THUNDER BAY – BUSINESS – Thunder Bay/Fort William First Nation leaders are remaining hopeful for new opportunities after learning this afternoon that Noront Resources’ ferrochrome processing plant to process chromite ore from the Ring of Fire will not be built in Thunder Bay. Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront” or the “Company”) (TSX Venture.:NOT) today announced that it has reduced the choice of prospective locations for its proposed ferrochrome production facility (FPF) to two Northern Ontario cities: Timmins or Sault Ste. Marie. Both Thunder Bay and Sudbury have been removed from further consideration
Mayor Keith Hobbs and Fort William First Nation Chief Peter Collins learned of the decision from Noront’s senior officials at Thunder Bay City Hall this afternoon.
“While we are disappointed the plant will not be built in Thunder Bay, we continue to see many opportunities for value-added benefits such as road building, provision of materials, and labour force growth as a result of the ferrochrome production facility being built in Northern Ontario,” said Mayor Hobbs.
“Fort William First Nation and the City of Thunder Bay will continue on the path of economic development together and look for future opportunities that will benefit both our communities,” says Chief Collins.
“Thunder Bay put forward a strong submission in February and Noront acknowledged the City’s partnership with Fort William First Nation and strong community support,” said Doug Murray, CEO, CEDC. “The presence of water adjacent to the site presented an environmental risk to the project proceeding here. Our strengths give us a strong base to build on for future projects including supporting Noront in Thunder Bay in terms of logistics, back-office work and as a service, supply and bedroom community for the North.”
Four communities participated in the bidding process which began in February 2018. The submissions were evaluated based on a comprehensive set of criteria determined by Noront and the engineering firm Hatch which was engaged to assist in the adjudication process. Critical factors included environmental and site suitability, capital costs, operating costs and an assessment of community acceptance of hosting the facility.
“The quality of the submissions was outstanding and demonstrated a significant effort by each of the communities involved,” states Noront President and CEO Alan Coutts. “They each provided a compelling case that illustrated the merits of their location as a host for the ferrochrome production facility.”
While the Sudbury proposal had the lowest operating cost, it included significant capital costs such as site preparation earthworks and reestablishment of critical infrastructure. It also faced strong opposition from the local community.
Noront says in a statement that Thunder Bay, on the other hand, had strong community support, including that of Fort William First Nation; however, the presence of a water body transecting the property reduced the environmental acceptability of the site and costly power infrastructure needs created a further issue.
The next and final phase of the site selection process is now underway. It includes substantial negotiation of commercial use terms with the owners of the two favoured sites. Noront expects this stage of definition to be concluded in the fourth quarter of 2018.
RCF Interest Payment
The Company also announces that payment of interest in the amount of $393,990 for the second quarter of 2018 pursuant to the Convertible Debenture has been satisfied by delivery of 1,071,207 common shares of the Company (the “Interest Shares”) at an effective price of $0.3678 per Interest Share. The Interest Shares are subject to a four month hold period, expiring on November 13, 2018.
The calculation of the number of Interest Shares issued was based on the volume weighted average trading price of the common shares of the Company during the 20 trading days prior to June 30, 2018. After giving effect to the private placement, the issuance of shares to Marten Falls First Nation and the Interest Shares, there are 361,913,753 common shares of the Company issued and outstanding.
About Noront Resources
Noront Resources Ltd. is focused on the development of its high-grade Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper, platinum and palladium deposit and the world class chromite deposits including Blackbird, Black Thor, and Big Daddy, all of which are located in the James Bay Lowlands of Ontario in an emerging metals camp known as the Ring of Fire. For more information please visit www.norontresources.com.