30th July 2014

Ontario First Nations Prepared To Lay Down Their Lives To Protect Lands: Chiefs – by Maria Babbage (The Canadian Press/Huffington Post – July 29, 2014)

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/

TORONTO – Aboriginal people in Ontario are prepared to lay down their lives to protect their traditional lands from any unwanted development, a group of First Nations chiefs said Tuesday.

Five aboriginal chiefs served notice on the Ontario and federal governments, developers and the public that they’ll assert their treaty rights over their traditional territory and ancestral lands.

That includes the rights to natural resources — such as fish, trees, mines and water— deriving benefit from those resources and the conditions under which other groups may access or use them, which must be consistent with their traditional laws, said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy.

“All those seeking to access or use First Nations lands and resources have, at a minimum, a duty to engage, enquire and consult with First Nations with the standards of free, prior and informed consent,” he said.

“We will take appropriate steps to enforce these assertions.”  Tuesday’s declaration follows a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in late June which awarded 1,700 square kilometres of territory to British Columbia’s Tsilhqot’in First Nation, providing long-awaited clarification on how to prove aboriginal title. Read the rest of this entry »

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30th July 2014

NEWS RELEASE: NAN REAFFIRMS RIGHT TO DEFEND LAND, CONTROL DEVELOPMENT

Tuesday July 29, 2014 – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

THUNDER BAY: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Harvey Yesno reaffirmed NAN First Nations’ determination to defend our lands following a Notice of Assertions of First Nations Inherent and Treaty Rights announced by First Nations leaders at Queen’s Park today.

“Proposed resource development is putting tremendous pressure on our lands and First Nations are facing unprecedented challenges and threats to our inherent and Treaty rights,” said Grand Chief Harvey Yesno. “Many communities are struggling to address basic issues such as access to health care, housing, education and economic development. NAN Chiefs have made it clear that we, the people of the land, will defend our right to control development in our territories so that the wealth from our lands continues to benefit and sustain our people and our Nation.”

The Notice of Assertions was adopted by Chiefs at the 40th All Ontario Chiefs Conference last month. It gives notice to all levels of government, industry and the public that First Nations will continue to assert their Inherent and Treaty Rights in traditional territories, and that natural resources remain within First Nation inherent jurisdiction and will be governed accordingly.

“While the governments of Canada and Ontario continue to ignore the spirit and intent of our Treaties, NAN will continue to pursue resource development opportunities with foreign investors and will enter into agreements that respect our rights and bring sustainable, long-term benefits to our communities,” said Yesno. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th July 2014

The end of Cliffs in the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 29, 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. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business ianross@nob.on.ca.

A New York hedge fund proclaims it’s won a bitter proxy fight with Cliffs Natural Resources to achieve majority control of the Ohio iron ore and coal miner’s board of directors. Casablanca Capital said it was successful in convincing Cliffs’ shareholders to elect all six of its nominees at the miner’s annual general meeting in Cleveland, July 29.

The final results are subject to independent inspection over the next three days. If Casablanca is right, it means Cliffs’ hold on its Ring of Fire chromite properties in the James Bay region is tenuous at best.

Casablanca, which acquired 5.2 per cent of Cliffs’ shares, wants to break off Cliffs’ international assets, including its Ring of Fire properties, from its core U.S. iron and coal divisions.

“We are grateful to our fellow Cliffs shareholders for their careful consideration of the issues and gratified that they have sent a resounding message of support for our efforts to drive meaningful change at Cliffs, bring true accountability to the company’s leadership, and restore shareholder value,” said Casablanca fund chairman Donald Drapkin in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th July 2014

UPDATE 2-Hedge fund triumphs in proxy battle with U.S.-based miner Cliffs – by Kim Palmer (Reuters U.K. – July 29, 2014)

http://uk.reuters.com/

(Rewrites throughout with details from meeting, analyst view, background)

(Reuters) – Casablanca Capital triumphed on Tuesday in its proxy battle with miner Cliffs Natural Resources Inc, preliminary estimates show, putting the hedge fund in a position to replace Cliffs’ chief executive and sell off underperforming assets.

Shareholders of Cleveland-based Cliffs voted onto the miner’s board all six nominees put forward by Casablanca, the New York-based fund said, citing estimates from its proxy solicitor. That means they will make up a majority of the 11-person board.

Cliffs CEO Gary Halverson said at the company’s well-attended annual meeting in Cleveland that because of the contested nature of the elections, the results would be announced in the next three business days.

Shares in Cliffs, a producer of iron ore and metallurgical coal, jumped as much as 10.4 percent to $18.33 on the New York Stock Exchange. The vote outcome “is a culmination of years of frustration on behalf of shareholders,” said Garrett Nelson, a mining research analyst at BB&T Capital Markets.

Casablanca began a proxy fight in March against Cliffs, of which it owns 5.2 percent, accusing the miner of destroying shareholder value through an ill-conceived expansion strategy. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th July 2014

NEWS RELEASE: CLIFFS NATURAL RESOURCES INC. ISSUES STATEMENT

CLEVELAND – July 29, 2014 – Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) today made the following statement following the Company’s Annual General Meeting:

“We look forward to receiving the final results of today’s vote, and the Board and management team remain deeply committed to continuing to create long-term value for all of our shareholders. We appreciate the support of the Cliffs shareholders who supported the Company’s slate and the hard work everyday by Cliffs’ more than 6,000 employees.”

The Company will await the preliminary report of the Inspector of Election, IVS Associates, Inc., before releasing any further statements about the vote. The Inspector has indicated that it expects to issue a preliminary tabulation of the vote results within approximately three business days, which Cliffs will publicly announce. Final results of the election will also be announced once they are certified by the Inspector of Election following the customary review and challenge period.

About Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is an international mining and natural resources company. The Company is a major global iron ore producer and a significant producer of high-and low-volatile metallurgical coal. Cliffs’ strategy is to continually achieve greater scale and diversification in the mining industry through a focus on serving the world’s largest and fastest growing steel markets. Driven by the core values of social, environmental and capital stewardship, Cliffs associates across the globe endeavor to provide all stakeholders operating and financial transparency. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th July 2014

PRESS RELEASE: Casablanca Receives Overwhelming Shareholder Support for Change at Cliffs Natural Resources

July 29, 2014, 12:31 p.m. EDT

All Six Nominees on Casablanca’s Majority Slate Elected to Cliffs Board of Directors According to Preliminary Voting Results

NEW YORK, Jul 29, 2014 (BUSINESS WIRE) – Casablanca Capital LP, (“Casablanca”) the beneficial owner of approximately 5.2% of Cliffs Natural Resources (“Cliffs”) shares, announced today that all six of Casablanca’s nominees have been elected to the Cliffs Board of Directors according to preliminary estimates by its proxy solicitor of the voting results at today’s Annual Meeting of Shareholders.

Donald Drapkin, Chairman of Casablanca, said, “We are grateful to our fellow Cliffs shareholders for their careful consideration of the issues and gratified that they have sent a resounding message of support for our efforts to drive meaningful change at Cliffs, bring true accountability to the Company’s leadership, and restore shareholder value.”

Lourenco Goncalves, one of the Casablanca nominees who was elected, said on behalf of all the newly-elected Casablanca nominees, “The conclusion of this proxy contest marks not an end but a beginning. We look forward to working collaboratively with the continuing members of Cliffs’ Board and the Company’s hardworking, dedicated and talented employees to set Cliffs on a course to improve performance and restore shareholder value. Cliffs has tremendous inherent value and we are confident there is much we can and will do to refocus Cliffs and steer it in a new strategic direction.”

In addition to Goncalves, the other Casablanca nominees newly-elected to the Board are Robert P. Fisher, Jr., Joseph Rutkowski, James Sawyer, Gabriel Stoliar, and Douglas Taylor. Read the rest of this entry »

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29th July 2014

NEWS RELEASE: Letter to the Shareholders of KWG Resources Inc.

July 29, 2014 12:12 ET

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – July 29, 2014) - KWG Resources Inc. (TSX VENTURE:KWG)(FRANKFURT:KW6)

Today the shareholders of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc (“Cliffs”) will elect at least four directors who are nominated by Casablanca Capital LP. We expect that this will usher in some change in how Cliffs will in future go about realizing on the value of its assets. This is therefore an opportune time to provide you with a status report on your company’s initiatives. In the past these initiatives have often, of necessity, been in response to the actions of Cliffs and of the government of Ontario.

Minerals are governed by provincial law in Canada. Like most other jurisdictions in the world, Ontario makes it a condition of a mineral lease that further processing of what is mined must be completed in Canada. When it was announced that Ontario was negotiating terms to finance the construction of a road for Cliffs to ship chromite ore from the Ring of Fire, we reminded the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines that the use of KWG’s claims for this purpose would need to comply with this “further processing in Canada” requirement of the law. The question of whether Cliffs may be granted an easement under the Public Lands Act over the KWG claims is still before the Courts.

No matter how that question is ultimately decided, it will not alter the law’s intent that our claims may be used to exploit minerals only if their further processing is completed in Canada. Letter To The Shareholders Of Kwg Resources Inc

In this regard, we are encouraged by the results of the ongoing testing of the direct reduction process that we acquired (the “New Production Method”) and are making application to patent. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th July 2014

Airport/port authority possible for Ring of Fire – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – July 25, 2014)

http://www.wawataynews.ca/

A former deputy minister of Transport Canada recently recommended an airport/port transportation authority model for the Ring of Fire mineral development area.

“It would be at arms length from the government, it would have its own fiduciary financial responsibilities and management responsibilities,” said Nick Mulder, author of the Northern Policy Institute commentary: The Airport/Port Transportation Authority Model Is It Applicable for Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Development. “It would decide on the chair and the management team, it would finalize the plans for the road and railroad or whatever else is needed. It would finalize all the funding with the mining companies and transportation companies and private sector interests, pension funds, whatever.”

Mulder described his recommendation during his July 8 Northern Policy Institute speaker’s breakfast at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay, where he indicated the Ring of Fire infrastructure authority would not be involved in the social and economic infrastructure needs of the First Nation communities in northern Ontario.

“Those 40 or whatever number of communities there are have their own special needs,” Mulder said. “It isn’t up to a business-driven or market-driven kind of entity that I am recommending — they should decide on what kind of water or sewer or other kind of systems they need or local roads in the community or so on.”

Mulder said some of the monies required to finance the Ring of Fire road or railroad could come from the provincial government, but the majority should be raised in the marketplace or through the mining companies. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th July 2014

Feeling the Ring of Fire’s Burn – by Jason Unrau (Unpublished – January 2014)

This unpublished article was originally written for Canadian Business Magazine in January 2014.

Black Thor, Big Daddy and Thunderbird, unearthed between 2007 and 2008, put a place called Ring of Fire on the mining map. Sounding more like comic book gods than incredible mineral discoveries – chromite their dominant feature and crucial for stainless steel manufacture – by the end of 2013 they had roused nearly one billion dollars to the exploration altar.

Frank Smeenk was among the group of six mining execs and geologists who discovered the Ring. Located deep inside Ontario’s north, its riches are vast enough for a century of mining, yet dispersed in a 5000 square km crescent of muskeg so remote, the place might as well be celestial.

“It’s inaccessible for all practical purposes, except by air, and to sell chrome you’ve got to get it to market and its steel mills of the world,” says Smeenk, CEO of KWG Resources, the plucky junior with a 30 per cent stake in Big Daddy, one of the biggest deposits of them all.

It was DeBeers’ quest for new diamond sources after the Second World War that eventually ushered the first mine into this corner of the James Bay Lowlands. But it was Asia’s insatiable economy, emerging fast and furious in the last decade, that turned sights toward the region’s metal potential.

While Ring of Fire is just 90 kilometres west of DeBeers’ Victor Mine, producing diamonds and mining metal are not analogous, says Smeenk, because “… you can put diamonds in your pocket and walk on the plane.” Read the rest of this entry »

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24th July 2014

Beleaguered Cliffs posts Q2 loss, beats expectations – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – July 24, 2014)

http://www.miningweekly.com/page/americas-home

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – US iron-ore and coal producer Cliffs Natural Resources, which is locked in a proxy fight with an activist shareholder for control of the board, on Wednesday reported a net loss for the three months ended June 30, as lower iron-ore and metallurgical steelmaking coal prices and reduced sales pressured the balance sheet.

The Cleveland, Ohio-based miner reported a loss of $2-million, or $0.01 a share, compared with a net income of $133-million, or $0.82 a share, in the second quarter of 2013.

The year-over-year consolidated revenues were 26% lower at $1.1-billion, mainly impacted by a 24% drop in sales volume from the company’s US iron-ore operations.

Seventeen Wall Street analysts had on average expected a loss of $0.06 a share, based on revenue of $1.17-billion.

The cost of goods sold decreased by 17% to $1-billion, mainly driven by reduced volumes, lower idle costs and favourable foreign exchange rates when compared with the second quarter of 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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24th July 2014

Noront appeals Ontario Mining Recorder ruling – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – July 24, 2014)

http://www.miningweekly.com/page/americas-home

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Noront Resources, the proponent of what could possibly be one of the first projects to get off the ground in Ontario’s prospective Ring of Fire mining district, has launched an appeal to the province’s mining and lands commissioner to set aside the finding of the Provincial Mining Recorder that rival KWG Resources is the first to stake two 16-unit claims when they came open on the morning of June 17, 2011.

KWG on Wednesday said it was on Tuesday served with a notice of Noront’s appeal.

The two claims were next to the southern two claims of Fancamp Exploration’s Koper Lake claims, where KWG is assessing the economic potential of the Black Horse chromite deposit under an option agreement with Bold Ventures and Fancamp. Noront is developing the Eagle’s Nest nickel/copper/platinum/palladium deposit.

“Koper Lake is an important amphibious aircraft facility for the Ring of Fire and the area used for landing and docking is within the eastern boundary of these claims. In the past, our exploration crews have been blockaded there, or embargoed from landing there, or [have] been levied substantial landing fees,” said KWG president Frank Smeenk.

He stressed that the firm believed that this was a critical part of the area’s transportation assets and should be operated as a public facility, from which the concept sprang of a federally sponsored port authority. Read the rest of this entry »

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23rd July 2014

Much longer version of “This Magazine” article on Ring of Fire “Our home and golden land” – by Andrew Reeves (This Magazine – May/June 2014)

http://this.org/

This is a much longer and more detailed version of Andrew Reeves’ article on the Ring of Fire which was originally published in the May/June 2014 issue of This Magazine. http://this.org/magazine/2014/06/09/our-home-and-golden-land/?utm_source=thismag&utm_medium=header&utm_campaign=skybar

The on-line version is roughly 6400 words versus the original 3500 words in the print edition of the magazine. This detailed account will be of interest to many and special thanks to journalist Andrew Reeves and This Magazine for giving RepublicOfMining.com permission to post the extended version.

Please note, “Our home and golden land” was written between February and March 2014 and would not reflect the many new issues that affect the continiously evolving story about the Ring of Fire.

OUR HOME AND GOLDEN LAND

“The North is not a quiet place.” Linda Kamerman, Ontario’s Mining and Lands Commissioner Linda Kamerman used that statement to open her September 2013 report on a turf war between rival companies over access rights to a remote crescent of minerals, tucked in the province’s far north where few but local Aboriginals could say they knew where they were. The report sparked yet another round of sabre-rattling and political hand-wringing, the latest in what a labyrinth of competing claims, high-level negotiations and First Nations assurances the project would move forward on their timetable or it wouldn’t.

This is Ontario’s Ring of Fire, an as-yet undeveloped cluster of mining stakes held by 25 combinations of claim holders independently or in partnership. At its best, the Ring is a $60 billion, multi-generational opportunity for provincial, federal and First Nations governments to reap mineral riches from Ontario’s far north, spurring investment in well-paying jobs to replace those lost after the 2008-09 recession. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd July 2014

Documentary producer eyes the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 22, 2014)

 

http://insyncmedia.ca

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. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business ianross@nob.on.ca.

Lalita Krishna has no intention of following the same contrived script that’s evident in the mining reality shows currently being embraced by network television.

The award-winning Toronto producer of television documentaries intends to drill down to the essence of the multi-faceted world of mining by documenting the lives of the people who toil at the grassroots edge of the industry.

Krishna recalls spending four bone-chilling days with Barb Courte Elinesky, CEO of two Thunder Bay drilling companies, and her rugged crew shooting video in a remote exploration site in Greenstone last March.

The conditions were harsh, a vehicle became stuck on an access road, and they returned to their hotel in Beardmore one night after an exhausting day to find all the restaurants closed. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd July 2014

Chromite: ‘Go slow’ on Ring of Fire, say Greens – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – July 22, 2014)

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

A motion calling for responsible development of the Ring of Fire, passed at the Green Party of Canada’s biennial meeting in Fredericton, puts “the party in the game” and shows it has good ideas other parties might want to consider.

Sudbury’s Steve May attended the convention and was surprised to learn every person attending had heard about the rich chromite deposits 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay — whether they were from British Columbia or New Brunswick.

May has been thinking of the Ring of Fire as a regional issue, “but had I lived in Alberta in the early ’80s, I might have thought the development of the tar sands was a regional issue.

“We know it’s not,” he said of the Ring of Fire. “It’s a national project.”

Before delegates to the convention met, they agreed to put a motion on the weekend agenda calling for a five-pillar policy to develop the area. It addresses community benefits, energy, transportation, value-added industry and lifecycle planning for extracted resources.

To maximize the Ring of Fire’s economic potential for Canada, the Greens’ policy is calling for the creation of a working group to assess the feasibility of a value-added stainless steel industry as a requirement of development. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd July 2014

Sioux Lookout gears up for growth [Ontario] – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 21, 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. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business ianross@nob.on.ca.

Sioux Lookout economic development manager Vicki Blanchard wants to make the town of 5,500 more “investment ready.”
Vicki Blanchard, Sioux Lookout’s economic development manager, is an admitted “map freak.”

When she started at her new position in early March with marching orders to make this town of 5,500 “investment ready” for development, Blanchard referred to her love of cartography to begin strategizing.

The town and its busy airport has always been a regional hub providing goods and services to 29 remote communities, including a few in the Ring of Fire.

Blanchard wants to grow out and enhance that capability with some social enterprise, mining and energy initiatives on her agenda.

A resident of nearby Dryden, she shifted over last winter from a development position with the municipality of Greenstone where she spent four years in “Ring of Fire boot camp.”

The rural municipality was knee-deep in the lobbying process, competing with Sudbury and Thunder Bay, in trying to convince Cliffs Natural Resources to site its proposed ferrochrome refinery in the village of Nakina. Read the rest of this entry »

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