Archive | Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

EDITORIAL: Roads to First Nations working in other areas (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – April 30, 2016)

Current economic, social, education and health stats paint a bleak picture of Canada’s First Nation communities. This is particularly true of the so called fly-in First Nations located in Northern Ontario beyond surface road or rail access.

These communities have existed for centuries and once were self sufficient thanks to trapping and fishing. Today most fly-in First Nations are dependent on financial assistance provided by senior government.

Picture a situation where you live in a remote reserve linked only to the outside world by expensive air service of dubious merit; that you are governed by a distant oblivious ruler (Ottawa and Queen’s Park), and that you exist on government hand-outs which, if you decide to quit the reserve, you will lose. Continue Reading →

[Ring of Fire] Gov’ts keep in touch: Wynne – by Brent Linton (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – May 2, 2016)

Ontario and federal cabinet ministers keep in touch regularly on important projects including the Ring of Fire, claims Kathleen Wynne.

Ontario’s premier paid a visit to Thunder Bay last week and spoke about the massive chromite project in the lower James Bay area known as the Ring of Fire.

She made it clear that communication with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet is much better than under the former Conservative government.

“Unlike the previous government, we actually have regular conversations between ministers about these files,” Wynne said. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire bigger vision than fast as possible: Wynne –by Matt Vis ( – April 29, 2016)

THUNDER BAY – Kathleen Wynne views the Ring of Fire as more than just an economic development opportunity.

The Ontario premier was asked about the province’s progress in developing the potentially lucrative mineral deposit in the remote north during her media availability in Thunder Bay on Thursday.

Wynne responded that her government is dedicated to acting in an environmentally responsible manner while engaging and consulting with First Nations communities to ensure their children will experience the resulting economic prosperity.

“That’s a bigger vision than just how do we, as fast as possible, get trucks in to get those minerals out, get them out and then leave the site,” Wynne said. Continue Reading →

KWG CEO: Unlock Ring of Fire Riches With Chinese-Built Rail – Bloomberg TV’s Pamela Ritchie Interviews Frank Smeenk (April 22, 2016)

Frank Smeenk, President & CEO of KWG Resources joins Bloomberg TV Canada’s Pamela Ritchie to discuss his proposal to build a railroad to Ring of Fire that could be financed by Chinese banks.

Ring of Fire development a political winner, but not quite so for mining companies – by Barrie McKenna (Globe and Mail – April 25, 2016)

OTTAWA — Good lobbyists know that advancing an agenda works best when the stars align. That’s the moment when what you want is in sync with what the government wants. Take the Ring of Fire – a mineral-rich, but untapped swath of northwestern Ontario.

The problem (beyond the immediate inconvenience of depressed commodities prices) is that the area is essentially cut off from the world. There are no roads, rail links or power supply to get at the vast deposits of nickel, chromite, copper and platinum buried in the belt, located 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

Enter Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He’s committed to spending billions of dollars on infrastructure. He also wants to forge a new relationship with indigenous Canadians, involve them in resource development and create economic opportunities for troubled northern communities, such as Attawapiskat. Continue Reading →

Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire needs a road, not rail, Noront CEO asserts – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – April 21, 2016)

OTTAWA — The biggest player in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire says government infrastructure cash should focus on an east-west road rather than grand plans for a $2-billion north-south rail line.

Alan Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources Ltd., responded to a proposal recently promoted to the federal and Ontario governments for a 340-kilometre-long rail line that would be built and financed by Chinese investors.

“What we’re saying is let’s not blow our brains out building the biggest, costliest infrastructure known to mankind without the economic justification,” Mr. Coutts told The Globe and Mail.

Both Ottawa and Ontario are looking to make major investments in infrastructure to spur the economy and help struggling First Nations communities. Continue Reading →

Chinese engineers visit Ontario’s Ring of Fire to survey possible $2B railway route (Canadian Press/Toronto Star – April 19, 2016)

Engineers from China recently visited the Ring of Fire in northern Ontario to assess the potential of building a $2-billion railway line, a proponent behind developing minerals in the area said Tuesday.

Frank Smeenk, CEO of Toronto-based mineral exploration company KWG Resources, said the rail line is crucial for the extraction of nickel, chromite, copper and platinum from the massive deposits.

He said a team of engineers from a subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Construction Corp. surveyed a proposed 328-kilometre route last week as part of detailed engineering work before they advance toward a final investment decision. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire rail investment could be ‘real prize’ for China, business expert says – by Amy Hadley (CBC News Thunder Bay – April 21, 2016)

Business expert Walid Hejazi says he was not at all surprised by China’s interest in the Ring of Fire

A group of engineers from a Chinese rail company have wrapped up a visit to Ontario to explore the possibility of building a rail line to the Ring of Fire mineral deposit, in the province’s far north.

The visit included a survey of northern terrain by helicopter, and a meeting with MPs in Ottawa.

“The impression they left us is that this is a very good project and they’re very interested in pursuing it,” said Moe Lavigne, the vice-president of KWG Resources, a junior mining company with a stake in the Ring of Fire. Continue Reading →

Chinese engineers endorse plans for $2-billion rail line to Ring of Fire – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – April 20, 2016)

OTTAWA — A team of Chinese engineers is endorsing a planned rail line to Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire and says the project could open the door to Chinese bids on other Canadian rail projects.

If approved, the planned $2-billion rail line to the Ring of Fire mineral deposits would mark the first time that a Chinese rail company plays a major role in rail construction in Canada. China’s state-owned rail companies are aggressively eyeing international expansion, particularly in the area of high-speed commuter rail.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail in Ottawa, senior engineer Zhu Lizheng spoke positively about the potential of building a north-south rail line about 340 kilometres long that would connect the Ring of Fire to an existing CN Rail line near Nakina, Ontario. Continue Reading →

‘Our job is to close the gap,’ Minister of Indigenous Affairs tells First Nations – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – April 19, 2016)

‘We need to be whole’ to benefit from mining development, Eabametoong chief tells Carolyn Bennett

Mining is not the solution to the social ills, including suicides, plaguing First Nations in northern Ontario, the Minister of Indigenous Affairs and First Nations leaders agree.

Minister Carolyn Bennett was in Attawapiskat on Monday after the Cree community on the James Bay coast cited more than a dozen suicide attempts in April and 28 recorded attempts in March. Bennett’s visit was part of a tour of remote First Nations in northern Ontario by the Minister.

“We see there’s mining industries, there’s governments that want to get into our traditional lands”, Chief Wayne Moonias told Bennett last Friday in Neskantaga First Nation. “Development is not going to occur with the social conditions facing our community.” Continue Reading →

China shows renewed interest in developing resource-rich Ring of Fire – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – April 19, 2016)

OTTAWA — Chinese officials looking to build a $2-billion rail line to Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire will meet with MPs on Parliament Hill Tuesday, a visit that underscores China’s strong interest in the region’s mining potential.

A group of engineers from a subsidiary of the state-owned China Railway Construction Co. toured the Ring of Fire region by helicopter last week along with officials from KWG Resources, a small Toronto-based mining firm that hopes to secure Chinese investment for its Ring of Fire plans.

The decline in commodity prices has led to a waning of momentum around the Ring of Fire project, which is believed to hold about $60-billion in minerals and more than 100 years of mining activity. Continue Reading →

China Rail engineers, KWG resources crew surveys for Ring of Fire railroad (CBC News Thunder Bay – April 13, 2016)

Railway could be built in about 3.5 years, at a cost of up to $2 billion, KWG Resources official says

A group of engineers from China have spent their day surveying a potential rail line to access the Ring of Fire.

Seven engineers from China Rail, along with officials from KWG Resources went by helicopter from Thunder Bay today. KWG vice-president Moe Lavigne said the engineers will check over the area that was first surveyed in 2010.

“This is the best time to do it, because what they’re really interested in is seeing the ice conditions,” he said. Continue Reading →

Ontario needs a bold new steel strategy – by Carter Vance ( – April 12, 2016)

The fallout from the recent chaos in the British steel industry should look familiar to many Ontarians. Major steel producers in the province, most prominently U.S. Steel Canada in Hamilton and Essar Steel Algoma in Sault Ste. Marie, have shed jobs and filed for bankruptcy protection in recent years and there is little sign of ongoing slow-drip of bad news being halted any time soon.

Much of this continued pain for workers, pensioners and community rests on the lack of action by governments. Just as Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has proposed a bold plan to save the Port Talbot facility of Tata Steel, so too should Ontario’s leaders in all levels of government look to a develop a robust, strategic response to our own crisis in steel.

The development of a steel strategy must begin with a recognition of the critical place in direct and indirect employment that the steel industry has in communities across Ontario, most notably Sault Ste. Marie and the Hamilton region. Continue Reading →

How China could finance a railroad into the Ring of Fire – by Jon Thompson ( – April 12, 2016)

THUNDER BAY — China’s hunger for chromium combined with the capacity of its state-owned rail industry could be the recipe for the first route into the Ring of Fire.

A team of China Railway First Design Survey Institute engineers landed in Thunder Bay on Tuesday to survey the land between Nakina in Greenstone and the remote chromite deposit. “I think this is a really good project. It has a lot of potential,” said China Railway FSDI vice president Zhu Lizheng.

“This mining project, in its nature, I think, has two components. One is the chromite itself. The second one is the transportation of chromite. We’re here to try to solve that problem.”

Their observations from helicopters flying over the route Wednesday and Thursday will form the basis for the feasibility study the company will conduct over the next four months. Continue Reading →


The Liberal government needs to come clean with northerners on whether or not infrastructure money is being set aside to develop the Ring of Fire project. The multi-billion project was overlooked in the Liberal platform and now the recent Liberal budget. Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus says statements by Liberal MPs that the government is doing its part through investments in clean water, education and Indigenous infrastructure just doesn’t cut it.

“Let’s not kid anyone here. Dealing with the crisis in education and lack of clean water is a constitutional and moral obligation of the federal government. They have to do this work. It should not be spun as the federal Liberals getting a multi-billion dollar mining project off the ground. That would be like pretending that fixing schools in Toronto is the federal role in building subways.”

Angus says the Liberals need to explain what money will be put into the infrastructure of the Ring of Fire. There is a clear role for the federal government in infrastructure. Continue Reading →