Smelter gives Tim­mins edge

Tim­mins of­fi­cials be­lieve Kidd met site gives city an ad­van­tage in its ef­forts to at­tract smelter

Northern News (Kirkland Lake) - - NEWS - LEN GILLIS

Tim­mins feels it may have an edge in its bid to win the at­ten­tion of Noront Re­sources.

Noront is look­ing around North­ern On­tario for the best lo­ca­tion of a fer­rochrome smelter.

A news con­fer­ence was held at the Tim­mins Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (TEDC) of­fice Mon­day af­ter­noon to out­line some of the city’s plans.

Noront Re­sources is the Cana­dian ju­nior min­ing com­pany with the big­gest claim to the ma­jor chromite and nickel dis­cov­er­ies in a re­mote re­gion lo­cated in the James Bay Low­lands. It is the in­cred­i­bly rich min­ing area known as the Ring of Fire, where the value of the min­er­als has been es­ti­mated in the tens of bil­lions of dol­lars.

Tim­mins is one of four North­ern On­tario lo­ca­tions that was short­listed by Noront ear­lier this year and in­vited to sub­mit­ted pro­pos­als. The other cities are Sud­bury, Sault Ste. Marie and Thun­der Bay.

And while the city works to put on its best face on the pro­posal, it was made clear Mon­day there are some at­trac­tive fea­tures that Tim­mins is of­fer­ing, said Mayor Steve Black.

Per­haps the most at­trac­tive fea­ture is the Glen­core Kidd Op­er­a­tions met­al­lur­gi­cal site in Hoyle Town­ship in the city’s East End. Up un­til 2010, it was the site of the huge Kidd cop­per re­fin­ery. Black said the feel­ing at TEDC is this gives Tim­mins the most to of­fer of all the other com­mu­ni­ties.

“When you look at the as­sets and in­fra­struc­ture avail­able with our brown­field site in con­sid­er­a­tion, we think there is a lot of op­por­tu­nity there for Noront to save some se­ri­ous dol­lars,” said Black.

He said Noront had in­di­cated the pro­posal must show a will­ing­ness on the part of the host com­mu­nity to ac­cept a new smelter.

“When you look at the com­mit­ment of a com­mu­nity and the ac­cep­tance of a com­mu­nity to look at min­ing projects and met­al­lur­gi­cal projects, there isn’t too many that can ri­val Tim­mins com­mit­ment to the min­ing in­dus­try.”

He said the tim­ing of the Noront pro­posal fits in well with the an­tic­i­pated clos­ing of the Kidd Oper­a­tion in Tim­mins around 2021.

“Nor­mally, it would not be a good news an­nounce­ment but when you look at hav­ing a read­ily avail­able work­force and site, those time­lines seem to line up very well,” said Black.

TEDC chair­man Fred Gib­bons said the Kidd site also has to be seen in the con­text that it was the last per­mit­ted me­tals re­fin­ery in On­tario, with all the en­vi­ron­men­tal ap­provals that were re­quired over the years.

It was sug­gested this would make any new per­mit­ting process move more smoothly.

Gib­bons said it would be rea­son­able to con­clude there is an ad­van­tage to re-pur­pos­ing an ex­ist­ing smelter fa­cil­ity rather than go­ing into to an en­tirely new site and start­ing fresh.

He said the Tim­mins site also had sev­eral in­fra­struc­ture ad­van­tages such as ex­ist­ing high volt­age hy­dro lines, ex­ist­ing un­der­ground nat­u­ral gas lines, and the rail­way in­fra­struc­ture al­ready on site, which in­cludes a locomotive main­te­nance shop.

Gib­bons added that rail plays a vi­tal role in the city’s pro­posal.

“One of the sig­nif­i­cant part­ners to make this project vi­able for Tim­mins is the On­tario North­land Rail­way,” said Gib­bons.

He said On­tario North­land would be needed to bring raw ma­te­ri­als from the Ring of Fire into Tim­mins as well as trans­port­ing fin­ished ma­te­ri­als out of Tim­mins.

“I think this is an im­por­tant op­por­tu­nity for re­newal of this rail line, as well, not just for the City of Tim­mins,” said Gib­bons. “We’re go­ing to go at it very se­ri­ously and we’ll put for­ward a world-class pro­posal I’m sure.”

Also tak­ing part in the news con­fer­ence was Tim­mins Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Jamie Clarke.

“We are re­ally ex­cited with this whole pro­posal we’re putting to­gether,” said Clarke.

He added that Tim­mins has a cen­tury’s worth of world class busi­ness ex­pe­ri­ence in the min­ing sup­ply and ser­vice sec­tor and that has to be taken se­ri­ously by any new min­ing or re­fin­ing ven­ture.

“Our busi­ness com­mu­nity is well equipped to sup­port more projects,” said Clarke. “In turn, a project of this mag­ni­tude would greatly ben­e­fit the Tim­mins econ­omy, cre­at­ing new jobs, in­creas­ing mu­nic­i­pal tax rev­enues and help­ing to off­set some of the eco­nomic chal­lenges our com­mu­nity will be fac­ing in the up­com­ing years,” he said.

He added that the cham­ber is al­ready mov­ing for­ward with a let­ter-writ­ing cam­paign to the busi­ness com­mu­nity and oth­ers, seek­ing writ­ten state­ments of sup­port for the Tim­mins role in the Ring of Fire project.

Christy Marinig, the chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of the TEDC, said the let­ter-writ­ing cam­paign would be an es­sen­tial part of the Tim­mins re­sponse to Noront.

“What we wanted to re­ally build mo­men­tum on is that we are work­ing with the Cham­ber to ask busi­nesses in the com­mu­nity and res­i­dents to send in let­ters of sup­port for the fer­rochrome fa­cil­ity to show­case why Tim­mins wants this site and to demon­strate will­ing­ness,” said Marinig.

“The goal will be to gather the let­ters here and we will put them in the fi­nal sub­mis­sion. So we want to show­case Tim­mins and we want a lot of let­ters of sup­port. We don’t just a few. We want hun­dreds and hun­dreds.”

LEN GILLIS/TIM­MINS DAILY PRESS

The Tim­mins Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion (TEDC) is op­ti­mistic about the city’s chances to at­tract a new smelter to the city in con­nec­tion with the Ring of Fire chromite and nickel de­posit in­volv­ing Noront Re­sources. A news con­fer­ence was held Mon­day to out­line the city’s plan to spend the next two and a half months on a pro­posal to at­tract the Noront re­fin­ery to Tim­mins. Those tak­ing part in­cluded, from left, Tim­mins Cham­ber of Com­merce pres­i­dent Jamie Clarke, TEDC chair­man Fred Gib­bons, Mayor Steve Black, and city coun­cil­lors Veron­ica Far­rell and Noella Ri­naldo. The city will be sub­mit­ted its of­fi­cial bid in Fe­bru­ary.

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