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Massive Ring of Fire region continues to hold vast promise

Apr 20, 2020

By Frank Giorno

The Ring of Fire is one of the most promising mineral development opportunities in Ontario in over a century. That’s according to the Ministry of Energy Northern Development and Mines.

The vast geographical area known as the Ring of Fire is located in Ontario’s Far North, about 700 km north east of Thunder Bay and 400 Km Northwest of Timmins, Ontario. 

The current estimates suggest a multi-generational potential of chromite production, as well as significant production of nickel, copper and platinum. Several significant mineral discoveries have been made in the Ring of Fire over the past several years, including chromite, copper, zinc, gold and kimberlite.

Activities in the Ring of Fire are in the exploration stage, with spending on exploration to date totaling more than $278 million. There are currently approximately 13,296 active mining claim units held by 18 companies and individuals, covering approximately 2,127 square kilometres in the Ring of Fire.

Noront Resources is the largest claim holder in the Ring of Fire. Noront is focused on the development of its high-grade Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper, platinum and palladium deposit and the world class chromite deposits including Blackbird, Black Thor, and Big Daddy, all of which are located in the James Bay Lowlands of Ontario in an emerging metals camp known as the Ring of Fire. www.norontresources.com

Noront is planning to develop its Eagles Nest nickel mine first, followed by chromite mines. In May 2019, the company announced Sault Ste. Marie will be the future home for a new ferrochrome processing plant. Chromite, one of the resources found in the Ring of Fire, can be processed into ferrochrome, a key ingredient in stainless steel.

First Nations Partnerships

The Ring of Fire represents a major economic opportunity to create jobs, generate revenue, build infrastructure and bring prosperity to communities across the north, including First Nation communities.

Ontario is working directly with First Nation partners through bilateral agreements. Agreements between Ontario and First Nations partners support individual communities’ unique needs and priorities for development. This will help build the necessary infrastructure to unlock the incredible potential of mineral resources in the Ring of Fire – for the benefit of First Nations and all people in Ontario.

Noront announced on March 2, 2020 an agreement between the provincial government, Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation to advance planning and development of a proposed Northern Road Link that will provide reliable, all-season road access to mine sites in the Ring of Fire and connect First Nation communities to Ontario’s provincial highway network.

The partnership was announced by Premier Doug Ford, Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines and Minister of Indigenous Affairs Greg Rickford, Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse during a signing ceremony at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention.

“We are encouraged that a partnership agreement has been signed by Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations and the Province of Ontario,” said Noront President and CEO Alan Coutts.  “Completion of an all-season road offers benefits to both industry and local communities. It will provide access to the Ring of Fire and enable mineral development.  It will also bring much-needed all-season access to these communities and improvements to health and social services, high-speed Internet and cellular service for local communities.”

Typically, it is the mining company that builds roads to support mine operations, however in the Ring of Fire the local First Nations are the proponents of road development. This is a concept that Noront supports.  A road is needed and will be built on their traditional lands, so it makes sense for the impacted First Nation communities to decide where it goes and how it is built. Noront will modify its Eagle’s Nest mine project description accordingly.

Building roads

Better road infrastructure in the north, including all-season roads, can reduce the cost of delivering consumer goods, fuel and construction materials. Roads also provide communities with better access to primary health care and other services.

Marten Falls First Nation and Webequie First Nation are moving forward as proponents for Environment Assessments for their individual road projects.

Exploration and development

KWG Resources

KWG Resources is an exploration stage company that is participating in the discovery, delineation and development of chromite deposits in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario, including 1,024 hectares covered by four unpatented mining claims (Fancamp Claimsapproximately 280km north of Nakina, Ontario, which contains the Black Horse chromite deposit, named the “Black Horse Project” and 1,241 hectares covered by seven unpatented mining claims 

KWG Resources is now the Operator of the Black Horse Joint Venture after acquiring a vested 50% interest through Bold Ventures Inc. which is carried for 10% (20% of KWG’s equity in the JV) by KWG funding all exploration expenditures. The Corporation has the right to acquire: (i) up to an 80% interest in respect of chromite contained in the Koper Lake Project; from Bold Ventures and (ii) up to a 20% carried interest in respect of the non-chromite minerals contained in the Koper Lake Project. The Corporation also has a 30% interest in Noront’s Big Daddy Project.

Bold Venture’s Ring of Fire Holdings

A third company, Bold Venture and its subsidiary Rencore Resources Ltd., have of over 15 claim groups in and around the Ring of Fire. The Company has also earned a 10% carried interest in all chromite resources and a 40% working interest in all other metals at the Koper Lake Project with KWG and has the option to earn an additional 10% carried interest in chromite and 40% of all other metals. The Koper Lake Project is located within the Ring of Fire and directly adjacent to Noront’s Eagles Nest nickel-copper massive sulphides deposit currently in the permitting stage.

Ontario is Canada’s No. 1 mineral producer and a global centre for mining expertise and mining financial capital. Its mining industry creates about 26,000 direct and 50,000 indirect jobs and is the third-largest private sector employer of Indigenous people in the province. The building of a road infrastructure and the future development of the Ring of Fire will create additional jobs and financial returns that will benefit the North, the nearby First Nations and all of Ontario.

Tags: Northern Ontario / Ring of Fire / Minerals / All Articles