Bogged down in the Ring of Fire – by Ella Myers (Northern Ontario Business – January 27, 2017)

Noront president says development stalled by lack of clarity on road, slow pace of regional dialogue

Noront Resources boss Alan Coutts said his company is as committed as ever to the Ring of Fire. But if things don’t get moving soon, their financiers and investors are going to lose patience.

“We’re trying,” said the Noront president-CEO at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Jan. 26. “My focus has always been on the Ring of Fire. “We don’t want to abandon it. But if there’s no money, there’s no money,” said Coutts. “[Our investors] have been patient, but they’re running out of patience.”

Coutts said that the project is stalled at two points; they need a permanent road to their remote nickel and chromite deposits in the James Bays lowlands, and they need approval on that road from the neighbouring communities belonging to the Matawa First Nations tribal council.

The past two years have seen Noront consolidate their presence in the Ring of Fire camp, a crescent-shaped string of chromite, nickel, copper and platinum group metals deposits covering an area roughly the size of the Sudbury basin.

“It’s pretty well all Noront,” Coutts pointed out during his presentation. The small Canadian resource company acquired the claims of Cliff Natural Resources and MacDonald Mines in 2015 and 2016, respectively.

Noront is currently planning on starting construction on their Eagle’s Nest mine site in 2018, followed by work on their Blackbird chromite deposit. To proceed with construction on Eagle’s Nest, they need a road to the inaccessible site to start around the same time.

Noront proposed a 280-kilometre-long road running east from Pickle Lake. Coutts said a north-south road is also an option.

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