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Ring of Fire (RoF) News – October 2, 2014

  • “Premier Kathleen Wynne isn’t wasting time worrying about Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources looking to possibly sell key assets in the Ring of Fire. Cliffs will make its own business decisions and the Government of Ontario doesn’t have any control over that, said Wynne. “There are many companies that are interested in the development of the Ring of Fire and we are going to be working with all of those companies that are interested,” Wynne told reporters after a cabinet meeting Thursday at the Willet Green Miller Centre at Laurentian University. At one time, Cliff had plans to open a chromite mine in the Ring of Fire, and ship the ore to a plant in Capreol for processing. That would have created as many as 600 jobs in the Sudbury area. The premier and most members of her inner circle met at the session, at which ministers received mandate letters outlining the priorities for their ministries. High on the priority list for Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle (see Mandate Letter here) was developing the Ring of Fire, rich chromite deposits located 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Gravelle was instructed to continue to collaborate directly with other ministers, First Nations and key stakeholders to develop the mineral-rich area. That includes establishing the Ring of Fire development corporation that was promised to be set up within 60 days of the Liberal government’s throne speech delivered in July …..”
  • Who else is tasked with working with RoF as a priority? Ontario’s Minister of Aboriginal Affairs – this priority, from his Mandate Letter:   “Collaborating on Ring of Fire Negotiations – Working with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and with First Nation communities on the next phase of negotiations under the Ring of Fire Framework Agreement our government signed earlier this year. Your goal is to ensure benefits sharing and a regional approach that respects community-based planning ….”
  • …. not to mention the Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry – from his Mandate Letter“….Working with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change to support robust and comprehensive environmental assessments and planning related to projects in the Ring of Fire region ….”
  • …. as well as the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (link to Mandate Letter):  “….Continuing to work on decisions relating to environmental assessments associated with projects in the Ring of Fire region. You will do so by working with the ministers of Northern Development and Mines, Aboriginal Affairs, and Natural Resources and Forestry. This will include ensuring that the regional and cumulative impacts of proposed development are considered ….”
  • Meanwhile, according to APTN, “In Toronto, nine chiefs from the Matawa Tribal Council held an emergency meeting with the province this week. This past March, the province and First Nation Ring of Fire chiefs signed an historic framework agreement with the province. But since then, things have gone sour.” (video)
  • “The Ontario Liberals may have won a majority in the June 12 election, but they don’t have a monopoly, says Andrea Horwath. Ontario Liberals have failed Northern Ontarians time and time again — especially in their slowness to develop the Ring of Fire — and the Ontario New Democrats can capitalize on that, said the NDP leader. Horwath spoke Sunday morning at NDP Northern Council 2014, a gathering of 60 or more MPPs, NDP candidates and party faithful …. Ontario saw the “sad result” of Liberal inaction recently when Cliffs Natural Resources indicated it was looking to sell its assets in the Ring of Fire, Horwath told delegates. “Instead of pulling out all the stops to build infrastructure, instead of getting revenue sharing agreements on track, instead of working with northerners, First Nations and industry partners to develop resources in the Ring of Fire, Premier Wynne’s government has taken a wait-and-see approach.” ….”
  • Part of mines minister Michael Gravelle’s response to Horvath:  “It is troubling to hear a leader of a major political party in Ontario speak with such a lack of understanding of the steps required in developing the Ring of Fire. What is specifically troubling, is that (NDP leader Andrea) Horwath does not seem to understand the complexity of this major economic opportunity for our province or respect the important work we have undertaken before ore extraction can actually begin. Our government is leading the way to drive development in the Ring of Fire. There is no question that over the past year, significant progress has been made. We have provided a $1-billion commitment to develop transportation infrastructure in the region; established a Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation within 60 days of forming our new government; and reached a historic agreement with the Chiefs of the Matawa Tribal Council that lays the groundwork for future discussions. Our government is proud of the work that we have accomplished so far …. While Ms. Horwath may be looking to score quick political points, I respectfully ask her to do her homework on a very complex project that is currently being developed in a smart, sustainable, collaborative way and represents a historic opportunity to affect positive economic outcomes for the region, Ontario and indeed all of Canada.”
  • Noront shares a “whazzup?”  “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to provide an update on its work plans for the winter 2014-15 season. Noront has agreed to support Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN) as the proponent of a winter road to access its Eagle’s Nest Mine in the Ring of Fire. MFFN has submitted a permit application to build a winter road from Marten Falls to Noront’s Esker camp where the Eagle’s Nest Mine will be located. This road will be used to transport bulk materials including fuel and heavy equipment, to be used for work on the existing airstrip and to help ensure that Noront is in position to initiate mining activities once the necessary approvals are in place. Work on the airstrip is planned for fall/winter 2014 and will be completed under an approved land use plan with Noront’s development partner Marten Falls Logistics (a 100%-owned entity of Marten Falls First Nation). As part of this project, the landing area will be cleared to its final dimensions for use as a winter air strip during the 2014/15 season rather than the previously used ice air strip constructed on Koper Lake. The airstrip will be upgraded for all-season use when waste rock aggregate is available from construction of the underground mine at Eagle’s Nest …. Noront is currently preparing an update to its 2012 Feasibility Study which is expected to be complete by the end of October. It is being prepared by Micon International based on detailed construction cost estimates provided by the companies contributing to Noront’s Eagle’s Nest project, a group of world class organizations ….”
  • Meanwhile, more analyst doom and gloom for Cliffs ….  “The vultures continue to circle around Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. looking to take advantage of a company desperate to raise enough cash to stay alive ….”
  • …. while Cliffs gets set to share more info later this month  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Announces Quarterly Conference Call for Third-Quarter Financial Results on October 28, 2014 ….”
  • “KWG Resources Inc. announces that by mutual agreement of the parties, KWG and Bold Ventures Inc. have extended by 30 days, to October 30, 2014, the deadline by which KWG must provide Binding Notice 2. Pursuant to the Option Agreement between KWG and Bold, Section 3.1 provides that KWG must provide Binding Notice 2 by September 30, 2014 that it intends to make the $700,000 option payment due February 7, 2015 under the KWG/Bold Option Agreement and expend an aggregate of $8,000,000 on the property by March 31, 2015. If the Binding Notice 2 is not delivered, the Option is terminated ….”
  • A good question from a Northern Ontario think tank:  “What would a federally supported stainless steel industry mean for the Ring of Fire?”  “….The North now has all the ingredients in their backyard to make stainless steel, a uniqueness not found anywhere else in the world. How incredulous would it be for Canada to be the only G8 country not to have a stainless steel industry when the chromite, nickel and iron are all in one place? Although the timeline for the eventual development of the Ring of Fire may be unknown, few would believe that $60-billion of known mineral wealth will stay in the ground for very long. One way to accelerate that extraction and to start generating wealth on three fronts, would be for our governments to invest in the development of a stainless steel industry. A stainless steel manufacturing plant would be a catalyst for accelerating investment in the Ring of Fire chromite development by providing a local market for the product. It would also ensure that the middle step of smelting chromite into ferrochrome would be done locally. An industrial hat-trick if you will ….”

 

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Ring of Fire News – 26 Sept 11

  • 23 Sept 11 Northern Ontario leaders’ debate:  Two leaders (Conservative, NDP), no Premier, lotsa talk about resources and infrastructure.  You can watch the hour-long debate here via netnewsledger.com, and read the Ring of Fire highlights here.
  • Some critiques of the NDP’s “mine it here?  refine it here, then” policy.  “…. Livio Di Matteo, an economics professor at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, said there’s a risk attached to such an amendment. Companies decide to “process or to add value to the extracted minerals” based on factors such as the price of processing and transportation costs, he said. “It’s the cost of energy that’s a major ingredient into the value-added processing. Given the cost of energy right now in Ontario, decreeing that firms must process within Ontario could saddle them with a lot higher costs,” unless certain incentives were given, Di Matteo said. Some companies might have preferred to send materials to other provinces or countries where energy costs are cheaper, so “you might end up with some firms simply deciding not to invest in further mining activity because of that. That’s a potential outcome,” Di Matteo said. “If a firm was going to invest in the mining sector already, then having such legislation might create a few more jobs than otherwise might have been the case, but it comes with the risk, of course, of killing off the industry also or aspects of it in terms of value-added processing. You can’t really predict up front which way it’s going to go.” Walid Hejazi, a professor of international competitiveness at the Rotman School of Management, said he agrees with a push for high-value processing in Ontario, “but the means to get there, I think the NDP got it all wrong.” Telling companies they can’t process materials in places that are more efficient and cost-effective would only make the province less attractive to investors, he said. “It would be counterproductive to mandate the companies do it here. If they want to create incentives for that, that’s fine,” Hejazi said. “If we were to somehow create an environment where the stuff can be processed here as efficiently as elsewhere, then we wouldn’t need that regulation or the change to the Mining Act because if it was most efficient to do it here, companies would do it anyway.” ….”  Source
  • Laurentian University prof:  business’ll build the road, so government should build the railway?  “…. Jean-Charles Cachon, a commerce and administration professor at Laurentian University, said …. one big infrastructure project the province could take on right now and make a big difference is a rail line linking the remote, yet-to-be developed Ring of Fire area in northwestern Ontario to an existing community. “The industry can pay for a road: it’s not the big problem,” said the professor. “But the expensive part will be the railway. There will be a significant need for one to move ore out as far as the Ring of Fire is concerned. It’s a necessity. It’s a question of how fast can it be done? The world demand for metals will be increasing, led by China, over the next 10 years. This is a long-term concern that needs to be addressed now.”….”  Source
  • Sudbury officials are twisting Cliffs Natural Resources arms in Cleveland tomorrow, trying to get a ferrochrome smelter built in northeastern Ontario.  “Council will focus on the city’s competitive advantages as a global mining centre when it meets with Cliffs Natural Resources Sept. 26. The meeting is meant to continue deliberations on why Greater Sudbury is the best place to locate the proposed ferrochrome production facility, according to a press release. The project is still in its preliminary stages. Cliffs is one of the most significant mining and natural resources companies in North America, according to the press release. In 2010, the company acquired the largest-known chromite deposit in North America, located in northern Ontario. Earlier this year, Cliffs evaluated numerous locations and announced the Sudbury location, Moose Mountain, north of Capreol, as the benchmark site. Over the past year, city officials have been meeting with decision-makers from all major companies involved in the Ring of Fire development, including the provincial government. A report has been drafted to show Cliffs the benefits in bringing this important project to the Greater Sudbury area. “Cliffs is looking at places to establish its smelting operation,” Mayor Marianne Matichuk said in a press release. “To me, there is only one place; here in Greater Sudbury. If Cliffs decides to build in Ontario, we want Greater Sudbury to be the only choice for them.” ….”  Source
  • Meanwhile, Sudbury’s Green candidate says “I’m not convinced a smelter’ll work here yet”.  Green Party Sudbury candidate Pat Rogerson does not want to see a chromite refining plant in Sudbury. Rogerson was at The (Sudbury) Star building Wednesday afternoon for an electronic town hall, where she fielded questions from readers …. “We’re talking about an open pit mine, which is extremely costly to the environment, and chromium mining and smelting both leave residue in the environment that would have to be cleaned,” she said. “The chromium market is already extremely volatile. In the past 10 years, the price of chromium has fluctuated by as much as 80%, and there are several places in he world already producing it, so it’s not scarce. “Unless these problems are addressed, and the risk assessment done, I would have to say that presently, with the information I have, financially it’s not a feasible project.” ….”  Source more
  • A few more details out on how to bring more electricity to Greenstone to clinch getting a ferrochrome smelter built there instead of Sudbury.  “…. Larry Doran, president and CEO of Imperium Energy, said it is feasible to supply Exton with the required energy, which would not only allow Greenstone to be home to the refinery, but benefit the entire region. “It’s both economically and sustainably positive and possible to provide the required power to build the refinery at Exton on the schedule that Cliff Natural Resources has requested,” Doran said. We’ve also found that it provides a base for a much better opening of the grid system in Northwestern Ontario for a variety of reasons.” Doran examined several options for supplying Exton with adequate electricity, including constructing a gas plant in Exton or Geraldton, connecting Nipigon to Exton through a transmission line, or what he is calling the Northwest Kick-Start. The Northwest Kick-Start option involves a V-shaped grid connecting Nipigon to Dryden or Ignace through Greenstone. Doran said it would create social and economic transformation in the region by providing service to a wide range of existing needs and the grid would be strengthened. “It is the best option, because it meets the timeline with certainty,” he said. “That certainty is very important to the business. “It also sets the stage for growth later,” said Doran ….”  Source (PDF of news release also available here) – more more more
  • Thunder Bay insurance, security, investment and accounting firms are joining forces to create a “one stop shop” for mining companies looking for all these services for the Ring of Fire.  “A new partnership aims to provide comprehensive business protection and risk management services to business clients across Northwestern Ontario, especially those involved with the Ring of Fire. Called LYNX, the group consists of Thunder Bay Insurance, Focused WealthCare, Buset & Partners and Safety Net Security .…”  Source (PDF of clipping, Chronicle-Journal, 21 Sept 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-24 Sept 11) also available here (PDF).  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Northern Ontario (2 x) Leaders’ Debate on Ring of Fire

I had a chance to attend the Ontario leaders’ debate in Thunder Bay hosted by the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association, the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce and the Northern Ontario Development Network.  I attended as a private citizen, paying my own conference fee.  In case you hadn’t already heard in the news, Ontario Conservative Party leader Tim Hudak and Ontario New Democratic Party leader Andrea Horwath were there, but Ontario Liberal leader Dalton McGuinty wasn’t.

I took a few notes, and thought I’d share some Ring of Fire highlights with you from the hour-long debate.

Hudak’s verbal commitments during the debate:

  • Sharing “mining tax revenues” on all new mines, as well as stumpage fees, with “host First Nations and host municipalities” (“host” is a new term to me in this context – it’s not in the northern platform document, and wasn’t explained in the debate)
  • Revoking the Far North Act  (without offering any specific alternative other than to say the focus will be on creating jobs, not “catering to southern Ontario special interests) – accused Horwath of offering a “Far North Act Junior” as an alternative
  • Having the Minister of Northern Development manage development in the Ring of Fire instead of what he referred to in a radio interview earlier in the day as a bureaucrat “hidden away in the system” (my recollection of the wording, not verbatim), referring to Ontario’s Ring of Fire co-ordinator
  • Being, if elected Premier, the “lead salesman” of the Ring of Fire’s benefits to Ontario and Canada
  • Continuing Northern Ontario Heritage Fund at $100M/year

 

Horwath verbal commitments during debate:

  • Revoking the Far North Act (without offering any specific alternative other than to say is to have FNs at the table, with everyone working together, not having different interests competing against each other)
  • Creating a $35M infrastructure fund, which could be a source of funds for infrastructure needed for developing the Ring of Fire
  • Continuing Northern Ontario Heritage Fund at $100M/year
  • Ensuring resources extracted in northern Ontario are processed in northern Ontario
  • Reducing electricity costs, in part, by re-combining five (?) entities that used to make up Ontario Hydro

If you were there, I’d love your comments on the exchange.

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Ring of Fire News – 12 Sept 11

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  • Ontario Liberal election plan:  “The Ring of Fire is one of the greatest economic development opportunities Ontario has seen in almost 100 years, said the Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. MPPs Michael Gravelle (Lib., Thunder Bay-Superior North) and Bill Mauro (Lib., Thunder Bay-Atikokan) announced the Ontario Liberals’ northern platform outside of AbitibiBowater Friday morning. The party’s commitment to the development of the Ring of Fire was one of the highlights. “We are going to commit to drive that development forward, working with all the partners in all of the sectors of the industry to make that happen, by working with the companies that are involved, with the First Nations, with the Métis Nation, with the communities to see that going forward,” said Gravelle. The party plans to open eight mines in the next 10 years ….”  (Sources: tbnewswath.com, 9 Sept 11)
  • Ontario NDP election plan:  “…. The NDP plan will protect and create jobs: Make it the law that resources that can be processed in Ontario won’t be shipped away …. Get electricity costs and bureaucracy under control and establish an industrial hydro rate that can be used by northern industries – Tackle the high cost of living in the North …. Eliminate duplication in Ontario’s electricity system, stop the private power deals and make hydro CEOs more accountable to consumers …. Respect for Northern decision-making: Ensuring First Nations benefit from resource development and are empowered to play a full role in improving their communities, give the north a voice at Queen’s Park by setting up a Northern Ontario Legislative Committee, Ensure Mining Tax revenue from new mines stays in the North with municipalities and First Nations ….”  (Source:  NDP news release, NDP northern Ontario platform (alternate download available here), 8 Sept 11; Chronicle-Journal, 9 Sept 11)
  • What “They’re” saying about NDP plan  “….  The Liberals took the first shot by accusing the NDP of proposing a “moratorium” on development north of the 51st parallel — the location of Ring of Fire and other promising mining projects. The NDP plan “would kill the Ring of Fire and destroy jobs in every Northern community,” Thunder Bay-Superior North Liberal candidate and current Mining Minister Michael Gravelle said in a news release. “I can think of nothing more ill-informed or reckless.” Not so, said the NDP. Former party leader Howard Hampton didn’t dispute the reference to a “moratorium” the Liberals found in what he said was a 2006 NDP document. But Hampton, who is not running for re-election in Kenora riding, said it was only meant as a temporary measure until a plan for Far North development had been put forward. “Back in 2006, the issue was: Are you going to make a plan for the North, or have a free-for-all? A lot has happened in five years.” A Liberal party spokeswoman said the NDP document remained “current” as of this week and it was fair to bring it to light. “The NDP only promises to get rid of the (Liberal) Far North Act — there is no detail as to what they will replace it with,” the spokeswoman said. “The document we provided is the only official information publicly available on their thinking on this issue,” she added. Hampton said focusing on a position that’s five year’s old is just playing politics. “That would be like us focusing on Dalton McGuinty saying he’d never raise our taxes,” said Hampton. Both the NDP and the Conservatives have promised to repeal the Far North Act. It was opposed by Northern aboriginal and mining groups who said it’s too restrictive on development and weakens aboriginal autonomy.”  (Source:  Chronicle-Journal, netnewsledger.com, 9 Sept 11)
  • More on the impact of a recent court decision on mining and other resource extraction.  “…. Murray Braithwaite works with Fasken Martineau, a law firm specializing in mining issues. He said the Ontario Superior Court’s Keewatin decision has changed the rules regarding resource extraction in the region. In August, the court ruled that the province cannot authorize timber and logging if those operations infringe on federal treaty promises that protect aboriginal rights to traditional hunting and trapping. It’s still unclear how that decision will affect mining operations. “Everyone is trying to digest the decision,” Braithwaite said. “The implications of leases being invalid are difficult to accept.” Braithwaite said he expects the decision will trigger an appeal and lead to years of legal wrangling. As a result, it may be a long time before the rules about doing business in Ontario’s Far North can be clarified ….” (Source: CBC.ca, 9 Sept 11; Fasken Martineau newsletter, 25 Aug 11)
  • Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo says First Nations have to be part of future mining developments. “Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of development projects across the country won’t ever break ground unless the federal government finally realizes First Nations have a final say over what happens on their territory, says Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo. With about $400 billion worth of resource-based activity expected across the country in the coming years that impacts traditional First Nations territories, Atleo said it was time for Ottawa and industry to get serious about respecting the rights of Indigenous peoples to have final word over what happens on their land. “We have much to gain by working together and a lot to lose if we don’t – because those projects cannot and will not take place without our agreement, without our involvement and without our active engagement from start to finish,” said Atleo Friday, during a Toronto speech to the Law Society of Upper Canada and the Indigenous Bar Association. Canada’s First Nations have the right to reject projects that impact their territories and continued attempts to minimize or ignore that right will lead to conflict, said Atleo. “We must not slide down the old slippery slope towards new conflicts. We must march forward on a new path,” he said ….”  (Source:  APTN, Postmedia News, 9 Sept 11)
  • Some north-shore First Nations banding together to work on areas of common concern“…. three Northern Ontario First Nations have signed a letter of intent to work together on common interests in shared traditional territories. Aroland, Ginoogaming, and Long Lake # 58 First Nations have committed to develop processes together to ensure that the First Nations are aware of activities occurring, or about to occur, within their traditional territories and that they jointly benefit from developments through proper consultations and consent. Chief Veronica Waboose of Long Lake #58 First Nation says; “Currently companies and industry are approaching our First Nations individually and we don’t have the resources. Working together as three First Nations, we can assist each other and guarantee we are all in the know about projects happening within our traditional territories.” All three communities are located approximately 350 kilometers Northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario. Chief Sonny Gagnon of Aroland First Nation says; “Our First Nations are all going to be impacted by development happening in the area- not just one of the communities. These are our shared territories…this isn’t about divide and conquer.” The three First Nations have identified that the absence of a government to government process for consultation and accommodation between First Nations and the Federal and Provincial governments as a major issue. The Matawa First Nations Chiefs signed a Unity Declaration in July to stand together to protect the natural resources and territories of member First Nations; The three Chiefs agree that signing the letter of intent, is the next step for the declaration ….”  (Sources:  First Nation news release (alternate sites for release here and here), Wawatay News, 7 Sept 11; Northern Ontario Business, 9 Sept 11)
  • Remember the group of First Nations signing a deal to work together on Ring of Fire issues?  Not everyone is signing on – this from a letter to the editor signed by Marten Falls Chief Elijah Moonias:   “…. Marten Falls is not signing this agreement. It is the north-south corridor we want, and we have actually started the road. We would prefer a gravel road, not a railroad. The problem with a railroad is, it will cross the Albany River 50 miles up and it will not bring traffic to town. If we could achieve some ownership of the rail line, whatever we could afford, then revenue could be achieved. Cliffs, the major proponent for the chromite deposit, wants the north-south route, by road or by rail. I understand the route will be decided by the government in consultation with the public. We are also in the process of planning with the government of Ontario for a land use plan of the area. This plan has not looked into the issue of the corridor. The east-west route is proposed by Noront, a junior company, not a mining development company. I find their proposal for this route not only environmentally unfeasible but economically impossible. They want to “slurry” the nickel, copper and palladium to the “Webequie junction.” This is a pipeline pumped by diesel generators through a thousand pristine lakes and creeks. Try getting environmental approvals for that, if the money could be had to actually do it. Land use plans should be completed before declaring where the corridor will go and what it might be, road or rail. The corridor issue was discussed at the Matawa AGM in Constance Lake. To request a corridor to the Ring of Fire through the east-west plan is contrary to the Unity Statement, because this plan leaves us watching on the sidelines as our territory is approached and encroached upon in a round-about way. We cannot allow that and will find a way to safeguard our interests other than relying on statements that do not mean anything ….”  (Source:  Chronicle-Journal, 9 Sept 11)
  • Former Constance Lake chief Arthur Moore is now district manager, First Nations relations with Cliffs Natural Resources, one of the mining companies in the Ring of Fire mineral exploration area. “With my experience and knowledge, I think I can provide good input,” Moore said of his new job. “So far it’s been good. It’s a good environment at the office.” …. Moore began his employment with Cliffs Aug. 2. His role is to work with First Nations and government agencies to prevent misunderstandings and ensure good communications are in place, especially in the environmental assessment process to ensure correct information is delivered to the communities. “We are planning to do bulletins with the First Nations,” Moore said. “We need that dialogue and the dynamics to have a good relationship.” Moore said it is important to prevent misunderstandings and improve relationships with First Nations. Moore had three good job offers before he decided to accept the offer from Cliffs. “I work with senior management from Cliffs’ headquarters,” Moore said. His immediate supervisor is Joe Gaboury, director of Aboriginal Affairs with Cliffs, and he also works with the company’s directors of environment and development at the new Cliffs office in Thunder Bay. “I hope to see growth in the communities and establishing of good relationships,” Moore said ….”  (Source:  Wawatay News, 2 Sept 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1 Jun-9 Sept 11) also available here (PDF).  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 5 Sept 11

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  • Four NW Ontario First Nations sign a Ring of Fire collaboration deal, endorse rail link to ROF area.  “…. The East-West Corridor Collaborative Agreement was signed between the communities of Webequie, Neskantaga, Eabametoong and Nibinamik. Since March 2010, the First Nations have been working towards a community-driven strategy to develop a preferred corridor through their traditional territories. The goal is to establish a First Nation joint venture that will operate an infrastructure, transportation and service corridor for northern First Nations and other activities in the Ring of Fire. The First Nation Chiefs were supported by their Councils during today’s signing ceremony in Thunder Bay …. One of the major objectives outlined in the East-West Corridor Collaborative Agreement is to ensure that community members from the four First Nations realize the maximum possible benefits from the corridor development ….”  (Sources:  First Nations news release, tbnewswatch.com, Canadian Press, 31 Aug 11; Chronicle-Journal, 1 Sept 11)
  • Webequie First Nation hires “Ring of Fire Senior Director”.   “Webequie First Nation introduced Michael Fox, President of Fox High Impact Consulting, as Webequie’s Ring of Fire Senior Director. Fox will be working to ensure a community-driven approach and community-based opportunities related to the development of the Ring of Fire are recognized and realized by companies and governments …. (Chief Cornelius Wabasse says) ” Michael recognizes that agreements with companies and governments are premised on the community’s Aboriginal and Treaty rights and that any Impact and Benefits Agreement has to be ratified by the community members” …. (Ring of Fire) project submissions trigger a legal process and will now formalize Webequie First Nation’s engagement with both companies and governments. “We will be assembling our negotiating team and executing our community-based strategy with both companies in the very near future,” says Michael Fox. “We will also be engaging with Marten Falls First Nation at a Council-to-Council level for the Mine Sites developments. And we definitely look forward to continued discussions with regional First Nations on infrastructure corridor initiatives.” ….”  (Sources:  First Nation news release, tbnewswatch.com, 29 Aug 11; Chronicle-Journal, 30 Aug 11)
  • Sudbury:  Talking to cabinet ministers + provincial party leaders at municipal conference = clinching its spot as a Ring of Fire hub?  “Sudbury council members said recent talks with provincial ministers have resulted in a renewed commitment to keep Ring of Fire infrastructure in the North. “We heard directly from all three parties that they are committed to keeping the Ring of Fire refinery jobs in Northern Ontario,” Councillor Dave Kilgour reported in a news release. “This is welcoming news as these jobs are imperative for the growth of our community.” Municipal representatives from across Ontario are in London this week for the annual Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) conference. Kilgour is joined by Mayor Marianne Matichuk and Councillors Fabio Belli and Andre Rivest. While there, the Sudbury delegation met with Infrastructure Minister Bob Chiarelli, Northern Development Minister Michael Gravelle, Conservative Party Deputy Minister Christine Elliot and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath ….”  (Source:  Northern Ontario Business, 26 Jul 11)
  • “…. KWG’s railway infrastructure project has been well timed and the need for a railway in the Ring of Fire seems highly economic. Meetings with government and First Nations officials are ongoing to determine a mutually beneficial result. As well, KWG continues to explore the available funding mechanisms that can be employed to continue development of the railroad link to the Ring of Fire …..”  (Source:  KWG Management and Discussion Analysis document (PDF) as of 30 Jun 11 via SEDAR)
  • KWG Resources Inc. has completed the acquisition of 7 million treasury units of its subsidiary Debut Diamonds Inc. valued at $0.30 each in exchange for subscription receipts for 21 million KWG treasury units valued at $0.10 each. The Debut units each comprised one new treasury share and one share purchase warrant; each Debut warrant may be exercised to acquire an additional Debut treasury share upon payment of $0.40 at any time within 5 years. The KWG subscription receipts are exchangeable for KWG treasury units which will each comprise one new treasury share and one share purchase warrant; each KWG warrant may be exercised to acquire an additional KWG treasury share upon payment of $0.15 at any time within 5 years. “This exchange will provide KWG with additional shares of Debut for distribution to the KWG shareholders while providing Debut with sufficient working capital to qualify for listing”, said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “At the same time it permitted Debut to close the acquisition of an option to earn an interest in the Nakina targets, comprising 33 interpreted geophysical targets in 28 claim blocks north of Nakina. These include some of the best magnetic targets seen in Ontario since the Attawapiskat cluster, and resulted from analysis of the Ontario Geological Survey data made public in late 2010.” ….”  (Sources:  KWG news release, Debut Diamonds news release, 29 Aug 11)
  • MacDonald Mines Limited is pleased to announce that the Company has completed nine holes, totaling 2,553 metres, of an ongoing drilling program on its Ring of Fire, Semple-Hulbert project near Kasabonika, Ontario. Following initial assay and geophysical results the spring/summer program was completed in August. The company is currently reviewing all data as it awaits final assays, which will allow for both additional geological and geophysical interpretation …. Results of the program will be released as soon as they have been received and reviewed. Camp Relocation: The company will also relocate its exploration camp to newly discovered favourable geology. This will also provide important cost saving in the forth-coming drilling exploration ….”  (Source:  Company news release, 26 Aug 11)
  • UC Resources Ltd. is pleased to provide an update of the drilling of a recently discovered anomaly in the McFaulds lake area of the “Ring of Fire” in Northern, Ontario. The company completed its 1200 metre, 2-hole core drilling program at McFaulds Lake property and submitted 126 cut core samples for assay. A description of the core encountered during the program has been provided below by M.J. (Moe) Lavigne, P. Geo, who was acting as QP for this drill program and a qualified person pursuant to National Instrument 43-101 has reviewed and approved the technical information in this press release on behalf of the company …. Based on a visual estimate, the copper content of the mineralization encountered will not exceed 0.5%, but are good candidates for PGE enrichment. The magnetite rich rocks encountered are also good candidate for PGE enrichment, and may also have elevated vanadium and titanium …. Assaying will be conducted by Activation Laboratories Ltd of Ancaster, Ontario and results will be press released upon arrival ….” (Source: Company news release, 29 Aug 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-31 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 15 Aug 11

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Information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.


  • Premier McGuinty:  Ontario’ll put up infrastructure money for Ring of Fire (as soon as we see how much the private sector puts up).  “The Ontario Liberals will wait to see how much money the private sector is willing to invest in infrastructure to develop the Ring of Fire chromite deposits before it puts government money into the area, said the premier. The province will “definitely” have to help build infrastructure, such as roads, to bring the project online, but it wants to “maximize” its opportunities before it does so, Dalton McGuinty told reporters in northern Ontario Saturday afternoon. Any public investment would have to be shown to benefit Ontarians — and especially northern Ontarians — and that includes businesses and First Nations. “We’ve got an opportunity to do this in a way that’s never been done before so we’re excited about that,” McGuinty told reporters at Sudbury’s Laurentian University. “But, yes, at some point in time, it will call for an investment in infrastructure,” said the premier ….” (Source: Toronto Sun/QMI Media, 13 Aug 11)
  • Ontario NDP leader:  if it’s mined in Ontario, it’ll be processed in Ontario.  “In a campaign swing through northern Ontario, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath vowed to stop resources mined in the province from being exported if they can be processed here. “Companies are pulling them out of the ground and shipping them elsewhere for processing and it doesn’t have to be that way,” Horwath said Monday from Dubreuilville, Ont. “We need to be conscious about what is happening with our natural resources. It helps us put some control over how much of our resources get processed and it creates good jobs for Ontario families.” ….”  (Sources:  Toronto Star, 9 Aug 11; Ontario NDP news release, 8 Aug 11)
  • Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry:  Ontario NDP doesn’t get it.  “…. “What the NDP appears to be willfully ignoring is that in Ontario we process minerals from other jurisdictions — from Quebec, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador,” he said. Even the United States, Peru and Chile send ore to Ontario to be smelted. “If they are prepared to say they are going to close the doors by absolutely demanding processing take place in Ontario they are very much risking hundreds of jobs that are there now,” Gravelle said from his Thunder Bay riding ….”  (Sources:  Toronto Star, 9 Aug 11; ministerial statement, 9 Aug 11)
  • Editorial:  Ontario NDP doesn’t get it.  “…. As mining resurges in importance, Horwath wants ore processed here wherever possible instead of being shipped away to less-expensive locations. Northern communities are already tripping over themselves trying to convince Cliffs Natural Resources that theirs is the best location to process chromite ore from the Ring of Fire development. Cliffs can simply send the stuff wherever it wants and Ontario has disadvantages beginning with higher electricity costs than any other jurisdiction Cliffs is considering. What is Ontario promising Cliffs to convince it to process its chromite here? Under Horwath’s plan, if a suitable smelter exists, it would be guaranteed the right to process the ore that Cliffs and others take out of the ground. The danger here is that a sole, protected enterprise would inevitably become uncompetitive and might ultimately fail. Then it would be up to government to bail it out, a result that would serve no one in the long run.”  (Source:  Chronicle-Journal, 10 Aug 11)
  • Technology Centre:  Don’t put all your economy eggs solely into the Ring of Fire basket.  “…. The Ring of Fire not only sounds exciting but seems to hold great promise for the future of our economy. Regional communities are busy strategizing and committing resources toward ensuring that their community realizes the benefits and wealth from this development. The Northwest has the resources and the world wants them. Many believe that our economic woes are solved! This worries me. I sense that we are once again focused on the resource economy dream. Have we learned any lessens from what happened with the forestry sector? The Northwest’s economy was driven by the forest sector with minimal diversification, innovation and value-added activities ….”  (Source:  Letter to the editor, 10 Aug 11)
  • Mining Watch Warning via Twitter Cliff’s approach in BC doesn’t bode well for Ontario’s Ring of Fire.”:  “Tl’azt’en Nation issued a stop work order to Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., a company that is illegally operating on their territory. Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is a large US mining company based in Ohio. Tl’azt’en Nation Chief Ralph Pierre says, “Cliffs is a multi-billion mining company from the United States that seeks to develop properties in central British Columbia and in the Ring of Fire deposit in northern Ontario. They are a multi-national company from a developed country so they should know better than to lie to the Indigenous People.” In April of this year, Cliffs committed to postpone their 2011 mineral exploration program until a signed exploration agreement was in place with Tl’azt’en. Negotiations immediately commenced in May and then company used unethical means by making commitments to our trapline holders to gain their support. Instead of continuing negotiations directly with the Chief and Council, the Cliffs consultants did an ‘end run’ and promised to assist Keyoh holders in the remote village of Middle River (the closest Tl’azt’en village to the exploration site) with telephones, internet service, clean water, sewage upgrades, church repairs, jobs, etc …. ”  (Sources:  Mining Watch Twitter post, 14 Aug 11, Tl’azt’en Nation news release, 11 Aug 11)
  • Canada, Ontario agree to joint assessment panel for proposed mineral project near several northern Ontario First Nations (not this one, though).  “Canada’s Environment Minister Peter Kent and Ontario’s Minister of the Environment John Wilkinson announced today the establishment of a three-member joint review panel for the environmental assessment of the proposed Marathon Platinum Group Metals and Copper Mine Project in Ontario. Minister Kent, in consultation with Minister Wilkinson, has appointed Dr. Louis LaPierre as the Panel chair, and Dr. David Pearson and Dr. Philip H. Byer as Panel members. Biographical information on the Panel chair and members is available in the accompanying backgrounder. The Panel has a mandate under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act to consider whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. After the conclusion of the review process, the Panel will prepare a report setting out its conclusions and recommendations relating to the environmental assessment of the project ….”  (Source:  Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency news release and backgrounder, 9 Aug 11)
  • Melkior Resources Inc. is pleased to announce that drilling on its 100% owned McFaulds East Rim property located in the Ring of Fire area, James Bay, Ontario is ongoing. The McFaulds East Rim property consists of 1208 claim units covering 193.28 km2. In addition to drilling East Rim, Melkior drilled Riverbank and Broke Back, which recently signed a revised letter of intent with Green Swan Capital Corp …. Riverbank and Broke Back combined consist of 69 unpatented claims covering 147.84 km2 ….”  (Source:  company news release, 12 Aug 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-14 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).

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