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Cliffs may not continue with chromite project

Keywords: Tags  Cliffs Natural Resources, Mining and Lands Commissioner, William Boor, chromite project, Ring of Fire, Black Thor, KWG Resources, Canada Chrome chromite

NEW YORK — Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. has cautioned that it might not continue to pursue a chromite project in Ontario’s Ring of Fire if it is unable to overcome a recent decision by the provincial Mining and Lands Commissioner.

An application by a Cliffs subsidiary to dispense with the consent of Canada Chrome Corp. in the building of a road near Cliffs’ Black Thor chromite deposit in northern Ontario was dismissed by the Commissioner earlier this month (, Sept. 11).

"While we are open to possible solutions, without a pathway developing quickly to overcome this major setback it is going to be difficult for us to justify continuing with the project at this point in time," William C. Boor, the Cleveland-based company’s senior vice president of global ferroalloys, said in a statement.

Cliffs’ proposed 211-mile North-South all-weather road crosses unpatented mining claims of Canada Chrome parent company KWG Resources Inc. and other resource companies. Canada Chrome is looking to build a railroad to develop its interests in the Ring of Fire, which include the Big Daddy and Black Horse chrome deposits.

However, Cliffs said its proposed road is essential to the development of its own chromite project and other projects in the Ring of Fire.

"Without access to the surface lands to develop the needed infrastructure, there is no project. Our proposed development has the scale needed to develop the road access and is, therefore, a catalyst for other smaller mining opportunities in the Ring of Fire. Cliffs is very disappointed in this decision, but beyond our project it is clearly an issue for anyone interested in seeing these opportunities in the Ring of Fire becoming realities," Boor said.

Cliffs temporarily suspended environmental assessment work on its chromite project in June (, June 12).

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