Archive | Chromium/Platinum Group Metals

Low grades, high power costs key snags to SA chromite sector’s competitiveness – by David Oliveira ( – October 10, 2017)

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 →

Zimbabwe’s economy is worsening as food lines grow and investors are left frustrated – by Tawanda Karombo (Quartz Africa – September 27, 2017)

Harare – Dejection, hopelessness and desperation are written over the faces of the majority of Zimbabweans as they queue up for fuel and foodstuffs that have become scarce across the country amid fears that the country has started to slide back into the 2008 hyper-inflation era.

Even bitcoin rates, which some ordinary Zimbabweans have turned to as a storage of value, has started to soar on a local Zimbawean exchange Bitcoinfundi. It was up to $5,600 for a bitcoin versus $4080 per bitcoin on the Coinbase global index. The discrepancy is caused by the difficulty Zimbabweans will have in cashing out their bitcoins locally.

President Robert Mugabe on Monday (Sep.25) promised to deal with the current wave of foodstuff and fuel shortages in double quick time. He blamed “economic saboteurs” for the sudden worsening of the economic situation, ordering retailers to speedily reduce prices or face action from the government. Continue Reading →

Should Ontario Northland be the railroader for the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 6, 2017)

Regional railway says it has the smarts, capability to serve James Bay mining camp

The Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) is ready to be a logistical player in the Ring of Fire, if and when an ore haul railroad is required.

Now that Queen’s Park has unveiled a road-building timetable to reach the Far North mineral deposits, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission president-CEO Corina Moore said the North Bay-headquartered Crown railroader has the ability to do the job.

“Ontario Northland remains interested in providing input on how we can provide rail support in the future with regards to the Ring of Fire,” said Moore in an email. She was responding to comments made by Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts, who hinted that the ONR could serve as the exclusive railroader to the Ring.

“When the Ring of Fire chromite market grows to a level requiring rail, Ontario Northland has the experience, technology, and capabilities to safely operate and maintain the rail infrastructure,” replied Moore. Continue Reading →

[Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario] City continues ferrochrome plant pitch – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – August 30, 2017)

Mayor Christian Provenzano said he’s met twice with representatives of NorOnt to push Sault Ste. Marie’s attributes to house a ferrochrome plant. “Both times NorOnt came to the Sault they told me their priority was the road,” Provenzano said. “I asked how to help and they told me to lobby for the road so I did that.”

The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. has also been keeping in close contact with NorOnt Resources and has been gathering the data and information it believes will be required for its request for proposal submission. In addition, NOLAN also lobbied collectively for the importance of the road, considering the vast impact the development could have on the region’s economy.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on Aug. 21 that an agreement has been reached with three First Nation communities closest to the mineral deposit site and that environmental work would begin with road construction expected to begin in 2019. The road will allow year-round access to the remote mineral deposit, believed to be the largest of its kind. Continue Reading →

Essar restructuring delaying Ring of Fire smelter decision – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 25, 2017)

Noront boss waits on CCAA resolution to determine if Sault stays in the mix

The head of Noront Resources wants to see how the restructuring process at Essar Steel Algoma shakes out before deciding whether or not to drop Sault Ste. Marie as a location for a Ring of Fire ferrochrome smelter.

The Sault is one of four Northern Ontario cities that Noront president-CEO Alan Coutts and his team are considering for a furnace operation to process chromite into ferrochrome, which is used in stainless steel manufacturing.

The mining company had hoped to make an announcement by the end of this summer, but the ongoing CCAA process (Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act) with the Sault steelmaker is dragging out Noront’s decision. “There is some complexity around the CCAA process in the Sault and we’d like to really understand that and see some outcomes before committing or dismissing that site,” said Coutts. Continue Reading →

Wynne’s Ring of Fire road announcement ‘premature’ say 2 area First Nations (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 25, 2017)

Eabametoong and Neskantaga not included in Aug. 21 announcement, say jurisdictional issues not settled

Two northwestern Ontario First Nations near the Ring of Fire say an announcement by the provincial government that it has a deal in place to construct all-season roads into the mineral-rich area is “premature.”

On Monday, Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Thunder Bay to announce that the province had reached a deal with three Matawa First Nations — Webequie, Nibinamik and Marten Falls — that would see roads linking their communities to the provincial highway system and continuing into the Ring of Fire.

But in a joint statement issued late Thursday afternoon, two other communities not included in that deal — Eabametoong and Neskantaga — said those projects will “hit a dead end,” if there is no “real and concrete jurisdiction agreement with First Nations.” “”The reality is that all the roads to the Ring of Fire traverse the territory of our Nations, and nothing is happening without the free, prior and informed consent of our First Nations,” Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias was quoted as saying in a written release. Continue Reading →

Sudbury to get first crack at Ring of Fire nickel (CBC News Sudbury – August 22, 2017)

Bruce Jago, director of Goodman School of Mines, weighs in on Noront’s decision to start

Four northern Ontario cities — Sudbury, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay — are in the running to be home to a ferrochrome smelter which will process chromite from the Ring of Fire mineral deposit. But Noront Resources Ltd. CEO Alan Coutts says the first minerals out of the ground will be nickel concentrate, to be processed in Sudbury.

Now that the provincial government has committed to funding the road infrastructure to the Ring of Fire, Coutts told CBC’s Morning North that his company plans to develop a mine at its Eagle’s Nest project first. The site — 530 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay — is rich in high-grade nickel, copper, platinum and palladium.

“The reason we selected that to be the first mine is because there is already existing smelting capacities for those minerals in Sudbury,” Coutts said. Continue Reading →

Morning North Host Jason Turnbull Interviews Noront CEO Alan Coutes about Ring of Fire Roads (CBC News Sudbury – August 22, 2017)

For the interview:

Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Thunder Bay to announce the funding of a road for the Ring of Fire project. We spoke with Al Coutts from Noront Resources about what it means for developing the chromite deposit. Al is the CEO of Noront Resources.

Superior Morning Host Lisa Laco Interviews Noront CEO Alan Coutes on Ring of Fire Roads (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 22, 2017)

For the interview:

Ring of Fire – NorOnt Reaction

It’s been a long road for mining companies hoping to develop the Ring of Fire — but yesterday the province announced it’s building a road to the region. Alan Coutts is president of Noront Resources.

“This is the day we were waiting for”: Ring of Fire road agreement jumpstarts Noront Resources’ development plans – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 22, 2017)

An agreement in principle to bring permanent access roads to three remote First Nation communities near the Ring of Fire was greeted with relief from the largest mine developer in the region. “This is the day we were waiting for,” said Noront president-CEO Alan Coutts.

He was in Thunder Bay to hear Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Aug. 21 announcement that agreements have been struck with Marten Falls, Nibinamik and Webequie First Nations to build two corridors to connect those communities to the provincial highway system.

One proposed east-west corridor will be shared with the mining industry to reach the rich mineral deposits in the James Bay lowlands. Wynne said the initial preparatory environmental assessment work starts immediately followed by feasibility planning. Continue Reading →

Fedeli slams Wynne over Ring of Fire – by Jennifer Hamilton-McCharles (North Bay Nugget – August 22, 2017)

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s announcement that the province will move ahead with building roads into the Ring of Fire is earning jeers from Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. Fedeli expressed frustration over the lack of concern for the North and empty promises over the last 10 years following Wynne’s announcement Monday.

“It’s simply election talk. She’s had 10 years to do something and now a few months before an election she’s making an announcement.” He said Wynne made a similar promise in 2014, but nothing was ever done.

“There’s actually been three funding announcements in support of the Ring of Fire and yet again, nothing has been done,” Fedeli said. “The latest was in the 2017 budget where there was no mention of the Ring of Fire, so where’s this funding coming from?” Continue Reading →

‘Ring’ road deal could good for Sudbury – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – August 22, 2017)

The Ring of Fire moved a rung closer to reality Monday, as the province announced plans to construct a year-round access road to the mineral-rich region. “It’s just what we were looking for,” said Alan Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources. “This is the catalyst that was needed, from our point of view.”

A Toronto-based company, Noront is the now chief player in the region, after acquiring the chromite assets from Cliffs Natural Resources a couple of years ago. It plans to develop its Eagle’s Nest deposit — consisting of nickel, copper, platinum and palladium — first, and then mine chromite deposits at several sites in the James Bay lowlands.

“These are bulk and base-metal deposits,” said Coutts. “They’re not gold and diamonds in small volumes; they’re big volumes and you have to move a lot. Without 24/7, 365, all-season infrastructure roads in place, those projects aren’t viable.” The province had been negotiating with nine First Nations in the region and hinting since spring that a deal on road construction was in the offing. Continue Reading →

Noront Resources to make decision on Ring of Fire smelter by end of year – by Angela Gemmill (CBC News Sudbury – August 21, 2017)

Mining company to work on smelter development while province, First Nations create road infrastructure

Monday’s long-awaited news that the provincial government will help build roads to the Ring of Fire chromite deposit is music to the ears of junior miner Noront Resources Limited.

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. Noront has a major land position in the Ring of Fire. CEO Alan Coutts said the announcement from Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne was welcome.

“It’s a very important breakthrough. This is exactly what was needed to de-bottleneck the Ring of Fire development,” Coutts said. While in Thunder Bay, Wynne told the media the environmental assessment will begin immediately and should take much of 2018 to complete. Construction on the roads should start in 2019. Continue Reading →

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 →