Great Lakes port swayed Noront Resources in picking Sault for ferrochrome plant – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 7, 2019)

Smelter announcement sets wheels in motion for Queen’s Park to release Ring of Fire development strategy

Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts decided it was finally time to end the suspense. After months, even years, of deferred decisions by the Ring of Fire mine developer to select a location for its ferrochrome production facility, the Toronto-based junior miner picked Sault Ste. Marie to be the host community for the proposed $1.1-billion smelter.

The company made its announcement in the Sault, May 7, informing the community of its plans to place the facility on Algoma Steel’s expansive brownfield port lands, just west of the steelworks.

The Sault and Timmins were the two finalists in the running to host the smelter in a site selection process orchestrated by Noront in February 2018. Thunder Bay and Sudbury were eliminated from contention last July.

“We just felt we were at a point where we’d kept these communities hanging long enough,” said Coutts. “We’d come to a conclusion and they (the Sault) checked the final boxes that we had and we thought, let’s make the decision.”

Though the ribbon cutting for the processor remains years away – with a mid-2025 groundbreaking followed by a three-year build – with it comes the promise of 300 to 500 direct jobs and spinoffs of more than 1,000 indirect industrial supply jobs.

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