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Ring of Fire News – 21 Nov 11

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

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

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Ring of Fire News – 14 Nov 11

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Filed under: Uncategorized, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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, 2 Aug 11

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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.


  • KWG sells smelter royalties to raise some money  “TSX V-listed KWG Resources on Tuesday said it agreed to sell smelter royalties in three of its chrome deposits in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire to Anglo Pacific Group for $18-million.  KWG owns 28% of the Big Daddy chrome project, with US miner Cliffs Natural Resources owing the rest, and also held a 1% net smelter royalty on the Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy assets.  “The group anticipates that the royalties from these chromite deposits, the largest known deposits of chromite ore in North America, will provide long term cash flows and continuing revenue growth for shareholders,” London-based Anglo Pacific chairpserson Peter Boycott said.  Cliffs aims to complete a prefeasibility study on the Black Thor project by September, with a full feasibility due for completion late next year.  First production has been pencilled in for 2015 ….”  (Sources:  KWG news release, stockmarketwire.com and miningweekly.com, 2 Aug 11)
  • Latest quarterly results from CLF  “Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. today reported second-quarter results for the period ended June 30, 2011 . Consolidated revenues were up 52% for the second quarter to a record $1.8 billion, from $1.2 billion in the same quarter last year. Operating income for the second quarter was $617 million, an increase of 69% from the comparable quarter in 2010 …. The Company expects to incur the following growth-related cash outflows …. Approximately $45 million related to its chromite project in Ontario, Canada ….”  (Sources:  company  news release, quarterly report, 27 Jul 11)
  • Sudbury-area MPP:  Sudbury’s still a good place for a smelter (even if nobody else returns reporter’s calls)  “Cliffs Natural Resources of Cleveland has yet to decide where it will build a smelter to process chromite concentrate from its Ring of Fire properties in northwestern Ontario.  A promotional video on the Cliffs’ website about the company’s three chromite deposits in the zone (Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy), entitled Value Beneath the Surface, highlights Greater Sudbury as one of the four communities where an enclosed chromite electric arc furnace facility could be built ….  In February, Cliffs indicated in a report it was using Greater Sudbury as a “base case” for a chromite smelting facility and said the site was a “brownfield” or no longer in use piece of industrial land about 25 km from Capreol.  Sudbury Liberal MPP Rick Bartolucci said this week he wants to Cliffs set up the chromite processing facility in Ontario, his preferred site being the proposed location near Capreol.  “As a community, we are making a very, very attractive case why that mining plant should be started in Capreol,” he said.  When asked about the province’s higher hydro rates being a deterrent to Cliffs picking an Ontario site, Bartolucci said it would still make sense to build the facility in this province.  “We have put in place a very, very competitive tax structure that will see the costs offset by the incredible tax benefits the government offers,” he said.  The MPP said the Greater Sudbury Development Corporation is the lead player in the local push to land the processing plant in the Nickel Capital.  Neither Ian Wood, acting director of economic development at the city, nor Doug Nadorozny, the city’s chief administrative officer, could be reached for comment. Company officials could not be reached, either ….”  (Source:  Sudbury Star, 29 Jul 11)
  • Wildlands League, Noront to Ontario:  Help First Nations develop land use plans  “The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society’s Wildlands League and Noront Resources Ltd. are coming together and urging the Ontario government to begin land use planning with First Nations communities within the Ring of Fire chromite deposit.  In a letter addressed to various government ministers, the public interest group Wildlands League and Canadian mining company Noront highlight the “urgent need” to develop and approve compressive land use plans that will protect First Nations’ land while preventing delays and missteps for mining companies developing in the area.  “What First Nations communities need to see is the options available to them and the cost and benefits of those options,” said Anna Baggio the director of conservation and land use planning at Wildlands League.  Land use agreements are part of the government’s Far North Act, which aims to protect 50 per cent of Northern land (225,000 kilometres) from development while providing stability for mining companies exploring and developing in Northern Ontario. Baggio said land use agreements with First Nations communities and should have been implemented last fall when the Far North Act was initially passed …. “What it is, is getting a plan and moving that plan forward. Time is of the essence and the sooner development happens the sooner we are able to develop projects that are socially and environmentally responsible,” said Noront Resources’ president and chief executive officer Wesley Hanson …. “There are some companies that have not come to the table to sign exploration agreements, but more are becoming aware now,” said Webequie’s head band councillor Elcie MacDonald. “Nothing is going to come out of it unless they sign the exploration agreement.” …. Noront Resources and the Wildlands League said that without a plan to replace land use agreements, the path to responsibly and effectively developing Ring of Fire could be damaged.  “The First Nations knowledge is vital to consider in any type of infrastructure development because they have traditional areas that would impact them and knowing those areas in advance and being able to plan out development without impacting the traditional way of life of life in communities,” said (Noront CEO Wes) Hanson.  Baggio said the letter has yet to prompt a response from the government, but she does expect that the Ministers will respond.”  (Source:  Kenora Daily Miner & News, 27 Jul 11)

Summary of more open source information and sources cited (1 Jul – 2 Aug 11) also available here (PDF).

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