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

#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – September 28, 2016


 

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Ring of Fire News – 19 Jan 12

  • Editorial call for more all-season roads into the remote north (and not JUST for the Ring of Fire) following a fatal plane crash near North Spirit Lake.  “…. The accident comes within a week of Aboriginal leaders in Northern Ontario and Manitoba calling on their respective provincial governments to consider speeding up plans to increase the number of all-weather roads to remote, fly-in reserves. It could be money well spent. Economically it could vastly reduce the cost of goods and services on the reserves, along with lessening the need for harrowing wintertime flights into and out of the communities. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be solely on the backs of taxpayers. The roads, which NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy said should run along the east-west corridor, could also be vital links for the Ring of Fire and other mining projects. Certainly, with billions at stake, the mining companies can be expected to contribute heavily to the construction of the roads, while helping to improve the lives of those whose traditional lands they’ll be developing.”  Source
  • Ring of Fire helping Thunder Bay airport’s business  “2011 was the busiest year ever for Thunder Bay International Airport. The airport hosted 719,500 passengers, eclipsing the 2010 volume of 691,826 which represents a 4% increase year over year. The increased interest in the mining sector, and in particular the “Ring of Fire” appear to be the big factors in the increased growth …. “  Source
  • Rookie Conservative MPP for Nipissing, Vic Fideli, says Ring of Fire one of his big files  “…. the Ring of Fire. I work on this file a lot, because there are approximately 70 mining and manufacturing companies in the riding of Nipissing, and the Ring of Fire is the largest mining opportunity to come our way in a century, so I want to see that Nipissing is positioned well to take advantage of it. I talked to your paper before when I flew into the Ring of Fire. I am one of the rare few politicians who ever set foot in the Ring of Fire. When I flew in, a big smile came into my face when I saw the blue and white tent knowing that they are made in Rutherglen, in our riding at Canadian Tentex. They are responsible for building the town. Then as soon as I got off the helicopter I saw piles of drill rods and knew they were made in Powassan and half a dozen other places in and around North Bay. So this is our place. The Ring of Fire is where we need to be, we need North Bay to be there front and centre. So I spend a lot of time on that file, either mentally or meeting with organizations to move our agenda in that area ….”  Source
  • Ring of Fire Resources Inc. provides update on its projects Source (PDF table)
  • Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. …. announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend on the Company’s common shares of $0.28 per share. The cash dividend will be payable on March 1, 2012, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Feb. 15, 2012 ….”  Source
  • Anglo Swiss Resources Inc. announces the grant of 7,000,000 incentive stock options to purchase common shares of the Company at $0.10 per share for five (5) years to directors and officers of the Company. The grants are subject to acceptance by the TSX Venture Exchange. The Company has closed the private placement announced on November 7, 2011. Closing of the second and final tranche was announced on December 29, 2011. About Anglo Swiss: Anglo Swiss Resources Inc. controls a highly-prospective, Canadian precious and base metal exploration property portfolio which includes its flagship 100%-owned Kenville Gold Mine property in southeastern BC, as well as its 100%-owned Lansdowne House, Ring of Fire nickelcopper- PGE project in northwestern Ontario …. ”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 Dec 11-15 Jan 12 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 19 Dec 11

NOTE:  Ring of Fire News will be taking a holiday break, and will be back here with the latest on 9 Jan 11 – have a safe and happy holiday season!


  • Where’s the Cliffs smelter going? (1)  Most likely Sudbury, according to Greenstone.  “Municipal leaders are trying to convince Cliffs Natural Resources to locate its chromite smelter to Greenstone admit the company seems to be sticking to its existing plan to build the facility near Sudbury where it can plug into established power sources.  “They seem committed to their (Sudbury) base case and don’t seem to be dissuaded by anything else yet,” Municipality of Greenstone chief administrator Roy Sinclair said ….”  Source (PDF)
  • Where’s the Cliffs smelter going? (1)  Timmins, maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaybe (with Thunder Bay and Sudbury running a close second).  “Timmins is still in the competition, but is clearly a long-shot.  City residents on Monday night got a chance to view the production plans for Cliffs Natural Resources.  Cliffs is the Cleveland-based company developing a chromite mine in an area of the James Bay lowlands, commonly known as the Ring of Fire.  Timmins has been vying to be the site for a ferrochrome production facility connected with the chromite mine.  However, Capreol has already been identified by Cliffs as the preferred site.  Timmins is one of the three communities as a potential alternative — Thunder Bay and Greenstone being the other two.  However, Dean Rogers, president of the Porcupine Prospectors and Developers Association, doesn’t think Timmins would move to the front of the line if, for whatever reason, Capreol was dropped from consideration.  “It’s partly a political decision I would guess,” said Rogers. “With two of the Liberal ministers sitting in both Thunder Bay and Sudbury area, it’s kind of hard to go against the fact one of those may be the chosen area for its location — if it’s located in this province at all.” ….”  Sourcemoremore
  • FedNor Minister:  it’s up to Ontario to do something about electricity rates (and we have teams working on the Ring of Fire issues, too).  “The federal government has a role to play to make sure the Ring of Fire is developed and that it creates jobs in the North, says FedNor Minister Tony Clement.  But, if those jobs are to remain in Ontario, Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty and his government will have to do something about electricity rates, said Clement.  Clement has struck a committee to stay up to date with developments in the massive chromite deposits, to make sure the economic potential of the area is maximized.  But Clement said Monday that while he favours processing jobs remaining in Northern Ontario, the high cost of electricity could be a problem.  “(That) is firmly in the hands of (Premier) Dalton McGuinty and the Liberal government, so they’ve got to step up,” said Clement …. A group of federal officials is remaining in close touch with the province about the development.  The federal government is involved in a number of “regulatory hurdles” and with respect to “dialogue with First Nations” about development of the deposits.  Clement said the federal committee was struck after he noticed “about a year ago that we should be more co-ordinated in this area.” ….”  Source
  • Aroland Chief Sonny Gagnon:  When’s Cliffs dropping by OUR community?  “…. (Chief Gagnon) said Cliffs needs to come to his community to give residents a greater understanding of both the potential downside of the project, as well as the benefits under proposals to transfer ore from company trucks to trains on First Nations’ traditional territory.  “Along with the good, there’s the bad side of things that development does, so we need to understand it. We really need to get our elders and youth to understand here’s what’s going to be happening,” he said Monday.  Gagnon said an enhanced environmental assessment would bring public hearings to his community, but so far the government is sticking with a paper-based assessment of Cliffs plans.”  Source
  • More Ring of Fire-Attawapiskat linkage.  “The Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation says the crisis in Attawapiskat is a wake-up call for other First Nations.  Stan Beardy said the fact that people there are living in such dire conditions with a diamond mine next door is causing chiefs to rethink the potential benefits of new mines in northern Ontario.  “That is what’s missing and the end result is, what we’re trying to deal with today, people [are] living in tent frames and shacks,” Beardy said. “That’s not fair and that’s what we’re trying to address.”  Beardy said it’s also unfair that a critical housing shortage in Attawapiskat resulted in a government crackdown on the community’s finances, instead of immediate aid.”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-16 Dec 11 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 5 Dec 11

  • Noront Resources:  we have a preferred route for year-round access to our proposed Eagle’s Nest mining site.  “…. Paul Semple, chief operating officer with Noront, said …. they have looked at 12 different scenarios that included using roads, trains and hovercrafts, but have since narrowed down the choices. While an environmental review still needs to be completed, he said having a route that will allow them year round access will be incredibly beneficial.  “When we looked at our studies we found a preferred East to West route which comes in from Pickle Lake and comes onto an all season road up to Webequie,” Semple said.  “We follow an existing winter road corridor so we minimize our environmental disturbance.  It’s pretty important to have these roads otherwise you would have a fleet of trucks running two months out of the year and then they would sit idle for the next 10.” ….”  Source
  • Meanwhile, Noront re-announces it has its environmental assessment documents for the Eagle’s Nest project available for public scrutiny.  “Noront Resources Ltd. has released the Notice of Commencement of Terms of Reference.  Noront is continuing with its work for the Environmental Assessment for the Eagle’s Nest Mine Project in northwest Ontario.  Since 2009, Environmental Baseline studies have been conducted around the mineral deposit, at infrastructure sites, and along the access corridor. Noront has also been advancing the engineering of the mine and infrastructure since 2009, incorporating means to protect the environment and support sustainable development.  Draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for the Eagle’s Nest Mine project have been prepared by Noront in compliance with Ontario Ministry of the Environment (MOE) requirements.  The draft TOR is available for review by the public, and copies can be down loaded at www.norontresources.com or www.eaglesnestmine.com  ….”   Source  (Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency documents also available here, here and here)
  • Noront selling shared to raise ~$4M for Ring of Fire work.  “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has entered into an agreement with Dundee Securities Ltd., on behalf of a syndicate including Raymond James Ltd. under which the Agents have agreed to offer for sale, on a best efforts private placement basis, flow-through common shares (the “Flow-Through Shares”) at a price of $0.86 per Flow-Through Share for gross proceeds of approximately $3,000,000.  In addition, Noront has granted the Agents an over-allotment option (the “Option”) to sell up to an additional $1,000,000 of the Flow-Through Shares sold pursuant to the Offering, at $0.86 per Flow-Through Share, exercisable at any time prior to 48 hours before the Closing Date of the Offering …. The gross proceeds from the sale of the Flow-Through Shares will be used for Canadian Exploration Expenses (“CEE”), with the Company to use best efforts to qualify such CEE as “flow-through mining expenditures”, to fund ongoing exploration activities on the Company’s McFauld’s Lake project ….”  Source
  • Merry Christmas from Noront to First Nation kids!  “A Toronto-based mining company wants to ensure that 350 children in two remote First Nations near the Ring of Fire mining district have presents for Christmas.  Noront Resources Ltd. in co-operation with the North-South Partnership for Children, is running its third annual Ring of Fire Christmas Fund.  In the past two years the company has raised over $40,000 and has ensured that every child under age 12, both on- and off-reserve in Marten Falls and Webequie has received a wrapped gift ….”  Sourcemore (company news release) – more (company brochure)
  • What Premier Dalton McGuinty had to say about the prospect of Cliffs Natural Resources shipping some less-than-fully-processed chromite straight to China, instead of having it all refined in Ontario:  “…. we’re going to do everything we can together to maximize the benefits for the people of Ontario.  I know where my friend (Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath, who asked the question in the Legislature) wants to go on this, and I can’t agree with her in that regard. She would suggest that we put up a wall around our resources sector here in Ontario. The fact of the matter is, we receive raw minerals from other parts of the world. We bring them into our province, we process them here, and we create good jobs here. So that’s not the kind of fight I want to get into with the international community.  Having said that, I again say to my honourable colleague, let us see if we can find a way, all of us together, working with northerners in particular, to ensure that we maximize the benefits of the development of the Ring of Fire for the benefit of all Ontarians ….”  Source (PDF of question & answer exchange from 30 Nov 11 Hansard) – moremore
  • Message from First Nation governance conference in Thunder Bay:  Unity is the key.  “…. “We can’t approach these things fractured,” said Elijah Harper, a former member of both provincial and federal parliament in northern Manitoba.  Harper was one of several speakers at the two-day First Nations Strategy for the Ring of Fire forum hosted by the National Centre for First Nations Governance at the Victoria Inn Tuesday.  “There’s a confusion of how to work together; that’s the problem – where to begin,” said Harper. “People are at different stages of speaking with the mining companies. “  Not only does there need to be collaboration on how to move forward with mining development, but also on how to deal with Aboriginal and treaty rights.  Harper said people need to be properly advised so they can make informed decisions in respect to development; so they know what impacts it may have on their traditional territory.  “They have to be addressed with the mining companies and also to stress that the federal and provincial government have a responsibility to ensure consultation happens,” he said.  Harper believes it is possible for the communities to work together as they have a common vision – they want to benefit from the Ring of Fire activity.  “That’s the ultimate goal – to achieve a good future for the First Nations and for generations to come,” he said.  The aim of the conference was to show First Nations what it takes to organize a legal and political strategy to get the most out of negotiations with government and industry.  The forum was also to educate Aboriginal people about their rights and the legal obligations of the federal and provincial governments, specifically regarding resource use and the Ring of Fire ….”  Source
  • Op-ed attributed to Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy on why he’s against the Far North Act:  First Nations don’t have the final say.  “…. The core elements of every land use plan are subject to a provincial veto which is in complete denial of a standard that is being recognized internationally, that is, the right for First Nations to provide free, prior and informed consent. Canada and Ontario still have yet to catch up to this standard ….”  Source
  • The Wasaya Group is teaming up with other businesses to help service the Ring of Fire.  “…. This fall, the Thunder Bay-based Native venture corporation announced joint ventures with a major Northern contractor and a Sioux Lookout trucking company.  Wasaya has struck business partnerships with Dowland Contracting of Inuvik, N.W.T. and Morgan Transfer of Sioux Lookout.  Dowland business development director Martin Landry said the company has delivered more than $1 billion in mine and power line developments as well as hospital and school projects in Canada and Alaska since its inception 30 years ago.  The new venture, Wasaya Dowland Contracting, will provide construction expertise to Wasaya with future training and apprenticeship programs stemming from the relationship.  “Wasaya Dowland Contracting will undertake large construction initiatives through the industrial, commercial and institutional sectors,” said Landry. “The company will be available to serve the Ring of Fire should they require our industrial capacity” ….” Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 Nov-5 Dec 11 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 21 Nov 11

  • More on Noront’s Eagle’s Nest project entering the Environmental Assessment fray.  “As the controversy over the environmental study of a proposed Ring of Fire mine drags on, another proposed mine in the Ring of Fire has started a similar environmental assessment process.  The environmental assessment for Noront Resources’ proposed Eagles Nest mine kicked off Nov. 15 with the opening of a 30-day public comment period.  The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) decided to do a comprehensive study, the same process chosen for Cliffs Natural Resources’ proposed chromite mine.  CEAA spokesperson Celine Legault said that the agency determined there was no need for the Noront project to be subjected to a more intensive Joint Review Panel (JRP) assessment.  “At any time during the study the (federal) minister of environment can refer the assessment to a Joint Review Panel,” Legault said.  He said the decision to refer the project to a JRP would be based on the project having “likely, significant adverse effects” and “major public concerns.”  A JRP review would involve a panel of independent experts overseeing the review, and include community meetings where oral testimonies and concerns could be raised.  In contrast, a comprehensive study is done by the CEAA itself. In a comprehensive study only written submissions are accepted.  The Noront comprehensive study will involve three public comment periods where any member of the public can submit a written concern to the CEAA, Legault said. The first public comment period has a deadline of Dec. 16.  During the second public comment period meetings will be held in affected Aboriginal communities, Legault said.  She added that consultation with Aboriginal groups has been ongoing since Noront submitted its project description in the spring of 2011….”  Source more
  • Some editorial comment on the process and how it handles big projects.  “TWO LARGE resource development proposals in this country highlight the difficulties in balancing economic opportunity with environmental protection. The addition of economic uncertainty and cultural considerations makes this balancing act even tougher. Here in the Northwest, the proposal to develop the huge Ring of Fire chromite project is the subject of dispute over what form of environmental assessment is suitable. A comprehensive study of Cliffs Natural Resources’ proposal, by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, is already under way. First Nations in the James Bay Lowlands withdrew their support of the project when the federal government opted not to conduct a higher-level joint review panel EA. Matawa First Nations claims the comprehensive study EA provides “no realistic opportunity for First Nations to participate.” It says the current process will fast track the EA process for government and Cliffs, but put First Nation communities and their lands at serious risk …. The comprehensive study is one of three types of environmental assessments. It tends to be geared to large projects with the potential for major adverse environmental effects. CEAA spokesman Celine Legault said the study could widen to a joint review panel if the federal environment minister deems there is sufficient public concern or considerable environmental impacts that can’t be mitigated …. Timing is important for a development of this size and delays can threaten the project ….” Source
  • Has Cliffs already chosen a site for its smelter?  “…. Cliff’s Natural Resources has issued an update on The Ring of Fire. That October Update states that the Ferrochrome Production Facility will be in Sudbury. “Refining the concentrate will occur at the Ferrochrome Production Facility located for the Base Case on privately owned lands near Capreol within a rural area of the City of Greater Sudbury. The size of the site will be approximately 1.5 km by 1 km. The site is currently designated as “Rural”, allowing a variety of land uses, especially those that provide rural economic benefits that are balanced with protection of the natural environment and the agricultural resource base”. “Infrastructure and services will be required to support construction and operation of the Ferrochrome Production Facility. It is estimated that 350-450 people will work at the site during construction and 350-450 during operations. These workers will commute daily to the site from the surrounding area. The availability of skilled labour is a significant consideration in selecting the location of the Ferrochrome Production Facility ….”  Source Cliffs presentation (PDF)
  • If we believe a Cliffs spokesperson speaking at a Sudbury open house, no they haven’t (at least as of 15 Nov 11, anyway).  “…. Dave Cartella, general manager of global environmental affairs and counsel with Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., said a final decision on where the chromite processing facility will be located has not yet been made. The company has been using Capreol as its “base case” for planning purposes. “(Capreol) does meet all of our basic needs,” Cartella said. “We’re just not ready to make a decision yet.”  Source
  • Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation make the case to Cliffs for a smelter in Thunder Bay.  “Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs was all smiles Wednesday night when he stepped off the chartered plane that took him and six others to Cleveland, Ohio. He said the pitch the delegation made to Cliffs Natural Resources to build its chromite smelter in the northwest was well-received. “It went very well, we had a great presentation,” he said, noting that the presentation was months in the making. Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins was part of the delegation. Hobbs said he thinks Thunder Bay residents are already on board. “Well, there were over 350 people at the open house that Cliff’s put on here, and from what they told us there weren’t too many negative comments at all,” he said. “People want work, and they want to be working in Thunder Bay.” Hobbs said he asks people about the smelter on his walkabouts, and gets positive feedback. George Stevenson is one Thunder Bay resident who supports bringing a smelter to the area. “It’ll be a positive for our community and for the region,” he said. “It could mean a lot of machine shop work in Thunder Bay; it could mean a lot of the fellas getting employment out at the Ring of Fire.” …. Other people were more cautious. Pat Hovi said she has some questions. “I think we want to know whether it’s going to increase employment opportunities for the people in Thunder Bay, or whether there’s an environmental issue we need to know about as well. Those are my concerns.” Hobbs said consultation with the public will be Cliffs’ responsibility, once it chooses the location for the smelter ….”  Sourcemore more
  • Greenstone makes the case to Cliffs for a smelter in Greenstone.  “In Cleveland (16 Nov 11), senior management of Cliffs Natural Resources hosted a multi-hour meeting with a delegation from the Municipality of Greenstone. The focus of the wide ranging discussion was the potential for siting a ferrochrome refinery at Exton Siding (between Nakina and the Aroland First Nation). Greenstone Mayor Renald (Ron) Beaulieu observed, “I was pleased and impressed with the responsiveness and attention our submission received from the Cliffs representatives. They asked some tough but important and insightful questions. Clearly they have been giving a lot of consideration to the benefits of the Exton site.” The Greenstone presentation in Cleveland is an updated version of the “North West Kick- Start” plan released at a media conference in Thunder Bay earlier in the fall. However, the submission has been upgraded with more detailed information and maps related to electricity supply. The Greenstone delegation made similar presentations to officials at Queen’s Park before going to Cleveland. The Mayor commented, “I am very pleased with the quality of the case the Greenstone delegation made in Cleveland. Residents of Greenstone and throughout the Region should be confident that we advanced important points in favour of Greenstone being the site for the ferrochrome refinery. The points made were related to sustainability, economics, electricity supply, First Nations relations and support.” The Mayor continued, “We also talked about the Greenstone mining and exploration legacy and its strategic location as a labour source for workers in all facets of the planned chromite operation.” Charles Fox, a former Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation carefully outlined the important relationship that Greenstone has with local First Nations, and the overarching importance of the Matawa First Nations cooperation to the success of the project ….”  Source alternate download site for news release (PDF) – Chronicle-Journal coverage (PDF)
  • Editorial comparing, contrasting Thunder Bay’s, Greenstone’s approaches.  “…. Both communities stressed the importance of their alliance with First Nations. But while Hobbs and other Thunder Bay leaders travelled to Cleveland with Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins, the Greenstone delegation did not include a representative from Matawa First Nations with member communities closest to the Black Thor chromite deposit. Matawa recently withdrew its support for the project in a dispute over environmental review. Greenstone instead met Cliffs with Charles Fox, a former grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation which includes Matawa. As such, Fox could be signalling he may be able to help get Matawa back on side. …. One big plus for Thunder Bay is the existence of its Ontario power plant which produces just the right amount of electricity needed to power the electric arc furnaces that will process the chromite ore. Central to a longstanding Northwest argument for a homegrown power rate is the fact more power is produced here than is needed. Ontario’s plans to modernize its power grid could easily accommodate the electricity needs of the region and the processor. One final nugget: As Hobbs and Collins peered out the window of their flight home Wednesday, they agreed vacant land on Mission Island next to the power plant would be the perfect place for Cliffs to build is processor.”  Source
  • On that bit in green above, could this be what was being discussed behind closed doors at Thunder Bay City Hall on August 15th?
  • On that bit in red above, let’s also remember that Greenstone & Aroland First Nation hired Fox late last year as a consultant – from a November 2010 Municipality of Greenstone resolution:  “…. be it resolved that Charles Fox Consulting be engaged to provide services to assist with the work as herein delineated, and for the development of agreements with other First Nations in the Ring of Fire, to a limit of $60,000. Any expenditures for such work in excess to this amount will require Council approval. That Council approve funding applications to NOHFC and to FedNor to assist with the cost of developing and implementing work as set out in the Memorandum of Understanding between Aroland First Nation and the Municipality”  Source
  • Column:  No reason why Thunder Bay shouldn’t be to mining what Fort MacMurray is to oil.  “Alberta is seen as Canada’s energy capital. The massive oil, natural gas, and oil sands in Alberta and Saskatchewan are fueling the massive economic growth across the west. Calgary is the brains in the energy sector, and Edmonton and Fort MacMurray are the muscle. There is, should we here in Northwestern Ontario take this as a model, for a similar one for Thunder Bay, Sudbury, and Greenstone with reference to the mining opportunties in The Ring of Fire. Thunder Bay should be the base where important decisions are made on mining in Northwestern Ontario. As well our city can be where the research and analysis can be completed. Additionally, for Northern Ontario and beyond, Thunder Bay can be the destination for sample inspection, analytical testing, and advisory services for the minerals, exploration, and mining industries. We would likely within a short period of time develop a global network of state-of-the-art laboratories. Sudbury can be the processing site for the ferrochrome processor. Greenstone can serve, in conjunction with Thunder Bay as the distribution point for materials needed onsite in the mines. Such a move fits in tightly with Thunder Bay’s Strategic Plan. While the Strat Plan says we will aggressively pursue the chromite processor, more importantly in the long term it says, “We will grow and attract more technology and knowledge-based/research companies”. Our strategic plan also states Thunder Bay will “Pursue the development of a Mining Centre of Excellence in conjunction with the private sector, training and educational institutions such and Lakehead University and Confederation College, and urban and regional Aboriginal organizations.” ….”  Source
  • Sudbury’s Greens join the call for a joint environmental assessment of the Cliffs project – this from a letter from the Party’s Sudbury CEO to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency:  “…. I am frustrated that the CEAA has chosen to assess Cliffs Chromite project as a single project, disconnected from the reality of development proposals on the ground in the Ring of Fire. If ever there was an area of proposed development for which a Joint Assessment should be used by the CEAA, clearly Northwestern Ontario’s remote Ring of Fire fits the bill, as development is to be in an isolated, geographically confined area, which because of its ecology, is sensitive in nature. The Ring of Fire is located within the habitat area of Canada’s iconic woodland caribou, an endangered species which is very skittish when it comes to development. While I am glad that the draft Guidelines developed by the CEAA require the assessment of potential impacts on caribou from Cliffs Chromite project, the fact is that this assessment should be taking place on a broader scale, and it should consider the impacts from all anticipated development. This ad hoc approach to assessing development is doing a considerable disservice to the people of Canada, and to residents of the City of Greater Sudbury in particular, who may be on the hook to finance upgrades to service a ferrochrome production facility which may ultimately be bigger in scale and used longer than anticipated to simply service ore and concentrate from Cliffs Black Thor deposit. We don’t know what we’re getting ourselves into here, and the EA process contemplated in the draft Guidelines won’t provide clarity when it comes to actual anticipated impacts. A more comprehensive process which assesses the Ring of Fire in its entirety is therefore necessary ….”  Sourcealternate download site for entire letter (PDF)
  • Matawa is reportedly ramping up its internal communications campaign within its member communities.  “…. Matawa officials released a brochure they’ve sent to their communities to inform residents of northern reserves about the activities in their traditional territories with respect to the Ring of Fire. According to an email obtained by TB Newswatch, the brochure covers Matawa’s repeated attempts to communicate with the government about Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. and Noront Resources Ltd. projects and the request for a joint panel review environmental assessment and subsequent judicial review filed in federal court on Nov. 7, 2011. Matawa chiefs met with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines on Oct. 20, and the following day withdrew their support of Ring of Fire development, stating a comprehensive study environmental assessment was “inadequate.” …. “The government is failing in this whole Ring of Fire and northern development initiative,” Marten Falls Chief Eli Moonias is quoted as saying in the brochure, which urges residents to talk to their community communications liaison officer or the Matawa Four Rivers Environmental Advisory Service ….”  Source
  • Meanwhile, Big Trout Lake is calling on the Government of Ontario to tell an exploration company to stop working on areas around where the First Nation says graves are located.  “The Chief of the Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuweg First Nation has fired off an angry letter the Minister of Natural Resources, demanding action to resolve the latest dispute involving KI’s traditional territory. The letter from Chief Donny Morris follows a breakdown in talks between the province and KI over on-going exploration work in the area by a company called God’s Lake Resources. KI leaders walked away after they said provincial representatives refused to provide assurances that exploration work would stop while the talks on a joint-panel environmental assessment continued. In the letter, Chief Morris said the exploration continues to pose a threat to sacred sites on the land, which is a concern that he said has been raised repeatedly. The chief warns Minister Rick Bartolucci that unless time and funding is provided to allow for proper mapping of such sites, the province risks another Platinex-type dispute.”  Source more more

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-19 Nov 11 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 14 Nov 11

  • More on Matawa’s court fight to get a federal-provincial environmental assessment for the proposed Cliffs chromite project.  “The Ring of Fire is coming under fire today in Ottawa, as the federal and provincial governments are being told that greater environmental assessments must be done before the project can move forward. Ecojustice and CPAWS Wildlands League are calling on Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent and Ontario’s Minister of the Environment Jim Bradley to appoint an independent joint review panel to assess a proposed mega-mine for chromite in northern Ontario by the American-based Cliffs Resources Company.  As well, the Matawa Chiefs withdrew their support from Ring of Fire development on October 20, 2011 until the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency implements a negotiated Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment instead of a Comprehensive Study EA Process. The Chiefs are launching a Judicial Review …..”  Sourcemoremore (PDF) – moremoremore

  • National Aboriginal support for the court fight.  “Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo today expressed concern about plans to move forward on projects in British Columbia and Northern Ontario without respecting the rights and interests of First Nations.  “As we near the first anniversary of Canada’s endorsement of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, we must achieve respectful, practical approaches that will lead to mutually-beneficial economic development,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo …. National Chief Atleo’s comments come after …. CEAA’s approval of an environmental assessment for the proposed “New Prosperity Mine” comes shortly after a controversial decision to allow a limited review of the Cliffs Chromite Project in Ontario.  In late October, CEAA turned down requests by Matawa First Nations Chiefs for a Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment of a proposed chromite mine in the Ring of Fire, an area in the James Bay lowlands of Ontario. Matawa Chiefs were in Ottawa yesterday announcing their launch of a judicial review which they hope will overturn this decision.  National Chief Atleo and Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse stood with Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy and Matawa Chiefs Sonny Gagnon from Aroland First Nation, Chief Peter Moonias of Neskantaga First Nation and Chief Roger Oshkineegish of Nibinimik First Nation as they continued calls for their full engagement.  “First Nations are not opposed to development, but not at any cost,” said National Chief Atleo.  “We want to see environmentally sound community development that respects our rights, reflects our relationship to our land, our resources, and our traditions. The international community recognizes that the path towards economic progress for everyone rests on the principles of respect, transparency, and consent. If Canada wants to promote new mining ventures, it must allow the environmental review process to do what it was designed to do by listening to the people who will inherit the costs and benefits of projects in their communities.” ….”  Source

  • Open house on the Cliffs Chromite Project in Thunder Bay today ….  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is hosting an open house on Monday, a requirement as part of the environmental assessment needed to proceed with a chromite mine in the Ring of Fire.  The project, as outlined by the Cleveland-based company, includes the mine site and the accompanying ore processing facility, a ferrachrome production facility which local officials are trying to secure for Thunder Bay, and the transportation infrastructure needed to move equipment, materials and people too and from the mine site.  “During the open house and its project consultants will provide information to the community as well as answer questions about the project,” the company says in a statement obtained by tbnewswatch.com. “In addition, the session is designed to garner community feedback.”  The open house will be staged Monday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Valhalla Inn.”  Source  – more details in ad (PDF) here

  • …. and Capreol, near Sudbury, tomorrow.  “Cliffs Natural Resources will hold an information session in Capreol next week about its chromite project’s environmental assessment.  And Coun. Dave Kilgour will be listening closely.  Kilgour, the Ward 7 councillor, has high hopes for Greater Sudbury’s chances of getting a ferrochrome production facility. The facility will process chromite ore from the Ring of Fire, a resource-rich site in northwestern Ontario.  “Right from the get go on this, right from the start, that site has been set down as their ‘base case,’ ” he said of Moose Mountain, a brown-field site about 14 miles north of Capreol.  Capreol is part of Kilgour’s ward.  The site is marked as the proposed ferrochrome production facility in a Cliffs Chormite Project advertisement focusing on the open house.  The ad also has the proposed transportation system marked, as well as the mine site …. The open house, which will take place Nov. 15 from 4-8 p.m. at the Capreol Community Centre, will include information on the federal environmental assessment with Cliffs representatives, said Pat Persico, senior manager of global communications at Cliffs ….”  Source
  • Thunder Bay-Atikokan MPP is now Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines.  “…. When asked if it might affect his ability to fight for a ferrachrome processing plant for Thunder Bay, when American mining giant Cliffs Natural Resources appears to be leaning toward Sudbury for the Ring of Fire project, Mauro said he doesn’t see a conflict.  “I think that we can all do the best we can to entice a private-sector player locate where they’re going to locate,” he said.  “But at the end of the day clearly they’ll choose. I think the best we can do as a government is to ensure we have the macro pieces in place that will entice them to be in Ontario. Then we do the best selling job we can to encourage them to find Thunder Bay to be the location. I don’t feel restricted in my role at all, and have had meetings with Cliffs in the past … so that won’t change.” ….”  ( Source )  Compare and contrast with Minister Rick Bartolucci’s answer to a similar question:  “the way the (Sudbury) mayor and the community have engaged me in this process, I can still act as the MPP, and will.”  ( Source )

  • Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. …. announced that its Board of Directors declared a quarterly cash dividend on the Company’s common shares of $0.28 per share. The cash dividend will be payable on Dec. 1, 2011, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Nov. 18, 2011 ….”  Source
  • UC wants to sell off it’s share of a major McFaulds Lake property it holds with other partners ….  “UC Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Freewest Resources Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., for Freewest to acquire 100% of the UC owned 55% Joint Venture Interest in the McFaulds Lake area property, subject to and in accordance with the Joint Venture Agreement dated as of July 26, 2011 between KWG Resources Inc. (“KWG”), Spider Resources Inc. (now named Cliffs Chromite Far North Inc.), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cliffs, and UC ….”  Source

  • …. and KWG says it’ll think about it.  “KWG Resources Inc. received last Friday evening a notice of the election by Cliffs Chromite Far North Inc. that it will exercise its pre-emptive right to acquire from UC Resources Inc. the Participating Joint Venture Interest which it had agreed to sell to Freewest Resources Inc. on November 9, 2011. KWG has 45 days from receipt of the notice to elect to participate in the exercise of the pre-emptive right, proportionally to its present interest in the Joint Venture.  “It would appear difficult to justify spending some millions of dollars to have a larger non-operating but contributing minority interest in another joint venture with Cliffs”, said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “But we will look at it closely”….”   Source


More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1-14 Nov 11 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Media: Matawa going to court seeking joint review panel for Ring of Fire project

This (PDF) from the Chronicle-Journal today:

“Matawa First Nations is going to court over what it says is an inadequate environmental review of Cliffs Natural Resources’ big chromite mine project.

The move to launch a judicial review into the federal decision to have Cliffs’ proposal subject to a “comprehensive” review instead of an independent review panel is to be outlined this afternoon at an Ottawa news conference…..”

More info on the Ottawa announcement here and here.

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Ring of Fire News – 7 Nov 11

  • Thunder Bay the latest to make pilgrimage to Cleveland to convince Cliffs to build chromite smelter in northwestern Ontario  “…. Greenstone municipal leaders won’t be far behind this month when their Thunder Bay counterparts meet with Cliffs Natural Resources senior officials at the company’s head office. Like Thunder Bay, the rural municipality has decided to pull out all the stops late in the game and meet face-to-face with top Cliffs executives to try and convince them to locate a chromite processor at Exton, near Nakina. It’s the second time a Greenstone mayor has gon on a road trip to try and bolster the case to benefit from Cliffs’ planned Ring of Fire chromite mine. A date couldn’t be confirmed Thursday but former Ontario Energy minister George Smitherman is to accompany Greenstone Mayor Renald Beaulieu and CAO Roy Sinclair …. Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs, city manager Tim Commisso and newly-hired mining exploration specialist John Mason are to head to Cleveland on Nov. 16. “We have a compelling case, and if we don’t go (to Cleveland) we’re never going to get (the processor in Thunder Bay), Hobbs said Thursday. “But if we don’t get it, we will be supporting Greenstone’s bid to have it in Exton,” added Hobbs ….”  Source (PDF)

  • Cliffs Natural Resources holding public meeting in Thunder Bay this month on proposed chromite project  “…. Cliffs officials are to be in Thunder Bay on Nov. 14 for a public information session, the first time they have held a large forum about the project. The session is to take (place) at the Valhalla Inn, 4-8 pm.”  Source (PDF)

  • More information on Noront Resources’ Blackbird exploration site  “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the results from an additional 16 holes at the Company’s 100% owned Blackbird chromite deposit …. Wes Hanson, CEO of Noront states: “Drilling at Blackbird has been completed and results returned to date indicate that the limits of the high grade chromite deposit have expanded to the north – northeast along strike as well as down dip. The Company believes that this will translate into a material increase in the chromite resource relative to the December 2009 estimate. The Company plans to update the chromite resource and complete a Preliminary Assessment by the second quarter of 2012.” Mr. Hanson adds: “The Company continues to operate two drills, both of which are testing anomalies identified by an ongoing, ground based, geophysical survey that is underway at the Eagle’s Nest Complex. Company geologists believe these anomalies may represent buried nickel sulphide mineralization that airborne surveys failed to highlight” …. Noront’s summer drill program was undertaken to increase the existing chromite resource. To date 47 holes (21,137 metres) have been drilled. Of the holes drilled to date, assays have been received on 31 holes ….”  Source

  • Analyst:  KWG Resources stock might “Favor Bears (this) Week”  “The recent share price action of KWG Resources Inc. leads to think about a possible bounce down as the company has no strong news and their stock tends to follow the established trading boundaries. KWG had a 4.7 million trading volume on Thursday paired with a share price advance of 18.75%. However, the action didn’t follow up on that and stock’s value has already started retracing back down. The price action is currently in line with the general downtrend and continues to follow the boundaries of an established price channel. Furthermore, despite the large increase in trading volume the intraday price action depicted a low liquidity rally, meaning there is no strong buying pressure. The most recent price advance was somewhat encouraged by news, but there was nothing material to them. On October 27 the company reported that a 12 thousand meter drilling program is underway on Big Daddy chromite deposit in the Ring of Fire property in Ontario. According to the press release the initial metallurgical testing and drilling should be completed during Q1 2012. KWG currently holds 28% interest in the claims explored. The company actually had cash issues for the last reported period but those should now be over as they sold 1% net smelter royalty interests in the Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy chromite deposits to Anglo Pacific Group PLC for $18 million in August.”  Source

  • Lakehead University economist Livio DiMatteo:  McGuinty Liberals may bend on Far North Act? “…. This is going to be a contentious issue though how much the provincial government is willing to backtrack on the legislation is open to debate. Given the messianic zeal with which the provincial Liberals have approached environmental and energy issues –even to the detriment of their electoral performance in this region – it is unlikely that they will retreat. Nevertheless, they may be open to modifications if not for the repeal of the legislation …. “  Source

  • What’s next for First Nations calling for joint panel environmental assessment for Ring of Fire projects?  “A group of nine First Nations calling for an enhanced environmental review of Cliffs Natural Resources’ proposed chromite mine project is mulling its options in the wake of what appears to be a mute response from the federal government. “The chiefs are going to be meeting to work on a strategy,” Matawa First Nations spokesman Jason Rasevych said Thursday from the group’s Thunder Bay office. On Oct. 21, Matawa gave the government a week to respond to its demand for the appointment of an independent review panel into Cliffs’ project in the Ring of Fire, about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. Matawa hasn’t said what it will do if its demand isn’t met, but there has been speculation about the issuing of eviction notices and action in the courts. On Thursday, the chiefs flew to Ottawa to support a similar demand from the seven First Nations that comprise the Mushkegowuk group of remote reserves located to the east of the Ring of Fire belt. Both Matawa and Mushkegowuk argue that Cliffs’ project qualifies for a panel review because it has the potential to cause significant damage to the environment and constitute infringement on Aboriginal and treaty rights. The Ring of Fire “is in the heart of the boreal forest and the largest collection of intact wetlands in the world,” the groups say. The Municipality of Greenstone is formally backing Matawa’s call for a panel review ….”  Sourcemore

  • One of the “KI 6” hired by environmental group for watershed protection program.  “John Cutfeet, a Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug band member, has been hired as the new Aboriginal Watershed Program Coordinator (Anishinini’ow Niipii’ow Anokiinakun) for the Wildlands League. Wildlands League is a chapter of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, and is supporting First Nations directly with the new Aboriginal Watershed Coordinator to help protect river, lakes and wetlands in Canada’s far north. “A majority of First Nation communities do not have the resources or the capacity to begin to deal with the changes that are coming into their traditional territories,” Cutfeet said. “Wildlands League is committing more than 13 percent of its budget this year to providing support and capacity to advance watershed protection for the maintenance of healthy ecosystems. This means 13 percent of its budget is going directly to First Nations.” The role of the new Aboriginal Watershed Coordinator will be to develop culturally appropriate, community-based approaches to watershed stewardship in First Nation communities most often affected by water quality issues. “Communities in the far north do not always have the financial mans or the capacity to do the important work of protecting the environment. Wildlands League is taking the lead to begin to address this very important need,” Cutfeet said.”  Sourcemore


More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 Oct-4 Nov 11 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 31 Oct 11


  • The Toronto Star highlights the engineering work and challenges the key players face to exploit the  Ring of Fire. “Since the discovery of chromite was announced in northern Ontario in 2007 – nickel and copper were found three years earlier – engineers and miners have been looking at how to develop these deposits, which have been declared the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century. But there’s a problem: the site is a vast subarctic muskeg bog in the remote James Bay Lowlands, 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. For thousands of square kilometres, the terrain is difficult to walk on, let alone haul thousands of tonnes of heavy ore-with one lucky exception …. None of it will be easy-or cheap-but as (KWG Resources VP Moe) Lavigne describes the hurdles at the mine sites, “It’s just engineering. It’s all doable.” ”  Source

  • “…. (Cliffs Natural Resources) expects to incur cash outflows of approximately $85 million to support future growth, comprised of approximately $40 million related to its global exploration activities and approximately $45 million related to its chromite project in Ontario, Canada ….”  Sourcealternative download site (PDF)

  • KWG Resources Inc. is pleased to report that a 12,000 metre core drilling program is underway on its Big Daddy Chromite deposit in the Ring of Fire, James Bay Lowlands. KWG has earned 28% interest in these mineral claims and will increase this to 30% by funding 50% of this $5 million program. The goal of this program is to collect a chromitite sample of sufficient size for pyro-metallurgical testing and to complete resource definition drilling on that portion of the deposit that is amenable to open pit mining. Cliffs Natural Resources is the project operator, and it is anticipated that the metallurgical testing and drilling will be completed during the first quarter of 2012 ….”  Source

  • James Bay First Nation leaders join call for Joint Review Panel for Ring of Fire projects.  “Mushkegowuk First Nations say their concerns are being ignored with the recent announcement that an environmental study of proposed mines in the Ring of Fire won’t allow First Nations to fully participate. Mushkegowuk Council said the projects in the Ring of Fire in the James Bay lowlands, are at the head of two major river systems, the Attawapiskat River and Ekwan River, which flow into Mushekgowuk territory. One of the projects headed by Cliffs Natural Resources is now under a comprehensive environmental assessment, announced Oct. 17 by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency …. But Mushkegowuk expected more. “I am extremely disappointed at the total lack of respect shown by the federal government and Cliffs to the desires of the Mushkegowuk leadership,” said Grand Chief Stan Louttit of Mushkegowuk Council ….”  Source

  • Chiefs of Ontario (COO) supports Matawa in call for Joint Review Panel. “…. “I stand with the Matawa leadership in this assertion of their jurisdiction”, Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse confirmed today, “The health of our people and all people, and the health of the environment are too important to be ignored.” Regional Chief Toulouse also noted, “A respectful dialogue amongst First Nations, and Canada is the best way forward. We, First Nations and settler peoples alike, have duties and responsibilities to future generations, to the land, and to the waters – these considerations must inform our decisions and conduct.” ….” Source (COO news release) – more

  • Meanwhile, a Joint Review Panel in place outside the Ring of Fire is already facing criticism.  “The absence of Aboriginal representation on an expert panel reviewing a proposal for a new Marathon-area mine, combined with a perception of bias in favour of the proponent, continues to be a source of frustration and anxiety at Pic River First Nation. The uncertainty was aired Wednesday night inside a candle-lit spiritual lodge, where federal officials were grilled about the quality and integrity of an ongoing joint provincial-federal review into Stillwater Canada’s plan for a copper and palladium mine north of Marathon’s airport. Pic River school principal Lisa Michano-Courchene told the gathering she is troubled that the all-male panel’s two scientists and one engineer are unknown to reserve residents. The panellists are from New Brunswick, Toronto and Sudbury. Pic River’s formal request for the panel to have at least one Aboriginal representative wasn’t granted. “We are expected to have trust in this panel, but I can’t have trust in people who have no connection to our land,” Michano-Courchene said. Panel co-manager Colette Spagnuolo said the panellists were chosen by the provincial and federal governments ….”  SourceMarathon Platinum Group Metals and Copper Mine Project Review Panel information (via CEAA)

  • Lone Northern Ontario Conservative MPP starts the fight to repeal or change the Far North Act ” “Let’s hit the re-set button on this job killing act,” states Vic Fedeli the Progressive Conservative MP for Nippising. “Repealing this means that Ontario’s North is open for business.” The provincial Progressive Conservatives are looking for changes to the Far North Act. Vic Fedeli, MPP for Nipissing, is calling “For Dalton McGuinty to undo his damaging, out-of-touch legislation and repeal Bill 191, also known as the Far North Act”. The Ontario PCs have opposed Bill 191 since its inception. During the provincial election the party promised to repeal it. Fedeli today, once again called on Dalton McGuinty to repeal this bad bill and instead focus on the fundamentals of job creation and a strong economy – competitive taxes, affordable energy and red tape reduction. Fedeli is the former Mayor of North Bay, and recently was elected to the Ontario Legislature representing the Nipissing riding. Fedeli points to the Ring of Fire as reason enough to repeal the Far North Act. “We would never have found the Ring of Fire,” the MPP stated. The investments and money being spent in the North is massive states Fedeli. “Flying into one mining camp during the election, I saw countless Blue and White canvas tents, which are made here in North Bay”. The massive drill rods are manufactured across the north, the MPP adds. Fedeli points to the Far North Act as a focal point that has soured relations between the North and the rest of Ontario. “Absolutely not one Northern First Nations leader, or Northern Mayor supports this legislation” ….”  Source more


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Ring of Fire News – 25 Oct 11

  • RECAP – Federal environmental assessment process under way for Cliffs Natural Resources project “The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) is starting a comprehensive study type of environmental assessment for the proposed Cliffs Chromite Project located in northern Ontario. The Agency invites the public to comment on the project and the conduct of the comprehensive study.  The Agency has prepared the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Guidelines that identify potential environmental effects to be addressed and information that needs to be included in the proponent’s EIS. Public comments on the draft EIS Guidelines are invited and will be reviewed and considered before the document is finalized and issued to the proponent.  The draft EIS Guidelines and more information on this project are available on the Agency’s website at http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca (Registry reference number 11-03-63927). The document is available in paper copy by request as well.  All comments received by November 16, 2011 will be considered.  The Agency is also making available $40,000 under its Participant Funding Program to assist groups and individuals to participate in the federal environmental assessment of this project. Funding applications received by November 16, 2011 will be considered.  This is the first of several public comment periods that will occur during the environmental assessment of the project ….”    CEAA news releaseCEAA project pageCEAA list of project documentsSudbury Star (1) – Sudbury Star (2) – Northern Ontario Business
  • RECAP – Matawa Chiefs:  No joint environmental assessment = no Ring of Fire development.  “Matawa Chiefs withdrew their support for development in the Ring of Fire (ROF) (21 Oct 11).  The Chiefs and the 8,000 people they represent are calling on Premier McGuinty and Prime Minister Harper to intervene in the Environmental Assessment (EA) process.  “We will be forced to resort to alternative measures if Canada and Ontario continue to ignore the First Nations that are being impacted by Ring of Fire developments,” said Chief Roger Wesley of Constance Lake First Nation.  Matawa Chiefs are outraged that the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is proceeding with a Comprehensive Study EA. The Chiefs and their people have been calling for a Joint Review Panel EA for five months but the government is still not listening. Both the provincial and the federal governments are failing in their constitutional duty to consult and accommodate First Nations. According to the Chiefs, the government is telling them what they plan to do, but it is not consulting or accommodating them about how they want to be involved. The Chiefs maintain that the manner in which the government is proceeding with development in Northern Ontario is going to slowly destroy their traditional way of life, extinguish their treaty rights and destroy their homelands and their children’s future ….”  Matawa news release (PDF) – alternate news release download site (PDF) – Sudbury StarThunder Bay Chronicle-Journal (PDF) – Northern Ontario Businesstbnewswatch.comWawatay News
  • Cliffs on Matawa Chiefs’ announcement:  disappointed, but willing to keep working with First Nations.   “Cliffs Natural Resources says it’s committed to “working hand-in-hand” with nine remote First Nations that could benefit from the company’s proposed chromite mine in the Ring of Fire.  But the company said it’s disappointed over last week’s all-or-nothing demand by Matawa First Nations for a higher level environmental review into the mine proposal.  “It’s unfortunate that the focus is over the panel (review) versus comprehensive approaches,” Cliffs said in a statement.  “The comprehensive review process provides a clear and thorough path, as well as the flexibility to address the specific concerns of impacted communities,” the statement said ….”  Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal
  • Ontario Ring of Fire Co-ordinator on Matawa Chiefs’ announcement:  we’re committed to keeping the dialogue going.  “…. On (20 Oct 11), the Matawa Chiefs met with Christine Kaszycki, an assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and the ministry’s Ring of Fire co-ordinator.  Kaszycki said she met with the Matawa chiefs (20 Oct 11), but (the 22 Oct 11) scheduled meeting did not go ahead.  “The purpose … was to engage in a more comprehensive discussion concerning the Environmental Assessment process — share some information and determining what the First Nation concerns are. We did have a discussion on that.  “The consultation has opened the issue … They want to be a more integral part of the process going forward and it’s not just with respect to the environmental assessment, but all areas.”  Kaszycki said there will be more meetings with the chiefs, but none are scheduled at this time.  “We are committed to having ongoing dialogue with the (First Nation) communities,” she said. “I think there is a lot of room to move forward in a very satisfactory way. We are committed to keeping the dialogue going.”  ….”  Sudbury Star
  • Environmental groups are also underwhelmed about no joint assessment of Cliffs project.   “…. The Matawa and Mushkegowuk First Nations representing 13 individual communities as well as MiningWatch Canada, Ecojustice, Wildlands League, and the Wildlife Conservation Society have all recommended that the project be evaluated through a joint federal-provincial review panel. Friday’s announcement indicated that this will not be the case and that the project will be reviewed through the less rigorous – and less participatory – comprehensive study process.  Cliffs’ project is the most advanced of several projects being developed in the much-touted “Ring of Fire” ….”
    If approved, Cliffs’ project would open the entire region and establish the infrastructure for future developments. Located on the border between the Hudson Bay Lowlands and the boreal forest of the Canadian Shield, the “Ring of Fire” is ecologically sensitive and a valued part of the traditional territories of the Matawa and Mushkegowuk First Nations who have travelled, hunted, and fished throughout the area for millennia. The First Nations expect the federal and provincial governments to honour their obligations to share both the decision making process and any benefits that may come from development in the area.  The decision to undertake a so-called “comprehensive study” instead of a review panel fell to Environment Minister Peter Kent. The decision threatens already-strained relationships with affected First Nations. Comments Ramsey Hart of MiningWatch, “It is infuriating that our government is not meeting its obligations under the constitution, under our Treaties, and under international norms like the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.” Hart also doubts that the decision will actually speed up development ….” 
    Mining Watch Canada news releaseCBC Thunder Bay
  • Cabinet Shuffle (1)  New Ministers of Northern Development and Mines (Rick Bartolucci of Sudbury) and Minister of Natural Resources (Michael Gravelle of Thunder Bay).   Government of Ontario news releaseChronicle-JournalNorthern Ontario Business
  • Cabinet Shuffle (2)  Editorial:  will new Northern Development Minister = preference for Sudbury smelter site?   “…. Sudbury’s Rick Bartolucci, one less thing to look after in Gravelle’s place. It also suggests Premier Dalton McGuinty believes that mining needs undivided attention as exploration increases across the Far North. Bartolucci is also cabinet chair, adding to his stature …. Bartolucci now gets to make his mark directly on a resurgent mining sector. This is a challenge, to say the least. Relations between the mining industry and First Nations near exploration sites are often troubled over consultation and territorial claims on Crown land …. Bartolucci’s appointment also suggests that Cliffs Natural Resources, the biggest player in the huge Ring of Fire minerals deposit, may choose Sudbury for its ferrochrome processing facility. Bartolucci’s hometown is already Cliffs’ “test case” location. With considerable mining infrastructure already in place, the appointment of its MPP as Mines Minister signals that Sudbury may have a lock on the processor.  We still think that Thunder Bay’s status as a seaway port gives it a shipping advantage as Cliffs considers its global marketing strategy for the key ingredient in stainless steel.  Gravelle caught grief for insisting he couldn’t advocate for his riding in the Cliffs matter because he had to respect the entire region in his job as Northern Development Minister. Does Bartolucci think the same way? If so, Thunder Bay and Greenstone might still have a chance at the processor. If Bartolucci goes to bat for Sudbury, the minister will hold all the cards.”  Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal
  • Cabinet Shuffle (3)  If Bartolucci is quoted correctly, he may continue pushing for Sudbury as the smelter site.  “…. (Bartolucci) said he expects MPPs in northwestern ridings “to be advocating and helping their communities to try to secure the processing plant up there. I think that’s fair game.”  He said “the way the (Sudbury) mayor and the community have engaged me in this process, I can still act as the MPP, and will.”  The priority will be to ensure that Cliffs Resources builds its processing plant “right here, in Northern Ontario.” ….”  Sudbury Star
  • Meanwhile, Sudbury officials still waiting to hear from road trip to Cleveland to twist arms to get chromite smelter built near Capreol.  “Greater Sudbury officials are still awaiting word on whether an American company will build a smelter in the area to process chromite mined in the Ring of Fire.  However, they’ve already identified a site for the facility.  It’s the site of the old Moose Mountain iron mine, north of Capreol.  The mine shut down in the 1970s.  Ward 7 city councillor Dave Kilgour said that history makes it a good spot for the smelter.  “It’s a brownfield already,” he noted.  “You’re not going into fresh green virgin forest and trying to do something. It’s already been used as a mine site for a considerable length of time, so I think some of the permits… might be easier to get.”  Kilgour said he thinks hydro rates will be the key factor in whether the smelter is built in Sudbury.  The company with all the answers, Cliffs Natural Resources, has not said when it will make a decision ….”  CBC Sudbury
  • Thunder Bay also hitting the road to lobby for chromite smelter.  “Mayor Keith Hobbs remains optimistic he can help convince Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. to locate a ferrochrome processing plant in Thunder Bay.  Hobbs will venture next month to company headquarters in Cleveland, along with a Northwestern Ontario contingent, in a last-ditch effort to convince Cliffs officials to choose Thunder Bay over Sudbury.  A working group readying for the delegation is in place, and includes officials from the city, Community Economic Development Corporation, the port authority, Fort William First Nation and Thunder Bay Hydro.  Hobbs said the traveling group will be pared down before the November departure, but will be fully prepared to defend Thunder Bay’s claim to the plant, needed to process the estimated $30-billion Ring of Fire chromite deposit ….”  tbnewswatch.com
  • Timmins wants the smelter, too.  “…. Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren said he has also been meeting with officials from Cliffs Natural Resources, the company looking at building a smelting facility for its proposed northwestern Ontario mine.  “Do we think we’re part of the running? Absolutely,” said Laughren. “Would I be as confident as Sudbury, probably not. But again, I think there’s many places in northern Ontario that this could happen in.”  Laughren said what’s most important is that the smelter is built somewhere in northern Ontario.  He said northern leaders should not fight with each other, but rather lobby the province to offer lower hydro rates than Quebec and Manitoba.”  CBC Sudbury
  • Timmins Mayor also renews call for lower electricity rates.  “…. Laughren said he is hopeful that even with a Liberal government in Queen’s Park, the minority situation may be able to convince the Liberals to bring in an electrical energy rate that would allow resource-based businesses to thrive …. Laughren said the city and the Timmins Economic Development Corporation (TEDC) have been working together for the last 18 months to do whatever it takes to make Timmins look attractive for the construction of a ferrochrome smelter that could process chromite from the Ring of Fire properties located near Webequie, Ontario …. Laughren said Timmins has been lobbying hard to become to site of such a refinery.  “The ferrochrome processing facility would create approximately 500 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs,” said Laughren.  The mayor said the Ring of Fire is important not only for Northern Ontario, but for the whole province.  “If we do not get energy costs down to where we can compete with Quebec and Manitoba, this will be an opportunity gone for us,” said Laughren. “The actual ferrochrome facility will not be in Ontario.” ….”  Timmins Times
  • Ring of Fire expected to be discussed at national Aboriginal business conference in Ottawa.   “…. On Oct. 24-25, Ottawa will host the Aboriginal Entrepreneurs Conference and Tradeshow. Co-Chaired by federal Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan and yours truly, this unique event will bring together business leaders to discuss the incredible opportunities that exist for Aboriginal entrepreneurs from coast to coast. They will be looking at some of the mega-projects that will drive Canada’s economy for years to come — Plan Nord in Quebec, the Ring of Fire in Ontario and potash mining in Saskatchewan. The conference will also offer insight and expertise on the necessary tools for Aboriginal entrepreneurs to be successful. Renowned leaders such as Kunal Gupta, CEO of Polar Mobile, Dr. Leslie Roberts of the GoForth Institute and Keith Martell, chairman and chief executive of First Nations Bank will address timely issues in business such as social media, innovation and competitiveness ….”  Financial Post
  • “Rencore Resources Ltd. announces the completion of the first diamond drilling program on its wholly owned mining claims in the James Bay Lowlands of Northeastern Ontario (Ring of Fire Area) within the Webequie First Nation Traditional Lands.  The Rencore mining claims, subject of this initial drill program, are located between 30 and 60 km northwest of the Webequie First Nation community along the postulated western extension of the main Ring of Fire structure. This structure hosts a number of Chromite Deposits as well as Nickel-Copper-PGE MMS and Copper-Zinc-Lead VMS deposits presently undergoing economic mining studies by their owners …. The second half of the project drilling will commence upon the satisfactory execution of an Exploration Agreement with the Kasabonika Lake First Nation (“KLFN”). Negotiations are at an advanced stage and a positive relationship with the KLFN has been established ….”  Rencore news release

Summary of more open source information and sources cited over the past six months (1 Sept – 24 Oct 11) also downloadable here (38 page PDF).
All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.
Ring of Fire News is not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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