Thunder Bay, Fort William First Nation make the case for Ring of Fire smelter – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 20, 2017)

Economic developers take Noront miners on brownfields tour

Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation made a joint push this week to be the host site for a ferrochrome smelter serving the Ring of Fire.

Local economic development officials took representatives from Noront Resources, the biggest claimholder in the Far North mineral belt, on a tour of area industrial sites, hoping to sway the Toronto mine developer to pick northwestern Ontario for a $600-million to $800-million processing plant.

John Mason, the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission’s mining services project manager, said the tour was basically to give Noront president Alan Coutts and chief development officer Steve Flewelling a better on-the-ground appreciation of what land and infrastructure is available.

The tour took them to the Grand Trunk Railway lands on the Fort William reserve and a mixture of private and government-owned parcels of waterfront brownfields in the Mission and McKellar Islands area. “It was essentially a waterfront, or water-themed, tour,” said Mason.

Thunder Bay-Fort William is one of four cities – along with Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury and Timmins – under consideration from Noront as a possible host community for a ferrochrome plant, which remains years away from construction.

After the tour, Coutts and Flewelling presented their development plans before an estimated crowd of 150 at the Valhalla Inn on July 19.

The promotion of the event was misconstrued by some organizations in Thunder Bay as the city being formally selected for Noront’s ferrochrome plant. The company intends to make an announcement on a site later this year.

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