Archive | Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Ottawa cools to Ring of Fire’s potential – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – December 21, 2016)

Ottawa has been throwing cold water on the Ring of Fire, a mineral deposit in Northern Ontario that was once thought to be worth more than $60-billion.

Since the federal Liberal Party came to power last year, the government has stonewalled requests to pay for infrastructure, lowered expectations for development and slashed its valuation for the deposit, according to internal Department of Natural Resources documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The skepticism among federal ranks has proven to be another barrier to mining the 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of mostly chromite in the boggy James Bay lowlands and boreal forest. Development of the Ring was already facing significant challenges: No permanent road access, no power, environmental concerns, a prolonged commodities slump and scores of unresolved issues with the nine First Nations groups that live in the region. Continue Reading →

Arrested Development: Down, down, down? Ring of Fire still a burning question – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – December 13, 2016)

The nine chiefs of the Matawa First Nations closest to Ontario’s Ring of Fire gathered around a conference table in July 2013 at what seemed like a historic crossroads to debate the merits of development in a region that had never before experienced it.

Promises of jobs, revenue sharing and infrastructure improvements, some said, could bring prosperity to the struggling communities. On the other hand, development could come too rapidly and at too high a cost to their land and traditional way of life. They needn’t have worried. Three years later, development of the 5,000-square-kilometre area of the James Bay Lowlands is still stuck in neutral.

The Ring of Fire is a deposit of minerals — including nickel, copper, gold, zinc and the extremely rare chromite — some 540 kilometres north of Thunder Bay that is said to be worth up to $60 billion. Dubbed “Canada’s next oilsands,” it could be the biggest resource development Ontario has seen in more than a century. Continue Reading →

It’s not time to sit and wait; First Nations should make most of mineral market lull – by Daniel Bland (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – November 20, 2016)

Daniel Bland has spent the past four years living on the James Bay Cree reserve of Mistissini in northern Quebec, working as lead instructor for Cree Human Resources Development/Cree Nation Government on the design and delivery of basic skills and work-readiness training programs in Cree communities.

Mining and resource extraction companies across Canada continue to ride out a slump in commodity prices that market analysts suggest may continue throughout 2017 before showing signs of any extended recovery. But while that is bad news for mining companies, it could be a blessing in disguise for remote First Nations hoping to benefit from their proximity to potential mining operations.

Canadian policy institutes have paid considerable attention to determining the labour market demands of major mining projects, many on or near aboriginal land. Last fall, the Conference Board of Canada produced a forecast of employment opportunities over the next decade in resource development projects by occupation and region. Continue Reading →

Tom Dodds’ new best friends dabble in the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 11, 2016)

Al Coutts, president of Noront Resources, swooped into Sault Ste.Marie, Nov. 4, for a tour of the city, courtesy of the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation.

It’s not known if this is the start of a beautiful friendship with the Ring of Fire, but the nickel and chromite mine developer decided to tweet a photo of Coutts and his chief development officer, Steve Flewelling, with economic development chief executive Tom Dodds on the city‘s waterfront.

“He came out, we gave him a tour of the town,” said Dodds, “we showed him possible areas…of industrial land that would make sense to them. “We’re walking into city hall and he says, let’s take a picture. I said, if you’re feeling inclined to publicize that you’re here, far be it for me to say no. “

Dodds cautioned that the visit was very exploratory and doesn’t want to build unrealistic expectations that the Toronto-based mine developer is in a position to target the Sault for a chromite processing operation. Continue Reading →

Few details on Ring of Fire road decision – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 2, 2016)

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle dropped few hints as to when the province expects to roll out plans for a Ring of Fire road access corridor, saying only it will happen “soon.”

After opening a government-hosted Mining Innovation Summit in Sudbury on Nov. 1, Gravelle said in a media scrum that the province remains “keen to see the project move forward” as discussions continue with four James Bay-area First Nations over a completed community service corridor study that will provide the basis for a decision on the road’s routing.

“It’s difficult to put timelines on decision-making other than to say that we are committed to carrying on that work. The conversations are at a very high level with the Matawa First Nations and we look forward to having something to report to you soon.” Continue Reading →

Ontario invests C$2.5m in mining R&D; Minister outlines progress to position province as mining leader – by Henry Lazenby ( – November 2, 2016)

VANCOUVER ( – The Ontario government on Tuesday announced that it would invest C$2.5-million in the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation’s (CEMI’s) ongoing work with the Ultra Deep Mining Network (UDMN), which is helping the mining sector develop and adopt commercially viable innovations. Part of a five-year initiative first started in 2014, the programme has created nearly 30 jobs in Northern Ontario to date.

The province, in partnership with the federal government, is supporting this research initiative by CEMI and UDMN, which will help mining companies and organisations develop technologies to enhance the safety, efficiency and sustainability of their operations.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle made the announcement during the Mining Innovation Summit 2016, hosted by Ontario in Sudbury. “Today’s Mining Innovation Summit and our investment in CEMI are proof Ontario is committed to supporting the future of the mining sector and ensuring that we are the global leader in sustainable mineral development. Continue Reading →

Grits want Ring developed too: minister – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – November 1, 2016)

The Wynne government is as keen to advance development of the Ring of Fire as any company or individual, says Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.

The Ontario government is working with its partners, including Noront Resources Inc. and neighbouring First Nations, to “bring the Ring of Fire project forward,” Gravelle told reporters Tuesday at a conference in Sudbury.

Gravelle attended the Mining Innovation Summit 2016 at which he announced $2.5 million in new funding for the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation in Sudbury. Part of that money will go toward the Ultra Deep Mining Network, a five-year, $46-million initiative to help companies with deep mines operate safely and efficiently.

The rest of the $2.5 million will go to small- and medium-sized enterprises whose owners have innovative ideas they wish to develop. Continue Reading →

High-speed train eyed for Ring of Fire – by Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – November 1, 2016)

A variation of high-speed train technology being used in urban parts of Asia, like China and Japan, could one day quickly transport both chromite ore and people out of the Ring of Fire without harming the environment, says one of the region’s main mining proponents.

In an address last week to a Natural Resources parliamentary committee, KWG Resources president Frank Smeenk said a Hyperloop train, as the technology is known, is a practical transportation option for the remote chromite deposit near the James Bay area.

“We would propose that a most elegant, efficient, cost-effective and environmentally friendly use of hyperloop technology is to build a hyperlink (rail corridor) from the Ring of Fire to Nakina,” Smeenk told the committee. Smeenk compared the idea to the proposed high-speed train link between Toronto and Montreal. Continue Reading →

Road to Ring of Fire may have to start in China – by Alan S. Hale (Timmins Daily Press – October 22, 2016)

TIMMINS – KWG Resources vice-president Moe Lavigne warned a gathering of Indigenous community leaders and mining industry members that until there is money behind them, the proposed mines that make up the Ring of Fire development will only ever exist on paper.

“Until this proposed development is funded, it’s not a project; it’s just a study of an opportunity. There are plenty of people out there that think this is an actual project — it’s not — it’s an opportunity,” said Lavigne.

The KWG executive was speaking at the sixth-nnual Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund Mining Summit held in Timmins this week. He continued to say the federal and provincial governments are being prevented from fully backing the projects by their voter bases which “want this part of Canada to be a park, or museum, and don’t want to see anything happening here.” Continue Reading →

Indigenous people find employment in Ontario’s Ring of Fire – by Jeff Walters (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 20, 2016)

Noront Resources has over half of its staff comprised of Indigenous employees

The one company in the Ring of Fire still doing active exploration said it has already made a positive impact on neighbouring Indigenous communities. Noront Resources has set a target of having over half of its staff comprised of Indigenous employees. So far, the company has met the target.

“Even at an early stage, where we are today in terms of exploration, we want the communities to realize some of those benefits through jobs, through training,” said Ryan Weston, the VP of Exploration with Noront Resources. “So that in a longer term scenario, they will ultimately be believers in the benefits, the positive benefits that a mine would create here in the Ring of Fire.”

Although the camp itself has few staff at the moment, half of the workforce is comprised of Indigenous workers. Kevin Jacob is a member of Webequie First Nation, the nearest community to the Ring of Fire’s Esker exploration camp. Continue Reading →

Noront sheds light on Ring of Fire’s untapped potential – by Lesley Stokes (Northern Miner – October 17, 2016)

VANCOUVER — The greenstone belt that hosts the nickel-copper-platinum group metal (PGM) and chromite deposits in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire camp, 540 km northeast of Thunder Bay, is unique compared to other regions in Canada, says Noront Resources’ (TSXV: NOT) President and CEO Alan Coutts.

“In our case we have a typical, greenstone belt, but we also have this very large, layered ultramafic intrusion complex and iron formations abutting it. So it had all the right things going on to create the diversity of deposits we see there today,” he tells The Northern Miner during a phone interview.

Coutts says the similar belts elsewhere in Ontario and Quebec are less known for their magmatic copper-nickel, PGM and chromium deposits, which include examples such as Balmoral Resources’ (TSX: BAR; US-OTC: BALMF) Grasset copper-cobalt-PGM deposit in northern Quebec, the Raglan nickel-copper-PGM belt in northernmost Quebec, and some in Ontario’s Timmins district. Continue Reading →

Noront Resources waits for road to the Ring of Fire – by Jeff Walters (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 17, 2016)

Minerals in the ground, expensive transportation holding up development

It is one of the most remote mining camps in Ontario, and it was heralded as the next economic engine for the province, and possibly Canada. The Ring of Fire, about 575 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, holds massive amounts of chromite, nickle and copper, among other metals.

The area at one point had 35 exploration companies searching for minerals and a dozen mining camps housing workers. Now, just the Noront Resources Esker camp remains. A skeleton crew keeps the camp running, as well as doing geophysical work, looking for more mineral deposits.

“We’re committed to it. We’re continuing to consolidate in the Ring of Fire, where as other companies haven’t had the ability to stick around,” said Ryan Weston, Noront’s Vice-President of Exploration. Continue Reading →

Noront lobbies for road access to Eagle’s Nest – by Lesley Stokes (Northern Miner – October 11, 2016)

VANCOUVER — Noront Resources (TSXV: NOT) is encouraged that the Ring of Fire camp in northern Ontario, where the junior has its remote Eagle’s Nest nickel-copper and platinum group metal (PGM) deposit, has been designated a priority in Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne’s Sept. 23 mandate letter to re-appointed Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle.

The most specific item in the letter is an instruction to Gravelle to “work towards upgrading existing roads and infrastructure in the region to connect with future Ring of Fire infrastructure, with a target of 2018 to begin road work.”

The nearest paved road from Eagle’s Nest is 280 km to the south, and Noront is looking for the provincial government to pay for and build an all-season, all-access road into the Eagle’s Nest site, which is the leading contender to be the first deposit mined in the camp. Continue Reading →

[Ring of Fire road] Assessment work ‘must start’ soon – by Carl Clutche (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – October 8, 2016)

An environmental review into a long-awaited access road into the Ring of Fire mineral belt needs to start early next year if the province is serious about meeting its own timelines for getting the road constructed, says one of the region’s mining proponents.

Noront Resources, which is proposing to build the first nickel mine in the RoF about 550 kilometre northeast of Thunder Bay, said that it wants to start building its proposed $700 million mine in 2018.

That’s the same year the province has said it will start building an access road into the RoF by “upgrading existing roads and infrastructure in the region that would connect with future Ring of Fire infrastructure.” For that to happen, says Noront Resources CEO Alan Coutts, the company “believes that environmental assessment work must start in early 2017.” Continue Reading →

September 2016 Mandate letter: Northern Development and Mines – Premier’s instructions to Minister Michael Gravelle on priorities. (September 23, 2016)

Dear Minister Gravelle:

Welcome back to your role as Minister of Northern Development and Mines. As we mark the mid-point of our mandate, we have a strong and new Cabinet, and are poised to redouble our efforts to deliver on our top priority — creating jobs and growth. Guided by our balanced plan to build Ontario up for everyone, we will continue to work together to deliver real benefits and more inclusive growth that will help people in their everyday lives.

We embark on this important part of our mandate knowing that our four-part economic plan is working — we are making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario’s history, making postsecondary education more affordable and accessible, leading the transition to a low-carbon economy and the fight against climate change, and building retirement security for workers.

Building on our ambitious and activist agenda, and with a focus on implementing our economic plan, we will continue to forge partnerships with businesses, educators, labour, communities, the not-for-profit sector and with all Ontarians to foster economic growth and to make a genuine, positive difference in people’s lives. Collaboration and active listening remain at the heart of the work we undertake on behalf of the people of Ontario — these are values that ensure a common purpose, stimulate positive change and help achieve desired outcomes. Continue Reading →