15th April 2014

Bands go to bat for Ring of Fire road – by Staff (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – April 15, 2014)

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

Two First Nations that stand to benefit economically from the development of the Ring of Fire mining belt have “reaffirmed” their commitment to support a north-south road into the mineral-rich region.

“The development of the Ring of Fire requires infrastructure, and the first priority is to build a road that will allow people and goods to move,” Marten Falls and Aroland said Monday in a joint news release.

The two bands also expressed a willingness to “work with mining companies, governments and other partners” to ensure First Nations benefit form any development.

Potential chromite and nickel mines are located in the Ring of Fire about 550 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. Chromite is an ingredient in stainless steel.

A 340-km north-south road into the Ring of Fire proposed by Cliffs Natural Resources was kiboshed last fall when Ontario’s Mining and Lands Commission ruled it would infringe on mining claims held by other companies. Read the rest of this entry »

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9th April 2014

“The Next Big Thing” for Canada [Resource Development] – by the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney (Ottawa – April 8, 2014)

CANADA 2020 – http://canada2020.ca/

“Northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” is a classic example of our potential and our problem. It has been
described as “the most promising mining opportunity in Canada in a century”. And yet, despite its
unparalleled potential, the project has been hamstrung for years by uncertainties about aboriginal
concerns, by infrastructure limitations and environmental challenges. If properly developed,
significant deposits of copper, zinc, nickel, platinum, vanadium and gold could contribute more
than $25 billion in economic activity and almost $7 billion in government revenues. What is
desperately needed is a concrete action plan and an enhanced spirit of partnership to bring that
promise to life.” Right Honourable Brian Mulroney (Ottawa – April 8, 2014)

“The Next Big Thing for Canada”

Thank you, John, for your most generous remarks.

Let me also congratulate you and your Government for the forthright position you are taking on the lawless takeover of Crimea. The principles and values we cherish in Canada should be the constant rudder for actions we take on foreign policy. History teaches us eloquently what happens when violations of international law and national sovereignty are ignored in the interest of expediency.

As the first G7 country to recognize the newly independent Ukraine in 1991, Canada should be in the vanguard of those safe-guarding its fundamental freedoms and staunchly supporting those seeking to reinforce that independence. Your invitation tonight presents a great challenge : What is “the next big thing” for Canada? Read the rest of this entry »

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7th April 2014

Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire far from fading – by Saul Chernos (Daily Commercial News – April 7, 2014)

http://dcnonl.com/

It’s been a burning question in mining circles the last few years – when will northwestern Ontario’s Ring of Fire see production?

Time will tell if the 5,000-square-kilometre mineral hot-spot in the James Bay Lowlands holds the kind of promise that has a couple dozen mining companies prospecting for reportedly substantial reserves of chromite, copper, nickel, gold, platinum and zinc.

Despite nearly matching Prince Edward Island in size, the Ring of Fire is lacking the hydro, roads and rail lines mines would need if they’re ever to see the light of day.

The infrastructure deficit hasn’t deterred companies from staking claims, exploring, and negotiating with local First Nations. However, progress has teetered between setbacks and incremental advancements. Late last year, citing an uncertain timeline and infrastructure concerns, Cleveland, Ohio-based Cliffs Natural Resources put Ring of Fire activities on indefinite hold.

In a statement, Cliffs said it would close its Canadian offices but would continue working with the Government of Ontario, First Nations communities and other interested parties to explore potential solutions. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th April 2014

NEWS RELEASE: KWG APPLAUDS ANNOUNCEMENT OF ONTC DEVELOPMENTS

Toronto, Canada, April 4, 2014 – KWG Resources Inc. (TSX-V: KWG) (“KWG”) is very encouraged that Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle earlier today announced his support for the development and renewal of the capacities of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.

“Around the globe, the recurring challenge of insuring the environmental and economic sustainability of bulk commodity extraction and processing – is transportation,” said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “One of the unique blessings of the location of the Ring of Fire discovery in Northern Ontario is the opportunity to exploit it with the multi-billion dollar legacy infrastructure assets of the Ontario Northland Railroad. This is very substantial capital that need not be spent or amortized in fixing very long term and large tonnage transportation costs. It is a huge competitive advantage.”

“The ONR has lost one freight customer after another in recent years, to the point where its survival became very questionable. The discovery of the Ring of Fire’s chromite deposits now promises to insure substantial bulk freight traffic for many generations. This can revive and expand the ONR. In fact, we have suggested that the Minister consider if the ONTC Act might be amended to become the Northland Development Corporation Act. This would be consistent with the ONTC’s original mandate and the Minister’s expressed desire to have new infrastructure requirements met by a focused development corporation.” Read the rest of this entry »

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4th April 2014

KWG V-P blames province for stalling Ring of Fire development – by Jonathan Migneault (Northern Ontario Business – April 4, 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 province was “blinded” by Cliffs Natural Resources’ promises to invest in the Ring of Fire to the detriment of the project’s development, said Moe Lavigne, KWG Resources’ vice-president of exploration and development.

“At least from the provincial point of view, they were enamoured with Cliffs, and the fact Cliffs had $3.5 billion in their pockets ready to invest, and they shuttered out everything else,” Lavigne said at a Sudbury Chamber of Commerce event, April 3. “Now that has blown up.”

In 2009, the Toronto-based junior miner began staking mining claims in the Ring of Fire for a future railroad from its isolated Big Daddy chromite deposit in the James Bay lowlands, heading south for 328 kilometres to a point on the Canadian National Railway’s main line, just west of the village of Nakina in northwestern Ontario.

Both KWG and the Ohio mining giant were development partners in the Ring at one time, but had a falling out. Later, when Cliffs approached KWG to gain access to its transportation corridor, KWG refused and the matter went to the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner. Read the rest of this entry »

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4th April 2014

Ring of Fire: Rail, natural gas power KWG plan – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – April 4, 2014)

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

Maurice Lavigne’s obligation, as a mine developer, is to optimize economic stability. And that’s what the vice-president of exploration and development with KWG Resources Inc. says his company will do with its plans to build a railroad and process chromite ore with natural gas from its holdings in the Ring of Fire.

You have to keep your costs low with any project, let alone a project on this scale, Lavigne said in Sudbury on Thursday. A “railroad drives down your cost, the gas drives down your costs,” Lavigne told reporters after speaking to a noon crowd at a luncheon held by the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re going to make this project economically robust and we owe that to society.” Lavigne said KWG doesn’t want to build a fragile industry that “shuts down one year and opens the next year and creates chaos in the communities.

“You’ve seen that, you know that movie, we don’t want to do that,” he said. Nor does his company want to go to government and taxpayers looking for subsidies to electricity rates, he said. Lavigne said he came to Sudbury, at the invitation of the chamber, knowing he was coming to “Cliffs-friendly territory.” Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd April 2014

First Nations must be equal partners in Ring of Fire: Rae – by Jonathan Migneault (Northern Ontario Business – April 2, 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.

Ontario has lagged behind other provinces – namely Quebec and British Columbia – when it comes to its dealings with First Nations, said Bob Rae. The former Premier of Ontario became the chief negotiator for the Matawa First Nations – representing nine Native governments – last year.

In his first role outside of the political arena on Parliament Hill, Rae has worked to develop a framework that would form the basis for a partnership between the Ontario government, the Matawa First Nations and the companies seeking to profit from the Ring of Fire.

Prior to a March 6 speech at Laurentian University, Rae said that Quebec and BC have have been much more open than Ontario to sharing management decisions with First Nations and granting authority to regional governments.

“If you look at the kinds of agreements that have been signed in other provinces you see very clearly that you’re looking at a way of not simply consulting with First Nations, but of giving First Nations the ability to take real responsibility for the building and management of infrastructure, the making of economic and social decisions, and participating fully in decisions affecting the natural environment,” Rae said. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd April 2014

Aboriginal talent pool central for Ring of Fire success – Noront – by Simon Rees (MiningWeekly.com – April 2, 2014)

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

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Engaging with the growing aboriginal talent pool is increasingly critical for those operating in Canada, Noront Resources VP for human resources Leanne Hall told members of the Canadian Institute of Mining’s Management and Economics Society on March 26.

“There are around 1 200 aboriginal communities in Canada currently located within 200 km of mineral properties. It’s estimated 60% of mining activity in Canada happens on aboriginal lands,” she said. “Aboriginal Canadians are the most accessible source of talent closest to our projects, so it makes sense to look to them for developing a workforce.”

Noront is developing its flagship Eagle’s Nest project in the Ring of Fire region, in northern Ontario, which it hopes to bring into commercial production in 2017. The project has just over 11.13-million tonnes proven and probable reserves grading 1.68% nickel, 0.87% copper, 0.89 g/t platinum and 3.09 g/t palladium.

Aboriginal people also represent one of the fastest-growing demographics in Canada. “Currently there are 652 000 aboriginal people in Canada of working age. By 2020, another 400 000 aboriginal youth will come on stream. So there will be a million aboriginal people available for work,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st April 2014

NEWS RELEASE: Wabassi Joint Venture Partner Comments on the Agreement between the Province of Ontario and Matawa First Nations

/NOT FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES OR OVER THE UNITED STATES NEWSWIRE SERVICES./

VANCOUVER, April 1, 2014 /CNW/ – Discovery Harbour Resources Corp (51% owner & Operator of the Wabassi Project, Northwestern Ontario) (“DHR” or the “Company”) (TSX-V:DHR) is pleased that a framework agreement was entered on March 26, 2014, between the nine Matawa-member First Nations and the Province of Ontario to move forward with a negotiation process on a community-based regional approach to development in the Ring of Fire mineral province. This will include development of an access corridor which is planned to pass through the Wabassi Joint Venture’s claim group located between Eabametoong and Marten Falls settlements.

“We are encouraged that the initial step has been taken between the two groups. We understand that numerous logistical and political challenges lie ahead, but that the infrastructure development to serve the northwestern Ontario First Nations communities and the Ring of Fire will stand as a monumental benefit to all of Ontario, once completed,” said Frank Hegner, President and CEO of the Company. “We believe that perseverance and fairness in these negotiations with all concerned will ultimately result in a very positive outcome.”

Discovery Harbour and its joint venture partners, Northern Shield Resources (TSX-V: NRN) and Great Lakes Resources, a private company, completed their fall, 2013 exploration program in December 2013.To-date, the group has discovered two polymetallic VMS (volcanogenic massive sulfide) systems and two shear zone-hosted gold systems with 32 exploration drill holes. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st April 2014

Bob Rae, John Nash and innovation in the Ring of Fire – by David Robinson (Northern Ontario Business – April 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 

My students should have paid me for giving them the chance to see Bob Rae in action. Not just because Rae is a professional negotiator and the class deals with Nash Bargaining theory. Rae himself is an historic figure and he is dealing with historic treaty issues in the face of an historic mineral development. I brought history into the classroom. Of course, hardly any students knew what they were getting.

Rae’s visit offered students a glimpse of something like the Canada-Sweden Olympic rematch in hockey. Back in the 1840s, a report by Douglass Houghton, Michigan’s first state geologist, set off a copper boom in upper Michigan and Isle Royale in Lake Superior.

The Family Compact of Upper Canada began selling mining properties to promoters on the north shore of Superior and Huron. When chiefs like Shingwaukonse of Garden River objected to southerners selling lands they occupied, the leader
of the Family Compact sent his brother, William Benjamin Robinson, to get the 3,000 Northerners to give up their rights. Read the rest of this entry »

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1st April 2014

Is An Agreement Between Ontario Government And First Nations Good News For Cliffs Natural? – by Trefis Team (Trefis.com – April 1, 2014)

http://www.trefis.com/

The Ontario government and Matawa First Nations have reached a negotiation framework agreement to discuss how to develop the world-class Ring of Fire mineral belt in Northern Ontario where Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) owns huge deposits of chromite.

The company has been unable to develop its assets here owing to lack of agreement among stakeholders on key issues related to environment, revenue sharing, community infrastructure, etc. Also, the region is totally isolated from the rest of the country and needs massive investment to develop connecting transportation infrastructure. This itself has been the subject of an acrimonious court battle between Cliffs and KWG Resources, which controls the land where the key transportation route lies. [1]

Therefore, while an agreement on a common framework is definitely a good first step, it is still going to take a lot of time to negotiate and agree to specific terms and conditions. This means that Cliffs’ investors will do good not to get their hopes up for now. The Black Thor project, right now in the suspended state, is unlikely to be revived any time soon.

Potential Of The Chromite Mines

The Ring of Fire region is thought to hold up to $50 billion worth of minerals and is going to be North America’s first major source of chromite. Read the rest of this entry »

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31st March 2014

Ont. ‘on roadway’ to dialogue on resource extraction – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – March 31, 2014)

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

A lawyer, who has represented both companies and First Nations in negotiating impact benefit agreements, says he’s encouraged by the regional framework agreement signed last week by the province and the Matawa chiefs for the Ring of Fire.

Bill Gallagher of Waterloo, an experienced strategist in the area of native, government and corporate relations, who has written a book on the subject, says it wouldn’t have been easy to achieve that outcome.

It would have been a challenge for former Ontario New Democrat premier Bob Rae, who represented the nine Matawa councils, and retired Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci, representing the government of Ontario, to reach the deal.

For Rae to get the chiefs working in a cohesive manner would, to some extent, “be like herding cats,” said Gallagher in an interview last week from Winnipeg where he was speaking at a conference along with Rae.

Rae is a lawyer whose clients are giving him instruction, he’s giving them advice and it seems to be working, said Gallagher. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th March 2014

Ottawa must step up to the ‘Ring’ – Gravelle – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – March 28, 2014)

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

The Government of Ontario won’t put a number on the “significant investment” it is committed to making to develop infrastructure in the Ring of Fire. But whatever that figure is, it wants the federal government to match it.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle told reporters in Sudbury on Thursday it’s important to have discussions about developing the vast chromite deposits “without setting the bar, without putting a figure in place.”

That’s because the costs of developing transportation, power and other infrastructure will vary according to whether access to remote first nations communities is factored in or not.

But Gravelle insisted the Liberal government of Premier Kathleen Wynne is committed to investing heavily and is looking for that same level of commitment from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives. When the time is appropriate, his government will reveal what kind of money it is prepared to invest in developing the remote area 540 kilomteres northeast of Thunder Bay.

Read the rest of this entry »

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28th March 2014

Gravelle: Province ready to make ‘significant’ Ring of Fire investment – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Northern Life – March 27, 2014)

http://www.northernlife.ca/

For a video presentation of Michael Gravelle’s speech, click here: http://www.northernlife.ca/news/localNews/2014/03/27-gravelle-Sudbury.aspx

Talks ongoing for feds to match provincial investment

The province is prepared to make a “very significant” infrastructure investment in the Ring of Fire, said Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines,told reporters Sudbury today.

“Our commitment to a major investment is locked in. It’s real,” Gravelle said after speaking at a Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce luncheon Thursday. “We have not spoken about that figure specifically and I’m not in a position to do that right now.”

Gravelle made the comments a day after the province signed what he called an “historic landmark” framework agreement with the nine communities of the Matawa First Nations on how to move forward with mineral and community development in the Ring of Fire, a massive mineral deposit in a remote section of northwestern Ontario.

The framework agreement, Gravelle said, will set out the principles and guidelines for more formal discussions on issues such as resource revenue sharing, enhanced environmental assessments and socio-economic support for First Nations. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th March 2014

Province, Matawa chiefs sign Ring of Fire agreement – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – March 27, 2014)

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

Calling it a landmark agreement, Bob Rae said Matawa First Nations chiefs have inked a deal with the province that ensures their communities benefit from development of the Ring of Fire.

In a telephone interview, Rae, the negotiator for the nine Matawa leaders, said the agreement is a game-changer for aboriginal people.

Almost a year after he first met with the chiefs in Thunder Bay, Rae announced the Matawa and the Government of Ontario on Wednesday signed a regional framework agreement that gives natives in the area a stake in how the Ring of Fire will be developed.

The Ring of Fire, located in northwestern Ontario, contains billions in mineral deposits. Advocates believe the Ring could create thousands of jobs in Ontario. Sudbury, as a mining supply and centre, would also benefit from developing the area, they say.

One company, Cliffs Natural Resources, had planned to ship chromite from the Ring to a new smelter in Capreol. The company has put those plans on hold because of a lack of agreement on a number of issues, including with first nations and on infrastructure. Read the rest of this entry »

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