Essar restructuring delaying Ring of Fire smelter decision – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 25, 2017)

Noront boss waits on CCAA resolution to determine if Sault stays in the mix

The head of Noront Resources wants to see how the restructuring process at Essar Steel Algoma shakes out before deciding whether or not to drop Sault Ste. Marie as a location for a Ring of Fire ferrochrome smelter.

The Sault is one of four Northern Ontario cities that Noront president-CEO Alan Coutts and his team are considering for a furnace operation to process chromite into ferrochrome, which is used in stainless steel manufacturing.

The mining company had hoped to make an announcement by the end of this summer, but the ongoing CCAA process (Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act) with the Sault steelmaker is dragging out Noront’s decision. “There is some complexity around the CCAA process in the Sault and we’d like to really understand that and see some outcomes before committing or dismissing that site,” said Coutts.

Coutts and his chief development officer, Steve Flewelling, have been touring brownfield sites in the Sault, Sudbury, Thunder Bay/Fort William First Nation, and Timmins.

The company hasn’t given any indication which city they’re leaning toward but if it’s the Sault, the port lands west of Essar Steel Algoma is the likely landing spot. Unfortunately, the Port of Algoma, a subsidiary of Essar Global Holdings, is tied to the complicated and lengthy restructuring proceedings which may be resolved this fall.

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