NEW YORK Noront
Resources Ltd. said its plans for the development of
nickel-copper and chromite deposits in the Ring of Fire region
of northern Ontario "have not changed in light of the
announcement by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. to temporarily
suspend their environmental assessment activities" on the Black
Thor chromite project.
Cliffs 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 provincial government as
reasons for the suspension (
amm.com, June 12).
Noront said it has
"continuously developed alternative plans, including the use of
an east-west corridor, if the planned north-south access route
proposed by Cliffs did not materialize."
Cliffs had been
seeking government support for the development of
transportation infrastructure that would link the isolated
region with the rest of the country, saying that it would "not
approve any significant investment capital or major
construction activity until key elements supporting economic
viability are resolved" (
amm.com, April 26).
"In addition to
supporting a north-south access route, Noront has always
supported an east-west alternative approach for the development
of the Ring of Fire that balances First Nations objectives, the
environment and job growth," Noront chairman and interim chief
executive officer Paul Parisotto said in a statement.
"Were confident this alternative will be attractive to
each level of government, the local communities and the people
who will benefit from this sensible approach to stimulating
development in the Ring of Fire."
company said an east-west all-weather corridor would build upon
existing winter roads to minimize environmental impact and
cost, with the potential for expansion to support further
developments in the region.
Noront is in the final
stage of its environmental assessment for the Eagles Nest
nickel-copper project and still intends to submit the
assessment this fall. The company also is developing the
Blackbird chromite deposit in the same region.