The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
Maurice Lavigne’s obligation, as a mine developer, is to optimize economic stability. And that’s what the vice-president of exploration and development with KWG Resources Inc. says his company will do with its plans to build a railroad and process chromite ore with natural gas from its holdings in the Ring of Fire.
You have to keep your costs low with any project, let alone a project on this scale, Lavigne said in Sudbury on Thursday. A “railroad drives down your cost, the gas drives down your costs,” Lavigne told reporters after speaking to a noon crowd at a luncheon held by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.
“We’re going to make this project economically robust and we owe that to society.” Lavigne said KWG doesn’t want to build a fragile industry that “shuts down one year and opens the next year and creates chaos in the communities.
“You’ve seen that, you know that movie, we don’t want to do that,” he said. Nor does his company want to go to government and taxpayers looking for subsidies to electricity rates, he said. Lavigne said he came to Sudbury, at the invitation of the chamber, knowing he was coming to “Cliffs-friendly territory.”
Cliffs was to build a $1.8-billion ferrochrome processing plant near Capreol, but that plan is now on hold.
Cliffs and KWG started out as partners, and both were interested in building a railroad to transport chromite ore out of the Ring of Fire to an existing rail line near Nakina.
Lavigne told chamber members he still can’t figure out why, after the two companies parted ways, Cliffs began to favour the road option.
KWG had staked claims to the natural north-south eskers and Cliffs lost its attempt to win an easement over those claims from the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner, although Cliffs has appealed that decision.
As far as Lavigne is concerned, the commissioner was so definitive in the decision favouring his company, the matter is over and done with.
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