TIMMINS – KWG Resources vice-president Moe Lavigne warned a gathering of Indigenous community leaders and mining industry members that until there is money behind them, the proposed mines that make up the Ring of Fire development will only ever exist on paper.
“Until this proposed development is funded, it’s not a project; it’s just a study of an opportunity. There are plenty of people out there that think this is an actual project — it’s not — it’s an opportunity,” said Lavigne.
The KWG executive was speaking at the sixth-nnual Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund Mining Summit held in Timmins this week. He continued to say the federal and provincial governments are being prevented from fully backing the projects by their voter bases which “want this part of Canada to be a park, or museum, and don’t want to see anything happening here.”
With neither government willing to go against the political pressure he believes is holding them back, Lavigne argued the only realistic way to get the Ring of Fire mines off the ground is through China.
“The people who understand this opportunity the best is China. They get the whole picture, they want to get their hands on some of our chromium, and they are willing to put their money on the table to make it happen,” he argued.
KWG is putting most of its eggs in China’s basket when it comes to getting its mines in the Ring of Fire off the ground. The company, which is the smallest stakeholder in the chromium development, is working to get China to not only pay for and engineer a railway to the site but also to buy the refined ore it will produce.
The fact of the matter, said Lavigne, is that China’s steel industry needs a secure, long-term chromite supply because the country has no deposits of its own and the supply it gets from South Africa is produced by high-cost mining operations that are “constantly on the brink of collapse.”
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