Archive | Chromium/Platinum Group Metals

Beware hexavalent chromium and the many ifs of the Coniston smelter – by Mark Gentili (Sudbury Northern Life – March 8, 2018)

Mark Gentili is the editor of Northern Life and

If the Ring of Fire development happens this lifetime … if the chromite market doesn’t tank … if Noront Resources isn’t bought out by a bigger miner … if Coniston is selected as the site for a chromite smelter … if, if, if.

There are a lot of ifs when it comes to the city’s bid to host a ferrochrome processing facility (a.k.a. a smelter) on the site of the old Inco smelter in Coniston. These ifs aside, what appears to be a relatively small group of opponents have already taken up the fight against the project.

I’m not criticizing people for holding the city to account and expressing an opinion — far from it. I’m all for having an engaged citizenry, willing to stand up for what it believes in. That’s democracy. No, that’s not what I’m writing about. Today (again) I want to talk about Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini. Continue Reading →

City confident in community’s support for Noront bid – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – March 8, 2018)

TIMMINS – While some opposition has emerged in other communities to the proposal by Noront Resources Inc. to create a new chromite ore processing facility in Northern Ontario, Timmins Mayor Steve Black is confident about the solid support from this city.

Noront, a junior mining exploration company, is the leading player in the Ring of Fire mining development and is looking at possible future sites for a chromite refinery in Northern Ontario.

Timmins is one of four Northern Ontario cities that have responded to a call for proposals from Noront. Other cities include Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. All the bids were submitted in February and are currently being reviewed. Continue Reading →

Chromite critics warn element ‘very toxic’ – by Mary Katherine Keown (Sudbury Star – March 5, 2018)

Despite a ringing endorsement from city council for a Noront ferrochrome processing plant, some stakeholders are expressing concern over the safety of the smelter and its impacts on human health.

Mayor Brian Bigger travelled to Europe earlier this year to check out the Outokumpu ferrochrome production facility in Tornio, Finland. Following his visit, the mayor said he has no concerns about the safety or health impacts of an arc furnace.

“I have no concerns,” Bigger said in February. “That’s the level of confidence I wanted to come back with, with the entire team. We asked questions of all of the people we met, looking for any concerns whatsoever on their part. We found none. On my part, I have full confidence in welcoming a ferrochrome facility into our community. I think it’ll go well with our plans to diversify our economy and attract investment to create jobs. It fits in with the long-term strategy of growing our community.” Continue Reading →

Sudbury letter: Smelter is safe, mayor says – by Brian Bigger (Sudbury Star – March 1, 2018)

Brian Bigger is the Mayor of Sudbury.

Re: “Smelter plan ‘underhanded, shocking’,” Feb. 25.

I want to thank all the residents who’ve taken the time to express their sentiments regarding the city’s bid to Noront Resources. It’s important that we have these discussions to alleviate some of the misconceptions.

It’s important to make clear that no decision has been made regarding the ferrochrome processing plant Noront is proposing. The location we are proposing was provided close to the bid due date to keep our competitive advantage over other communities.

As you are aware, I went to Finland to see first-hand what a facility like this looks like and to hear how the company works within the community. The response was overwhelmingly supportive. Our community survey was also quite supportive, with 77 per cent of respondents supporting the idea of submitting a proposal for a ferrochrome smelter in our community. Continue Reading →

City has a lot to offer to Noront workers – by Robert Kirwan (Sudbury Star – February 26, 2018)

Robert Kirwan is the city councillor for Ward 5.

The City of Greater Sudbury has submitted a compelling bid to host the proposed Noront Resources ferrochrome production facility. Noront will consider other proposals from Timmins, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie in addition to the Sudbury bid.

Since Greater Sudbury is recognized as one of the global leaders in the mining and mining supply and services industry, we should be considered as a frontrunner in this competition for the billion-dollar plant that comes with about 350 permanent jobs and about 150 indirect jobs within the community. The city is proposing that the optimal location for the plant is the former Inco’s Coniston smelter site, which is already zoned and suitable for the facility.

Noront has indicated that it will only select a city where it knows it is welcome. A survey conducted recently showed that 77 per cent of the people polled support the construction of the facility. Continue Reading →

No social license for Coniston smelter – by Steve May (Sudbury Star – February 25, 2018)

City officials dropped a bombshell on the community of Coniston earlier this month when, through a press release, Mayor Brian Bigger announced that Greater Sudbury had selected the small community as the preferred location for Noront Resources’ ferrochrome smelter.

Almost immediately, officials were scrambling to provide information to stunned Conistonians. Coun. Deb McIntosh, whose ward includes Coniston, hastily arranged a public meeting for the following week. Mayor Bigger, fresh from his tour of the Outokumpu ferrochrome facility in Finland, did the rounds with local media to assure the public that there is nothing to worry about when it comes to ferrochrome.

It all looked and sounded like damage control. Almost overnight, Conistonians, fearful of the impacts that a new smelter will have on their community, were provoked into action. A website was registered – – and content about the potentially harmful effects of chromite processing was being shared around the community via social media. Continue Reading →

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. Continue Reading →

Ferrochrome smelter bids draw concern from northeastern Ontario communities – by Robin De Angelis (CBC News Sudbury – February 12, 2018)

Noront to select smelter location this spring

As cities across northern Ontario await a decision on the location of Noront’s ferrochrome smelter, some people say they don’t want the site in their backyard.

The former Inco smelter in Coniston was chosen for Sudbury’s bid. If selected, the site would process chromite from Noront’s mining operation in the Ring of Fire. Community members are now mobilizing against the smelter and circulating a petition to “Save Coniston.”

The petition, which has garnered more than 270 signatures, states that “Coniston has long been a place where the earth remained scorched and contaminated from previous industrial processing.” Continue Reading →

Noront sees some light from the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February 8, 2018)

Mine developer pleased First Nation partnership, government getting traction on access road

What a difference a year makes. Early last year, Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts delivered a doom-and-gloom speech to a Sudbury crowd that cast doubt about whether the Toronto mine developer even saw a future in the Ring of Fire.

There was frustration over government inaction in planning an access road to reach the isolated James Bay mineral deposits, the glacial pace of dialogue with First Nation communities with the Regional Framework talks seemed to be going nowhere, and Coutts was dropping hints that the project could be shelved if the company’s financial backers weren’t seeing progress.

This time, an upbeat Coutts was striking a more optimistic tone as the featured headliner at the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce’s Procurement, Employment and Partnerships Conference on Feb. 6. Continue Reading →

Coniston pushes back against chromite smelter – by Mary Katherine Keown (Sudbury Star – February 8, 2018)

City officials attended a boisterous meeting in Coniston on Wednesday to discuss the prospect of a chromite smelter. Last week, the city named Coniston as its preferred location in its bid to Noront Resources for the smelter.

Ian Wood, the city’s director of economic development, said Wednesday Coniston was chosen as a location because the logistics made sense. It is zoned appropriately, it is a brownfield, and the site has proximity to water, Highway 17 and the railway, as well as easy access to hydro.

“The CN mainline is ideal,” Wood said. “Coniston sits very close to a main hydro-electric corridor, with the Hanmer transformer station. It’s critical for their power supply.” Continue Reading →

[Noront Resources] Miner must now choose which one lands the Ring of Fire ferrochrome smelter – by Jim Moodie (North Bay Nugget – February 7, 2018)

Noront Resources has a difficult decision to make on where it will process Ring of Fire chromite. “It’s not an obvious slam dunk for one community,” said the company’s CEO Alan Coutts on Tuesday. “There’s no one proposal that was head and shoulders above all the others.”

Coutts said the company anticipated each pitch would be strong. “It’s great because everyone put on their thinking caps, became creative, and has come forward with compelling proposals.”

The Noront head was in Sudbury for a chamber of commerce-hosted conference on Tuesday, less than a week after the Nickel City, along with Timmins, Thunder Bay and the Sault, submitted bids to host a ferrochrome smelter. North Bay has backed the Timmins bid, as it would be the most beneficial to the Ontario Northland Railway. Speaking with media after his keynote address, Coutts said the miner has to weigh a number of factors in making a final choice. Continue Reading →

Northern Ontario cities make a grab for the chromite ring – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February 6, 2018)

Ring of Fire developer Noront Resources receives community bid packages for smelter project

Feb. 2 was D-Day for four Northern Ontario cities to make their best pitch in vying for a Ring of Fire ferrochrome processing plant. That was the deadline Noront Resources marked on the calendar for Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins and Thunder Bay-Fort William First Nation to each deliver their most convincing case on why they should host the $1-billion mineral processing development.

The Toronto-based mine developer will spend the next few months huddled with Hatch project engineers to assess the comparative strengths and weaknesses of each city’s bid.

On the table are 350 permanent smelter jobs for the facility’s first stage, many plant construction jobs, a multitude of service spinoff opportunities, and a huge economic boost for one community that may continue for generations to come as the Far North opens up for mining development. Continue Reading →

Ferrochrome plant decision in 3-4 months: Noront – by Staff (Sudbury Star – February 6, 2018)

Now, the waiting begins. On Monday, Noront Resources Ltd. confirmed it had received bids from Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Thunder Bay and Timmins to become host for its new $1-billion ferrochrome production facility.

In a release, Noront Resources said Hatch, a Mississauga-based engineering and consulting company, will now help evaluate the bids, which were due Friday.

“Next steps include calculating indicative capital and operating costs and reviewing these alongside community and First Nations support, site appropriateness, environmental factors, access to a skilled workforce and other elements,” Noront said in a release. “Near the conclusion of this detailed analysis, Noront will engage directly with the owners of the favoured site(s) to come to a mutually agreeable commercial arrangement for the use of the property. Continue Reading →

The ferrochrome plant bids are in: Noront Resources hires Hatch to help decide which city will host Ring of Fire chromite smelter – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – February 5, 2018)

Noront Resources expects to reach a decision on the site for a ferrochrome smelter in the next three to four months.

The leading mine developer in the Ring of Fire has hired Hatch consulting engineers to assist them in evaluating the bid packages from Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Thunder Bay-Fort William First Nation, and Timmins.

All four cities are vying to be the host community for the $1-billion production facility. The cities submitted their bid packages by Noront’s imposed Feb. 2 deadline. With the submission period now closed, the adjudication process now begins. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Accent: No ‘weakness’ in city’s bid for Noront’s ferrochrome plant – by Mary Katherine Keown (Sudbury Star – February 3, 2018)

Sudol believes Sudbury is the right choice for the ferrochrome
smelter. “The facility in Finland does not have a detrimental
effect on their local environment or workers. It will be the
same in Sudbury,” he said. “Sudbury is serviced by two class
one rail lines, has a number of brownfield sites that can be
used to construct and expand the facility and has no issues
with power availability.

“With strategic clusters of mine supply and services, mining
education – two colleges and a university – and a wide assortment
of underground, metallurgical, environmental, and health and safety
research in the community, Noront can take advantage of more than

135 years of mining expertise that is unmatched anywhere else in
Northern Ontario or the entire country for that matter. (Stan Sudol)

On the heels of his fact-finding mission to Finland, Mayor Brian Bigger is really excited about Sudbury’s bid to host the Noront Resources ferrochrome production facility.

For one thing, there is already a skilled and knowledgeable work force in Sudbury that supports eight mines, two smelters and two mills.

“There is a lot of expertise within our community to support that kind of operation,” Bigger said this week. “We’re familiar with these types of operations in Sudbury. We understand what’s required to support that kind of business.” Continue Reading →