SAULT STE. MARIE – Sault Ste. Marie has some definite advantages in presenting a strong case as to why a ferrochrome processing plant should be established in the city. It has an ample-sized brownfield, it’s close to transportation routes such as water, can supply an abundance of power and has a capable workforce.
The city, and three other communities, were formally approached by Noront and asked to make a compelling case to host the plant and show the Canadian-based mining giant that it can meet Noront’s requirements.
But some argue that Sault Ste. Marie also has some definite hurdles that need to be quashed in order to give the city a fighting chance for the $1-billion facility that will bring, with it, good-paying jobs for a skilled workforce a decade from now.
The severity of the “hurdle” varies depending on to whom you speak.
Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano said he’s been working the file and developing relationships with Noront and other stakeholders since last spring’s byelection, and he believes he has the solution that will clear the “fatal flaw” weighing the city down.
“Noront has confirmed to me the (Algoma) CCAA process is a fatal flaw for Sault Ste. Marie in the selection process,” Romano told The Sault Star Tuesday. “I’ve discussed a number of strategies and ideas with the major land stakeholders and think there is a possible solution that will ultimately clear that hurdle.”
To the newly elected Romano, the idea centres on developing a conditional offer to lease land and present that signed agreement to the CCAA courts to ratify.
“If the courts don’t ratify it then, at the very minimum, what you have is a memorandum of understanding between the parties,” and Noront will have the assurances that the property is available for a ferrochrome facility, Romano said. “We cannot make a compelling case if the CCAA issue is not resolved and if we cannot give Noront comfort that the lands will be available to them then we have a problem.”