Mining suspension dubbed ‘Major setback’ – by Rob Learn (North Bay Nipissing News – November 27, 2013)

NIPISSING – If Cliffs Resources and the provincial government are playing poker over the Ring of Fire development, Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli says the mining giant has decided to fold.

“It’s a major blow and a major setback for Ontario,” said the Progressive Conservative member. “…(Cliffs) have closed their Thunder Bay and Toronto offices. This is not a ploy… They have no confidence in this provincial government. They have waited for five years and there is nothing.”

Fedeli’s comments come on the heels of the announcement last week from Cliffs Resources that it was halting all work towards their Ring of Fire plans to develop a chromite mine in what has been called the biggest mining discovery in Canada in a century.

The consequences for Nipissing region could be devastating. “The North Bay area is involved in the exploration, the delineation of the ore body, the design of the mines and supplying the mines should they go forward. This is devastating,” said Fedeli.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. announced Nov. 20 that its affiliate, Cliffs Chromite Ontario Inc., “Will suspend indefinitely its Chromite Project in Northern Ontario by the end of the fourth quarter of 2013. The Company determined that it will not allocate additional capital for the project given the uncertain timeline and risks associated with the development of necessary infrastructure to bring this project online.”

The metal deposit is located in a remote area of the James Bay lowlands and transportation in and out of the development remains to be by air using a lake or helicopter pads for landing five years after the project was first touted.

“While I am disappointed with Cliffs’ decision, and certainly appreciate the company’s continued interest in the project, our commitment is clear,” said Minister of Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, about the development. “The province is prepared to invest in vital infrastructure and create the right climate to support development in the region. We will work with key partners to realize these shared benefits.”

Since the announcement Gravelle has been pointing to the federal government for more support of either rail or road infrastructure.

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