NEW YORK Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is now declining
to provide a schedule for its Black Thor chromite project due
to a stalled dialogue with the provincial
government of Ontario.
The Cleveland-based company expects to spend approximately $60
million in 2013 to complete the feasibility stage of the Black
Thor development, but it cautioned that resolution of
certain critical elements of the projects future are not
solely within our control, citing suspended discussions
with the provincial government.
In light of our stalled dialogue with the government, we
are evaluating adjustments and our spending rate, which could
impact the amount we invest in this project during 2013 and the
projects overall schedule. While we remain enthusiastic
about this opportunity, we cannot predict how quickly the
definitive agreements will be in place allowing the project to
continue, and until the feasibility phase is complete, we will
not speculate on the overall project schedule, Cliffs
chairman, chief executive and president Joseph Carrabba said in
a Feb. 13 conference call.
While negotiations and a binding agreement with the
government have slowed and dialogue has been suspended during
the provincial government transition, recent conversations with
newly seated (Minister of Northern Development and Mines)
Michael Gravelle indicate the province is committed to get a
deal done, he said. Its imperative, however,
that the right deal is completed for both Cliffs and Ontario,
even if it delays our previous project schedule.
Last year, Cliffs revised the production start-up date for
Black Thor twice from its initial forecast of 2015 to 2016 and
later beyond 2017 (
amm.com, Oct. 26
The mine is expected to produce about 100,000 tonnes of chrome
ore and 560,000 tonnes of high-carbon ferrochrome annually.
Ferrochrome market sources told AMM Feb. 14 that they
werent surprised by further delays in the project,
particularly in light of the capital investment needed relative
to the declining price of ferrochrome.
I think the scope of what theyre trying to do up
thereeven if everything went according to planwould
take longer than what theyd estimated, one trader
When they started that project, high-carbon chrome was
going for $1.40, a second trader added.
high-carbon ferrochrome price was at $1 to
$1.04 per pound Feb. 13., up from lows of 94 to 99 cents in