Archive | Chromium/Platinum Group Metals

AUDIO: Ontario pledges ‘support’ for year-round road access to 3 remote First Nations (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 21, 2017)

Province says it’s working with Webequie, Nibinamik and Marten Falls on year-round road projects

The provincial government says it’s working with three remote northwestern Ontario First Nations to develop year-round road access that will link the communities to Ontario’s highway system. The partnership between the province, Webequie, Nibinamik and Marten Falls will also facilitate access to the Ring of Fire — a mineral-rich area in the James Bay lowlands, about 575 kilometres north of Thunder Bay — according to the province.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made the announcement Monday morning in Thunder Bay, Ont., during her first scheduled stop on a day-long tour of the city. The premier was flanked by three of her ministers — Indigenous Relations Minister David Zimmer, Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro, Ontario’s minister of municipal affairs.

“I’m very pleased to announce today that we have reached an agreement to build a road into the Ring of Fire,” Wynne said. “I’ve looked forward to this particular day coming for some time.” Continue Reading →

“Major step forward,” says Ring of Fire developer: Noront looks to use north-south for chromite shipments – Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 21, 2017)

The lead Ring of Fire mine developer is pleased with the Ontario government tabling a road plan to reach the deposits in the undeveloped James Bay mineral belt. “Today’s announcement by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Chiefs of Webequie, Marten Falls and Nibinamik First Nations is a major step forward that will re-energize development of the Ring of Fire region,” said Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts in an Aug. 21 news release.

“Construction of all-season industrial and community access roads is one of the key things we’ve been working toward with the government and our First Nation partners. I am very pleased to see it moving forward.”

Noront officials were in Thunder Bay to attend the announcement by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Chiefs of Marten Falls, Webequie and Nibiminik First Nations, and the government’s commitment to providing funding for two industry and community road proposals to reach the Ring of Fire mineral belt. Continue Reading →


TORONTO, ONTARIO—August 21, 2017—Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront”) (TSX Venture: NOT) participated in a joint announcement today by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Chiefs of Marten Falls, Webequie and Nibiminik First Nations, which formally committed provincial funding to two First Nations road proposals that will provide community and industrial access to the Ring of Fire Mining District.

Road Proposals

The provincial government agreed to support and fund the following road proposals which will connect First Nation communities to the Ring of Fire:

•An east-west road connecting Webequie and Nibinamik First Nations to the provincial highway network north of Pickle Lake (the “East-West Road”). This road will continue from the Community of Webequie to the Ring of Fire.
•A north-south community access road is being planned for construction by the Marten Falls First Nation with an option to expand the road to the Ring of Fire to support the development of chromite mining (the “North – South Road”). Continue Reading →

Merafe’s profit surges despite drop in sales – by Allan Seccombe (Business Day – August 8, 2017)

Merafe Resources, the junior partner in a chrome joint venture with Glencore, reported a hefty inventory build-up as production exceeded sales, while global demand for the stainless steel ingredient slowed and the market stayed under pressure.

The joint venture is one of the world’s leading sources of ferrochrome and chrome ore, and it operates in SA. Merafe said revenue attributable to the company increased 7% to R2.58bn for the six months to end June compared with that of the same period a year earlier. Profit increased to R486m from R57m, allowing the company to declare a 3c per share dividend. Net debt fell by half to R208m.

Stronger prices in the first half of the year offset a 28% drop in sales to 157,000 tonnes for Merafe’s account, while a stronger rand against the dollar eroded the revenue line. Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay, Fort William First Nation make the case for Ring of Fire smelter – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 20, 2017)

Economic developers take Noront miners on brownfields tour

Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation made a joint push this week to be the host site for a ferrochrome smelter serving the Ring of Fire.

Local economic development officials took representatives from Noront Resources, the biggest claimholder in the Far North mineral belt, on a tour of area industrial sites, hoping to sway the Toronto mine developer to pick northwestern Ontario for a $600-million to $800-million processing plant.

John Mason, the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission’s mining services project manager, said the tour was basically to give Noront president Alan Coutts and chief development officer Steve Flewelling a better on-the-ground appreciation of what land and infrastructure is available.

The tour took them to the Grand Trunk Railway lands on the Fort William reserve and a mixture of private and government-owned parcels of waterfront brownfields in the Mission and McKellar Islands area. “It was essentially a waterfront, or water-themed, tour,” said Mason. Continue Reading →

[Ring of Fire Ferrochome Facility] Thunder Bay in the mix – by Brigitte Petersen (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – July 20, 2017)

Toronto-based mining company Noront Resources revealed its plan to build a ferrochrome processing facility (FPF) in Northern Ontario Wednesday at the Valhalla Inn to a crowd of about 130 people. The company is considering locating the plant, which could initially create up to 350 jobs, in either Thunder Bay, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins or Sudbury.

The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) and Fort William First Nation Economic Development Corporation invited Noront to deliver a preliminary presentation about plans for the FPF, and to discuss any advancements with the Ring of Fire, a mineral-rich zone located 400 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

Chromite is used to make stainless steel. Noront wants to process ferrochrome, an alloy of chromium and iron, to sell to stainless steel producers. “The demand for stainless steel continues to rise,” said Alan Coutts, Noront’s president and CEO, adding that Noront’s ferrochrome product would be shipped to U.S.-based stainless steel plants. Continue Reading →

Romano pressing for mid-August Ring of Fire tour – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – July 19, 2017)

“There’s a few challenges that we’re addressing now,” Romano said during a Northern Ontario media conference call led by PC leader Patrick Brown. Romano, elected in a provincial byelection just more than a month ago, has been named Northern Ontario’s critic of jobs and the Ring of Fire.

He said that since starting his role about 40 days ago, he’s met with executives from NorOnt on three occasions and has established a good line of communications with them. “I’m running a lot of laps on this one,” he told The Sault Star. “There is an issue that needs to be resolved and I am trying to assist the Economic Development Corp., who is lead on this one, for their bid submission to NorOnt.”

Brown said if the PC’s form the next provincial government, he vows to build the Ring of Fire transportation corridor and dedicate the funds needed to do so in order to create opportunities in the North. Continue Reading →

Low grades, high power costs key snags to SA chromite sector’s competitiveness – by David Oliveira ( -July 14, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Despite South Africa’s rich chromite endowment, the low chromium oxide (Cr2O3) grades in its orebodies and the high cost of electricity are significant barriers to the country becoming the dominant player in the global industry.

Mintek metallurgical project development consultant Dr Nic Barcza highlighted that the estimated global chromite produc- tion last year was about 30-million tons, with South Africa leading the charge at 14-million tons, followed by Kazakhstan at 5.5-million tons.

Barcza was giving a keynote address at the Southern African Institute for Mining and Metallurgy’s Chrome Colloquium at State-owned research organisation Mintek’s Randburg facilities, in Johannesburg, last month. He noted that South Africa and Kazakhstan, which collectively boast a shipping-grade chromite reserve of about five-billion tons, accounted for over 95% of global chromite resources. Continue Reading →

MINOR METALS-Weak demand from China stainless steel mills hits ferrochrome prices – by Eileen Soreng and Vijaykumar Vedala (Reuters Africa – June 28, 2017)

June 28 (Reuters) – Global prices of ferrochrome, used to make stainless steel, have tumbled to their lowest levels this year due to weaker demand from stainless steel mills in top producer China, according to traders in Asia and Europe.

Low carbon ferrochrome FECRO-LC-RU was last quoted at $1.80 a lb, its lowest since Nov. and down 20 percent since late January. High carbon ferrochrome FECRO-HC-RU is at an eight-month low at 93 cents a lb and more than 30 percent lower since late January.

“The Chinese ports have about 10 weeks of chrome ore stocks and that coupled with reduced ferrochrome demand has sent the prices of ore and alloys crashing,” said Ravi Prakash, marketing and business development head for ferro alloys and minerals division of Tata Steel Ltd. Continue Reading →

Noront looks for smelter landing spots in Sudbury, Timmins – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – June 20, 2017)

Nickel City puts “best foot forward” to host Ring of Fire chromite processor

Noront Resources’ search for a home for a potential ferrochrome smelter took them to Sudbury and Timmins in mid-June. The largest claim holder in the Ring of Fire recently tweeted photos of visits to the northeastern Ontario cities as part of a pan-Northern Ontario scan to find a suitable landing spot for a $600-million to $800-million processing plant.

Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay-Fort William First Nation are in the mix to host the facility which could be years away from construction given the slow pace of development talks between the Ontario government and First Nation communities in the James Bay region.

Greater Sudbury Development Corporation (GSDC) director Ian Wood said the plant could create “several hundred” construction and permanent jobs, but he remained cautious about heightening local expectations. Continue Reading →

Chinese railroaders like the route to the Ring of Fire – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – June 2, 2017)

Feasibility study projects moving mega-tonnes of chromite out of Far North

A delegation of KWG Resources and Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN), one of the communities near the Ring of Fire deposits, completed a trip to China to lay the foundation for a Far North railway and project financing.

A June 1 KWG release said the group was provided with an overview of the feasibility study began last year, when they most recently visited with their project partner, China Railway First Survey & Design Institute Group (FSDI), at its headquarters in Xian, China on May 15.

The company was advised by its Chinese partners that the study had concluded that the route which traverses the Marten Falls’ traditional territory was a viable alignment for the construction of a chromite ore-haul railroad. Continue Reading →

Mining reps weary of all talk, no action in Ring of Fire – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – June 1, 2017)

TIMMINS – Some key players in the Ontario mining industry said they’re getting sick and tired hearing about the Ring of Fire. That’s mainly because for all the talk about the mining prospect, nothing is being been done about it.

That was part of the discussion that came out Thursday during the Investor’s Forum at the Big Event Canadian Mining Expo that was on this week in Timmins. Part of the forum included an open discussion on what might be done to get the higher levels of government to get moving to develop the area.

The Ring Of Fire refers to a massive deposit of chromite and nickel located in the McFauld’s Lake and Webequie area, about 600 kilometres northwest of Timmins. Chromite is an important element for manufacturing stainless steel. The Ring of Fire area could become the largest chromite mining site in North America, a venture that is often measured in the tens of billions of dollars. Continue Reading →

Sault Ste. Marie angling for inside track on Ring of Fire smelter – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 29, 2017)

There is a “Sioux-to-Sault” campaign in the works to move Ring of Fire ore to a processing plant in Sault Ste. Marie.

Tom Dodds, the head of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation, is flying up to Sioux Lookout this week to tour a potential industrial site where business interests, community and First Nation leaders want to establish a truck-to-rail transfer facility to handle chromite and ship it to a proposed Northern Ontario smelter.

A May 29 release from the Town of Sioux Lookout announced Sault Ste. Marie is coming on board to support its transload facility plan. Later this week on June 2, a site tour is being arranged for some project partners – including Noront Resources and CN Rail – involved in a study to develop a bush lot on the Sioux Lookout’s east side, the preferred spot for a transload facility.

There’s been no official word from Noront on where its ferrochrome smelter will eventually go, but company president-CEO Al Coutts will be making a presentation in Sioux Lookout to the partners on the same day. Continue Reading →

All candidates want ferrochrome plant in the Sault – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – May 12, 2017)

A presentation by NorOnt Resources top brass have created a stir with candidates running in the provincial byelection. NorOnt is to decide by the end of summer which of four Northern Ontario communities – Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Timmins or Thunder Bay–Fort William – will become home to the first ferrochrome plant in North America to process the minerals from the far north Ring of Fire development.

NorOnt President and CEO Alan Coutts and Chief Development Officer Stephen Flewelling were in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday making a presentation to Chamber of Commerce members and meeting with local officials.

Liberal candidate Debbie Amaroso, who met with the representatives, urged them to locate the smelter in Sault Ste. Marie. “I strongly encouraged NorOnt to locate their smelter in the Sault,” Amaroso said. “Based on the southern tip of Lake Superior, Sault Ste. Marie is the ideal location.” Continue Reading →

Province pushed to make roads decision holding up Ring of Fire and $1-billion ferrochrome facility – by Elaine Della-Mattia (North Bay Nugget – May 11, 2017)

At least four communities are in the running to host a $1-billion ferrochrome facility to process ore from the Ring of Fire, located in northwestern Ontario. Top executives with Noront Resources were in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday and said they will decide by the end of summer where the company will build its ferrochrome facility, which is expected to create up to 350 jobs.

Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins and Thunder Bay-Fort William are competing for the plant. The Noront executives met with community leaders and chamber of commerce members in the Sault, outlining their plans and how the Ring of Fire development can provide an economic boost to Northern Ontario.

Alan Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources, said he wants communities to understand the company and its capabilities, and have the supports in place if that community is chosen to host the first ferrochrome facility in North America. Continue Reading →