OMA member Cliffs plans to invest $3.3 billion in Ring of Fire

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Ontario Association Member Cliffs Natural Resources has announced intentions to invest $3.3 billion to develop a chromite mine in the Ring of Fire area, a transportation corridor and a processing plant in Northern Ontario.  This could lead to more than 1,200 direct jobs over the anticipated 30 year life of the mine.

“Cliffs is pleased to be moving forward the proposed development of a mine in the Ring of Fire and a processing facility near Sudbury,” said Bill Boor, Senior Vice President Global Ferroalloys for Cliffs Natural Resources, based in Cleveland.  “These milestones bring us closer to opening the mine and starting production to meet the global demand for stainless steel.”

“Ontario is blessed with an abundance of natural resources at a time in history when the world is developing faster than ever and demanding these resources,” said Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Sudbury.  “We are taking advantage of this incredible opportunity in the Ring of Fire to further open up Northern Ontario by bringing thousands of jobs, new infrastructure and economic opportunities to cities, towns and First Nations communities.”

The Ring of Fire is a mineral rich and somewhat isolated area of Northern Ontario located about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.  While it is home to several First Nations communities, there are no permanent roads to the area and it is not connected to the province’s electricity network.

“The Ring of Fire is a tremendous investment that will bring tangible benefits for Thunder Bay and Greenstone, as well as other communities in the Northwest, including the First Nations in the Ring of Fire itself,” said Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources and MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North.

The project proposed by Cliffs is expected to create direct and indirect employment of more than 5,000 Ontarians beginning in 2017.  This major project will need to meet rigorous environmental standards and the provincial and federal governments are coordinating environmental assessments for all aspects of the proposed development.  Also, the development will require a great deal of consultation with First Nations in the area and efforts will ensue to make sure First Nations are partners in the project moving forward.
Cliffs is one of more than 20 companies with claims in the Ring of Fire region.  The chromite mine, transportation corridor and processing facility are the first to reach this stage of the development process.  The most recent provincial budget said “Proposed mine developments currently under consideration in the Ring of Fire are expected to create more than 1,500 permanent jobs once the mines are in full production.”

OMA member Noront Resources is advancing its own projects in the Ring of Fire area.  It is focused on developing the high-grade Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum-palladium deposit, the exploration and development of the Blackbird chromite discovery and regional exploration for additional mineral deposits within its large land position in the Ring of Fire, an emerging multi-metals camp in located in the James Bay Lowlands.

Modern mining companies are high-tech, environmentally responsible partners in society.  They provide opportunities for employees, suppliers, investors and governments.  The Ring of Fire is an area of high mineral potential and the announcement by Cliffs may just be the tip of the proverbial iceberg for future developments.