30th October 2014

NEWS RELEASE: NDP DEMANDS CONSERVATIVES SHOW LEADERSHIP PROMISED ON RING OF FIRE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 30, 2014

OTTAWA – Following claims from Cliffs Resources’ chief executive officer that the future of the Ring of Fire is in question, New Democrats are demanding Conservatives drop the silent treatment and work to make sure the project moves forward.

Today, NDP MP Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt) demanded answers from the Conservatives as to when Northern Ontarians can finally expect the economic investment in the Ring of Fire they’ve been promised.

Claude Gravelle:

The new CEO of Cliffs Natural Resources sees zero hope of developing the Ring of Fire in the next 50 years, he cites no plan, no infrastructure, no leadership.

This means no jobs, no investments for Northern Ontario and no benefits to Ontario’s broader mining, finance and technology sectors.

Almost all of the government’s Ring of Fire announcements failed to materialize. When will this government show the leadership it promised over a year ago and work with ‎Ontario to make Ring of Fire happen? Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Northern Ontario Politics, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

30th October 2014

Chinese rail money for Ring of Fire? – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – October 30, 2014)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

The plate tectonics for Ontario’s stalled Ring of Fire development project could significantly shift if Premier Kathleen Wynne’s visit to China pays dividends down the road.

The China Daily reported that the Far North mineral deposits could be cause for a constructive arrangement between the province and its second largest trading partner.

Fang Li, Chinese consul general in Toronto, who accompanied the premier on her first overseas trip was quoted as saying “Ontario is the most important for China among the provinces of Canada,” adding that the large, but inaccessible chromite and nickel deposits in the James Bay lowlands could lead to a cooperative arrangement between the two countries.

“The demand for the minerals is high in China; we can work together if the necessary infrastructure such as a rail line can be built in this area,” Fang said.

Accompanying Wynne on the trip is Brad Duguid, minister of economic development, employment and infrastructure, and Michael Chan, minister of citizenship, immigration and international trade, and representatives of about 60 clean tech and science and technology businesses and organizations. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

30th October 2014

Ring of Fire doubts ‘baseless and false’ – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – October 30, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Cliffs Natural Resources’ new chief executive officer may have shaken the confidence of some this week when he said he had “zero hope” the Ring of Fire would be developed in the next 50 years.

But Lourenco Goncalves didn’t cause three proponents of the chromite deposits 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay to lose faith the Ring will be mined and will add billions to the province’s economy when it is.

Goncalves, 55, told The Financial Post he didn’t expect to see the Ring developed in his lifetime, and that he intends to be around for another 50 years.

The newly named CEO of the Cleveland-based company was, no doubt, expressing the frustration of the company with one of the biggest claims in the Ring of Fire. It has suspended work on its project after investing $500 million in it.

In May 2012, Cliffs and the Government of Ontario announced Cliffs had upgraded its Ring of Fire project to the feasibility stage and reached a number of key agreements with the province. Most important to Sudbury was Cliffs’ decision to locate a $1.8-billion ferrochrome processing plant in Capreol, just north of the city. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery, Stan Sudol Columns/Media References and Appearances | 0 Comments

29th October 2014

New Cliffs CEO sees ‘zero hope,’ no asset sale in Ontario’s Ring of Fire – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 29, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

The new chief executive of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. doubts that Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” will be developed for decades to come, or that anyone will buy his company’s rich chromite assets in the region in the near future.

Lourenco Goncalves, 55, said in an interview Tuesday that he has “zero hope” that a solution will be reached to spur on development in the region anytime soon.

“I don’t believe under my watch, and I plan to stay [alive] for the next 50 years… that the Ring of Fire will be developed,” he said.

A handful of junior mining companies, including KWG Resources Inc. and Noront Resources Ltd., are more optimistic and are interested in buying Cliffs’ Ring of Fire properties. But according to Mr. Goncalves, they all have the same problem: “They do not have any money.”

His comments have to be discouraging for the Ontario government, which made the Ring of Fire the centerpiece of its northern development plans. To date, Cleveland-based Cliffs is the only large mining company to take a serious interest in the area.

The Ring of Fire, located in the remote James Bay Lowlands, was discovered amid much fanfare in 2007. It is thought to hold about $60-billion of chromite, base metals and other minerals. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Cliffs Natural Resources, Iron Ore, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery, Quebec Mining | 0 Comments

28th October 2014

Cliffs Turnaround Plan Derailed by Iron Ore at 5-Year Low – by Sonja Elmquist (Bloomberg News – October 27, 2014)

http://www.bloomberg.com/

Other assets are being sold off quickly. The sale of a minority holding in a graphite
mining company was completed in August. Goncalves said he’s trying to sell a chromite
project in Canada’s Ring of Fire mining region “as soon as I can.”

Activist investor Casablanca Capital LLC’s plan to revive the fortunes of the largest iron ore producer in the U.S. is crumbling as the price of the commodity drops to a five-year low.

Casablanca went public in January with demands for Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (CLF) to spin off or sell foreign mines and return more cash to investors. Casablanca won a proxy contest in July with the election of its slate of directors on the Cliffs board, one of whom was appointed chief executive officer.

With the iron ore market now in a worse state than it was at the start of the year, Cliffs may struggle to sell mines for a satisfactory price. Instead of raising its dividend, the Cleveland-based miner may have to eliminate the payout entirely, analysts at Citigroup Inc. and Nomura Holdings Inc. say.

A higher dividend “was something Casablanca promised before I joined,” Chairman and CEO Lourenco Goncalves said by phone in an Oct. 14 interview. “I’m not Casablanca.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Cliffs Natural Resources, International Media Resource Articles, Iron Ore, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

28th October 2014

Ontario Premier Wynne’s China visit seeks to reduce U.S. reliance – by Adrian Morrow (Globe and Mail – October 25, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Mr. Fang suggested the two countries also work together on the Ring of Fire, a large
chromite deposit north of Thunder Bay. China could use the minerals, he said, if
Ontario can get the necessary rail line built to haul the ore out of the Ring’s
remote location.

TORONTO — Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne will make a full-court press for trade in China next week as she seeks to expand her province’s sluggish economy and wean it off its long-standing dependence on the American market.

The trip unfolds against a backdrop of heightened tension in Sino-Canadian relations. Ottawa and Beijing have accused each other of espionage in recent months, while China continues to grapple with lingering pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. And Ms. Wynne, who is making her first overseas trip as Premier, is pledging not to shy away from raising thorny human-rights issues during her visit.

“I absolutely support peoples’ right to freedom of speech and the right to gather peacefully. I’ve said that to Chinese representatives here, I will say that in China,” she said in an interview at her Queen’s Park office. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario Economy, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

27th October 2014

[Ontario] Province must build RoF road – Editorial (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – October 27, 2014)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

National media coverage on the Ring of Fire has been of the doom-and-gloom variety of late, but that doesn’t mean the province should throw in the towel on the idea for a main access road into the remote mineral rich zone.

Not surprisingly, in the wake of falling metal prices right across the globe, pundits and mining industry analysts have been questioning the RoF’s value. Maybe it’s not that rock-solid after all, the thinking goes.

But surely that thinking is flawed. It’s hardly a shock to discover that when mineral prices fall and stock values plummet, companies are no longer in a position to fork out the enormous upfront costs of building new mines.

Not until a mine is up and running is its proponent in a position to make operational changes, including temporary shutdowns, to ride out the industry’s inevitable ups and downs.

A few years ago, North American Palladium wisely shut down its Lac des Iles mine north of Thunder Bay when the price of palladium plunged. It restarted the operation when the price came back up, casting the views of cynics aside.

Fortunes can also lead the other way. Some may remember when Inmet Mining caved on a major expansion at its former Schreiber zinc mine after prices for that mineral crashed. But none of that means the province should abandon a sensible plan to build a main access road into the James Bay lowlands. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

27th October 2014

Aboriginal rights: A simple matter of rights denied – by Jim Coyle (Toronto Star – October 26, 2014)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

“People went into the Ring of Fire under the old idea that they could get what
they wanted under the old terms. And it turns out that under the new terms it’s
going to be done differently. This is the shifting of power, just as the pipeline
story is the shifting of power. Suddenly, people are realizing that they can’t get
those pipelines without the aboriginals. That’s real power. This is not the same
Canada.” (Public thinker John Ralston Saul)

If the biggest favour one human being can do another is to speak the truth, especially when that truth is uncomfortable to hear, then Canadians probably owe John Ralston Saul a collective nod of thanks.

To this high season of books by and about aboriginal people in Canada, Saul this week adds The Comeback, a celebration of how native people are empowering themselves, a review of how they’ve been (and continue to be) wronged, and a warning that Canada is at an historic moment when this missing piece in nation-building must be addressed.

He does not claim to speak for aboriginal Canadians. More than ever, they do that for themselves, he says. “There’s a critical mass of aboriginal thinkers and leaders and writers who are using the methods which can get to the population at large — very fine novels, very fine essays, very fine public arguments,” he told the Star. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

22nd October 2014

Hopes for Ontario’s Ring of Fire doused as mining companies grow wary – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – October 22, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” mineral belt was supposed to be a $60-billion natural resources treasure trove that would bring employment and economic prosperity to a remote part of the province’s north. It hasn’t worked out that way.

The project’s key player has given up, leaving the future of the deposit in question and hurting prospects that it will ever reach the lofty expectations of politicians.

Today, not much is happening in the Ring, a 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of mostly chromite in the boggy James Bay lowlands, 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

The region was said to be so rich in resources that it would rival Sudbury’s nickel basin and Alberta’s oil sands. Instead, the area remains undeveloped, a victim of the global slump in commodity prices and bureaucratic red tape.

“I’m disappointed that it hasn’t advanced more. It’s a long time, seven years after discovery,” said Neil Novak, the geologist who made the first discovery in the Ring and is now exploring for other metals as the chief executive officer of Black Widow Resources Inc.

In addition to the complete lack of infrastructure – there are no roads or power in the area – there is no real plan on how to mine the chromite, which is used to harden steel. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

17th October 2014

Renewable energy a tough sell for prospective RoF developers – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – October 16, 2014)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

RONTO (miningweekly.com) – Among the many challenges facing as many as 20 mining companies holding claims in the Ring of Fire (RoF) mineral region of Northern Ontario, the most significant might be the limited infrastructure.

However, besides having to deal with exploration, project planning, First Nations negotiations and local capacity building, project proponents were under mounting pressure from stricter legislation, environmental lobby groups and locals to include renewable-energy sources in their future project plans.

Ontario government RoF Secretariat senior policy adviser Blaine Bouchard on Thursday told delegates at the Renewables and Mining Summit and Exhibition, in Toronto, that the nine-member group of Matawa group First Nations, who inhabit the province’s Far North, had made it clear in multilateral discussions that current diesel-based electricity generation was prohibitive of economic development and posed serious environmental impacts.

The First Nations living in the remote region were completely dependent on diesel electricity generation for their energy needs, owing to the province’s energy grid only reaching as far north as the Dryden region. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Power Issues, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

15th October 2014

Three big ‘whoppers’ told about the Ring of Fire – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 15, 2014)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay

‘Ridiculous’ to compare northern Ontario mineral find to the Alberta oil sands, expert says

Once called Canada’s ‘next oil sands’, the Ring of Fire mining development area in northern Ontario has yet to live up to its promise.

Federal Treasury Board Chair Tony Clement called the Ring of Fire “a game-changer for Canada” with “potential impact…akin to what the oil sands did for Alberta and Canada” just last year.

But that was before Cliffs Natural Resources halted its plans for a chromite mine in November 2013. Now the future of the Ring of Fire is far less certain, and even less likely to live up to what some say were always overinflated claims of its potential.

Here are three big ‘whoppers’ told about the Ring of Fire.

1. Chromium is a rare and valuable mineral.

From the Ontario Chamber of Commerce 2014 report ‘Uncovering the economic potenital of Ontario’s Ring of Fire : “The most promising discovery [in the Ring of Fire] is the first commercial quantities of chromite in North America. Based on current projections, the deposit is significant enough to sustain activity for a century.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

9th October 2014

Cliffs Natural Resources Sees No Deadline to Sell Noncore Assets – by John Miller (Wall Street Journal – October 8, 2014)

http://online.wsj.com/home-page

Despite Continuing Talks Over Shedding Some Mines, CEO Says ‘There Is No Ticking Clock’

Under fire as his company’s stock plummets, the chief executive of Cliffs Natural Resources, Inc. said that despite continuing talks to sell some mines at home and abroad, he isn’t under any deadline to sell noncore assets and urges patience.

“There’s no ticking clock,” said Lourenco Goncalves, whose company’s share price has fallen by more than half since he took over in August.

S&P has lowered the Cleveland-based miner’s credit rating to BB- from BBB- with a negative outlook, mostly because of falling iron ore prices. “They’re predicting the past,” referring to Cliffs’ poor performance in the recent few years, Mr. Goncalves said of the rating firm. Of the stock-price decline, he said, “I haven’t sold a share,” adding, “I can’t control stupidity” in the market.

Cliffs, one of the worst performers on the S&P 500 index in the past two years, has been hurt by declining iron-ore prices, which have fallen over 40% this year, due to oversupply and slumping Chinese demand. Cliffs suffered a net loss of $1.9 million in the second quarter of 2014, versus a $133.1 million profit over the same period a year ago. Its revenue dropped 26%.

Cliffs isn’t alone in being hit by falling iron ore prices. The iron-ore industry is on the verge of a potentially massive shake-up. Rio Tinto Group, one of the world’s top three producers, disclosed this week that it had received a takeover offer this past summer from Glencore GLNCY -2.06% PLC. Such an offer is expected to become attractive to Rio Tinto shareholders if iron ore prices fall further and the company’s financial performance slackens. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Cliffs Natural Resources, International Media Resource Articles, Iron Ore, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery, United States Mining and History | 0 Comments

9th October 2014

Make no little plans, my son [Economic planning northern Ontario] – by David Robinson (Northern Ontario Business – October 2014)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.  

Dave Robinson is an economist with the Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development at Laurentian University.drobinson@laurentian.ca 

As an economist, I often get calls from the media about national and provincial issues. As an economist who studies economic development in Northern Ontario, I don’t get many calls. Most of those are asking for a speaker and almost none want my advice on economic development. I have only had a few calls from First Nation communities. I’d like to think I know something about development, so why am I left sitting in a corner sad and lonely?

It could be because everyone knows that academics, including me, are pretty useless. I’d hate to think so, but it could be. It could be the economic development people in Northern Ontario are so good they don’t need academic advice. It could be that the province is doing such a good job that that no one needs independent research and advice from the ivory tower.

My guess is that that because Northern universities have never focused on economic development issues for the North, media people and economic development officers simply don’t think about heading to the campus for help. The exception is the Community Economic and Social Development program at Algoma University. More recently, Laurentian University has established a new School of Northern Development that will do research and provide courses on Northern Ontario development. Things are getting better, however slowly. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

8th October 2014

Ring of Fire junior: “When will this horse drink?” – by Jonathan Migneault (Northern Ontario Busisness – October 8, 2014)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. 

Critics of the province’s announcement in late August to establish an interim board for a Ring of Fire development corporation said it’s too little, too late.

Political adversaries of the Wynne government said the announcement will not result in any momentum at all in developing the $60-billion mining camp.

“We’re no further ahead today than we were four or five years ago,” said Sudbury MPP Joe Cimino of the NDP. “There’s been work in the last few years to communicate with the First Nations, but not from day one.”

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, the Progressive Conservatives’ finance critic, said the announcement marked “the sixth time in nine months the government has announced the Ring of Fire development corporation. Yet despite that considerable length of time, key industry, First Nations and Ontario Northland still haven’t been invited to the table.”

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle said the government met its commitment to establish a development corporation for the dormant Far North mining camp 60 days after the premier’s July 3 throne speech. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

6th October 2014

NDP critic knocks Liberals over Ring of Fire – Michael Mantha Letter to the Editor (Sudbury Star – October 4, 2014)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Michael Mantha is the MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin and the NDP Critic for Northern Development and Mines.

Re: Minister defends record on Ring of Fire

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle’s letter to the editor criticizing NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on the Ring of Fire demonstrates the Liberal government’s failure to develop the project and Premier Wynne’s lack of leadership for Northern Ontario.

The minister claims his government is leading the way to drive development in the Ring of Fire and that significant progress has been made despite his government’s widely reported failures on the project. Ask Northerners what they think about the Liberal record on Ring of Fire.

After lack of action on the Ring of Fire over the last seven years and a vague announcement of creating a development corporation, the Wynne government gave itself a deadline of 60 days to create that corporation that was to include partners in industry and First Nations. What the Wynne government produced, in order to meet its self-imposed deadline, was a board comprised of four government bureaucrats sitting at the table by themselves.

The Wynne government failed to bring industry together. Premier Wynne and Minister Gravelle failed to bring First Nations together. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Northern Ontario Politics, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

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