Ring of Fire News


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

#RingOfFire (#RoF) News – April 20, 2016

  • The latest Chinese #RoF moves Engineers from China recently visited the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario to assess the potential of building a $2-billion railway line, a proponent behind developing minerals in the area said … Frank Smeenk, CEO of Toronto-based mineral exploration company KWG Resources, said the rail line is crucial for the extraction of nickel, chromite, copper and platinum from the massive deposits. He said a team of engineers from a subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corp. surveyed a proposed 328-kilometre route last week as part of detailed engineering work before they advance toward a final investment decision. “They had to visit the route, to see it with their own eyes,” said Smeenk. Smeenk said roads would also have to be built to construct the mine and railway. Those roads would also link several remote northern communities, and they should be built, regardless of whether the mine proceeds, he said …” – more on the Chinese work under way here (Globe & Mail), here (CBC.ca), here (tbnewswatch.com) and here (Timmins Today)
  • More PM Trudeau on the #RoF from his recent northern Ontario drop-bythis from CBC.ca: “… Trudeau’s answers were vague. “We’re still talking with them about how the federal government can best be an active partner in this and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said. “We’re not at the announcement phase yet. We are having discussions with our partners right now.” “
  • Another #RoF PM-ism from the drop-by, via the Chronicle-Journal: “… “It continues to be something we’re working on with the province,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while in Thunder Bay … “It is normal and expected that the federal government should be a partner in developing large-scale projects like this,” he said …”
  • More PM-isms, via tbnewswatch.com: “… Trudeau said his federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr recently met with Ontario Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle where they discussed the development. “It continues to be something we’re working on with the province. Obviously the province has the lead on it but we’ve expressed very clearly a number of times we’re willing to be a partner and that’s what we’re engaging with the provincial government on a regular basis,” he said …”
  • Two Sudbury-area Liberal MPs pledge to keep fighting the #RoF fight “Innovation and infrastructure spending are keys to rebuilding Canada’s – and Sudbury’s – economy, the region’s two Liberals MPs said … Sudbury MP Paul Lefebvre and Nickel Belt MP Marc Serre made the comments while speaking at an event presented by Laurentian University and the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce … Both MPs said Ottawa is committed to the Ring of Fire, a mineral rich area located in northwestern Ontario. They said the government needs to focus on both the infrastructure around the Ring of Fire and the First Nations living within it. Developing road and railway links is key, they said. “We’re investing in First Nation education, health and infrastructure. That is the door into the Ring of Fire,” said Lefebvre. He also said the participation of First Nations is absolutely key in moving the project forward …”
  • KWG continues to raise money for their work “KWG Resources Inc. has received subscriptions to complete the $1.5 million private placement of units previously announced, including $0.6 million in settlement of amounts payable to directors, officers, employees and consultants … The proceeds will be used to pay the initial costs of the feasibility study to be undertaken by China Railway First Survey & Design Institute Group Co., Ltd. and for working capital …”
  • Meanwhile, Noront shares its latest (exploration and financials) as well “… The Company is progressively and systematically exploring the favourable footwall contact that hosts the Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum-palladium deposit and the showings known as Blue Jay and Eagle Two … A program is also being proposed over Project Area 5, known as the Big Daddy property, now held by Noront (70%) and KWG (30%). Similar to the Black Thor property, the favourable footwall contact remains virtually unexplored as the target of previous drilling focused on chromite resources higher up in the ultramafic sill. This latest round of geophysical test work will be conducted over the next six months and will be supported by local First Nations workers employed as line cutters, geophysical helpers and cooks … The Company issued 1,403,273 common shares at a deemed issue price of $0.3387 per share in satisfaction of legal advisory fees in relation to the previously announced financing of the purchase of the Cliffs Chromite Assets which closed on April 28, 2015 … In addition, the Company’s Board of Directors has granted the option to acquire an aggregate of 500,000 common shares to new employees with an exercise price of $0.33 per common share …”
  • Point … What Ontario needs to unlock Ring of Fire’s mineral wealth is a Marshall Plan … If the Trudeau government worked in conjunction with Ontario and adopted something akin to a “Marshall Plan” — the name of the American initiative to rebuild war-torn Europe after the Second World War — to develop and modernize infrastructure in the isolated northwest, it would kill two birds with one stone …”
  • … and counterpoint (attributed to the Chief of Eabametoong First Nation): “… Is a Marshall Plan needed? No. Rather, our First Nations and Ontario need to collaborate on a new, long-term vision of human and environmental life that can incorporate wise industrial development. Let’s work together on that … Am I, or the First Nation that I represent, categorically against development? No. However, we will not be bought off. We are interested in the development of meaningful, relationship-based partnerships that could lead to wise management of resources …”
  • Think tank report: lessons to be learned from the past? “The ongoing saga to develop the Ring of Fire could — and perhaps should — draw lessons from the past, states a new report from the Northern Policy Institute. In the report From Resource to Revenue: Dryden Mill Lessons for the Ring of Fire, Laurentian University history professor Mark Kuhlberg draws comparisons between the Ring of Fire and the early history of the pulp and paper mill in Dryden. “Following the discovery of copper-nickel and chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire nearly a decade ago, there has been much talk about the enormous potential for economic development represented by this untapped resource,” Kuhlberg wrote. “Eight years later, however, many are questioning why so little progress has been made and some are becoming increasingly frustrated with the pace of development.” …”


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Ring of Fire News – 26 Sept 11

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

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

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Ring of Fire News – 29 Aug 11

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  • Ontario names Ring of Fire Advisory Council, opens Ring of Fire office in Thunder Bay   The Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry has opened a Ring of Fire Office on James Street in Thunder Bay.  Managing the office will be former Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund President, and Director for Aboriginal Community and Stakeholder Relations with the Ring of Fire Secretariat Harvey Yesno.  The first four members of a Ring of Fire Advisory Council have also been announced:  former Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief John Beaucage;  President of Sudbury’s Laurentian University (and former assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities) Dominic Giroux;  Ontario Mining Association president (and former Conservative Minister of Natural Resources and Minister of Northern Development and Mines) Chris Hodgson; and former president of Confederation College, Patricia Lang (link to PDF of College bio).  (Sources:  Ministry news release and backgrounder, 25 Aug 11; Chronicle-Journal, 25 Aug 11; tbnewswatch.com, 25 Aug 11; Northern Ontario Business, 26 Aug 11; Wawatay News, 26 Aug 11; Sudbury Star, 26 Aug 11)
  • “Prefeasibilty study predicts 3 year payback for (Noront) Ring of Fire project – TSX-V-quoted Noront Resources on Tuesday published the results of a prefeasibility study into its Eagles Nest nickel-copper-platinum project in Ontario’s Ring of Fire, outlining a $734-million capital investment for a one-million-ton-a-year mine. The study, which Micon conducted, predicted a three-year capital payback, and gave the project a C$560-million net present value at a 6% discount rate. Noront CEO Wes Hanson said this was the first mineral reserve published for the emerging Ring of Fire camp, and that it was a “milestone” that will “accelerate meaningful discussion on infrastructure” development in the area. “It positions the company to begin negotiating downstream agreements that will provide future funding for continued development of the project without excessive shareholder dilution,” he added in a statement …. According to Hanson, Noront will complete a feasibility study on the Eagles Nest project in the first quarter next year, with first commercial production set for 2016 ….” (Sources: company news release, 23 Aug 11; miningweekly.com, 24 Aug 11; Canadian Mining Journal, 24 Aug 11)
  • Next Noront Resources annual meeting:  10 Nov 11 in Toronto (Source:  company SEDAR filing (PDF), 19 Aug 11)
  • Without the necessary transportation infrastructure, development in the Ring of Fire cannot happen, said Raymond Ferris. “They need the infrastructure,” said the Matawa First Nations’ Ring of Fire coordinator, noting a proposed railway from the Ring of Fire area to Nakina is vital. Ferris spoke about the infrastructure needs of First Nations communities surrounding the Ring of Fire Wednesday afternoon at the Ontario First Nations Technical Services Corporation Technical Conference and Trade Show at the Valhalla Inn. “They can’t fly out the chromite; it’s too big of a bulk,” he said. “From what I hear, the railway is the cheapest mode of transportation. The road is going to be close to 400 per cent more in transporting costs.” Companies like Cliff’s Natural Resources have offered to provide money for the railway, but a company official said in June that ultimately it will be provincial infrastructure. Ferris said First Nations are also looking at taking ownership of the project …. Ferris also said it’s important for the remote communities to be involved to protect the environment and their culture ….” (Source: tbnewswatch.com, 24 Aug 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-27 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for accuracy of original material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.


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