The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.
The smelter coming to Greater Sudbury is the largest project Cliffs Natural Resources has ever conceived. “It’s a massive project for Cliffs, it’s the biggest project by far that we have ever tackled,” Cliffs’ President Joseph Carrabba said Wednesday evening at Laurentian University.
Carrabba was in Sudbury for a few hours, following Wednesday morning’s announcement that its $1.8-billion ferrochrome smelter will set up shop near Capreol.
The Municipality of Greenstone, Thunder Bay and Timmins were also considered as locations for the smelter. But in the end, Greater Sudbury was just what Cliffs was looking for.
“We had to be in a place where mining is known, it’s welcomed and we can work through the business practices,” said Carrabba. “It looks like it’s a great place for the technical skills, the mine service skills that we need and a great opportunity for a great workforce as well … this was the right spot and we are very pleased to be here.”
Once the plant is open — Cliffs is pushing for a 2015 start date and hopes to break ground in 2013 — 1.2 million tons of ore will be smelted at the plant, turned into approximately 600,000 tons of ferrochrome for the stainless steel industry.
Carrabba wouldn’t go into specifics, but said Cliffs is pleased with the power rate it has been given.
“The power rates were certainly a huge consideration in the location of the smelter, both in the province and in Sudbury … Power is a very big cost component of ferrochrome smelting in the world and if we want to be cost-competitive with South Africa, which is the major supplier of the world, we had to have a good power rate to go forward. We think we’ve struck the appropriate deal to do that.”
Regarding objections from First Nations communities about the smelter going to Greater Sudbury — Aroland Chief Sonny Gagnon has been particularly vocal in his criticisms — Carrabba said the company will work with the First Nations, but will not be swayed to change the location.
“We don’t work that way. We will come to (a) resolution with the First Nations.
“You’ve got to think about the regional benefit,” he added. “This is about 1,100 to 1,200 jobs overall — 450 jobs coming here — there’s a lot of jobs that will come in to the Thunder Bay end of the Ring of Fire area.
“I know people are disappointed, (but) I don’t make any apologies for it. Business decisions have to be made for the benefit of all to get a project like this to come over.”