson was critical of the budget for rehashing previous promises on the Ring of Fire that have not been kept. “It’s a big Ring of Nothing,” Bisson said of the Liberal’s failure to act to develop the Ring of Fire. “Well what has been done despite these commitments? Nothing,” Bisson said. He said that Cliffs Resources would have built their chromite mine by now if the Liberals had acted on their commitments of seven or eight years ago. “They don’t have a plan that is going to get the Ring of Fire up and running,” Bisson said. “It’s all spin for the benefit of the Liberal government.” …”
  • In other industry news, Noront is raising some more money “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has filed a preliminary short form prospectus (more detail – 28 page PDF – here) in the Provinces of Ontario and British Columbia and obtained a receipt from the Ontario Securities Commission to qualify the distribution of units of Noront and flow-through units of Noront and the common shares and warrants underlying the Units and Flow-Through Units. If the maximum offering is achieved, the Company will raise aggregate gross proceeds of $5,500,000 and $2,500,000 if the minimum offering is achieved …”
  • Good think-tank RoF project summaries (pages 23 through 26) in this report The Province of Ontario is missing out on billions of tax dollars and thousands of mining jobs for the people of Northwestern Ontario. That’s according to a new research report published by the Northern Policy Institute (52 page PDF). NPI says eight potential mining projects are currently on hold in our region, with an estimated wealth of over $135 billion and the potential to create thousands of jobs. Among the mines listed as “failed projects” are the Noront Eagle’s Nest mine in the Ring of Fire, which is still waiting for approval, and the Phoenix Gold project in Red Lake, which was halted in November …”

 

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