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