No open pit mines for the Ring of Fire: Noront wants to keep a low mine profile in the James Bay region – by Ian Ross – Northern Ontario Busniess – February 16, 2018)

Noront Resources doesn’t intend to dig open-pit mines in the James Bay lowlands even though the abundance and the proximity of the rich chromite ore bodies to surface might dictate otherwise.

“It’s a natural ore body for open-pit mining,” said Noront president-CEO Allan Coutts during the Great Sudbury Chamber of Commerce’s Procurement, Employment and Partnerships Conference on Feb. 6.

“However we’ve said quite categorically, we’re not going to approach it as an open pit.” As the largest landholder in the Ring of Fire, Coutts said the thickness of their string of chromite deposits range between 10 and 30 metres, and come right to surface.

If they were designing these mine projects 10 to 20 years ago, Coutts said these deposits would certainly be mined by open pit methods. But pits generate plenty of waste rock, often disturb a large swath of land, and the water that seeps into the pits has to be treated before it’s pumped back into the environment.

Surrounding First Nation communities had “significant concerns” about this, said Coutts. “We just don’t think that’s the way to go about mining this.”

In taking into consideration the wants and needs of the communities that they want to partner with, Noront redesigned their projects to address those concerns.

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