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Ring of Fire News – 19 Jan 12

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

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

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Ring of Fire News – 9 Jan 12

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

More open source information (excerpts from information monitored 1 Dec 11-6 Jan 12 (PDF) here.  All information shared here in accordance with the Fair Dealing provisions (§29) of the Copyright Act.  We’re not responsible for the accuracy of the source material, and inclusion of material doesn’t mean endorsement.

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Ring of Fire News – 19 Dec 11

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


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

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

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Ring of Fire News – 12 Dec 11

  • Comparisons are being drawn between the situation in Attawapiskat and the Ring of Fire (1)  “…. In spite of our objections, the mine was approved and is now in operation. Life has clearly not improved for the citizens of Attawapiskat. We’ve continued our connection with the community by providing it with scientific information about the potential effects of the mine on mercury levels in lakes and rivers, boreal woodland caribou populations and the formation of sinkholes. But that does not fix the tremendous social and economic problems the community is facing.  Meanwhile, many more industrial developments are looming for Ontario’s north. Next up are mega-mines being proposed to extract valuable minerals in the Ring of Fire upstream from Attawapiskat ….”  Source
  • Comparisons are being drawn between the situation in Attawapiskat and the Ring of Fire (2)  “@politixgirl (Gina Cosentino)  Same question 4 FNs w/ chromite MT @NoLore @Knowledgewalker: any chance diamond folks want #Attawapiskat gone 4 better access to diamonds?”  Source
  • With Ring of Fire development needing provincial and federal money, some northern mayors want FedNor funding easier to access, especially if provincial Northern Ontario Heritage Fund money is not forthcoming.  “If a tight budget won’t allow the feds to add more money to FedNor, then Northern mayors want Ottawa to adjust how it doles out the cash.  The economic development program for Northern Ontario offers one-time, one-year funding, but that may not suit larger multi-year ventures, especially infrastructure projects, said North Bay Mayor Al McDonald during an interview on the weekend.  “If we can get that small adjustment made, that would help municipalities control their destiny,” he said.  McDonald and the city’s CEO Dave Linkie were among the Northern representatives including Nipissing-Timiskaming MP Jay Aspin to accept an invitation to meet with FedNor Minister Tony Clement on Thursday to hash out priorities for Northern Ontario.  FedNor’s budget is about $34 million for the year, compared to the $100-million Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, yet the two programs are linked in a way that makes it easier to access federal money if the provincial dollars are already committed.  Northern mayors want to uncouple the programs to make it easier to access FedNor money when Heritage funding isn’t in place ….”  Source
  • A column by an industry writer in the National Post points a finger at Ontario re:  consulting with First Nations under the Far North Act (PDF).  “…. It’s rather ironic that the supposedly “conservative mining industry” is consulting and making various agreements that ensure aboriginal communities get maximum benefits from mineral development of their traditional territories and that adhere to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples commitment to “prior and informed consent.”  Conversely, the Liberal-left McGuinty government and its environmental allies force unwanted parks on First Nations communities with a condescending colonial mindset from the past century ….”  Source
  • Some northwestern Ontario First Nations are working to improve electrical connectivity near the Ring of Fire (although not specifically for any ROF projects at this point).   “Numerous First Nation Communities are working to bring transmission line connectivity and green energy development to remote First Nation communities currently operating on expensive diesel generators in Northwestern Ontario.  Wataynikaneyap Power is being formed as a First Nation led company to design, permit, construct, own and operate a 230 kV transmission line to bring additional grid connection to Pickle Lake. The Company is proposing a two-phase planning and permitting process to bring connectivity to the remote First Nations. The first phase would reinforce the grid at Pickle Lake and the second phase would extend the grid north of Pickle Lake to service the remote communities.  Significant pre-development work has been completed, including a routing study for the new line to Pickle Lake (Phase 1). The Team engaged a transmission Consultant to evaluate five potential route options to connect to Pickle Lake. A preferred route has been identified and further studies will take place over the coming months. Community consultations and the commencement of an Environmental Assessment is planned in early 2012.  The need for this transmission line is supported by the Ministry of Energy as identified in the Long Term Energy Plan, released November 23, 2010 and the Ministry Directive to plan for remote First Nation community connectivity, February 3, 2011.  Early engagement and participation of all First Nation Communities will be key to successful development. Each community will have the choice to be an equal owner in Wataynikaneyap Power. Reliable power in the region is a direct benefit for all, while allowing those communities with renewable energy projects to sell their clean power to the provincial grid, further supporting regional economic development. The opportunity to turn off the diesel generators used in the region will result in a meaningful reduction of greenhouse gas generation while allowing First Nations significantly more power capacity to enable community development projects ….”  Source (alternate link to news release here)

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

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Ring of Fire News – 5 Dec 11

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

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

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Ring of Fire First Nation: We’ll Decide, Thanks

This from TBNewswatch.com:

A First Nation community near the Ring of Fire wants the public to know that it is autonomous.  Webequie First Nation, part of Matawa First Nations Management Tribal Council, released a community position paper and a consultation and accommodation protocol Wednesday morning. Chief Cornelius Wabbase said in light of recent media attention with Matawa’s withdrawal of support for Ring of Fire development, his community needs to reaffirm that it makes its own decisions when it comes to Webequie First Nation.  “The community has to assert themselves so that they can be recognized as a community up there that has the decision making power,” Wabasse said.  “We have to be known that we’re there…we have our own community processes that have to be taken into account.”  People in Webequie are concerned with a lack of consultation from government, industry and third party organizations like Matawa.  Wabasse said first and foremost, any consultation done with regard to Webequie traditional territory must be done with Webequie.  “The community has a concern about their (Matawa’s) approach and I’m standing by my community,” Wabasse said. “They’re not being properly consulted at the community level.”  Wabasse said Webequie does share environmental concerns with Matawa, which filed an application for a judicial review over the federal government’s decision to put a faster comprehensive environmental assessment for a proposed chromite project rather than a joint-panel assessment.   Wabasse said Webequie is still working with Matawa and other regional partners ….

More in a news release from Webequie First Nation here (or here in PDF if other link doesn’t work).

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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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Next Up for EA: Noront’s Eagle’s Nest Project

This from the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency:

Under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act(the Act), the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) is responsible for exercising the powers and performing the duties and functions of the responsible authority for certain projects subject to the comprehensive study requirements of the Act.

Based on information it has received, the Agency has determined that the project is described in the comprehensive study list and that an environmental assessment of the project is required. As a result, the Agency commenced a comprehensive study on November 1, 2011.

The proposed project consists of constructing, operating and eventually decommissioning an underground nickel-copper-platinum multi-metal mine at a mining rate of approximately 2,960 tonnes per day which represents an anticipated mine life of approximately 11 years. The proposal also includes an underground concentrate processing facility, an all-season access road from Pickle Lake to Webequie Junction, concentrate pipeline from Webequie Junction to the mine site and ancillary mine infrastructure. The project mine site is located approximately 540 km north of the City of Thunder Bay, Ontario and 240 km west of James Bay in an area known as the “Ring of Fire”

(….)

As per the Cabinet Directive on Improving the Performance of the Regulatory System for Major Resource Projects, this environmental assessment has been identified as a major natural resource project. For additional information refer to the Major Projects Management Office’s Tracker, designed to track and monitor the progress of major resource projects through the federal regulatory system ….

More here (list o’ documents), here (project main page), here (the company’s project page) and here (Chronicle-Journal)

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Ring of Fire News – 14 Nov 11

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

This (PDF) from the Chronicle-Journal today:

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

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

More info on the Ottawa announcement here and here.

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