Franco-Nevada Corp. chief executive officer and president David Harquail is “absolutely convinced” a mine will be built in the Ring of Fire, but realistic enough to believe it may be a future CEO who benefits from it.
Franco-Nevada loaned Noront Resources Ltd. US$22.5 million last year, at 7 per cent interest for five years. That was in return for a 3 per cent royalty on the Black Thor chromite deposit and a 2 per cent royalty of all Noront’s property in the region with the exception of Eagle’s Nest.
Noront purchased shares of Cliffs Chromite Ontario Inc. and Cliffs Chromite Far North Inc., independently owned subsidiaries of Cliffs Natural Resources, which held mining claims in the Ring of Fire, for US$20 million. The remaining US$2.5 million provided Noront with operating capital.
Harquail attended an event Tuesday at Laurentian University where it was announced his family foundation, the Midas Touch Foundation, was giving $10 million to the university’s earth sciences department. It has been renamed the Harquail School of Earth Sciences, and the donation will support Metal Earth, a $114-million applied research and development project at Laurentian.
“You have to put mining in perspective,” Harquail said in response to a question about the Ring of Fire from The Sudbury Star after the Laurentian news event. “We talk about (mining) in eons, geological eras, and the Ring of Fire is really … less than eight years ago, in terms of the whole thing coming together,” he said.
When developing base metal deposits, a number of factors have to come together — financing, market need, the commodity cycle.
“Right now, we’re in a low ebb, it’s going to be really hard. Even if the governments were totally behind it, industry right now would probably not be able to finance it,” he said of the Ring of Fire’s chromite, nickel and other metal deposits.
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