19th May 2015

Northeastern Ontario municipalities back First Nations’ proposal for a railway across traditional lands for Ring of Fire – by Len Gilles (Timmins Daily Press – May 19, 2015)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Martin was a guest speaker at the spring meeting of NEOMA, the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association, which met in Iroquois Falls on Friday.

He outlined for municipal leaders from across the North how the plan is to build and east-west rail corridor from Moosonee, up to Kashechewan and then over to Webequie, where the Ring Of Fire mining prospects are located. Further to that, Martin said Mushkegowuk also wants to install a high voltage hydro transmission line to the same area.

The Ring of Fire is the name given to the vast deposit of chromite and nickel, located in the McFauld’s Lake and Webequie area, about 600 kilometres north-west of Timmins. The prospect is valued in the tens of billions of dollars.

After an extensive presentation by Grand Chief Martin on Friday, NEOMA members voted on, and approved, a resolution of support put forward by the City of Timmins, seeking formal support for the Mushkegowuk plan.

Before the resolution could be voted on, Cochrane mayor Peter Politis stood up to say he had a concern about the Timmins resolution, which he said had a “nuance” about the conceptual support for Mushkegowuk to privatize the rail service in Northeastern Ontario. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th May 2015

[Ring of Fire] Minister marks mining week at TSX – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – May 15, 2015)

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

Anyone who says the federal government isn’t doing anything to advance development of the Ring of Fire hasn’t been paying attention, says Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford.

Rickford initiated the siren at the opening of business Thursday at the Toronto Stock Exchange to mark National Mining Week, a celebration of Canada’s leadership and expertise in the industry.

The minister hand-picked a who’s who of “movers and shakers” from Northern Ontario to accompany him at the ceremony and they met in a round-table session afterward to discuss mining in the Ring of Fire

Among those invited were Frank Smeenk, president and chief executive officer of KWG Resources, and Alan Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources. Noront recently purchased the assets of Cliffs Natural Resources in the Ring of Fire, making it the biggest player in the Ring.

Rickford took the opportunity when addressing the stock exchange to list the ways in which the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been working to get ready for mining the rich chromite deposits in the James Bay lowlands. Read the rest of this entry »

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8th May 2015

Important to get Ring of Fire ‘right': Gravelle – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Northern Life – May 08, 2015)

http://www.northernlife.ca/

Mines minister addresses Chamber of Commerce

Despite some frustration the Ring of Fire development has been at a standstill for years, Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle said it’s important to “get it right” before moving ahead with any infrastructure investments.

Gravelle was in Sudbury Thursday, where he addressed the city’s Chamber of Commerce with an update on Ontario’s mining sector.

While the province has committed to invest $1 billion to build infrastructure to connect the remote Ring of Fire mineral deposit by road, it has not yet provided any details as to when that work will begin.

“Timelines can and may be altered depending on moving forward with the work we’re doing with the Ring of Fire Development Corporation,” Gravelle said after his speech.

Gravelle said the companies involved in the Ring of Fire understand moving their deposits into production will take time. “(Noront Resources president and CEO Alan Coutts) wants to see the project move as quickly as possible, but he’s cautious, as we are, that we make sure the First Nations that are directly impacted by any mine development, that we make sure they can see real benefits from the project,” Gravelle said. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st May 2015

Rail idea in Ring of Fire gathering steam – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – April 30, 2015)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – The City of Timmins this week gave its formal approval to the Mushkegowuk Council plan to create a new railway link from the James Bay coast to the Ring Of Fire mining development.

The issue was put forward in a resolution of support to be sent to the office of Premier Kathleen Wynne, to Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle and to the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA).

The support from Timmins is for an initiative first described in a Daily Press news story back in January when Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Lawrence Martin said there were plans in the works for Mushkegowuk to buy the Ontario Northland railway.

Martin revealed that a Toronto-based rail investment group, TGR Rail, had the funding in place if the province was ready to give the go-ahead for the purchase. Martin explained that a new rail line could be extended beyond the existing ONR line that runs from Cochrane to Moosonee.

The Timmins resolution said the creation of a new rail link would not only see new economic development and growth for First Nations, it would also put Timmins in a prime situation to serve Ring Of Fire mining companies. This would also create the possibility that ore from the huge mining region could be processed or refined in Timmins. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st May 2015

NEWS RELEASE: Noront Completes Acquisition of Securities of KWG Resources Inc.

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – April 30, 2015) – Noront Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE: NOT) (“Noront”) has completed the indirect acquisition of 111,733,215 common shares (each a “Purchased Share”) of KWG Resources Inc. (“KWG”) (TSX VENTURE: KWG) from Cliffs Greene B.V. (“Cliffs Greene”) in connection with the previously-announced broader transaction pursuant to which Noront acquired certain other assets from affiliates of Cliffs Greene. The Purchased Shares of KWG are held by Noront’s wholly-owned subsidiary Noront Muketei Minerals Ltd.

As a result, Noront beneficially owns approximately 13.8% of the issued and outstanding common shares of KWG as at the date of acquisition.

The Purchased Shares were acquired for investment purposes. Noront may increase or decrease its beneficial ownership in KWG in the future, depending on, among other factors, market conditions and other factors relevant to Noront’s investment decisions. Other than the Purchased Shares, Noront has no current intention to increase its beneficial ownership of, or control or direction over, additional securities of KWG.
About Noront Resources

Noront Resources Ltd. is focused on development of the high-grade Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper, platinum and palladium deposit and the high-grade Black Thor and Blackbird chromite deposits, all of which are located in the James Bay Lowlands of Ontario in an emerging metals camp known as the Ring of Fire. www.norontresources.com Read the rest of this entry »

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29th April 2015

Editorial: Not all pleased with Ring of Fire sale (Northern Miner – April 29, 2015)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

April 28 saw the closing of Noront Resources’ acquisition of Cliffs Natural Resources’ chromite assets in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire region. The deal saw a last-minute bump-up in the price to US$27.5 million from the US$20 million agreed upon in late March.

The assets are comprised of three chromite deposits and associated claims that were held by Cliffs. The U.S. iron ore major says the sale is “another step in divesting interests in non-core assets” and that the proceeds will be used to cover costs associated with its bankruptcy filing in Canada.

Noront had a little more to say on the final price, however, commenting that in between the first offer and closing, Cliffs “had received an unsolicited, competing bid which it determined, after consultation … could reasonably be expected to lead to a superior proposal.” Thus, the reason for the higher price upon closing on April 28.

Noront’s flagship project has been its 100%-owned, high-grade, nickel-copper-platinum group metals Eagle’s Nest deposit — the only deposit in the Ring of Fire with a positive feasibility study. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th April 2015

Noront pays more for Cliffs claims – by Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – April 29, 2015)

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

Noront Resources has formally acquired three key chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire, but for a much higher price than what the company had offered earlier this year.

The Toronto-based company said Tuesday it increased its offer to US$27.5 million from $20 million after the previous owner of the properties, Cliffs Natural Resources, “received an unsolicited, competing bid.”
“To ensure maximum value was received for its chromite assets, Cliffs then requested that both parties submit revised final binding offers, at which point Noront increased its offer to $27.5 million,” Noront said in a statement Tuesday.

“We feel $27.5 million is an attractive price for the acquisition of these strategic assets,” said Noront president Alan Coutts. Noront now holds 360 mining claims and roughly 65 per cent (80,000 hectares) of the Ring of Fire mining belt located about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

“The project has value,” observed Thunder Bay-based Ontario Prospectors Association executive director Garry Clark. “It just depends on how long you can sit on it.”

Cleveland-based Cliffs, which noted the increased amount for the chromite properties in a separate news release Tuesday, said the planned sale “is another step in divesting interests in non-core assets.” Read the rest of this entry »

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28th April 2015

NEWS RELEASE: NORONT ANNOUNCES GRANTING OF APPROVAL AND VESTING ORDER AND CLOSING OF THE ACQUISITION OF CLIFFS CHROMITE ASSETS

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – April 28, 2015) – The Quebec Superior Court has granted an approval and vesting order (the “Order”) for the acquisition by Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront” or “the Company”) (TSX VENTURE: NOT) of the shares of Cliffs Chromite Ontario Inc. (“CCOI”) and Cliffs Chromite Far North Inc. (“CCFNI”), both indirect wholly owned subsidiaries of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (“Cliffs”) for a purchase price of US$27.5 million.

On March 23, 2015, Noront entered into a share purchase agreement with certain subsidiaries of Cliffs, including Cliffs Quebec Iron Mining ULC (“CQIM”), pursuant to which the Company would acquire the shares of CCOI and CCFNI. Noront was subsequently advised by Cliffs that it had received an unsolicited, competing bid which it determined, after consultation with its legal and financial advisors and the Monitor, could reasonably be expected to lead to a superior proposal. Following receipt of this proposal, and to ensure maximum value was received for its chromite assets in the Ring of Fire, Cliffs requested that both parties submit revised final binding offers by close of business on April 15, 2015. Noront increased its offer to $27.5 million which was ultimately accepted by Cliffs and the parties entered into an amended share purchase agreement reflecting the revised purchase price.

The transaction closed prior to market opening on April 28, 2015.

“We feel $27.5 million is an attractive price for the acquisition of these strategic assets, which alongside our Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper-platinum group element deposit and our Blackbird chromite deposit will allow us to further our vision of becoming the leading resource company in the Ring of Fire,” said Noront President and CEO Alan Coutts. “Our next step is to have meaningful dialogue with the local First Nations and government regarding the development of these chromite assets which represent a generational opportunity.” Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

Province murky on its budget commitment to Ring of Fire – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Northern Life – April 27, 2015)

http://www.northernlife.ca/

2015 budget hints at 2018 start for infrastructure investments

While the province reaffirmed its $1-billion commitment to transportation infrastructure for the Ring of Fire, the timeline for any government spending remains murky.

Nickel Belt MPP France Gélinas expressed her disappointment after the Liberals announced the budget April 23 that the Ring of Fire funding had been taken out of the budget and pushed back to 2018, when Ontarians are due to return to the polls.

“Whenever a government makes a promise that depends on winning the next election, there’s reason to start to doubt their commitment,” Gélinas told NorthernLife.ca. “It’s a huge step backwards for the Ring of Fire.”

Gélinas got the 2018 date from a graphic on page 54 of the budget, which depicted some provincial government funding commitments with red arrows pointing to the right. Below the arrows was a timeline of dates, starting at 2014-15, and ending at 2023-24. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

Ring of Fire Press Release: University of Toronto Instructors Launch Kickstarter Campaign for Ring of Fire Academic Research Project

In early April, Shadi Ramos and Fionn Byrne, two Landscape Architecture Instructors from the University of Toronto, launched their 40 day Kickstarter campaign, Ring of Fire.

The Ring of Fire is set to be the largest infrastructural project in Canada second only to the oil sands of Alberta. Situated in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario, the potential development area is 540 kilometers north of Thunder Bay and another 1,400 kilometers north of Toronto. This 5,000‐squarekilometer crescent shape deposit of chromite, nickel, and other platinum group metals is thought to be worth as much as $50‐billion and will require massive investment in infrastructure and housing to make the mining project operational. The area’s economy and ecology will be drastically changed in the coming years. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

Federal help in Ring of Fire linked to community benefits (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – April 25, 2015)

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

The federal government needs to see the potential for community benefits before investing in the Ring of Fire development.

That’s the message Aime Dimatteo, director general for FedNor, gave during his presentation at the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association conference, which was held this week in Thunder Bay.
Dimatteo argued the project is moving forward and pointed to the joint funded study with the province that’s looking at an east-west road corridor.

He said he was referring to the direction the federal government has taken in terms of building the infrastructure for the Ring of Fire. But the government wants to make it clear that those investments have to have community benefits, he said.

“If it is just about putting a road from a highway into a mining site that’s not going to have any community benefit, the federal government’s programs won’t come to bear,” he said. “In the case of the east-west road study that was announced jointly by the federal and provincial governments, it will connect four remote communities. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

NEWS RELEASE: First Nation Chiefs seek fair, inclusive and transparent bidding process for Cliffs Chromite assets

MARTEN FALLS FIRST NATION, ON, April 25, 2015 /CNW/ – The leaders of Marten Falls First Nation and Aroland First Nation are expressing disappointment that the bidding process for the Cliffs Chromite project assets, as currently managed, has not been inclusive and transparent, leading to a potential unfair and biased outcome. The leaders assert there is a bidder who not only has First Nation support, but has a superior bid that will benefit Cliffs’ creditors and help advance the Chromite project for Ontario.

“We are united in opposing the proposed Noront and Franco-Nevada deal and we will do everything in our capacity to make sure that no ore will ever leave our backyards without the meaningful involvement and participation of all Matawa First Nations,” said Interim Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation. “It is incomprehensible that the interest and ability of our communities to participate in the transaction has been so discounted that we were never even approached for any commercial discussion. Contrary to statements made in the Court, that the Matawa First Nations should be indifferent to who ultimately buys the Chromite assets, our communities will be directly, economically and forever impacted by the outcome.”

Under the proposed Noront transaction, Franco-Nevada will purchase a 3% Net Smelter Royalty (“NSR”) on the chromite mining claims as part of their agreements to finance the deal. This will bring the total NSR to 5% on these claims, a very high royalty load that will significantly impair the ability to justify and finance the ultimate construction of the Chromite project. Read the rest of this entry »

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24th April 2015

NDP NEWS RELEASE: CONSERVATIVE BUDGET COMPLETELY IGNORES RING OF FIRE

OTTAWA – (April 23, 2015) While NDP Mining critic Claude Gravelle (Nickel Belt) and NDP Special Advisor to the Ring of Fire Howard Hampton were visiting communities involved in the Ring of Fire development, the Conservatives presented a budget that offers nothing to get shovels in the ground and the project started.

“The Ring of Fire is an incredible opportunity to invest in good sustainable jobs for the middle class in Northern Ontario,” said Gravelle. “Northern Ontarians want this project and the Ottawa Conservatives simply won’t listen.”

Not only does Budget 2015 make no mention of Northern Ontario, it fails to allocate any funding for the Ring of Fire.

“This is a project that will benefit not just Northern Ontarians, but the province for generations to come,” said Hampton. “The Conservatives must sit down with First Nations, the Province of Ontario and Northern communities and get moving on the Ring of Fire.”

Tom Mulcair and the NDP are committed to continuing to build relationships across Northern Ontario and supporting the development of the Ring of Fire. Read the rest of this entry »

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24th April 2015

‘Ring of Fire’ asset sale descends into chaos – by Peter Koven (National Post – April 24, 2015)

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

The sale of prized chromite assets in Northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” mineral belt has descended into chaos, according to sources and court filings, with multiple bidders and dissenters and no certainty about the endgame.

The whole mess should be sorted out on Friday, when the Quebec Superior Court will listen to arguments and determine how the contested bidding process should proceed. Until recently, this process did not seem controversial in the least.

On March 23, Noront Resources Ltd. announced a deal to buy the chromite assets from Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. for US$20 million. Cliffs is making a much-publicized retreat from Canada, and sold the assets for a fraction of what it paid to acquire them.

The Noront deal was expected to close in mid-April. But on April 13, Cliffs received a $23 million rival bid for the assets, court filings show, which prompted another round of bidding and a disputed result. Additionally, four First Nations groups are contesting Noront’s takeover and told the Superior Court they are plotting their own bid. (Cliffs’ Canadian unit is currently in creditor protection, meaning everything is being done through the courts.) Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd April 2015

Federal budget 2015 promises funds for Ring of Fire, forestry – (CBC News Thunder Bay – April 22, 2015)

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

Tuesday’s budget also extends mining exploration tax credit

The federal budget holds plenty of funds for northwestern Ontario, according to Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford.

Rickford, the Conservative MP for the riding of Kenora, said the government will spend $23 million over five years for chromite processing. Chromite is the key mineral in the Ring of Fire mining development area. There were other mining benefits, as well.

“We’ve extended the mining exploration tax credit and expanded the definition of mining exploration expenses to include the costs of community consultations and environmental assessment process to be 100 per cent deductible, effective immediately,” he said on Tuesday.

The Conservative government tabled the federal budget on Tuesday with a $1.4 billion surplus, down from $6.4 billion projected a year ago and $1.9 billion in November.

The budget also includes $86 million over two years for small forest companies to spend on innovation and expanding markets. Read the rest of this entry »

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