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Ring of Fire News – 9 Jan 12

  • While not in the Ring of Fire area, another court decision giving First Nations more say in development in their back yards.  “In a decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, released January 3, Madam Justice Brown ordered that Solid Gold Resources Corp. cannot carry on any further exploration activity on its claims block for 120 days, and that during this time the company and the Ontario Crown must engage with Wahgoshig in a process of meaningful consultation and accommodation about any such further exploration. She ordered that if this process is not productive, Wahgoshig can go back to court to seek an extension of the injunction. Solid Gold’s mining claims block is in the heart of Wahgoshig’s traditional territory, on land that is of significant importance to Wahgoshig. Solid Gold came onto this land and started drilling without any consultation or accommodation occurring first. The court decision clearly finds this to be wrong ….” First Nation news releaseCourt decision (HTML) – Court decision (PDF) – More more more – more
  • Premier following latest court decision:  up to businesses to consult with First Nations.  “…. Premier Dalton McGuinty would not comment directly on the ruling Thursday but he waved aside questions about whether this would make relations between First Nations and exploration companies more difficult. “There is an important legal obligation now placed on businesses to consult in a formal and thorough way,” he said after an announcement in Waterloo, Ont. “We need to get beyond the times where First Nation communities and the interests that they had in resources were given short shrift and were disrespected.” That obligation to consult, he added, is there “for a good reason.” “We fully expect that if businesses have an interest in pursuing these kinds of explorations, that they will consult.” ….”  Sourcealternate source if first link doesn’t work (PDF)
  • A former provincial energy minister-turned-consultant said First Nations will have the ultimate say on how the Ring of Fire mineral developments will unfold, and that includes the location of a proposed ferrochrome smelter. George Smitherman is pitching for the furnaces to be located in the northwestern Ontario municipality of Greenstone, and the village of Exton, which is already designated as a future ore transloading junction. Cliffs Natural Resources has maintained Sudbury is the frontrunner among four Northern Ontario communities to land the processing plant, and its 400-plus jobs, but only if provincial power rates are competitive with neighbouring jurisdictions. The international miner is expected to name the site for the plant sometime this year. “If the company persists in seeing the decision narrowly on the basis of power, then this has great project risk.” ….”  Source – A reminder:  Smitherman is working for the Municipality of Greenstone and Aroland First Nation trying to get a smelter into that part of northwestern Ontario.
  • Lakehead University economist worried about implications of Conference Board of Canada report for Thunder Bay’s port, Ring of Fire.  “The new report by the Conference Board of Canada titled Northern Assets: Transportation Infrastructure in Remote Communities on transportation in northern Canada provides a case study of Churchill Manitoba as a potential international gateway that may give the Port of Thunder Bay some cause for concern. The Port of Churchill and its Bay Line rail line play a key role in what is referred to as the Government of Manitoba’s Churchill Gateway System. Churchill could increase its role as a shipping hub by diversifying the range of agricultural products it handles and by increasing its share of Nunavut-bound freight—especially for mining projects. As well, climate change and melting sea ice is opening up the possibility of developing polar shipping lanes between Churchill, Asia, and Europe …. Alarm bells should be ringing in Thunder Bay given that this new strategy is not just a Manitoba government lobbying strategy but now also seems to have been given the blessing of the Conference Board of Canada. What’s next? A call for Federal government funding to build a rail link from Churchill to the Ring of Fire?”  Source Conference Board reportalternate report link if first link isn’t working (PDF)
  • Predictions (1)  Lakehead University economist:  “As 2012 dawns, Ontario’s Northwest begins another year of change and anticipation of change …. Despite the new knowledge economy, rocks and trees will still be important to the regional economy in 2012. However, despite the promise of the Ring of Fire, nothing substantial will happen without the cooperation of the First Nations, competitive energy prices and new transportation infrastructure ….”  Source
  • Predictions (2)  “…. Patrick Dillon, Business Manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario, said work is currently picking up in transportation, mining and utility projects. All areas of the province will be seeing growth, like the north, where mining is getting stronger, roads need to be built and the Ring of Fire has potential for huge growth. “We as industry partners are really going to have some forethought and discussion, basic understanding between us about the Ring of Fire. It’s pretty remote and it’s going to take a pretty major construction workforce to supply,” said Dillon ….”  Source
  • Ring of Fire junior miner, KWG Resources announced it’s raised $1.75 million through flow-through shares to help pay for exploration at its high grade chromium project in the James Bay lowlands. In a Dec. 30 release, the Montreal-based company said it’s using the proceeds to fund half of its current drilling program at the Big Daddy deposit, currently being conducted by Cliffs Chromite Far North, formerly Spider Resources. Of the 17,500,000 units issued at a price of $0.10 per unit, insiders of the company purchased 2,500,000 units, or 14 per cent of the offering.”  Source KWG news release
  • Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to announce the completion of the private placement financing originally announced on November 29, 2011.  Noront has issued 4,073,800 total flow-through common shares (“Flow-Through Shares”) at a price of $0.86 per Flow-Through Share for gross proceeds of $3,503,468. Dundee Securities Ltd., acted as lead agent on behalf of a syndicate including Raymond James Ltd.  In connection with the Offering, the Agents received a cash commission equal to 5.0% of the gross proceeds raised under the Offering. All securities issued will be subject to a four month hold period under Canadian securities laws. 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. Such CEE will be renounced in favour of the subscribers of the Flow-Through Shares effective on or before December 31, 2011 ….”  Source
  • Green Swan Capital Corp. has successfully secured financing to fund a mining joint venture it has been working on with Melkior Resources Inc.  The Ottawa capital pool company raised $647,019.98 via flow-through and cash financings. Flow-through financing included 1,807,846 shares at 13 cents per share, and the cash financing comprised 4,120,000 units at 10 cents a share. Last August, Green Swan announced it was looking to acquire an option to purchase up to a 70-per-cent interest in Melkior’s RiverBank and Broke Back claims in the Ring of Fire area of northern Ontario ….”  Source

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 Dec 11-6 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 – 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


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 – 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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Ring of Fire News – 3 Oct 11

  • Is the City of Thunder Bay considering offering land to a company willing to set up a chromite smelter here?  On August 15, the City’s Inter-Governmental Liaison Committee (consisting of the Mayor, some city councillors and staff) held one of its regular meetings to discuss issues associated with dealing with other levels of government.  Part of the meeting was closed to the public to discuss “a proposed or pending acquisition or disposition of land by the municipality or local board.” (the Municipal Act says municipal councils and committees, as well as local boards, have to explain why meetings are closed to the public when convening them).  What was the only item of business discussed during the closed part of the meeting?  An update from the City Manager on “Ferrochrome Facility Update”.  CBC Radio Thunder Bay said last week that the City of Thunder Bay continues to work on its “business case” for having a smelter built here, and will present it to the company when the plan is complete.  Sourcemore (PDF)
  • Meanwhile, Sudbury, Cliffs mum after their meeting in Cleveland.  “The City of Greater Sudbury has made its initial case to Cliffs Natural Resources to land a proposed ferrochrome production facility, but neither side will get into specifics about how things went at a meeting at the mining company’s head offices in Cleveland, Ohio, on Monday. “The meeting was productive and it was a great opportunity to meet with the Cliffs team,” Mayor Marianne Matichuk said in a release Tuesday. The release went on to say the “very preliminary meeting” was an information exchange and that the mayor and her staff team will continue to work with Cliffs as they continue their deliberations …. Pat Persico, Cliffs Natural Resources’ senior manager of media relations and marketing, said in a statement Tuesday that the company will not comment on the ferrochrome production facility issue until a decision on a location is made. “Cliffs understands that there are many interested stakeholders following this project,” she said in an email. “At this time, we do not have updated information to share publicly about Cliffs Chromite Project located in the Ring of Fire nor any business meetings with various cities …. “When we arrive at a decision for the (ferrochrome production facility) site, we will make a public announcement.” ….”  Source
  • Aboriginal media outlet Wawatay News collects and shares party positions on the Ring of Fire and the Far North Act.  My only observation:  funny how some parties had a candidate speaking, and others just a party spokesperson.  Source alternative download (PDF)
  • ANOTHER call for a joint federal-provincial environmental assessment of proposed Ring of Fire projects.  “Matawa Chiefs are deeply concerned about the type of Environmental Assessment (EA) process that will be used to determine the impacts of two resource development projects in their traditional territories. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) is expected to announce the formal start of the EA process for the Cliffs Chromite Project in early October and for the Noront Eagle’s Nest Project in early November. Concerns over the EA have prompted the Matawa First Nations Chiefs to demand that a “Joint Review Panel Environmental Assessment” process be adopted in order to safeguard the sustainability and integrity of their lands ….”  Source (PDF) – Matawa’s Ring of Fire Environmental Assessment Process Facebook page
  • Previous calls, mentions of a call for a joint environmental assessment of Ring of Fire projects:  9 Aug 11 – Wawatay News story; 11 Jul 11 – blog entry by KI spokesperson, environmental organization rep; 31 May 11 – Matawa  First Nations Chiefs resolution and letter to Canada’s, Ontario’s environment ministers (PDF); 3 May 11 – Environmental group letter to Canada’s Environment Minister (PDF)
  • Precedent for joint panel?  9 Aug 11:  “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 ….” (more info here)
  • Matawa, James Bay Chiefs call for honouring the spoken (not just the written) word of the Treaties. “There are changes coming, on an increasingly frequent level as many First Nations across Northern Ontario are working closer together. There are agreements on sharing information, and on mining and exploration rights being signed. Now, First Nations are uniting to implement the Oral Treaty. Seven Matawa First Nations and Seven Mushkegowuk First Nations have signed a declaration to work together to achieve the implementation of the Oral Treaty. The Chiefs Declaration states that we are “…committed to exercising our inherent and treaty rights, without limitations imposed by others. We will consider the use of any options to ensure that the development of our homelands occurs only with the free, informed and prior consent of our First Nations.” ….”  Source
  • Remember the Keewatin court decision which how could have a huge impact on Ontario’s power to license forestry and/or mining in Treaty areas?  Canada and Ontario are appealing the decision.  Source
  • Matawa hiring a charitable organization fundraiser for “education, social, health and community living” work in member First Nations.  “Established in 2011, The Gathering of Rivers for Community Care (GORFCC) is a Registered Charity dedicated to assisting the Matawa First Nations youth and families to achieve their goals in the areas of education, health and social and community living. GORFCC requires a Development Coordinator who will responsible for the day-to-day operations as well as the launch of the foundation, fundraising initiatives, stewardship, donor relations, and data collection. The Development Coordinator Internship will be reporting to the Chief Executive Officer of Matawa and GORFCC Board of Directors …. Application deadline is Friday October 7, 2011 by 4:30 P.M. ….”  Job posting (PDF) – Alternate download site (PDF)
  • New partnership between one of the Ring of Fire First Nations and B.C.-based communications, logistics company. “Webequie First Nations and INDI Indigenous Development Inc. (INDI) (more on company here) have entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) which will see the provision of communications, safety and security services to communities and commercial clients alike in the Ring of Fire. Chief Cornelious Wabasse says “I am excited about this MOU with INDI. Their core competencies of communications, safety, and security are three important dimensions for our community and for the future developments in the Ring of Fire. One of the exciting elements is that our own members can be trained in these areas for future employment and be part of the eventual full scale operations. We look forward to contractual opportunities with the main operators in the Ring of Fire.” ….”  Source
  • One commentator’s take on Ring of Fire development:  “…. It makes no sense to go to war and start huge conflicts merely for the almighty dollar in developing these pristine traditional lands. Nobody would really win in this scenario. However, make no mistake about it no matter what government is in place or how much money or power industry has, if fair deals are not made with the First Nations of the “Ring Of Fire” nothing will ever be developed in this area. There will be a conflict that we will all have to endure for decades and we will waste a lot of energy, time and good will in a pointless fight ….”  Source
  • Big Trout Lake (aka Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug, or KI) is back in the news re:  trying to block mining exploration in their traditional territory.  “The chief of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation is calling on (Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty) to stop a gold exploration company from working on a KI ancestral burial site. “Our ancestors deserve a place where they can rest undisturbed,” Chief Donny Morris said Wednesday. “People everywhere understand that cemeteries are sacred places. But in Sherman Lake, they want to put a gold mine on one.” The band claims that mining exploration company God’s Lake Resources has staked new claims despite KI’s well-publicized moratorium, and that the company has worked the site in spite of being informed that multiple grave sites are within the claim area. Government officials have told the band that they are powerless to stop God’s Lake from working their claims in spite of bands indigenous title, and spiritual connection to the area …. “  Source more more more (First Nation’s news releases, background information)
  • The company’s side on the latest Big Trout Lake/KI situation:  “A junior exploration company that Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation is trying to kick off its traditional territory says its attempts to consult with the band have been met with silence.  God’s Lake Resources CEO Ed Ludwig said Thursday that the company has tried to meet with the band, without success, about the existence of sacred burial sites near where the company is exploring for gold in the Sherman Lake area. “We were told about (the potential of grave sites in the area) and have asked the chief and elders to locate them,” said Ludwig, adding that the province has made the same request. “We’ve asked that they please come and show us . . . we want to show the proper respect. “I want to respect that avenue and develop a boundary, but when questioned about where there might be grave sites, the band has provided no response,” he said. Ludwig added that company employees have so far found “no evidence of any grave sites up there” ….”  Source more (PDF, Company’s latest Management’s Discussion and Analysis document, 29 Aug 11)
  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s behind KI:  “Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Stan Beardy supports Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation in the community’s call for the Premier of Ontario to step in to halt mining activity within their traditional territory. “Ontario must take action to preserve its relationship with the First Nations in Ontario’s far north,” said NAN Grand Chief Stan Beardy. “Ontario must respect the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, supported by Canada, which states that free, prior, and informed consent is required from First Nations …. “ Source (NAN news release)
  • Some editorial support for KI:  Three years later and it looks like it’s business as usual in Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation. For the people who live there, it’s not a good thing. Earlier this week band leaders publicly demanded the province – in the midst of an election campaign – force mining companies to stop exploration work on their traditional territory. The community has set aside about 13,000 square kilometres of traditional land and said no exploration will be allowed until they’ve finished identifying where sacred burial sites are located. All they’ve asked for at this point is time …. While no one wants to halt development of Ontario’s north, First Nations do have the right to be consulted and negotiate before companies are allowed to stake their land. It’s the right thing to do.”  Source
  • Some editorial questions for KI:  “Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation has a reputation for making demands. But what does it want? …. If KI wants this thing resolved, it has to participate. It cannot expect God’s Lake to put its plans on hold indefinitely …. “We have full intentions of exploring this property,” Ludwig said, and the province has said it has no reason to order God’s Lake to stop, though that is another thing that KI is demanding.  “Our door is always open,” said (company CEO Ed)Ludwig, “and we would welcome (KI) as a partner, providing jobs for community members — without all the political rhetoric.” What is KI waiting for? Get the elders up there and show the exploration personnel what land is off-limits.  What more does it want? The mining industry, the provincial government and the people of Northern Ontario want to know.” Source

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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 – 20 Sept 11

  • Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty rejects taking part in leaders’ debate in Thunder Bay (even by video conference connection) dealing (in part) with Ring of Fire issues.  “Ontario Liberal Leader Dalton McGuinty (has) confirmed …. he won’t participate in a Sept. 23 Northern debate that he will not be participating in a leaders’ debate in Northern Ontario Sept. 23, despite an offer from the Progressive Conservatives to foot his bill. The Tories offered …. to cover the costs for the premier to appear via teleconference for the debate, but McGuinty — the lone holdout in the challenge — didn’t bite. During a tour of the Bombardier plant in Thunder Bay …. McGuinty said he received the invitation to participate in an the Northern debate in early August and said then that he couldn’t make it on Sept. 23. An alternative date wasn’t provided. McGuinty said he is looking forward to discussing Northern issues during the televised leaders’ debate in Toronto on Sept. 27. He added that he doesn’t want leaders saying one thing to a southern audience and another thing to a Northern audience. He used the example of NDP Leader Andrea Horwath who, he said, tells southern Ontario that she wants to shut down development north of 51, which would put a stop to the Ring of Fire development, but tells Northern Ontario a different story. “In order to eliminate those kinds of opportunities, I think we should all be there together talking about the province together, including an important focus on Northern issues,” McGuinty said ….”  Source more moremore
  • Industry helping deal with prescription drug abuse at one of the Ring of Fire First Nations  “Cliffs Natural Resources and the Marten Falls First Nation are working together to combat issues with drug abuse. Marten Falls or Ogoki Post is one of many northern First Nations dealing with an unprecedented rate of opiate addiction attributed to a misused prescription drug known as OxyContin …. Marten Falls First Nation Chief and Council today welcome members of an independent Treatment Team and Health Canada’s First Nation and Inuit Health representatives to initiate the planning for a community-based clinical withdrawal management program to help community members with opiate addiction. They are joined by Joe Gaboury, Director of Aboriginal Affairs for Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., an international mining company, who will cover the costs for the first program. Joe Gaboury stated, “We are so concerned that we have decided to invest some of our money in having a healthy, capable workforce coming from this northern community.  We have made this a priority for our business.” The team of health professionals will use a substitution drug known as Suboxone and taper the drug over 30 days until clients can be taken off completely or continue on short-term low-dose maintenance ….”  Source
  • More details being revealed today on how much power would be needed to build a smelter processing plant near Nakina. “…. There will be a presentation of theWhite Paper developed by G & G Global Solutions and Environmental Communication Options with a discussion of the Technical Appendix by Larry Doran Imperium Energy Inc. In attendance will be Greenstone Mayor Ron Beaulieu, Aroland First Nation Chief Sonny Gagnon and others. (It will be a) Technical Briefing on Greenstone’s findings related to the required electricity supply for a refinery at Exton in Greenstone (with) Project Advisors, George Smitherman of G& G Global Solutions and Don Huff, of Environmental Communication Options; Electricity Grid Consultant, Larry Doran of Imperium Energy Inc. (taking part)….”  Source
  • Sudbury officials to twist Cliffs Natural Resources arms in Cleveland?  “The city may be sending a team to Cleveland, the home base of Cliffs Natural Resources, to present Greater Sudbury’s case for landing a smelter to process ore from the company’s chromite deposits in northwestern Ontario. “There is something in the works,” Mayor Marianne Matichuk said when reached Thursday. “I can’t get into details. We don’t have everything firmed up.” The Star has learned a team that includes Matichuk and chief administrative officer Doug Nadorozny could be heading to Cleveland as early as Wednesday to present a study about a former industrial site just north of Capreol. “I will be fighting for our community and giving Cliffs a good case for our community,” Matichuk said ….”  Source

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-19 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 – 15 Aug 11

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  • 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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