Ring of Fire project has staggering hurdles to overcome, but progress on horizon – by Peter Koven (National Post – March 7, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

TORONTO — When Noront Resources Ltd. blared the Johnny Cash song ‘Ring of Fire’ over and over at its annual meeting in Toronto in 2007, it felt like a giant party.

Only weeks earlier, Noront had made the first key mineral discovery in McFaulds Lake, a remote Northern Ontario region that was quickly nicknamed the Ring of Fire. Excitement about the find was at a fever pitch, and companies were staking land like crazy. No one could wait to find out what came next.

Fast-forward to this year’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) conference, and it is a different story. A session on the Ring of Fire drew a huge standing-room-only crowd on Wednesday, but with none of the euphoria of that Noront AGM. The session highlighted the staggering challenges that need to be overcome to get the region going: infrastructure, First Nations agreements, environmental compliance, transportation, and more.

“Our view is this goes beyond traditional mineral development activity,” said George Ross, Ontario’s deputy minister of northern development and mines. “There’s a lot of aspects to it.” The Ring of Fire is thought to hold as much as $50-billion worth of minerals, and is going to be North America’s first major source of chromite, used in the making of stainless steel. It is one of the most important mineral discoveries in Ontario’s history.

With so many hurdles to overcome, progress towards construction has been very slow. But according to Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., which is developing the area’s first chromite mine and related infrastructure, many of these challenges are finally on the verge of being overcome.

For the rest of this article, please go to the National Post website: http://business.financialpost.com/2013/03/06/ring-of-fire-project-has-staggering-hurdles-to-overcome-but-progress-on-horizon/

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