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Ontario Mines’ Minister: Ring of Fire, Noront Good to Go

This from Michael Gravelle, from an exchange in Ontario’s Legislature yesterday, during Question Period:

“…. Noront Resources made it very clear that they remain committed to the project, and we’re working very closely with them. In fact, they announced that they are moving forward on an exploration project within the Ring of Fire area themselves.

As a government, we remain absolutely committed to the project. We have our commitment of $1 billion for the transportation infrastructure corridor locked in, thanks to the Minister of Finance. We are looking forward to an opportunity to have a discussion with the new federal government to engage in the process that was not very successful in the past with the previous government.

We are engaged in a regional framework discussion with Matawa First Nations, and we have set up a development corporation to move that forward. So we are indeed making very positive progress ….”

More back-and-forth here and here – Ring of Fire Q’s & A’s collected here (via Dropbox.com).


 

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

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

 

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Ring of Fire News – 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 – 11 Oct 11

  • Newly-elected North Bay Conservative MPP Vic Fedeli says he to organize “a trade mission involving local mining firms to the ring of fire chromite deposit near James Bay”  Source
  • “…. Denis Shank, Executive Director of the Sudbury Construction Association and Harold Lindstrom manager of the Construction Association of Thunder Bay are each responsible for areas larger than Southern Ontario …. Both Shank and Lindstrom said it’s important that the smelter processing of ore chromite deposits in northwestern Ontario (also known as the Ring of Fire) stays in the province instead of going to Manitoba, Quebec or overseas. “The government has committed to give that the go-ahead, depending on the party who’s going to be in power, we’ll see whether that happens or not,” said Lindstrom. Thomas said there needs to be a strong economic policy that recognizes both job growth and deficit reduction. “Everybody has to step up. I think that it’s clear that not any single form of medicine any longer is the answer, it’s going to have to be a broad approach,” he said. “People have to be careful because we don’t want to choke off what we’ve already got in front of us, but certainly finding a way to maintain and continue economic steady growth is important and reduces some of the fluctuations.” “  Source
  • Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. today announced it intends to release unaudited 2011 third-quarter financial results after the U.S.-market close Thursday, Oct. 27, 2011. The Company invites interested parties to listen to a live broadcast of a conference call with institutional analysts and investors to discuss the results ….”  Source
  • Mineral exploration company says it’ll defy Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) eviction order. “God’s Lake Resources intends to defy an eviction notice from Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation (KI) but the First Nation is not backing down. The company claims multiple requests to identify cultural sites have been unanswered by the First Nation, who declared 13,000 square kilometres in its community’s watershed off-limits to development by referendum until it completes its own assessment. Ontario has not acknowledged KI’s declaration and God’s Lake Resources intends to push on with its provincially-issued licence to explore. “Consultation protocols adopted in the referendum make outrageous demands of any mining company wishing to explore on their traditional homeland,” God’s Lake said in a release. “It can be interpreted as being a deterrent for any exploration or development and is a combination of religion, rhetoric, bureaucracy and some business and is not a workable document in today’s modern business world.” The company insisted it is operating under Ontario law and the First Nation is overstepping its legal boundaries. “The obligation to consult has been interpreted by many First Nation communities to mean ‘obtain their permission.’ Under the new Mining Act, claimholders in Ontario do not require permission from First Nations — rather they are required to consult with First Nations.” According to the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, the company is “entitled to access those properties under Ontario’s Mining Act.” In a Sept. 28 letter the ministry addressed to KI Chief Donny Morris, it rejected KI’s claims the company may be disturbing the graves of ancestors, stating to its knowledge, God’s Lake Resources has not engaged in any activities “likely to disturb any spiritually or culturally significant sites.” ….” Source more more (company news release)
  • Meanwhile, the First Nation is “…. calling on Ontario to honour a promise made by the McGuinty government in 2008 and create a joint panel to resolve longstanding issues regarding mining exploration on their homelands. “In 2008, just before we were jailed, Ontario promised us a joint panel to resolve our outstanding issues with mining companies. We are still waiting for them to honour that promise” said KI Chief Donny Morris. Minister Michael Gravelle has been reported as saying that he has accepted an invitation to visit the community and discuss matters, but he has made no clear commitment to the promised joint panel, he may no longer be Minister following the election, and the Ontario government has yet to ensure that our sacred burials will not be further disturbed. “In 2008, the joint panel Ontario promised was never created, we went to jail, no discussions took place following our release by the Court of Appeal and now we find ourselves in the same situation with Gods Lake Resources threatening a sacred area and Ontario nowhere to be seen,” stated Chief Morris ….”  Source
  • From open letter from KI to Minister Gravelle dated January 2008, published on First Nation blog March 2008:  “…. Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug will suspend our occupation of the disputed area for the duration of this agreement. In return, Ontario will agree to a moratorium on exploration and mining in the disputed area …. During the moratorium a Joint Panel will investigate issues relating to mineral exploration and mining within our traditional territory. The panel will make recommendations to Ontario and KI concerning the future of the moratorium, the reform of Ontario’s Mining Act in order to prevent similar conflicts in the future, and other related issues.  The Joint Panel will be comprised of 5 members: one appointed by AAFN, one by KI, and two appointed by Ontario, one of whom would be appointed by yourself and the other appointed by the office of the Premier. A Chairperson would be the 5th member of the panel. The Chair would be chosen on the basis of his/her qualifications to address technical, environmental and socio-economic issues, as well as the rights, perspectives and concerns of First Nations ….”  Source
  • From an April 2008 First Nation statement:  “…. Both KI and Ardoch remain committed to the proposal which we made in January for a Joint Panel to examine the causes of these disputes and make recommendations for preventing similar disputes in the future. Although Mr. Bryant has not yet responded to the proposal, both communities have told him that we are still prepared to work with Ontario to set up the Joint Panel, as soon as all of the prisoners are released from jail and a moratorium on mining and exploration in the disputed territories is implemented ….”  Source
  • Another version of events, from June 2008 article:  “…. A possible way forward was spelled out a few months ago in a joint proposal from the KI and Ardoch Algonquin First Nations that called for a moratorium on mining exploration pending the recommendations of a joint panel to be set up with representatives from the government and the two communities. That would lead to negotiation of an interim measures agreement that would provide for land withdrawals and joint decision-making on resource extraction. Aboriginal Affairs Minister Michael Bryant agreed to a joint panel with KI, but refused to include the Ardoch Algonquins in the deal – which meant that KI refused to be part of it. Michael Gravelle, minister of Northern Development and Mines, has refused to heed calls for a moratorium while new rules are worked out ….”  Source (archived article also downloadable as PDF here) – more

Summary of more open source information and sources cited over the past six months (1 – 11 Oct 11) also downloadable here (5 page 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 – 12 Sept 11

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

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

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Ring of Fire News – 5 Sept 11

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

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

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Ring of Fire News – 15 Aug 11

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  • 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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Ring of Fire News – 8 Aug 11

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  • Northern Development, Mines & Forestry Minister Michael Gravelle on Ring of Fire in pre-provincial-election statement: “we are all hoping to see the first mine there possibly ready to open within five years, with a significant training program put into place now so that Aboriginal and Northern workers can get those good-paying jobs in the future ….”  (Source:  Statement, 4 Aug 11)
  • KWG sells off Ring of Fire smelter royalties to Anglo Pacific Group PLC…. “KWG Resources Inc. has completed the sale of net smelter royalty interests (“NSR”) in the Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy chromite deposits to Anglo Pacific Group PLC for US$18 million. Half of the purchase price has been received by KWG and the remaining 50% has been received by an escrow agent to be held in escrow for a period of three months as security for KWG’s indemnification obligations to the purchaser in connection with the transaction ….”  (Source:  KWG news release, 4 Aug 11)
  • …. or put another way:  “Anglo Pacific Group has bought 7207565 Canada Inc from KWG Resources Inc. for US$18m. 7207565 Canada Inc owns a 1% net smelter royalty interest in the Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy chromite deposits, owned and operated by Cliffs Natural Resources, in the Ring of Fire region of Northern Ontario, Canada. Cliffs Natural Resources is currently undertaking an environmental assessment for Black Thor as part of its project development plans, and once constructed anticipates the production of ore for both direct sale and integrated ferrochrome production. Cliffs has also announced a commitment to engage with First Nations communities affected by the development to ensure the creation of opportunities for enhanced social wellbeing and economic prospects for those communities ….”  (Source:  Anglo Pacific Group news release, 2 Aug 11)
  • Ring of Fire Resources getting out of McNugget property?  “Ring of Fire Resources Inc. announces that it has engaged IBK Capital Corp to divest its 36.75% interest in its McNugget JV Project for cash. Macdonald Mines Exploration Ltd. (“BMK”) has the remaining 63.25% interest in the project and is the operator ….”  (Source:  Ring of Fire Resources news release, 4 Aug 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1-4 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).

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Ring of Fire News, 11 Jul 11

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  • Ontario’s mines minister Michael Gravelle following a transportation corridor conference:  there’s only going to be one transportation corridor into the Ring of Fire.  “…. “It was a very positive, amicable session, but (the companies) do have some differences. What came out of that was they recognize they have to come together on this as well. Certainly they will be crucial on making that decision …. There clearly is an understanding by all three companies despite their different visions that there needs to be one vision for the transportation corridor, so I am optimistic that we will be coming to a decision on that as soon as we can …. We heard the companies this morning talk about potentially if all things move forward in a positive way to begin construction of some sort by 2013 …. that is their ambitious timeline.”  (Source: Wawatay News, 7 Jul 11)
  • Northeastern Ontario municipalities and the Ontario Mining Association say it’s time for Ontario to share mining tax revenues.  “Northern municipalities want an equitable share of the rich mining tax revenue currently collected by the provincial government. The Province has collected over half a billion dollars in Ontario Mining Tax revenue over the past 5 years.  Alan Spacek, President of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) stated, “Northern Ontario is a vast storehouse of mineral wealth. In recent years, Northern Ontario has returned record levels of revenue to the provincial government. Northern Ontario is once again a major economic contributor.” Tom Laughren, Vice President of FONOM and Mayor of Timmins noted, “Unfortunately for Northern municipalities, much of the wealth generated by mining leaves the region in the form of corporate profits, Federal and Provincial corporate income tax, and resource specific taxes or fees such as the Ontario Mining Tax. This has created significant hardship for all Northerners. We are
    facing increasing cost pressures related to the provision of vital local services and an additional source of revenue would be of great benefit to our people.” One glimmer of hope is in the form of a key recommendation contained in the Ontario Mining Association’s (OMA) March, 2011 report Action Plan for Ontario: Taking Advantage of a Critical Window on Opportunity. Chris Hodgson, President of the OMA stated “The OMA would also like to see local municipal and First Nation communities have a greater share in the benefits of mining through the existing levels of mining tax.” President Spacek agrees. “We support entering into respectful discussions between municipalities, First Nations and the Provincial Government, culminating in the sharing of Ontario Mining Tax revenues with municipalities and First Nations.” ….”
    (Source: FONOM news release, 5 Jul 11)
  • A branch of KWG’s now official a railway company.  “KWG Resources Inc. subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation received formal acknowledgement from the Registrar of Shortline Railways of receipt of its application for a licence to construct and operate a shortline railway under Ontario’s Shortline Railways Act, legislation which governs provincial railways in Ontario. “This is one small step in a long journey”, said Canada Chrome Vice-President Bruce Hodgman, “but it is a seminal one and we look forward to working with Ontario and its railway regulators on moving forward our proposed Ring of Fire Railroad”.” (Source: company news release, 7 Jul 11)
  • Another branch of KWG’s going over all the claims staked for a railway corridor to the Ring of Fire, looking for more mineral potential information.  “…. Debut to (joint venture) with KWG to analyze Canada Chrome till samples – KWG agreed to provide access to the valuable geotechnical database covering a 330 kilometer north-south transect through the base-metal-rich and diamond-bearing area from the Ring of Fire to Nakina.  The database was created as a result of a mechanized-auger soil sampling program conducted by Golder Associates that collected nearly 6000 soil samples from 811 borings on claims staked by KWG subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation. Debut will process the glacial till horizons at its cost under a reciprocal joint venture agreement, to recover heavy and indicator minerals. Diamond discoveries following from the analysis of these samples will be the property of Debut while metal discoveries resulting from the work will be the property of KWG.  The analysis is expected to be completed in the next number of months at a budget of $1 million ….” (Source:  company news release, 6 Jul 11)
  • More data for Noront’s plan for a more detailed mine plan.  “Noront Resources Ltd. is pleased to report initial metallurgical results for the Eagle’s Nest deposit, part of the Company’s McFaulds Lake Project in the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario. During the 2010 drill program, a series of holes were drilled into the Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper and PGM deposit in order to obtain samples for metallurgical testwork …. Mr. Paul Semple, P.Eng and Noront’s Chief Operating Officer noted “These positive results confirm the metallurgical assumptions made during the NI 43-101 Preliminary Assessment report and the metallurgical characteristics are similar to most other Canadian nickel copper deposits. Further testwork will focus on finalizing equipment sizes and the optimization of grade/recovery relationships based on further discussions with interested smelters.” “ (Source: company news release, 7 Jul 11)
  • Some highlights from a Noront “Corporate Presentation” publicly available online:  Out of total 2012 budget of $17.6 million, approximately 6% ($1,056,000) is earmarked for “First Nations Consultation.”  Current estimates show “site start up commissioning” for 2016.  Company aims to work with First Nations to “Work cooperatively with the local First Nation communities to develop a regional land use plan that benefits all stakeholders and recognizes the environmental sensitivity of the James Bay Lowlands.”  Latest estimated transport infrastructure costs: Pickle Lake to Webequie, 200 kms, $180 M; Webequie to site, 95 kms, $15M. (Noront Corporate Presentation dated 23 Jul 11 – 13.4MB PDF – downloadable here)
  • A consultant says its time for First Nations to develop and share their own “how to develop in our area” procedures.  “…. Michael Fox, president of Fox High Impact Consulting, called for a First Nations position paper from the Ring of Fire communities during his June 23 presentation at the conference. “The best thing I think is to actually have all the communities here affected by the Ring of Fire come up with their own community position paper and share their lands and resource policies or their consultation protocols so we can find that common denominator so we can actually do planning with the communities as required under the Far North Act,” Fox said …. Gravelle envisions the Ring of Fire mineral development area evolving on the same regional scale as some of Ontario’s other historic mineral deposits in Red Lake, Kirkland Lake, Timmins and Sudbury.” (Source: Wawatay News, 7 Jul 11)
  • An environmental group is helping some First Nations develop watershed plans, and is eying some watersheds in or around the Ring of Fire.  “…. Wildlands League will be collaborating with communities and tribal councils in the Far North of Ontario, who live on or near four (4) major rivers over the next two (2) years to advance watershed planning. The four major rivers, the Albany, Winisk, Attawapiskat and the Severn watersheds are four (4) of only 12 left in North America south of 55 degrees that remain undammed and unregulated (although there is a diversion on the Albany River near its headwaters upstream) thus making them ecologically significant. The Ekwan is another river community members have expressed concerns about too. This project will support tribal councils and indigenous communities, who are often most impacted by water quality and water quantity changes, “to develop culturally-appropriate, community-based approaches to watershed stewardship,” including “advancing mutually-supported river-system goals.” …. Exploration continues in places like the Ring of Fire, which is considered by some to hold one of the world’s largest chromite deposits in the lowlands of Hudson’s Bay. It is expected that the activities in the Ring of Fire will have a direct impact on at least three (3) of the major rivers including the streams, creeks, rivers and tributaries in the Ogoki, Kapiskau and the Ekwan watershed catchment areas. While a coalition of environmental organizations has called on the federal government to set up a joint-review panel to ensure that mining development is monitored closely and that these activities adhere to environmental standards, the silence has been deafening thus far…. ” (Source: blog post, 7 Jul 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited also available here (PDF).

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Ring of Fire News, Week ending 27 Jun 11

The Ring of Fire News blog shares public information in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act, and is not responsible for the accuracy of the original material.  Inclusion of material or sources here should not imply endorsement or otherwise by the Ring of Fire News blog.


  • The Matawa First Nation communities have been offered up to $9.6 million over three years to develop core capacity to participate in the Ring of Fire initiative. “The funding was intended to support whatever specific community needs were identified,” said Christine Kaszycki, Ontario’s Ring of Fire coordinator. “There are a range of things that are available and the communities have the opportunity to submit a funding request and through that identify the approach that they would be taking as part of their proposal.” The Ring of Fire has been a hotbed of mineral exploration activity in recent years, home to a potentially large deposit of chromite, a mineral used to make stainless steel. The area is located in the James Bay lowlands near the traditional territories of Webequie and Marten Falls. The five remote fly-in communities of Eabametoong, Marten Falls, Neskantaga, Nibinamik and Webequie have been offered $1.5 million over three years, the three communities along Hwy. 11, Constance Lake, Ginoogaming and Long Lake #58, have been offered $450,000 over three years and Aroland has been offered $750,000 over three years….” (Source:  Wawatay News, 24 Jun 11)
  • Ontario Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry, Michael Gravelle, told a Ring of Fire transportation conference in Thunder Bay that other governments, not just Ontario, will have to contribute to developing any transportation infrastructure into the Ring of Fire area.  (Source:  CBQ-FM Thunder Bay, 23 Jun 11)
  • Speaking at the same conference, Gravelle was quoted saying, “The decision on the location (of processing facilities) is ultimately production-driven, and will be made by the (mining) companies based on factors including sustainability, cost and profitability…. We expect the decisions we make on transportation, infrastructure and other considerations will support those production and community decisions.”   He is also quoted saying, “If I was specifying that it should be in one community I would be certainly in a position where it would be difficult for me to maintain the kind of credibility I need to continue our work with Cliff’s (Natural Resources) and with the other companies.” (Sources:  Chronicle-Journal, 24 Jun 11, clipping available here; Tbnewswatch.com, 24 Jun 11)
  • Mining camp workers employed by Cliffs (Natural Resources) and who walked off the job …. held a quiet demonstration outside (the ROF infrastructure conference mentioned above).  Representative Harry Baxter Sr. said they were there to show conference delegates, companies and the public that all is not well in the Ring of Fire. Baxter said the workers “have no benefits, no safety standards, no insurance.” He said more than two dozen camp workers walked off the job, protesting what Baxter said were unsafe conditions and a pay cut to $140 a day. Baxter said the pay is inadequate for those who live in the remote North where expenses are much higher than elsewhere. They are taking their concerns to a First Nations chiefs meeting at the Valhalla Inn on Friday, he said. Cliffs spokesmen have said the camp manager resigned amid the walkout and will be replaced. The other workers, they said, are welcome to return to their jobs. They also said the company would meet with the workers to discuss their concerns.”  Cliffs’ senior VP of ferralloys, Bill Boor, was also quoted saying he is contacting workers who left the work site to “discuss their problems directly with them.” Boor is also quoted saying “Their concern is that they’re going to now get taxed, and therefore their take-home pay will be reduced. We’re going to pay competitive wages, and in fact in this issue, we’re going to make sure people’s take-home pay does not go down. If that means we have to pay more because somebody who was a registered contractor, for example, is now subject to taxes, we’re going to take that on.” (Chronicle-Journal, 21 Jun 11, clipping available hereChronicle-Journal, 23 Jun 11)
  • KWG Resources Inc. advises that its subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation has acquired by staking, two 16-unit mineral claims adjoining to the south of the Fancamp Exploration Ltd claims 3012257 and 3012258. The north-eastern corner of the eastern-most claim is within Koper Lake. As such, the new claim encompasses that portion of the western shore of Koper Lake that has been the logistics hub for activities in the area. The claims are outside of the areas of interest provided for in KWG’s agreements with Spider Resources Inc., and UC Resources Limited. The companies are also pleased to announce the appointment of Bruce Hodgman as a Vice-President of Canada Chrome Corporation.”  (Source:  KWG news release, 21 Jun 11)
  • “A Lakehead University professor has suggested a Ring of Fire endowment fund for future generations in northern Ontario. “Natural resources in a sense are like a gift – it’s like winning a lottery,” said Livio Di Matteo, a professor of economics at Lakehead University. “When you win a lottery, it’s great to spend some of it and have a good time. But at the same time if you want to prepare for tomorrow, it’s also a good idea to save a large portion of it and then only spend the income.” ….”  (Source:  Wawatay News, 24 Jun 11)
  • A Lakehead University economist suggests blimps.  “…. Development of the Ring of Fire will require transportation infrastructure and the Ring of Fire Conference held in Thunder Bay yesterday discussed proposals for transportation infrastructure. Of course, the proposals have a familiar ring – building new all-weather roads as well as building a new rail line. These are expensive pieces of transportation infrastructure and will provide access to the Ring of Fire and immediately adjacent areas. There are many First Nations living in Ontario’s Far North who rely on winter roads for bringing in supplies and these ice roads have become increasingly fragile with the shorter winters brought about by climate change. A railroad or road to the Ring of Fire would not necessarily meet the needs of all remote First Nations. One solution that would be cost-effective in meeting the needs of First Nations as well as providing a means to transport heavy equipment and supplies for mining companies lies in an old technology that is receiving some updates – Lighter Than Air Vehicles, also known as airships ….”  (Source:  Netnewsledger.com, 24 Jun 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited also available here (PDF).

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