Noront Resources, one of the remaining players in the Ring of Fire, says it’s expanding its already substantial footprint in the remote mineral belt.
The Toronto-based company announced Monday a plan to issue $750,000 worth of common shares to acquire nearly 150 additional mining claims it says are laden with potential deposits of copper-zinc, nickel and chromite.
The claims “are highly prospective and further consolidate our land position, adding 35 per cent to our Ring of Fire holdings, Noront chief development officer Steve Flewelling said in a news release.
The company said it now controls approximately 75 per cent of the staked claims in the RoF region, which it calls “the next major mining camp in Ontario.”
The Ring of Fire is located about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.
Noront, meanwhile, said it’s awaiting an announcement by the province regarding the company’s preference for an east-west, all-weather road, which would link the company’s proposed Eagle’s Nest nickel mine to Pickle Lake.
A $785,000 study into a RoF route has been completed and is under review by the province, said Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle.
But Gravelle didn’t release a timeline for when the study, including any recommendations for a route it might contain, will be made public.
The study, led by four ROF First Nations, was jointly funded by the provincial and federal governments.
“We will work with the First Nations to determine the next steps,” Gravelle said.
The province has said it would spend $1 billion on a future RoF transportation corridor.
The Eagle’s Nest mine, expected to cost $700 million to build, could go into production as early as 2021 under Noront’s current plan.
The mine would employ more than 300 people and operate for at least 11 years, Noront says.
Noront says that once its Eagle’s Nest mine is in production, it would then turn to developing its RoF chromite properties, including the nearby Blackbird deposit.
In 2015, Noront became the primary holder of RoF’s chromite deposits when it acquired those held by former main RoF proponent Cliffs Natural Resources.
Chromite is a main ingredient in the manufacture of stainless steel.