Competition stays hot for Ring of Fire processing plant – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 26, 2018)

Noront Resources boss offers insight into ferrochrome facility selection process

Alan Coutts is dragging out the suspense to find a Northern Ontario home for a Ring of Fire ferrochrome production plant for just a few more months.

The president-CEO of Noront Resources wants to keep the competitive process going to get the best deal possible to place the Toronto mine developer’s $1-billion smelter project in either Sault Ste. Marie or Timmins.

Instead of announcing a landing spot for its plant this summer, the company decided to drop Sudbury and Thunder Bay from its four-city bidding process, and is punting its final decision toward the end of this year.

Land negotiations are getting underway with the selected property owners in the two remaining cities. Coutts said what became clear during their internal site-selection evaluation process was the requirement to find a property that best fits their needs, but also get discussions going on reaching a deal.

“Even if we saw the cost advantages with a site, if we couldn’t achieve a commercial arrangement with the owner, it negated part of the reason to pick that site.” The Sault is touting the industrial lands owned by Essar Steel Algoma, west of the steel plant and just north of what’s known as the export dock, run by the Port of Algoma.

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