Tuesday 22nd January 2019

Resource Clips

Posts tagged ‘labrador trough’

Quebec’s distinction

May 8th, 2015

Both interventionist and capitalist, the province’s mining-friendly policies defy ideology

by Greg Klein

Quebec’s provincial government might buy rail and port facilities that serve Bloom Lake, as well as invest taxpayers’ money in the iron ore mine. Economy Minister Jacques Daoust didn’t commit to anything, but Bloomberg reported he’s open to the idea. Even that shows Quebec’s distinctive approach to mining, a strategy that eludes political stereotypes but suggests long-term vision based on confidence that commodities markets will improve.

Making that confidence all the more remarkable is the iron ore collapse which shut down so much Labrador Trough activity. Rio Tinto NYE:RIO so far shows no sign of relenting on its price-slashing tactics, although Axis of Iron fellow travellers BHP Billiton NYE:BHP and Vale NYE:VALE are reportedly backing off.

Both interventionist and capitalist, the province’s mining-friendly policies defy ideology

But not after driving prices down and mines out of business. Some of the casualties have littered both the Quebec and Newfoundland sides of the Trough. Last year Labrador Iron Mines TSX:LIM didn’t bother resuming seasonal operations at Schefferfield. Later that year Cliffs Natural Resources announced impending closures of its Wabush and Bloom Lake mines. Then the Iron Ore Company of Canada announced plans to lay off part of its Labrador City workforce, in keeping with majority-owner Rio’s cost-cutting craze. But at least the mine’s surviving, as is ArcelorMittal’s Mont-Wright operation, although that company has alluded to some kind of future “restructuring.”

Cliffs’ exit from eastern Canada will “end the flawed expansion that has cost Cliffs and its shareholders billions of dollars,” president/CEO Lourenco Goncalves said in January. Handed the job after activist hedge fund Casablanca Capital gained control of Cliffs’ board, Goncalves takes a dim view of other operations as well.

“I can’t wait to get out of Australia,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted him last month. “As soon as I get to the end of life of mine in Australia, I’m out of there … I can’t wait to get out of the seaborne trade and let the Australians take that horrible business on their own hands.”

Yet Bloom Lake, with “its high-quality ore,” still has hope, Goncalves suggested back in January. But “the potential investment is not achievable within a time frame acceptable to Cliffs.” Talks with Investissement Québec had already been underway for several months, he stated.

A government-run investment and financing agency, Investissement Québec’s subsidiary Ressources Québec has taken positions that include, for example, nearly $600,000 in an April private placement with Quest Rare Minerals TSX:QRM. A $3-million injection into Matamec Explorations TSXV:MAT last January brought Ressources Québec a 28% interest and joint venture partnership in the Kipawa rare earths deposit.

A much bigger Investissement Québec outlay was the $50-million stake in an estimated $118-million plan to increase Gaz Métro’s liquefied natural gas production. The government sees Plan Nord synergies, with the LNG fuelling transportation and operations in remote areas.

Quebec government investment is hardly new, although the previous Parti Québécois government shelved some resource-friendly policies.

I am not in a subsidy mode, I am in a partnership mode.—Quebec Economy Minister Jacques Daoust, quoted in
the Montreal Gazette

Now a branch of Ressources Québec but dating back to 1965, SOQUEM Inc has participated in over 350 Quebec exploration projects. Among its success stories is Renard, where Stornoway Diamond TSX:SWY plans 2017 production. In 2011 the company issued shares to acquire the 50% held by a SOQUEM subsidiary.

Outside of equity investments, Quebec last month announced $1.3 billion in government spending for Plan Nord over five years, part of an envisioned $50 billion to come from public and private sources for infrastructure and project development over 20 years.

It’s not a program to put off, the province maintains. As Energy and Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand told Canadian Press in December, Quebec “cannot wait until there is a mining boom and everything becomes uncontrollable.”

Quebec’s Bloom Lake investment, should it happen, could reach 20% of the operation, Bloomberg reported. “We’re trying to ensure the survival of the mine,” the news agency quoted Daoust. “If the last 20% is a problem, I will fix it.”

Last month the Montreal Gazette quoted him, “In a [typical] mining project, the bill is at least $1 billion. The problem you have in a mining project is financing the last 10%. If we invest $100 million in a mining project worth $1 billion we’re okay and we can close the deal…. We can go up to $200 million, but normally we should not invest more than 10 or 15%.”

Daoust added, “The kind of return we would get is the same as for any other shareholder. I am not in a subsidy mode, I am in a partnership mode.”

Government ownership of Bloom Lake’s rail link and port facilities, however, could lower the mine’s operating costs by as much as $20 a ton, he told Bloomberg.

Regardless, policies like these have helped raise the province’s once-faltering reputation. As a mining jurisdiction the province leaped from 18th place globally to number six on the Fraser Institute’s Investment Attractiveness Index, part of the annual survey of mining companies released in February.

Quebec’s policies aren’t without controversy, though. Following the April announcement of a scaled-down Plan Nord, the Parti Québécois opposition noted that Ressources Québec planned to guarantee a $100-million mortgage for the Nunavik nickel mine, held by Jilin Jien Nickel Industry Co. As reported by the Nunatsiaq News, the opposition pointed out that Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard formerly held a board position with project operator Canadian Royalties, which was acquired by Jilin Jien in 2010.

And there’s further controversy from another angle. In December Strateco Resources TSX:RSC launched a nearly $190-million lawsuit after Quebec refused to issue an exploration permit for the company’s Matoush uranium project. With a moratorium on uranium activity now in place, the province is considering an outright ban.

Plan Nord progresses as companies team up with Quebec on rail feasibility

October 21st, 2014

by Greg Klein | October 21, 2014

A feasibility study into a third Quebec railway to the Labrador Trough is back on track, according to October 21 announcements from Champion Iron TSX:CIA and Adriana Resources TSXV:ADI. The companies have joined the Quebec government in a new entity called la Société ferroviaire du Nord québécois, société en commandite (SFNQ) to oversee the technical and economic report.

Champion Iron, Adriana Resources team up with Quebec on railway feasibility

The news follows a bill tabled by the provincial Liberals on September 30 to revive Plan Nord, the massive infrastructure program that had been sidelined by the former Parti Quebecois government. The province now intends to create la Société du Plan Nord to co-ordinate development beyond the 49th Parallel, with $63 million budgeted for this year and up to $2 billion by 2035. The bill allocates a $50-million investment in Gaz Métro LNG to expand production and storage of liquefied natural gas, which would be trucked to Stornoway Diamond’s (TSX:SWY) Renard mine, scheduled to open in 2016. LNG transport to other projects would follow.

Quebec will provide up to $20 million for the feasibility. But the companies’ contributions are less clear. Adriana’s late afternoon announcement didn’t specify a contribution. The company takes part through its Lac Otelnuk joint venture, held 40% by Adriana and 60% by Hong Kong-based WISCO International Resources Development & Investment. Champion listed its share as sunk costs valued up to $6 million. That company takes part through its now wholly owned subsidiary, Champion Iron Mines Ltd.

As a separate company in 2013, Champion Iron Mines failed to find private and public backers for a 310-kilometre rail connection between the southern Trough and the deep sea port of Sept-Iles that was expected to cost $1.33 billion. Earlier that year CN TSX:CNR suspended its feasibility study on an estimated $5-billion, 800-kilometre link to the same port.

Currently two railways connect Sept-Iles with the resource-rich region straddling the Labrador border. The Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway runs a 415-kilometre route to Labrador City. A private line operated by an ArcelorMittal subsidiary serves its Mont-Wright operation.

Other companies have been invited to take part in the feasibility study, which would envision a common carrier.

Among noteworthy aspects of Plan Nord is the government’s confidence that future commodity markets will justify large-scale investment—and that Quebec sometimes prefers to invest in, rather than subsidize, industry. Apart from Gaz Métro, the government’s Investissement Québec unit sees opportunities in a number of ventures including Stornoway, in which the province is acquiring an approximately 29% stake.

Dumping iron

October 17th, 2014

How long can Rio, BHP and Vale continue their quest for world domination?

by Greg Klein

He must have had trouble blinking back the crocodile tears. There was president Jimmy Wilson of BHP Billiton’s (NYE:BHP) iron ore division earlier this month talking about how his company, like others in that commodity’s Big Three, continues to increase output dramatically, even as prices remain near five-year lows and higher-cost competitors struggle. “We take no joy from that,” he claimed.

Must be rough. But rationalization came from Big Three brother Rio Tinto NYE:RIO. “If it is not us putting in the highest-margin [lowest-cost] iron ore on the planet’s surface, then it is available to others,” the Sidney Morning Herald quoted Andrew Harding, chief executive of Rio’s iron ore unit.

Can Rio, BHP and Vale continue their quest for world domination?

As the world’s top steelmaker, China benefits from low iron ore prices
even though they threaten its domestic and overseas mining.

By 2020 Australia and Brazil are projected to supply about 90% of global supply, according to Macquarie Group figures quoted by Bloomberg. Most of it will come from the BHP, Rio and Vale NYE:VALE Axis of Iron. Whether those companies can—or are allowed to—come so close to world domination remains to be seen. But today’s situation is a far cry from 2011, when China wanted to break the Big Three’s grip on supply to bring down the much higher prices then prevailing.

That was when iron ore was going for about $170 a tonne. The Big Three supplied about 62% of Chinese imports. Now the price lies closer to $80 a tonne, a 41% drop this year alone according to Bloomberg and the lowest since 2009. Standard & Poor’s foresee an $85 benchmark to 2016, stated another Bloomberg dispatch. Although China relies on the terrible trio more than ever, the country must be happy about the prices. But among the supposed targets of the giants’ expansion are higher-cost Chinese producers as well as overseas projects with heavy Chinese investment.

The three seem relentless. The Wall Street Journal reports BHP’s goal to hit 290 million tons in 2017, more than 22% above the company’s last fiscal year. As for Brazilian Vale, “the world’s largest iron-ore mining company plans to boost output to 450 million tons by 2018 from 306 million last year,” added the WSJ. “Rio Tinto, meanwhile, produced 266 million tons last year and is targeting 360 million tons in the next few years.”

Macquarie predicts Australia and Brazil will produce 79% of global supply next year, up from 73% last year. By 2020 the amount could reach 90%.

Bloomberg also reported, “The global surplus will more than triple to 163 million tons next year from 52 million this year, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. It projects an expansion to 245 million tons in 2016, 295 million tons in 2017 and 334 million tons in 2018.”

Not all of it will come from the Big Three, however. Among other significant suppliers are Anglo American and Fortescue Metals Group. In an October 17 Mining Weekly story, the latter’s CEO Nev Power lashed out at his Australian rivals, accusing them of a “foolish strategy” and “one that will inevitably lead to self-inflicted wounds, minimal returns to shareholders and probably replacement of the management teams, like we’ve seen from some of those companies in the past.”

Later that day Rio’s Harding hit back. “I don’t feel at all worried about my job but it is clearly on the top of the mind for him,” the Sidney Morning Herald quoted him. Claiming to produce higher-quality ore at much lower cost, he added, “I can understand why Nev is actually a little distressed and possibly even panicking.”

Other companies are worried too, from majors to juniors. While Power and Harding were exchanging shots, Cliffs Natural Resources NYE:CLF announced low prices will bring an expected $6-billion Q3 write-down on some of its coal and iron ore assets. ASX-listed Atlas Iron, a miner in the same Western Australia Pilbara region worked by Rio and BHP, last month joined Fortescue as one of Australia’s worst victims of short-selling, once again according to Bloomberg. Around the same time Australian Mining reported hundreds of layoffs from Atlas.

Earlier this month Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro suspended work on its $300-million transmission line to Alderon Iron Ore’s (TSX:ADV) Kami project in the Labrador Trough. The St. John’s Telegram attributed the decision to “fallout from the current state of iron ore prices.” The announcement came just days after Cliffs shut down the region’s Wabush mine, throwing about 500 people out of work. Yet Alderon’s executive chairperson Mark Morabito remains resolute about Kami, which has a feasibility study projecting a 30-year mine life. “It’s just a pause and this is the mining business,” he told the paper.

“The bottom line for Alderon is this is a campaign, leveraging the Chinese slowdown, by the Big Three, to drive Chinese domestic supply out of the market. It is a campaign. It will end at some point,” the Telegram quoted him. He expects the effort to last “another year or so.”

Are the Big Three taking any risks themselves? One person who thinks so is Colin Barnett, premier of Western Australia, where BHP and Rio get most of their iron ore.

As the Financial Times pointed out last week, “Western Australia is heavily reliant on royalty and tax revenues from iron ore and is implementing tough budget cuts in the wake of a dip in commodity prices.”

The FT added Barnett would “hate” to raise royalties. But the premier suggested that’s a possibility the cost-conscious companies can’t ignore.

According to Forbes, Barnett also suggested the miners might provoke strong repercussions. “If I was sitting around a board table in one of those big companies I’d be pretty nervous about what the WTO and European regulators would think about this.”

Quebec Liberals revive Plan Nord infrastructure and development program

June 6th, 2014

by Greg Klein | June 6, 2014

Downplayed if not dismissed by the previous Parti Quebecois government, Quebec’s Plan Nord is back “in an enhanced version,” the province’s new Liberal government says. Its 2014-2015 budget includes a number of funded initiatives to encourage infrastructure and resource development north of the 49th parallel, making natural resources “the centrepiece of Quebec’s economic development.”

Quebec Liberals revive Plan Nord infrastructure and development program

Some spending highlights released June 4 include major road work, a feasibility study on a Labrador Trough rail line, government investment in mining and oil and gas companies, and training for northern residents.

A Northern Plan Fund commits $63 million during 2014-2015 for projects like “major work on road infrastructure in the Plan Nord territory, including the extension of Highway 138 and the repair of Highway 389 in the Côte-Nord region and the James Bay Highway.”

The government also plans to study the feasibility of a new rail line to the Labrador Trough. Media accounts put the price tag at a maximum of $20 million.

Finance Minister Carlos Leitao confirmed his government’s “intention to acquire equity interests in companies in the mining and oil and gas sectors, so that Quebec society can obtain, as a shareholder, a direct share in the profits.”

Plan Nord will encourage smaller, local hydroelectric projects while spending $1.1 billion on a fourth transmission line from the north to serve the northern Montreal “agglomeration.”

Education and training for northern residents will get a $100-million boost, the Liberals stated.

But the previous government’s controversial tax regimen stays put—for the sake of stability, Leitao claimed. Acknowledging that the taxes contributed to declining investment, he stated, “We will restore industry and investor confidence by ensuring the application rules are favourable, stable and foreseeable. We are maintaining the existing mining tax regime in order to preserve that stability.”

The government will support small mining companies and Quebec ownership, Leitao added.

To co-ordinate development in consultation with stakeholders, the government will create a new agency, la Société du Plan Nord.

Champion Iron TSX:CIA welcomed the railway feasibility study, even calling it “a defining point in the history of the mining industry in Quebec.” The company’s June 6 news release stated the global steel industry recognizes the Labrador Trough’s potential “to supply high-quality iron ore product, with a range of listed and private iron ore groups active in the region including Champion Iron.”

The company credits the Trough with “one of the world’s largest iron ore accumulations, with annual production of some 50 million tonnes.”

In February 2013 CN TSX:CNR suspended its feasibility study, undertaken in partnership with pension/insurance fund manager la Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and a group of mining companies.

Two railways now connect the region with the St. Lawrence River deep-sea port of Sept-Iles. The 420-kilometre Cartier Railway, a subsidiary of ArcelorMittal NYE:MT, serves the company’s Mont-Wright operation. The 418-kilometre Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway links operations of the Iron Ore Company of Canada (held 59% by Rio Tinto NYE:RIO) in Labrador City, on the Trough’s Newfoundland side. The QNS&L is obligated to carry other cargo, making it the region’s only rail accessible to third parties.

Faceoff: Cliffs and major shareholder in public debate over company’s future

February 12th, 2014

by Ana Komnenic | February 12, 2014 | Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Cliffs Natural Resources NYE:CLF, America’s biggest iron ore producer, announced February 11 that 500 Canadians would lose their jobs as a result of the company’s decision to idle its iron ore mine in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Now the miner’s negotiations with one of its major shareholders has turned ugly. In a statement issued February 12, activist investment firm Casablanca Capital, which owns 5.2% of Cliffs, called the shutdown a “knee-jerk” reaction to its earlier call for change, referring to a letter Casablanca wrote to Cliffs last month.

Casablanca also said it was backing Lourenco Goncalves, former CEO of Metals USA, to step in as Cliffs’ CEO—a position that’s currently open. Goncalves has personally invested approximately $1 million in Cliffs shares.

The New York-based investment firm has also delivered a letter to the company declaring its intention to nominate a majority of directors for election to Cliffs’ board at the 2014 annual meeting of shareholders.

The company is disappointed that Casablanca seems intent on waging a public campaign rather than continuing its private engagement with our chairman and management to address our doubts and concerns.—Cliffs Natural Resources

“In spite of its public statements, Cliffs hasn’t engaged us in any meaningful dialogue on the issues we’ve raised or provided a timetable for doing so,” Donald Drapkin, chairman of Casablanca said in a statement.

This is the second time in less than two weeks that Casablanca has lashed out at Cliffs.

Late last month the firm published a lengthy public letter calling on Cliffs to spin off its international assets and to immediately double dividend payments.

With iron ore prices suffering due to weak Chinese demand and an oversupplied market, Casablanca believes the U.S.-based miner needs to separate its domestic operations from its international ones.

Casablanca’s decision to try and reshuffle Cliffs’ board of directors comes as a surprise considering that in its January letter the investment company wrote that it recognized that the current “management team and many board members were not responsible” for the decisions that led Cliffs to being the S&P’s third-worst performing stock of 2013.

Cliffs reacted to the February 12 statements with a much sterner tone than in January.

“Casablanca’s overall proposal fails to provide a sustainable, long-term value-enhancing alternative,” Cliffs wrote.

“The company is disappointed that Casablanca seems intent on waging a public campaign rather than continuing its private engagement with our chairman and management to address our doubts and concerns.”

Cliffs also stood firm on its intention to appoint as CEO the company’s current chief operating officer, Gary Halverson. He previously headed Barrick Gold’s TSX:ABX U.S. operations and stood in as interim COO.

“The choice of Mr. Halverson as incoming CEO follows an exhaustive search by the board … Following a comprehensive search, the board determined that Mr. Halverson was the right leader given his deep international and large-scale mining industry leadership experience,” Cliffs wrote.

Reprinted by permission of MINING.com

Frontier prudence

July 2nd, 2013

Champion Iron Mines steps back from its Labrador Trough rail proposal

by Greg Klein

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Another transportation setback has highlighted the challenges of reaching Canada’s resource-rich hinterlands. Champion Iron Mines TSX:CHM announced July 2 it had terminated an agreement to use facilities at the deep-sea port of Sept-Iles, Quebec. The decision saved the company a $25.6-million payment due to the port by July 1. But it places further uncertainty on transportation proposals to the Labrador Trough straddling northern Quebec and Labrador. The news followed a June 12 announcement that Cliffs Natural Resources was suspending its Ontario chromite project and, along with it, a province-backed road proposal for the Ring of Fire. In February CN TSX:CNR stated it had suspended its feasibility study on an estimated $5-billion, 800-kilometre Quebec rail line to the Trough.

Champion attributed its decision to a failure to gain private and public backing for a new railway. Estimated at $1.33 billion in the company’s February pre-feasibility report for the Consolidated Fire Lake North iron ore project, the 310-kilometre line would connect the southern Trough with Sept-Isles, on the St. Lawrence River’s north shore. The company studied the project despite the fact that Champion had already signed a collaboration framework agreement backing CN’s proposal.

Champion Iron Mines steps back from its Labrador Trough rail proposal

One of two existing railways in the Trough, the Quebec North Shore
and Labrador line runs a 418-kilometre route between
Labrador City and Sept-Isles.

Champion reverted to Plan A following CN’s February decision. Discussions resumed with private and public interests to finance, build and operate a multi-user railway. But they failed to make progress by the July 1 payment deadline.

Of course market conditions played their role. Iron ore prices have been falling since a February high of about $154 per dry metric tonne. The following month the Melbourne Herald Sun reported that Rio Tinto chief economist Vivek Tulpule expected prices to fall to nearly $100 by September 2014. On June 24, however, Platts quoted Macquarie bank analysts who spoke of a potential recovery later this year. A July 2 report from China’s Xinhua news service stated, “Although there might be fluctuations, prices of iron ore imports will see a falling trend in the longer term.”

“The past year has been a very challenging period for iron ore developers,” conceded Champion president/CEO Tom Larsen in his July 2 statement. But he emphasized the company remains committed to its flagship and to “securing transportation and port-handling services that will permit the company to place among the lowest-cost iron producers in the Labrador Trough.”

Even without Champion’s proposed railway, the region benefits from mines, plants, power and two existing rail lines. The Iron Ore Company of Canada owns and operates the Quebec North Shore and Labrador route, which connects its Labrador City facility in the southern Trough to Sept-Isles, 418 kilometres away. As a common carrier, the QNSL is required to ship other companies’ goods as well.

An ArcelorMittal subsidiary runs a private carrier called the Cartier Railway from the company’s Mont-Wright operation, 40 kilometres southwest of Labrador City, to Sept-Isles.

Iron ore prices notwithstanding, Asian investment in the Trough has continued. Chinese companies are said to be looking at Rio’s 58.7% interest in the Iron Ore Company of Canada, of which Mitsubishi holds another 26.2%. The Anglo-Australian giant reportedly wants to sell its stake for up to $4 billion.

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Which way to the Ring of Fire?

June 13th, 2013

As Cliffs stands down, Noront and KWG propose alternate transport routes

by Greg Klein

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As Cliffs stands down, Noront and KWG propose alternate transport routes

Left: KWG Resources’ rail proposal. Right: A north-south route from the
Eagle’s Nest vicinity shows Cliffs’ road proposal, while Noront’s plan veers southwest.


It’s a suspension, not a cancellation. Yet the June 12 announcement from Cliffs Natural Resources dumped cold water all over Ontario’s Ring of Fire. By putting the region’s largest project on hold, the company has also shelved plans for an all-weather road to the south, a vital link some other companies were counting on to develop the McFaulds Lake area about 540 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay. But Noront Resources TSXV:NOT quickly responded that its own projects are “still good to go” thanks to a proposed east-west road. Not to be outdone, KWG Resources TSXV:KWG pursues the feasibility of north-south rail.

Seemingly a Plan B, Noront’s east-west corridor was actually the company’s first idea. It would link the Eagle’s Nest project to Highway 808, roughly 230 kilometres southwest. But in May 2012, the Ontario government conditionally agreed to help finance the north-south route, part of Cliffs’ $3.3-billion proposal to build the Black Thor mine with road access to a new processing facility near Sudbury. On that basis, Noront used the north-south route in the base case for the September 2012 Eagle’s Nest feasibility study. Noront retained the east-west route as back-up.

A mining and exploration retrospect

Northern Ontario’s muskeg poses development challenges, as this photo from Noront Resources shows.

Prudently, it now seems. Explaining the suspension of what would have been North America’s first major chromite mine, Cliffs’ senior vice-president of global ferroalloys Bill Boor said, “Certain critical elements of the project’s future are not solely within our control and require the active support and participation by other interested parties such as government agencies and impacted first nation communities.”

Reacting to Cliffs’ suspension, Noront chairman/interim CEO Paul Parisotto said his company’s east-west proposal “balances first nations objectives, the environment and job growth. We’re confident this alternative will be attractive to each level of government, the local communities and the people who will benefit from this sensible approach.”

The route would upgrade an existing winter road to all-weather status. Among its advantages, it “avoids provincial parks, avoids areas of special interest to aboriginal groups and provides the greatest benefit to first nation communities,” the feasibility report stated. The native bands are currently served by air travel and winter road.

With Cliffs temporarily out of action, Noront emerges as the regional bigshot. Its Eagle’s Nest project achieved feasibility last September, using an 8% discount rate to calculate an after-tax net present value of $543 million and a 28% internal rate of return. With initial capital costs of $160 million, payback would come after three years of the 11-year mine life for a project showing:

  • proven reserves of 5.26 million tonnes averaging 2.02% nickel, 1.04% copper, 1.01 grams per tonne platinum, 3.45 g/t palladium and 0.19 g/t gold
  • probable reserves of 5.87 million tonnes averaging 1.38% nickel, 0.72% copper, 0.78 g/t platinum, 2.76 g/t palladium and 0.18 g/t gold.

Less than two kilometres away, the company’s Blackbird project has a March 2012 resource showing:

  • a measured category of 9.29 million tonnes averaging 37.44% chromite with a chromium-to-iron ratio of 2
  • an indicated category of 11.17 million tonnes averaging 34.36% with a Cr:Fe ratio of 1.95
  • an inferred category of 23.48 million tonnes averaging 33.14% with a Cr:Fe ratio of 1.97.

Noront PR rep Janice Mandel tells ResourceClips two levels of government know about the company’s east-west proposal. “Noront’s been talking to the provincial government and the federal government, and the environmental assessment has been underway for a while, so there have been lots of discussions. But [Ontario’s] formal proposal had been made with Cliffs.”

She added that Goldcorp TSX:G has shown interest in Noront’s proposal as a route for transmission infrastructure. The major’s fly-in/fly-out Musselwhite mine lies roughly 130 kilometres southwest of Eagle’s Nest and Blackbird.

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