The City of Greater Sudbury has been asked to put together a formal offer to host a plant that would process ore from Ring of Fire chromite deposits in northwestern Ontario.
“We sent out packages to the City of (Greater) Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay (partnering with Fort Williams First Nation) defining exactly what our needs are as far as the site for the ferrochrome processing plant, and we gave out a lot of specifics,” Alan Coutts, Noront Resources’ president and chief executive officer, said Tuesday in a telephone interview from Toronto.
“Essentially, it’s a request for proposal. We are looking to get the completed proposals by the end of January.” Coutts said the packages went out Monday and have a due date of Feb. 2. The president and chief executive officer said his company has been working closely with all four cities, “looking at possible sites and doing site evaluations. We are now looking at specifics, information.”
The first phase of the plant will cost $1 billion and is expected to create 350 direct and as many as 150 indirect jobs. Construction for a ferrochrome facility would start in 2020 and take about five to seven years to complete, assuming approvals, including deals with nearby First Nations, are in place in time.
Noront Resources is a Canadian-based mining company and has the largest land position in the Ring of Fire. It has ownership or a controlling interest in all the major discoveries to date in the region.
A ferrochrome facility ultimately prepares and transforms the chromite ore deposits to ferrochrome, the product used to create stainless steel products.
Ferrochrome is created with iron, chrome and oxygen. The high-grade chromite ore to be taken from the Ring of Fire area is grinded and put through a processing plant that requires high levels of energy to melt the ore and add carbon to separate the oxygen from the iron and chrome. The completed iron and chrome product is called ferrochrome.
The ferrochrome would be exported to the industrial regions in the northeastern United States, such as Ohio and Pennsylvania, to make stainless steel. Currently, companies there get their ferrochrome from South Africa and Pakistan.
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