Could Northern Ontario manufacture its own stainless steel using chromite from the Ring of Fire? It was a popular topic of conversation during the 2019 gathering of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM).
Held May 8-10 in Sudbury, the conference welcomed close to 200 representatives from member municipalities scattered across northeastern Ontario, who discussed best practices, along with new challenges they’re facing following the April release of the provincial budget.
With the conference following on the heels of the announcement that Noront Resources had selected Sault Ste. Marie for its chromite smelter to process ore from the Ring of Fire, industrial energy costs was another hot topic amongst attendees.
FONOM president Danny Whalen said FONOM is pushing for the government to “at least maintain the programs they had for industrial hydro rates,” which will come into play once the smelter is operational, slated for 2028.
“Now’s the time to be investing in it,” Whalen said. But buzz around the smelter announcement had participants thinking beyond energy costs and speculating about what kind of spinoff opportunities would be available once the facility is up and running.