Toronto miner still jumping into Ring of Fire – by Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – November 22, 2013)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Noront Resources CEO says company will be the first to open mine in region.

Toronto-based Noront Resources Ltd. still plans to jump into the world-class Ring of Fire, despite a U.S. firm’s decision to abandon its massive mine project in the Northern Ontario region.

“We’re the most advanced project in the area,” Noront chief executive Alan Coutts said in an interview Thursday.

Despite a brutal downturn in the metals market that has rocked the mining industry this year, the exploration firm is on track to develop its $700 million Eagle’s Nest deposit of high-grade nickel, copper, platinum and palladium, he said.

And Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s decision this week to abandon its nearby chromite development has no impact on the plans the Toronto miner has for its coveted base metals property a few kilometers away, he said.

“Our projections have not been dependent on the development plans of other mining companies,” said Coutts after flying back to Noront’s Yonge St. office from the site.

He said the move emphasizes for investors in the junior mining stock that the Eagle’s Nest property is poised to become the first mine to open in the highly regarded Ring, which has been touted as the next Sudbury or Voisey’s Bay mining camp.

Coutts, who took the helm of Noront last month after five years with nickel giant Xstrata in Australia, said his scheduled meetings with the area’s First Nations communities this week were timely given the surprising news that Cliffs had suspended work on its $3 billion project.

“It’s not good when individual participants drop out,” he said, noting it has created some confusion and concerns about the future of the minerals-rich area for local residents of the James Bay lowlands.

“I’ve been thrown in the deep end with this,” jokes the new CEO of the stock that trades on the TSX Venture Exchange.

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