NEW YORK Cliffs
Natural Resources Inc. is temporarily suspending environmental
assessment work on its chromite project in northern
Ontarios Ring of Fire region, the company said June
"While most aspects of
the chromite project have advanced according to plan,
temporarily suspending the environmental assessment work
acknowledges that certain critical elements of the
projects 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," William Boor, senior vice president
of global ferroalloys, said in a statement.
Boor told AMM
in April that the company was unsure of the projects
permitting timeline following a change in local government (
amm.com, April 29).
company cited delayed approval in the assessment process, a
judicial challenge by a "number" of First Nations, unresolved
land rights issues and unfinished agreements with the Ontario
government as reasons for the suspension.
"In a practical sense,
weve taken the (assessment) and other project work as far
as possible without resolution of these issues," Boor said.
However, the company will continue to engage with the
government and First Nations.
The company does not
know when the issues might be resolved, a spokeswoman said.
In addition to
completing the assessment process, Cliffs needs to negotiate
agreements with affected First Nation communities, address the
lack of infrastructure in the Ring of Fire region and complete
its commercial and technical feasibility studies before it can
advance the project, which is expected to produce 1.1 million
tonnes of chrome ore and 560,000 tonnes of high-carbon
ferrochrome per year once operational.
"We remain excited
about this project and its potential for Cliffs and northern
Ontario," Boor said.