COBALT – As much attention as the Ring of Fire has garnered, the expected resurgence of the Cobalt Camp is a bigger story. “The Ring of Fire . . . is too much pie in the sky,” Gino Chitaroni says. “There are too many working parts. You don’t need millions of dollars there. You need billions. There is no way in hell it will be developed anytime soon.”
Chitaroni, president and manager of PolyMet Labs in this old mining town, says political problems are delaying the Ring of Fire project in northwestern Ontario even more. It will be at least a decade – probably more – before anything comes out of it, he believes. But the Cobalt Camp, he says, is ready to roll again.
“Even with China involved directly, and they have very, very deep pockets, the infrastructure requirements there means Ring of Fire is many, many years off,” says Chitaroni, who also is president of the Northern Prospectors’ Association. “It’s sad that the government has put all its (mining) eggs in one basket when there are so many other, much better projects.”
Chitaroni ticks off a number of major mining projects within spitting distance of taking off. IMGold Corporation’s Cote Lake project near Gogama is one. Gold Corp., Rainy River Resources and Cobalt are others. “It’s spectacular,” he says. “We have the infrastructure. We have a historic mining area. It puts us a step up on anywhere in the world.”
Several companies have been looking at the Cobalt Camp recently with an eye on the mineral that gave the area its name. Cobalt is used in the manufacture of batteries used in electric cars, electronics and even mining equipment.
More than half the world’s supply comes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but the political situation there has many companies, including Tesla, and nations such as China, looking elsewhere.
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