Sudbury to get first crack at Ring of Fire nickel (CBC News Sudbury – August 22, 2017)

Bruce Jago, director of Goodman School of Mines, weighs in on Noront’s decision to start

Four northern Ontario cities — Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay — are in the running to be home to a ferrochrome smelter which will process chromite from the Ring of Fire mineral deposit. But Noront Resources Ltd. CEO Alan Coutts says the first minerals out of the ground will be nickel concentrate, to be processed in Sudbury.

Now that the provincial government has committed to funding the road infrastructure to the Ring of Fire, Coutts told CBC’s Morning North that his company plans to develop a mine at its Eagle’s Nest project first. The site — 530 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay — is rich in high-grade nickel, copper, platinum and palladium.

“The reason we selected that to be the first mine is because there is already existing smelting capacities for those minerals in Sudbury,” Coutts said. But bringing the first batch of ore to Sudbury doesn’t necessarily mean it will be given preferential treatment when the time comes to decide the location of the ferrochrome smelter, said Bruce Jago, director of the Goodman School of Mines at Laurentian University.

“Relationships do get built and positive relationships, they bode well for the future,” Jago said. “But there’s a railroad track to all four candidates for chromite smelters.”

Jago said Sudburians shouldn’t be disappointed if Noront decides to put the smelter in another location. The Ring of Fire project stands to benefit the entire northern part of the province.

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