Open minds, open mines [Ring of Fire] – by Russell Noble (Canadian Mining Journal – June/July 2012)

Russell Noble is the editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

“Behind-closed-doors” meetings are usually far less important than those on the private side of the door think they are; but when Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty recently slammed the door on the pestering media to talk about Ontario’s Ring of Fire and its vast chromium deposits, something worthwhile was actually up for discussion.

In fact, I applaud the two leaders for meeting (almost) secretly to talk about one of the hottest issues in Canada’s mining history. Ontario’s chromium is of world-scale proportions and, if and when developed, would put Ontario (and Canada) in the same league as Alberta and its oil sands when it comes to a national resource.

Both Prime Minister Harper and Premier McGuinty know this, and now it’s just a matter of developing a plan to develop this resource without upsetting those who think that mining is bad.

It’s not an easy task, and that’s why I think the recent “closed-door” meeting was tactically correct, because it gave both men a chance to roll up their sleeves and throw the whole matter on the table with¬out fear of their every word being quoted.

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U.S. mining giant [Cliffs] backs ‘robust’ environmental tests – by Tanya Talaga (Toronto Star – July 4, 2012)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

The U.S. firm sinking more than $3 billion into “responsibly mining” an ecologically sensitive part of Ontario’s north says it is in its best interests to go through rigorous environmental tests.

Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources holds key mining rights to a resource-rich area inside the Ring of Fire, located about 500 km northeast of Thunder Bay in the James Bay Lowlands.

The ring is estimated to contain nearly $30 billion worth of chromium, which is used to make stainless steel — enough to be mined for nearly 100 years. At least 1,200 jobs are expected to be created by Cliffs investment.

Already, environmentalists, First Nations and Environment Canada are raising potential red flags but Cliff’s said they are doing everything they can to safeguard the land, water and animals as they proceed.

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Environment Canada raises alarms on chromite mining development in Ring of Fire – by Tanya Talaga (Toronto Star – June 26, 2012)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

The same toxic material that Erin Brockovich discovered in the water of a small California town could pollute northern Ontario due to chromite mining in the Ring of Fire, documents obtained by the Star show.
Environment Canada has raised a series of red flags regarding a massive chromite mining initiative in the Ring of Fire, located 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. The federal ministry warned in a letter to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency of potential adverse effects of mine waste, including the carcinogen chromium-6.

The letter is further proof of the need for proper environmental assessments on the Ring of Fire — something environmental advocates and First Nations leaders say has yet to happen.
However, Kate Jordan, an official with Ontario Ministry of the Environment, told the Star mining projects undergo “extensive reviews and approvals by a number of provincial and federal agencies” to make sure the environment is protected.

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Ontarians question smelter site: poll – Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – June 25, 2012)

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

A majority of 1,000 Ontarians surveyed in a poll about mining development in the Ring of Fire belt said the ore should be processed in First Nation territory in the vicinity of the proposed mine site.

But while the poll results pleased area First Nation leaders, they seem moot because leading Ring of Fire proponent Cliffs Natural Resources said earlier this spring that chromite ore will be processed on the outskirts of Sudbury.

The OraclePoll Research telephone poll was commissioned by the Municipality of Greenstone and Aroland First Nation. Both communities want Cliffs to build the company’s 300-megawatt smelter on the outskirts of Aroland.

The poll results showed that 45 per cent of respondents believe that the ore should be smelted in the First Nation traditional territory from which it is mined. In a news release Friday, Aroland Chief Sonny Gagnon said the poll “validates what we have known for a long time.

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First Hand Look [First Nations and Ring of Fire] – by Jeff Labine ( – June 9, 2012)

Having lost the ferrochrome smelter, Eli Moonias says he wants to visit other chromite mines around the world before he gives the go ahead to the Ring of Fire.

The chief of Marten Falls First Nation fought hard to try to bring the Cliffs Natural Resources ferrochrome smelter to Northern Ontario. He said having the smelter in Greenstone would mean an electrical grid could have been established for the region giving not only his community but also everyone in the region a reason to switch from expensive diesel fuel.

Ultimately, Cliffs chose to have the smelter build in a town near Sudbury. With it being years before Marten Falls could see any benefits from the Ring of Fire development, Moonias said he wants a firsthand look at chromite mining projects that are happening around the world to see the benefits of the mine.

“I told the government that I wanted to see the land in Finland or South Africa or in Turkey or Kazakhstan,” Moonias said. “That’s where the existing chromite mines are. I want to see them firsthand. I want to see people, meet them, ask what their experiences are before I say go right ahead here in our area.”

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Cliffs fills labour pool – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – June 5, 2012)

 The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Cliffs Natural Resources is early in the process of developing its chromite mine in the Ring of Fire, but it’s not too soon to begin scouting for the hundreds of workers it will need to develop its Black Thor deposit and process the ore from it.

Cliffs has a talent acquisition system that is part of an automated central repository that lists all of the jobs available with the Cleveland-based company.

The posting lists hundreds of jobs that will be available in Northern Ontario, some of them at least three years from now, as it gears up to start mining its rich chromite deposit and building a ferrochrome smelter near Sudbury.

Pat Persico, the company’s director of global communications, says the project has generated a great deal of interest throughout the North. When the company has held open houses, many have people inquired about how to apply for jobs.

With the automated system, potential applicants visit Cliffs’ website, under the Careers section, and create a profile online. Applicants will be asked questions about their history and experience and can upload resumes.

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McGuinty calls on Ottawa to help him open up the North – by Karen Howlett and Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – May 26, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

TORONTO AND OTTAWA— Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is pledging to work closely with the federal government on its controversial overhaul of environmental assessments as he calls on Ottawa to play an active role in exploiting the untapped potential of the Ring of Fire.

Mr. McGuinty is counting on mining exploration in the northern wilderness to lead to a new generation of prosperity for Ontario. Emerging economies in India and China have an “insatiable hunger” for the province’s resource riches, he said on Friday in urging Prime Minister Stephen Harper to help him open up the North.

“Failure is not an option,” Mr. McGuinty told reporters. “Success is mandatory.”

The mining exploration area in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario is one of the most significant mineral regions in the province, and includes the largest deposit of chromite ever discovered in North America.

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OMA member Cliffs plans to invest $3.3 billion in Ring of Fire

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Ontario Association Member Cliffs Natural Resources has announced intentions to invest $3.3 billion to develop a chromite mine in the Ring of Fire area, a transportation corridor and a processing plant in Northern Ontario.  This could lead to more than 1,200 direct jobs over the anticipated 30 year life of the mine.

“Cliffs is pleased to be moving forward the proposed development of a mine in the Ring of Fire and a processing facility near Sudbury,” said Bill Boor, Senior Vice President Global Ferroalloys for Cliffs Natural Resources, based in Cleveland.  “These milestones bring us closer to opening the mine and starting production to meet the global demand for stainless steel.”

“Ontario is blessed with an abundance of natural resources at a time in history when the world is developing faster than ever and demanding these resources,” said Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines and MPP for Sudbury.  “We are taking advantage of this incredible opportunity in the Ring of Fire to further open up Northern Ontario by bringing thousands of jobs, new infrastructure and economic opportunities to cities, towns and First Nations communities.”

The Ring of Fire is a mineral rich and somewhat isolated area of Northern Ontario located about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. 

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Group wants North to share [Ring of Fire] benefits – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – May 16, 2012)

 The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

All of Northern Ontario must benefit from plans to build a chromite mine and smelter says a group representing the North’s municipal leaders.

“We are pleased that a decision has been made concerning one of the jewels of the North,” Alan Spacek, president of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities, said in a release Tuesday.

“In a deal as big as this, the ‘devil is in the details.’ We want all communities to benefit from this mammoth find — First Nations, adjacent communities and communities right across the North.”

Last week, Cliffs Natural Resources said pending further studies, it would spend $3 billion to build a chromite mine in the Ring of Fire region of northwestern Ontario and ship the ore to be processed at a smelter in Capreol. Chromite is used to harden stainless steel, a key building component.

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Good reason for optimism around Ring of Fire progress – Point of View – by Brian MacLeod (Sudbury Star – May 12, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper and Brian MacLeod is the managing editor.

When a mining project moves from pre-feasibility to the feasibility stage, it’s often done through a news release and follow-up interviews with the press. It’s a significant step, but not usually the whopper we saw this week when U.S. firm Cliffs Natural Resources made its announcement.

What made this one different is the size — $3.3 billion all told — and the announced location of a proposed $1.8-billion ferrochrome smelter in Sudbury to process material from the Ring of Fire chromite deposit in northwestern Ontario.

As well, Cliffs officials indicated they had come to an understanding with the province on the cost of power. And so we saw press conferences in Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Cleveland on Wednesday. While people in Greater Sudbury were happy, the Liberals took a beating elsewhere.

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We have Sudbury’s back on Cliffs: Ministry – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – May 12, 2012)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Ontario’s air standards are among the most stringent in the world, so the Ministry of the Environment will have its eye on Cliffs Natural Resources as it develops its $3.3-billion Ring of Fire project.

That project includes a $1.8- billion ferrochrome processing plant to be built near Capreol. Mining projects such as Cliffs’ are subject to extensive environmental assessments both federally and provincially, says Environment ministry spokeswoman Kate Jordan.

Cliffs will have to receive “numerous” provincial approvals before moving forward with the project. Those environmental assessments will include identifying and predicting how the company can mitigate the environmental effects of these projects.

Cliffs will have to demonstrate that its smelter will meet all provincial minimum applicable standards, specifically related to chromium, said Jordan. The province has different standards for different types of chromium.

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Cliffs may export 40% of chromite from Ontario Ring of Fire for processing – by Keith Leslie, The Canadian Press (Canadian Business Magazine – May 10, 2012)

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-publishing business magazine in Canada.

TORONTO – Ontario will likely give Cliffs Natural Resources an exemption from the Mining Act to process a large amount of the chromite it takes out of the Ring of Fire offshore, Premier Dalton McGuinty suggested Thursday.

The New Democrats want as much of the ore as possible smelted and refined in Ontario, and say more processing facilities should be built to make sure the jobs stay in the province as well.

Cliffs announced Wednesday it plans to invest $3.3 billion to develop a chromite mine in the far north, a transportation corridor and a $1.8-billion smelter near Sudbury.

In the legislature, the NDP released testimony from Cliffs’ vice-president Bill Boor before a Commons committee in February showing the company plans to export up to 40 per cent of the chromite offshore for processing into a key ingredient of stainless steel.

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Ring of Fire opportunities still available, business and political leaders say – by Jamie Smith ( – May 10, 2012)

Regional business and political leaders continue to be disappointed by Cliffs’ decision to setup a processor in Sudbury, but say they look forward to other opportunities area mining could bring.

Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce president Harold Wilson said he shared a lot of the same concerns that First Nation and municipal leaders had Wednesday when Cliffs announced it would build a $1.8 billion ferrochrome processor near Sudbury.

He was also disappointed that the province made no announcements to coincide with the company’s $3.3 billion announcement that would also include an all-weather road north of Nakina.

“Show us where that’s going to be.  How is that going to link up to First Nations communities that can greatly benefit from that? How much are they (Ontario) investing into it and how can we turn that into other economic opportunities?” Wilson said.

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Cliffs confident in its decision – by Sudbury Northern Life Staff (Sudbury Northern Life – May 10, 2012)

This article came from Northern Life, Sudbury’s biweekly newspaper.

Representatives visit Sudbury

There were a lot of complicated factors, but Cliffs Natural Resources is confident that Sudbury is the right spot to build its ferrochrome smelter, the company’s president and CEO said.

Hot on the heels of its announcement on May 9, Cliffs representatives, including Joseph Carrabba, braved a thunderstorm en route from Toronto to Sudbury to pay a visit to the Nickel Capital.

It was a whirlwind tour, and while Cliffs representatives weren’t in town for very long, they “felt it most appropriate and respectful to be in the community and introduce ourselves to the mayor and everyone else who has been so helpful in the process just so people will be able to put a face to the name,” Carrabba said.

Cliffs received approval May 8 from its board to move into the feasibility stage. This move will see the eventual construction of a $1.8-billion ferrochrome processing plant north of Capreol, as well further work on the development of Cliffs’ Black Thor chromite deposit, an open-pit operation 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay that will eventually lead into an underground operation once it becomes necessary to extract the ore from greater depths.

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Ontario moves to open up Far North with $5.1-billion chromite deal – by Tim Shufelt (National Post – May 10, 2012)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

“It’s a very high-quality chromite, which is a very important strategic metal,”
said Stan Sudol, a communications consultant and blogger at
“There are no substitutes for it. And there are only three major countries in the
world that produce it: South Africa, Kazakhstan and India.” … The trillion-dollar
Sudbury Basin is by far Canada’s biggest resource discovered to date, having
yielded base metals for more than 100 years, Mr. Sudol said. (Financial Post)

The government of Ontario took a big step toward unearthing the geological treasures of the province’s Far North in announcing an investment to develop the first mine in the mineral-rich Ring of Fire.
Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. plans to invest $3.3-billion to establish a chromite mine west of James Bay and build a $1.8-billion smelter near Sudbury, the province said Wednesday.
And since the Ring of Fire is inaccessible by road or rail, hundreds of kilometres of new all-season road will be built to truck the ore south.
Improving access to Ontario’s northern expanses could lead to the discovery of additional base-metal deposits with immense economic potential.

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