Indigenous Leaders: Kristan Straub looks to find common ground in the Ring of Fire – Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 26, 2023)

New Ring of Fire Metals boss brings an Indigenous perspective and project smarts to advance Far North mine

Dialogue and transparency. Those words have served Kristan Straub well over his 22-year career with Glencore and the postings that have sent him across Canada and around the globe.

Earlier this year, the Sudbury-born Straub, the now-former vice-president of exploration with Glencore’s nickel team, was offered a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to advance one of the world’s new and untapped sources of critical minerals.

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Nickel’s price paralysis could see mines ‘gobbled up’ cheap – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – May 25, 2023)

Miners say pricing mechanisms for nickel have struggled to keep pace with the industry’s shift to supplying the specialised needs of battery and electric vehicle makers, creating an opportunity for acquisitions on the cheap.

Australian nickel was traditionally sold to stainless steel producers in briquettes or powders, but miners such as BHP now sell the bulk of their nickel to electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla, which want nickel for the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries.

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Ring of Fire project at risk due to red tape and cumbersome consultation process, billionaire owner says – Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 24, 2023)

Andrew Forrest, the Australian billionaire owner of the most promising mining assets in Ontario’s Ring of Fire region, says the viability of the critical minerals project is at risk because of Canada’s regulatory burden, its cumbersome consultation process and persistent delays in building crucial infrastructure.

The Ring of Fire, in the province’s far north, is a key part of Ontario’s and Canada’s plans to become a player in metals for electric-vehicle batteries, but it has sat undeveloped for the better part of two decades owing to unproven economics, tension with Indigenous communities, a lack of political consensus and the gigantic capital cost requirements.

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Federal government pledges new funding for Ring of Fire and proposes working group with Ontario – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – May 19, 2023)

The federal government is proposing to advance up to $40-million in new funding for Ontario’s Ring of Fire, in an effort to boost development in one of the highest profile critical-minerals projects in the country.

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, in a May 17 letter to George Pirie, Ontario’s Minister of Mines, said that Ottawa is prepared to advance the funds to help the province and First Nations conduct feasibility and sustainability initiatives, economic analysis and other predevelopment work.

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IGO Limited (ASX: IGO) (IGO) and Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd (Wyloo) have today announced that land has been secured at Kwinana for their proposed integrated battery material facility (IBM Facility or the Project).

IGO, in conjunction with Wyloo, is working towards making a financial investment decision on the development of the Project which involves integrating a downstream nickel refinery with a plant producing high-value nickel dominant precursor cathode active material (PCAM) for the battery supply chain.

The proposed Project would combine IGO’s disruptive nickel refining technology with PCAM production expertise via a low-cost and low-carbon process. The Project would represent the first commercial production of PCAM in Australia and would align with the State Government’s drive to grow Western Australia’s future battery industry.

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BHP’s secret nickel clause provides Mincor termination rights – by Peter Ker (Australian Financial Review – April 5, 2023)

Takeover target Mincor has confirmed its nickel supply deal with BHP contains a “change of control” clause that gives BHP the right to terminate the supply contract in certain circumstances and, by extension, trigger a default on Mincor’s debt.

Confirmation the clause exists came on page 55 of the target statement published by Mincor this week in response to a $760 million takeover bid from billionaire Andrew Forrest’s private company Wyloo Metals.

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Will a Road Make the Ring of Fire a Reality? – TV Ontario’s The Agenda host Steve Paikin interviews Kristan Straub, Virginia Heffernan and Stan Sudol (March 21, 2023)

For the better part of 15 years, the Ring of Fire, the biggest mining prize in a generation, or more, has confounded those who would develop it. One of the key issues is how to get to and from the remote area. But the province may have presented a solution with a recently announced agreement on the terms of reference for a First Nations-led plan for a permanent road to the Ring of Fire.

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The Drift: Sudbury-raised CEO picked to plot the path in the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 22, 2023)

Groomed at Glencore, Kristan Straub now helms Ring of Fire Metals

Talk of a weekend snowstorm about to hit Sudbury rings up pangs of jealousy from Kristan Straub. A weather forecast calling for 30 to 50 centimetres of fresh powder is cause for impending calamity in the ‘burbs of the GTA where the newly appointed CEO of Ring of Fire Metals now resides.

But to Straub, 48, it’s a siren call to the snowmobile trails for the Sudbury-raised outdoor enthusiast. For now, those recreational pursuits will have to be put on hold. On March 1, Straub was introduced as the new boss of the Australian-owned James Bay mine developer, just days prior to the start of the PDAC mining conference in Toronto, one of the industry’s biggest global get-togethers. He was recruited from Glencore where was vice-president of exploration with the nickel team.

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Ontario mines minister says Ring of Fire could be worth $1 trillion, a figure critics call exaggerated – by Logan Turner (CBC News Thunder Bay – March 17, 2023)

Wyloo Metals, which owns majority of known claims in area, estimates value of ‘defined ore bodies’ at $90B

From the time the Ring of Fire was discovered in 2007, politicians and industry leaders have emphasized the potential economic value of the remote, mineral-rich area in northern Ontario. That has intensified in recent weeks, with Ontario Mines Minister George Pirie saying recently: “Anecdotally, mining people are saying this is a trillion-dollar project.”

Pirie told Global News in a recent documentary that the $1-trillion amount was “not a formal valuation,” but was “based on the increased value of critical minerals that are already established being in the ground.”

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Change in federal assessment won’t slow pace in the Ring of Fire, says mines minister – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 10, 2023)

Federal environment minister wants more Indigenous involvement in Far North industry impact assessment

Ottawa’s decision to scrap plans for a Ring of Fire regional assessment process won’t interfere with the province’s intentions to get new mines into production faster.

Provincial Mines Minister George Pirie said they have guarantees from the federal government that assessments for the proposed roads into the James Bay region to connect two remote communities to the Ontario highway system will not impact any timelines to put new mines into production.

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Scratch that: feds to rethink Ring of Fire environmental assessment after First Nations criticism – by Emma McIntosh (TheNarwhal – March 7, 2023)


‘There is no access to critical minerals in Canada without Indigenous Peoples being at the table in a decision-making position,’ Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said

Federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault has agreed to scrap a draft framework for a regional assessment in the Ontario Ring of Fire region and start over, working with First Nations.

For over a decade, governments and companies have sought to mine in the remote and environmentally-sensitive area known as the Ring of Fire. Accessible only by plane, or ice road in the winter, it’s located in the James Bay Lowlands and has deposits of key minerals that some people want to mine to fuel the production of electric vehicles.

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Ontario approves environmental assessment terms of reference for 3rd and final road to Ring of Fire – by Logan Turner (CBC New Thunder Bay – March 6, 2023)

Plan co-developed and submitted by 2 First Nations in the area, but faces pushback from others in region

The province has approved the terms of reference for an environmental assessment (EA) on the third and final road leading to the mineral-rich Ring of Fire in northern Ontario.

The terms of reference lay out the work plan — including the scope and issues to be considered — for the EA on the Northern Road Link, a proposed two-lane, all-weather road.

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Curiosity spurred Virginia Heffernan to write a Ring of Fire book – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 4, 2023)

Toronto mining journalist hits PDAC 2023 with a primer on arrested development in the Far North

“Keep the faith.” It was an oft-used phrase by Richard “Dick” Nemis, a Sudbury native and colourful mining promoter whose company, Noront Resources, secured one of the largest land positions in the mineral-rich area of the James Bay known as the Ring of Fire.

Nemis clung to that motto even as he was being ousted by shareholders as the president of the junior mining company he helped establish in October 2008. It was personal blow since the exploration outfit was named after his father’s industrial fabrication company, started in the Nickel City in 1945, and still in operation today.

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Treasure, conflict, and survival in Canada’s peatlands – by Krista Hessey (Global News – March 4, 2023)

iking in the Hudson Bay Lowlands is like a game of hopscotch — in a swamp. A tapestry of colourful mosses indicates where it’s safe to step: the green and white spots are drier, while the rich red and copper patches can swallow you whole.

Aside from the stunted black spruce trees that dot the watery landscape, it doesn’t look like there’s much here. It’s quiet, except for the constant buzzing of mosquitoes and black flies. But Michelle Kalamandeen didn’t come all this way for what’s on the surface.

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Feds won’t match Ontario’s billion-dollar Ring of Fire pledge until assessments are done – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 2, 2023)

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson pledges Ottawa will do better on advancing critical mineral production

Federal Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson vows to make government move faster and more efficiently in expediting approvals to put more Canadian mines into production ahead of the quickening global demand for critical minerals.

“There are a whole bunch of things we can do to make the processes move more effectively than they have in the past,” said Wilkinson.

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