When it comes to the Ring of Fire, Noront Resources Ltd. is in it for the long haul, president and CEO Alan Coutts said Thursday.
Speaking at Bryston’s on the Park in Copper Cliff as part of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce President’s Luncheon Series, Coutts talked about the wealth pulled from the ground in the Sudbury area and how he sees similar potential in the Ring, a crescent rich in chromite and other minerals such as nickel and copper, located in the James Bay Lowlands, about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, and dotted with five small Oji-Cree First Nations communities.
“We all know in this room the last 150 years has generated an incredible amount of wealth and prosperity from the Sudbury Basin,” Coutts said. “The Ring of Fire is almost identical in size, about 100 kilometres from tip to tail, and you can see there are already more than 20 deposits that have been discovered in that region, of various qualities and sizes.”
Noront consolidated most of those discoveries during the last year, first buying out Cliffs Natural Resources after that company abandoned plans for chromite development in the Ring, then acquiring MacDonald Mines, the other large claim-holder in the region.
“We believe this is a mining camp,” Coutts said. “We believe this will be, hopefully, the next Sudbury or the next Timmins or Red Lake, and we’re trying to get a toe hold into this region and take advantage of these unique opportunities that presented themselves when the markets were down. We’ve all seen people pay too much for assets. We’re hoping we paid not enough for these assets.”
Noront is not a company that’s in the business of flipping stock, he said.
“We have a pedigree – we’ve built and operated mines and smelters all over the world,” Coutts said. “And if we have our way, that’s what we’re going to do here, as well. We’re very excited about the ability to consolidate this.
We see this as a company maker. We want to be that company that was, once upon a time, the Falconbridges and the Incos and the Norandas of Canada, and we see this as a great opportunity. All of those companies had a flagship operation that vaulted them on to greater things and we see this as having the same potential.”
Rather than a chromite deposit, it’s Eagle’s Nest, a nickel-copper deposit expected to yield about one million tonnes per year, that could serve as Noront’s starting point for development in the rest of the Ring.
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