The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
A decision on where to locate a $1.8-billion Ring of Fire chromite smelter will be made in days, the CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources said this week. Joe Carrabba said Tuesday in Thunder Bay the decision is imminent, CBC Radio reports.
Cliffs, a Cleveland-based mining company, has used a former mine site in Capreol to build a test case for the facility, which would process chromite from northwestern Ontario.
In an email Wednesday, Patricia Persico, the senior manager of media relations for Cliffs, confirmed the company will make the announcement sooner rather than later. However, she said, a date and time has not yet been set.
A number of groups and communities in Northern Ontario have lobbied hard for the smelter, which would create 400 to 500 jobs. Native leaders in northwestern Ontario also say the plant should be built on their land, closer to the mine.
However, last month, Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs said Cliffs officials told him the company, long leaning toward the northeast to locate the smelter, is now entirely focused on Sudbury.
Dick DeStefano, the executive director of SAMSAA, the Northern Ontario mining supply and service association, said he hasn’t heard anything from Cliffs about the smelter location.
“We (Sudbury) were the test site. That doesn’t necessarily mean we’re going to be the site.
“Ultimately, there will be a benefit no matter where (the smelter) is, because they’ll have the best key suppliers in Northern Ontario.”
Cliffs is the principal in the development of the Ring of Fire deposit in the James Bay Lowlands and plans to spend close to $3 billion to get its chromite project into production.
About $1.8 billion of that is to build a ferrochrome processing plant.
It would also spend $150 million to develop the Black Thor mine site, one of three sites it controls in the Ring of Fire, and $800 million to construct a near-mine concentrating plant.
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