GREENSTONE – In Cleveland yesterday afternoon, senior management of Cliffs Natural Resources hosted a multi-hour meeting with a delegation from the Municipality of Greenstone. The focus of the wide ranging discussion was the potential for siting a ferrochrome refinery at Exton Siding (between Nakina and the Aroland First Nation). Greenstone Mayor Renald (Ron) Beaulieu observed, “I was pleased and impressed with the responsiveness and attention our submission received from the Cliffs representatives. They asked some tough but important and insightful questions. Clearly they have been giving a lot of consideration to the benefits of the Exton site.”
The Greenstone presentation in Cleveland is an updated version of the “North West Kick- Start” plan released at a media conference in Thunder Bay earlier in the fall. However, the submission has been upgraded with more detailed information and maps related to electricity supply. The Greenstone delegation made similar presentations to officials at Queen’s Park before going to Cleveland.
The Mayor commented, “I am very pleased with the quality of the case the Greenstone delegation made in Cleveland. Residents of Greenstone and throughout the Region should be confident that we advanced important points in favour of Greenstone being the site for the ferrochrome refinery. The points made were related to sustainability, economics, electricity supply, First Nations relations and support.” The Mayor continued, “We also talked about the Greenstone mining and exploration legacy and its strategic location as a labour source for workers in all facets of the planned chromite operation.”
Charles Fox, a former Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation carefully outlined the important relationship that Greenstone has with local First Nations, and the overarching importance of the Matawa First Nations cooperation to the success of the project.
The Greenstone delegation and Cliffs spent a significant period of time in the session, discussing the electricity related aspect of the “North West Kick-Start” and how it supplied an innovative and cost effective way of providing the required electricity to the Exton site. Meeting these criteria is considered to be an important element of site selection.
The delegation included the Mayor, Greenstone Chief Administrative Officer Roy Sinclair, Charles Fox and Meladina Hardy, former Deputy Premier of Ontario, George Smitherman, Don Huff of Environmental Communications Options and Larry Doran of Imperium Energy.
The session ran overtime, and concluded with Cliffs thanking the delegation, agreement on a list of items for follow-up, and a discussion when the next meeting would be held in Greenstone.
Mayor Beaulieu stated that the Cleveland trip is only a single step in Greenstone’s work with area First Nations, Cliffs, and others to ensure the ferrochrome refinery is appropriately located in Exton.