Will Ring Of Fire Ever Burn? – by Terence Corcoran, Financial Post Editor (April/2010)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. Terence Corcoran’s editorial opinion was originally published in the Financial Post Magazine’s April, 2010 issue.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Canada’s mining history is full of characters. But a modern award for promotional ingenuity goes to Richard Nemis, the veteran prospecting whiz who came up with “Ring of Fire” as the name for the latest Ontario mining rush. (Terence Corcoran – April, 2010)

Through the summer of 1967, while my hometown, Montreal, hosted Expo ’67, I was elsewhere. Most of the time I was 4,200 feet underground working as an “apprentice miner” at the famed Kerr Addison gold mine in Northern Ontario. Even at that time, the Kerr Addison, while a legendary gold producer, was considered a has-been. Located in Virginiatown, about 50 kilometres east of the great gold centre at Kirkland Lake, the Kerr Addison was a hard-rock stope operation. We would board the cage at ground level for the long and rickety descent, then take a battery-powered ore mover through black tunnels to our stopes where, lit only by our head lamps, we drilled and blasted grey-green rock faces. The next shift we’d return to muck the rock away and drag in heavy six-foot timbers to build supports and prevent cave-ins. Then we’d drill and blast again.

I wasn’t much of miner, but I could lift and move stuff around, which is what apprentice miners do. The first gold was mined at Kerr Addison in 1913, and over its spectacular life it produced 11 million ounces. Since the first gold rush in 1906, the Kirkland Lake gold mining area — of which Kerr Addison was part — produced almost 37-million ounces of gold, worth more than $37 billion at today’s prices.

Will Ontario, or any part of Canada, ever see such mining-sector productivity and wealth creation again? The test will be the Ring of Fire.

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Ring of Fire Junior Probe Mines Takes the High—and Hard—Ground – by Michael Schwartz

This Corporate Profile Advertorial about Probe Mines originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of the Ontario Prospector magazine which is produced by the Ontario Prospectors Association and published by Naylor (Canada) Inc.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The End of a Joint Venture and 875 Claims Around McFauld’s Lake Make for Exciting Times

No fewer than 875 claims covering around 14,000 hectares mean that Probe Mines controls one of the larger land packages in the McFauld’s Lake greenstone belt stratigraphy. Probe operates four projects in the McFauld’s Lake area: Victory, which is the largest, Tamarack, McFauld’s West and Black Creek. Each offers a unique setting and unique potential within the Ring of Fire.

Probe Mines is confident in its success to date. Its major presence has led to interests in a full range of metals: chromite, nickel, copper, Platinum Group Metals (PGM), base metal Volcanogenic Massive Sulphide (VMS), gold and vanadium. Tamarack and Black Creek have demonstrated their potential with the discovery of Cu-rich VMS mineralization and chromite respectively.

In addition to the chromite discovery on Black Creek, considerable untested potential remains on its other properties. They are exactly what Probe Mines CEO David Palmer describes as “grass-roots projects where no major discovery has been made but where the company feels there is still substantial potential for further exploration.”

Probe’s projects lie in sparsely vegetated and subdued topography over a 100 km belt in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario. Very little is known about the geology of the McFauld’s Lake area and most of what is known has come from the company’s own exploration.

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Ring of Fire – A Mine Project That Will Transform the Far North – Ian Ross

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was published in the December, 2010 issue.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Two years ago, the Ring of Fire was a hot high-grade chromite discovery resigned to the back pages of the business section.

It had a quirky name inspired by the crescent shape of the mining claims laid down in the swamps of the James Bay lowlands and a Noront Resource’s mining executive’s affinity for all things Johnny Cash.

Then along came a deep-pocketed miner called Cliffs Natural Resources. The Ohio-based international iron ore and coal company has a keen interest in breaking into the stainless steel business and has blue sky ambitions for Ontario’s Far North.

The socio-economic impact for the region, especially for impoverished First Nation
people, will be simply transformational for generations to come.

What has been found, in the muskeg is the stuff of top-secret, high-level boardroom discussions and plenty of chatter in the communities that stand to benefit from a potential $2-billion mine, processing and railroad project.

The mineral potential at McFaulds Lake has been compared to the groundbreaking discoveries of nickel, copper and gold in the early 1900s that opened up the North and forever changed Ontario’s economy.

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Sudbury’s Mining Suppliers ‘Well Placed’ to Benefit From Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The executive director of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) said he’s cautiously optimistic about the opportunities his members may have through high-grade nickel-copper and chromite deposits in the James Bay region known as the “Ring of Fire.”

Dick DeStefano was among those who attended a speech by Wes Hanson, Noront Resources’ president and CEO at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon in Copper Cliff Nov. 26.

Hanson outlined the junior mining company’s preliminary plans for a massive underground mine and milling complex beneath the swamps of the James Bay Lowlands.

McFauld’s Lake and the James Bay region is a breadbasket of chromite, nickel, copper, gold, platinum and palladium. Noront is the largest landholder with 120,000 hectares, including its flagship Eagle’s Nest deposit, located 300 kilometres west of DeBeers Canada’s Victor diamond mine.

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Ontario’s Resilient Northwest Banks on Education, Public Sector and Ring of Fire Mining Developments – by Livio Di Matteo

Livio Di Matteo is a Professor of Economics at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University where he has taught since 1990.  His research has explored the sustainability of provincial government health spending, historical wealth and asset holding and economic performance and institutions in Northwestern Ontario and the central North American economic region. He writes and comments on public policy and his articles have appeared in the National Post, Toronto Star, the Winnipeg Free Press and Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal. Mr. Di Matteo has started an Economics Blog at http://ldimatte.shawwebspace.ca/

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

According to the Stockholm Resilience Center (www.stockholmresilience.org), the concept of resilience refers to the capacity of a social-ecological system to withstand perturbations from various types of shock and to then renew itself afterwards.  In other words, if a system is resilient, it can deal with change.  The forest crisis in Northwestern Ontario was a major economic shock to the region’s economy that resulted in massive employment losses and yet if one looks at the region’s economy and especially its major center – Thunder Bay – one cannot help but notice the resilience of the economy. 

Thunder Bay, which has seen three of its four pulp mills close and numerous sawmill job losses over the period 2003-2009, has witnessed increases in many indicators of economic activity suggesting that the economy has been able to adapt to the shock of the forest sector loss.

The relatively resilient economy in Northwest Ontario is being driven by three broad forces: the continued transition towards a knowledge based economy in the region, the expenditure on public sector infrastructure and the growth and development of the mining sector in the region.  The knowledge economy in Northwestern Ontario is being spearheaded by the development of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), the Northwestern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) and the research work of the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute (TBRRI). 

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Could Sault Ste. Marie be Site of Ring of Fire Processing? – by Ian Ross

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Bruce Strapp Exit interview

Sault Ste. Marie is well-positioned to get a share of the chromite processing from the James Bay lowlands, said its outgoing economic development head.

“The value that Sault Ste. Marie will bring to the Ring of Fire is we’ll have one of North America’s biggest steel plants,” said Bruce Strapp, who was preparing in October to take on his new job as executive director of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC).

While a number of communities across the North have been vocal in getting a piece of the action to process chromite ore, the Sault has been flying below the radar, but Strapp said the city is far from being out of the loop.

Strapp said with mine development in the massive McFauld’s Lake camp more than five years away, there is no reason to blow the Sault’s horn until the site selectors show up.

“Moving forward and talking to Cliffs (Natural Resources) and saying ‘We want your business’ (makes no sense when) there’s really no business to be had yet.”

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McGuinty’s Controversial Far North Act Passes – Ian Ross

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article is from the November, 2010 issue.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Far North Act (Bill -191) Brings Out Many Angry Critics and Universal Condemnation Throughout the North

The passage of the Far North Act into law at Queen’s Park this fall wasn’t greeted with sustained applause from Northerners, but with anger and condemnation from all corners.

Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffrey said the act represents a “new era of social prosperity, economic certainty and environmental protection” that places Ontario as a world leader in fighting global climate change.

However, it’s raised plenty of questions on how the McGuinty government plans to both protect and develop the Far North in setting aside a still-to-be-determined 225,000 square kilometres of boreal forest, or 21 per cent of Ontario’s land mass.

But the highly controversial Bill 191, which places the Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR) as the lead agency to conduct the land use planning in the James Bay region, has many critics asking if the ministry is up to this herculean task.

Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner doesn’t know if the MNR has the manpower and resources to manage the upcoming flood of traffic, people and business in this sensitive region. Gord Miller said “clearly” the MNR must be the lead agency in Far North because they have legislated care and control of all Crown land in Ontario under the Public Lands Act.

But he’s uncertain if the ministry has the resources to take on the task.

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The Ring of Fire – Noront McFaulds Lake Project

This Corporate Profile Advertorial about Noront Resources Inc. originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of the Ontario Prospector magazine which is produced by the Ontario Prospectors Association and published by Naylor (Canada) Inc.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Exploration Activities in the Ring of Fire

Noront Resources Ltd. is focused on its McFaulds Lake Project, which includes a number of significant, multiple, high-grade nickel-copper-platinum-palladium, chromite, vanadium and gold discoveries in an area known as the “Ring of Fire,” an emerging multi-metals district located in the James Bay Lowlands of Ontario, Canada. Noront is the largest landholder in the Ring of Fire and continues to delineate and prove up its discoveries with NI 43-101 technical and economic reports and a well-funded and aggressive drill plan for 2010 and 2011. The company recently completed Canada’s first NI 43 101 technical resource estimate for chromite and updated its Eagle’s Nest Ni, Cu, PGM NI 43 101 technical resource report in March 2010. Noront is a publicly traded company and is listed on the Toronto Venture Exchange under the symbol NOT.

Noront’s plans for the future include a three-pronged approach: exploration and regional targeting for additional resources; development and feasibility of the Eagle’s Nest deposit to de-risk the project; and corporate social responsibility with a focus on the environment and aboriginal initiatives.

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Report from the Ontario Prospectors Association – by Gary Clark

Garry Clark is the Executive Director of the Ontario Prospectors Association. This report is from the Fall/Winter edition of The Ontario Prospector magazine published by Naylor (Canada) Inc.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Exploration in Ontario continues strong. The projects are varied and seem to be taking a lead role in moving the economy. Commodity and stock prices are staying strong.

Exploration areas that have captured the attention of investors include but are not limited to the Ring of Fire, Timmins, Beardmore-Geraldton, Sudbury, Rainy River, Atikokan and Kirkland Lake. Speaking with explorationists, there are numerous projects with multiple diamond drills working. The constant call to the OPA has been is looking for geologists to work on the various projects.

The Ring of Fire has captured the attention of Queens Park and the early spring budget focused on the economic importance of this exploration play on the entire province. The Ontario Geological Survey is completing various projects to help explorers in the region, and the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry is creating a new position to help move the  project along. Chromite was not really a targeted commodity 10 years ago in Canada, let alone North America.

The work of the geologists in the area identified the potential of the area while drilling for Copper-Nickel. The First Nations leaders in the area have been working on a steep learning curve to identify the effects and potential for their communities. If the Ring of Fire project continues in the same direction it will be one of the largest industrial developments since the development of the Steep Rock iron deposits. Ideas of railway access, developing projects in low swampy lands and the potential location of a chromite processing plant have community leaders and developers across the north of Ontario scrambling to align for the potential economic stimulus.

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The Ring of Fire: Will Fingers Be Burnt? – by Michael Schwartz

This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of the Ontario Prospector which is published by the Ontario Prospectors Association.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

“There is no doubt that the Ring of Fire brings both enormous promise as well as enormous challenges for all. The enormity of the discoveries within the Ring of Fire could bring multi-generational community benefits if the regulatory roadmap is clear, if enabling mechanisms for community participation and partnership are created by government, and if industry brings their best practices forward.” – Mike Fox, Co-Chair of the PDAC Aboriginal Affairs Committee and President of Boreal Prospectors Association

On April 8, 2010, about 150 hungry people gathered at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay to share a meal and explore opportunities at The Far North Feast. The venue was Thunder Bay, chosen because of its proximity to the Ring of Fire, a massive mineral deposit offering both benefits and challenges to exploration and mining companies, government at all levels, environmental agencies and, most crucially in the long-term, First Nations citizens in the vicinity.

Chairman of this year’s feast was Mike Fox, coincidentally both president of the Boreal Prospectors Association and co-chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee for the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC). He explains the purpose of the feast: “The overall intention is to highlight opportunities for progress and collaboration… Our aim is to show that the players are collaborating with the community, the province and its ministry, creating an enabling environment for others in the future.”

Recognising just how diverse and complex the situation is, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry has  established a new position of Excutive Lead,  Ring of Fire Secretariat to develop the strategic vision and framework to facilitate the successful development of the Ring of Fire initiative and partner with other ministries to develop creative solutions that meet the interests of northern Ontarians, Aboriginal communities and the mining industry, while achieving government business objectives.

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Ring of Fire Railroad Study Staying on Track – by Ian Ross

Map Courtesy KWG Resources Inc.

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was published in the October, 2010 issue.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Despite the frenzy of exploration drilling and company acquistions in the Ring of Fire, engineering work continues for a proposed chromite ore haul railroad into the James Bay lowlands.

Krech Ojard & Associates is preparing a rail feasibility study for the construction of a 350-kilometre-long railroad from McFaulds Lake, south to Exton in northwestern Ontario.

The preferred route would largely follow glacial eskers that start south of the Albany River. These gravel rises make for ideal track bed in an otherwise swampy landscape.

Nels Ojard, special projects manager at Krech Ojard, said the majority of work this past summer was focused on the geotechnical program.

Soil samples that were collected along the length of the route last winter and spring were being processed and evaluated to test their ability to support heavy bridge loads and frost susceptability.

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Peat Fuel Power in the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was published in the October, 2010 issue.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Peat fuel producer Peat Resources Limited eyeballs powering Far North mines.

A Toronto-based peat fuel pellet producer thinks he can provide a green source of power to mining companies currently operating off the grid in the Ring of Fire.

Peter Telford, president and CEO of Peat Resources, was making the rounds at last spring’s Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention, talking to companies like KWG KWG Resources and Cliffs Natural Resources of his ability to supply them with fuel for their future mine operations.

“If the Ring of Fire project proceeds and Cliffs wants to start processing chromite into ferrochrome for use in stainless steel, there will be a real power demand that (Ontario Power Generation stations in) Thunder Bay and Atikokan can’t supply.”

Peat Resources has an indicated and measured resource at its Upsala property in northwestern Ontario of 22.5 million tonnes of fuel-grade peat. The company has a small pilot plant there, where it has been optimizing its wet harvesting method and pelletizing technology.

Peat is a biomass that has been used for power generation in Europe. But it has been an uphill climb for the Toronto company to convince the Ontario government that the swampy material can be used as an environmentally friendly alternative fuel to burning coal.

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“Ontario’s Mining Act” and the Importance of Exploration to the Future Prosperity of the Province – by R. S. Middleton (October/2008)

This letter was sent to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines in October/2008. The letter provides interesting background information on Ontario’s mineral exploration sector. R. S. Middleton is a well-known and respected geophysicist who has been involved with many mining projects around the world and in Canada over the past 40 years.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

LACK OF ADEQUATE OR APPROPRIATE CONSULTAION

Meetings on changes to the Mining Act in Ontario were held on August 11, 13, 18, and September 8th, 2008 in Timmins, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Kingston and Toronto. The timing was particularly unfortunate since exploration people are always away in the field during the summer months so they were unable to take part or comment on the  proposed changes to the Act. This suggests either that the government has a poor understanding of the industry or that it has deliberately set in train a process to carry out its plans without proper consultation with the industry. Changing an Act of Parliament with only a three week review period is completely unacceptable in any parliamentary democracy.

Those of us away on field work have been unaware of any of the discussions and proposals that have taken place and consider that they have not been properly consulted.

Moreover holding hearings in a small number of towns over such a short time frame, will not elicit the input that is required from the industry.  Why was Ottawa not included in the hearings?  There are more exploration mining companies based in Ottawa than in Thunder Bay.

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Ring of Fire: Ontario Embarking on a Major Economic Development Project – by Geophysicist R.S. Middleton, P.Eng.

Map Courtesy KWG Resources Inc.This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of the Ontario Prospector which is published by the Ontario Prospectors Association.

R. S. Middleton is a well-known and respected geophysicist who has been involved with many mining projects around the world and in Canada over the past 40 years.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

A New Chromite Industry for North America

Ontario has been blessed in that a number of world class mineral discoveries have been made over the past 125 years which has brought wealth and prosperity to its citizens and Canada.  These discoveries have sustained thousands of support industries that have manufactured and supplied the implements to extract the metals, industrial minerals and gemstones that form the Mining Industry of Ontario.  Revenues from these mining operations make up approximately 30% of government tax revenue and were the foundation and beginning of the financial industry based in Toronto.

The discovery of the Sudbury nickel-copper-cobalt-PGE (Platinum Group Element) deposits at the end of the 19th century are the largest contributor of revenue with a gross metal value of over $190 billion.  The multitude of silver mines found in 1903 in Cobalt, Ontario generated millions of ounces of silver with by-product cobalt, arsenic, nickel and bismuth and became the strength of the Toronto Stock Exchange in the early 1900’s.  By 1909 prospectors operating from the Cobalt Camp found the famous Porcupine Gold Camp (Timmins) which has now produced over 70 million ounces of gold from 100 years of production.

Prospectors from both Timmins and Cobalt then found the Kirkland Lake – Larder Lake gold mines and the Noranda Camp in Quebec.  Also from Timmins the Kidd Creek copper-zinc-silver mine (1963) with a gross metal value reaching $75 billion, the Kamiskotia (1915), Detour gold (1974) and Hemlo (1979) camps were found.  Geraldton-Beardmore and the Red Lake gold camps were developed in the 1920’s-1930’s in part with the financial base built by Timmins.

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Ontario Significantly Declines in Global Mine Rankings – Ian Ross

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was published in the October, 2010 issue.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Uncertainty in regulations and land tenure worries miners

Ontario may promote itself as being among the best mining jurisdictions in the world, but some industry executives polled in a Fraser Institute survey are second-guessing that blanket statement. A special mid-year report penned by researchers Fred McMahon and Miguel Cervantes raises some red flag issues for investment.

Confidence in Ontario continues to sag due to respondents’ concerns over government policy, dealings with First Nations, and uncertainty over whether a big chunk of Ontario’s untapped mineral resource will be set aside for protection.

“Mining is a long-term endeavor,” said Fred McMahon, vice-president of the Vancouver-based international public policy think tank. “That kind of instability is very damaging.”

Some mining companies accused the McGuinty government of trying to
“kill Ontario” and hinted that antimining environmental activist groups
have considerable weight in shaping public policy.

As commodity prices improve, Mc-Mahon said governments, unions and non-government organizations are finding mining an easy target to tear up existing agreements, drive up costs, and introduce “predatory taxes” that cause instability in investment.

McMahon said these dramatic changes in recent months prompted the Fraser Institute to release its firstever mid-year report card in August.

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