The Ring of Fire moved a rung closer to reality Monday, as the province announced plans to construct a year-round access road to the mineral-rich region. “It’s just what we were looking for,” said Alan Coutts, president and CEO of Noront Resources. “This is the catalyst that was needed, from our point of view.”
A Toronto-based company, Noront is the now chief player in the region, after acquiring the chromite assets from Cliffs Natural Resources a couple of years ago. It plans to develop its Eagle’s Nest deposit — consisting of nickel, copper, platinum and palladium — first, and then mine chromite deposits at several sites in the James Bay lowlands.
“These are bulk and base-metal deposits,” said Coutts. “They’re not gold and diamonds in small volumes; they’re big volumes and you have to move a lot. Without 24/7, 365, all-season infrastructure roads in place, those projects aren’t viable.” The province had been negotiating with nine First Nations in the region and hinting since spring that a deal on road construction was in the offing. Continue Reading →