The Ontario government has most of the data it needs to inform a decision on the infrastructure it would be prepared to build and finance in the Ring of Fire, says the head of Noront Resources Inc.
The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has the results of several studies — those commissioned by Deloitte and Hatch Mott MacDonald Inc., environmental and engineering studies done by Noront and a $785,000 joint federal-provincial community transportation corridor study conducted. It was conducted by Webequie, Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Nibinamik First Nations.
Alan Coutts, president and chief executive officer of Noront, said it’s up to the province to take those studies, look at what it would take to meet community and industry needs, and fine-tune them into a plan.
First Nations completed the joint study at the end of June, but its results haven’t been made public. Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said his ministry is still in discussion with those communities “as to where we go next.”
Coutts is expecting the province to decide how to “knit together” the information in the studies and come up with an outcome all stakeholders can live with. And he expects that to be done by the end of 2016.
“You are never going to please everyone,” said Coutts. “You have to be aware of that. That’s the way we see it.
The Ring of Fire, located 240 kilometres west of James Bay and northeast of Thunder Bay, contains chromite, nickel and other ores.
Noront is developing its high-grade nickel, copper and PGE deposit Eagle’s Nest first. In April 2015, it acquired Cliffs Natural Resources chromite deposits. Its next projects are the Blackbird and Black Thor chromite deposits.
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