Archive | Chromium/Platinum Group Metals

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 →

[Noront] Gimme smelter: With no government road, Ring of Fire developer takes its case to Northerners – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 8, 2017)

It’s time to get political about the Ring of Fire. Noront Resources, the leading mine developer in the Far North, is eyeing Sault Ste. Marie as one of four sites in Northern Ontario for a potential ferrochrome smelter. Company president-CEO Alan Coutts is making it known he’s putting mining on the campaign agenda in that city’s upcoming provincial byelection on June 1.

Coutts is speaking at a Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce on May 10. The Sault is on Noront’s shortlist – along with Timmins, Sudbury and Thunder Bay/Fort William First Nation – to be the host community for a $600 million to $800-million plant to process chromite into ferrochrome, a critical ingredient used in stainless steel production.

Between now and the end of June, Coutts and his chief development officer, Steve Flewelling, will be visiting prospective sites and making public presentations in each city. “We’re going through this process, and we’d like to have the site selected by the end of the summer.” Continue Reading →

First Nation Chief plans China trip to discuss Ring of Fire rail line – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – April 29, 2017)

OTTAWA — Bruce Achneepineskum is heading to China next month to hear about a $4-billion plan that includes building a rail line to the Ring of Fire through his community’s traditional territory.

The Chief of Marten Falls First Nation, a remote fly-in community of 770 registered people of which only about half live on the remote Northern Ontario reserve, says he’s interested in the latest overture from a small mining company with big plans.

KWG Resources Inc. announced this week that it is working with Marten Falls First Nation on an equal partnership to develop the Ring of Fire’s chromite deposits, which are used to make stainless steel. China is the world’s leading producer of stainless steel and the company hopes that Chinese investors will be willing to finance the $4-billion rail line and mining project in order to secure a long-term, reliable source of chromite. Continue Reading →

Strong outlook for recovering ferrochrome industry – Merafe – by Martin Creamer ( – March 8, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – Ferrochrome and chrome ore prices recovered from rock bottom in the first quarter of last year to levels twice and four times higher respectively in 2017, a year in which a shortage of electricity supply has ceased to be a constraining factor, ferrochrome company Merafe reports.

Despite market volatility in the 12 months to December 31, coupled with the challenges and cost pressures faced by the South African ferrochrome industry, the company, headed by CEO Zanele Matlala, reported the second highest headline earnings in its history – and goes into the new year with a strong demand outlook.

Matlala said in response to Mining Weekly Online that higher ferrochrome and chrome ore prices are expected to continue for the first quarter of 2017, which she described as being indicative of a market still in deficit. Continue Reading →

Look to public-private partnerships to build infrastructure for Ring of Fire – by Joseph Quesnel and Kenneth Green (Thunder Bay chronicle-Journal – March 1, 2017)

Joseph Quesnel is a senior fellow with the Fraser Institute.Kenneth Green is senior director of natural resource studies at the Fraser Institute.

It has been 10 years since the discovery of a massive chromite deposit in Northern Ontario, which could be a game changer for the region’s economy. But despite this potential, the developers are still as far away from bringing a mine into operation today as they were a decade ago.

Known as the Ring of Fire, the area is rich with deposits of chromite — which is used in the production of stainless steel — nickel and copper.

The possible upside of the region’s economic potential is tremendous. At one point, then Conservative treasury board president Tony Clement called the Ring of Fire an economic equivalent of the Alberta oil sands given the projected investment required. That may be an exaggeration of course, but the deposit nevertheless has the potential for thousands of jobs for several decades of mining. Continue Reading →

KWG favours railway to Ring – by Ben Leeson (Sudbury Star – February 13, 2017)

KWG Resources sees a bright future for the Ring of Fire and believes the best way to reach that future is on iron rails.

KWG is an original player in the Ring, a large deposit of chromite and other metals in the mineral-rich James Bay Lowlands, about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. In 2006, the company took part in the first major discovery of chromite, a key component in making stainless steel.

“We came to the realization that the biggest consumers of chromium on the planet are the Chinese stainless steel makers,” said Moe Lavigne, KWG’s vice-president of exploration and development. In the chromite-chromium-ferrochrome industry, the metals are exchanged under offtake agreements, between the resource producer and the buyer, rather than in an open market like nickel, copper and gold. Continue Reading →

Zimbabwe to double ferrochrome production to 300,000 tonnes – by MacDonald Dzirutwe (Reuters Africa – February 2, 2017)

HARARE Feb 2 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s ferrochrome production is expected to double to 300,000 tonnes this year after the government allocated chrome concessions to small mining companies as part of efforts to boost output, the mines minister said on Thursday.

Walter Chidhakwa said last year the country earned $115 million from 149,000 tonnes of ferrochrome, which is used in the production of stainless steel. Zimbabwe holds the world’s second largest deposits of chrome, which is smelted to produce ferrochrome. Raw chrome exports are expected to reach 550,000 tonnes from 285,000 tonnes, the mines minister told reporters.

“We are projecting 300,000 tonnes of ferrochrome for 2017 as a result of the measures we have taken in allocating the chrome concessions,” Chidhakwa said. Zimbabwe is pushing large mining companies to give up part of their concessions for distribution to individuals and smaller mines, which has helped in the gold sector, where small scale miners have tripled output to over 8 tonnes since 2014. Continue Reading →

Glencore Considering Bid for Impala’s Chrome Waste Operations – by Loni Prinsloo and Kevin Crowley (Bloomberg News – January 31, 2017)

Glencore Plc, the mining and trading firm run by billionaire Ivan Glasenberg, is considering bidding for Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd.’s 65 percent stake in a chrome waste-retreatment operation in South Africa, two people familiar with the matter said.

Glencore already has an agreement to buy metal from Chrome Traders Processing (Pty) Ltd., the closely held company that owns 30 percent of the business controlled by Impala.

Glencore, which has chrome assets nearby, is bullish on prices and keen to grow its presence in the industry that supplies stainless steelmakers with the ingredient that prevents corrosion, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Continue Reading →

Ottawa cools to Ring of Fire’s potential – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – December 21, 2016)

Ottawa has been throwing cold water on the Ring of Fire, a mineral deposit in Northern Ontario that was once thought to be worth more than $60-billion.

Since the federal Liberal Party came to power last year, the government has stonewalled requests to pay for infrastructure, lowered expectations for development and slashed its valuation for the deposit, according to internal Department of Natural Resources documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The skepticism among federal ranks has proven to be another barrier to mining the 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of mostly chromite in the boggy James Bay lowlands and boreal forest. Development of the Ring was already facing significant challenges: No permanent road access, no power, environmental concerns, a prolonged commodities slump and scores of unresolved issues with the nine First Nations groups that live in the region. Continue Reading →

Arrested Development: Down, down, down? Ring of Fire still a burning question – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – December 13, 2016)

The nine chiefs of the Matawa First Nations closest to Ontario’s Ring of Fire gathered around a conference table in July 2013 at what seemed like a historic crossroads to debate the merits of development in a region that had never before experienced it.

Promises of jobs, revenue sharing and infrastructure improvements, some said, could bring prosperity to the struggling communities. On the other hand, development could come too rapidly and at too high a cost to their land and traditional way of life. They needn’t have worried. Three years later, development of the 5,000-square-kilometre area of the James Bay Lowlands is still stuck in neutral.

The Ring of Fire is a deposit of minerals — including nickel, copper, gold, zinc and the extremely rare chromite — some 540 kilometres north of Thunder Bay that is said to be worth up to $60 billion. Dubbed “Canada’s next oilsands,” it could be the biggest resource development Ontario has seen in more than a century. Continue Reading →