Ring of Fire burns by Timmins – by Mark Prior (Timmins Daily Press – May 10, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

U.S. firm selects Sudbury area for $1.8-billion investment

Even though the final decision wasn’t a shocker, it still stings. U.S.-based firm Cliffs Natural Resources selected its Sudbury-area site in Capreol for a $1.8-billion investment for a plant to process chromite from its Ring of Fire deposit.

The Ring of Fire, located about 540 kilometre northeast of Thunder Bay, is the biggest mineral discovery of the past 100 years. It contains a vast array of minerals, including the largest deposit of chromite ever found in North America. Chromite is a key ingredient in stainless steal.

Timmins had made the final four location choices of Cliffs for the smelter. Thunder Bay and Greenstone were also being considered. Officials with Cliffs had visited every community in the running. Delegates from all the communities had made their best pitches to Cliffs representatives, hoping to lure the thousands of direct and indirect jobs that come with the project.

The latest news about the Ring of Fire spread like wildfire across the North. Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren was obviously disappointed, but he refused to hang is head.

“Thanks to Cliffs from a Timmins perspective. They did give us the opportunity,” he said. “We knew it was definitely something that was competitive and they are a global mining company and we respect their decision.

“At the end of the day what I think what we accomplished was to position Timmins to showcase our opportunities. I’m proud of everyone involved in showing Cliffs our locations.”

Even though the processing plant did not land in Timmins, Laughren said the project — and any future mining initiatives rising from the Ring of Fire — are good for Northern Ontario.

“From a big perspective, we were all lobbying to ensure government got involved in this,” he said. “We saw this was a huge opportunity for Northern Ontario no matter where it went. I still think there’s more opportunities beyond this.
“At the end of the day, we want government to be involved with these kinds of things because this is the future. There are many opportunities for jobs and manufacturing.

“My hope is if the government is doing something for the Ring of Fire, they will carry that on and make that opportunity available for all the other mining opportunities out there.”

Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci, the MPP for Sudbury, made the announcement Wednesday morning.

MPP Gilles Bisson (NDP — Timmins-James Bay) said this project and future mining projects must be watched closely so that value added jobs remain in the North.

“Myself along with all of us in the NDP, have been pushing for the last two years that we adopt a policy that any extraction of ore in Ontario be processed in Ontario,” he said. “There is ore that is being extraction in Timmins by Xstrata that is being processed in Quebec.

“Bartolucci made an announcement and talked about possibly giving an exemption to the Mining Act to Cliffs Resources to ship ore out of Ontario and out of Canada, I presume to China.”

For the rest of this article, please go to the Timmins Daily Press website: http://www.thedailypress.ca/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3557531


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