SAULT STE MARIE: The MPP for Sault Ste. Marie and Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines (Northern Development and Mines) as well as to the Minister of Indigenous Affairs met with Noront Resources yesterday with an aim to addressing any issues or questions related to the Sault’s bid to host the company’s Ferrochrome Processing Facility (FPF).
Ross Romano and Noront executives Al Coutts, Stephen Flewelling and Greg Rieveley met less than a week after Noront announced Sault Ste. Marie had been shortlisted, along with Timmins, to host the facility, which would process chromite from the Ring of Fire project in northwestern Ontario.
“Without getting into specific details of what we discussed, I can tell you I assured Noront that Sault Ste. Marie was open for business and ready to be strong partners in this venture,” said Romano. “I believe we are the best place for this facility given we are at the centre of the Great Lakes, we have the brownfield space and there are great synergies with Algoma. The fact is our bid has a lot of momentum right now and we’ve come a long way in a short time.”
Romano says when his office first started advocating for Sault Ste. Marie a year ago, Noront executives were concerned the Sault couldn’t even be considered because of the ongoing Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) protection process that started in 2015. Noront had no assurance that the eventual buyer of Algoma would be prepared to lease the necessary lands to them. Since then, it was a matter of bringing the necessary parties together to work toward a common goal that benefits the community to alleviate those concerns so that Sault Ste. Marie could be in a position to submit a bid for the FPF.
“From my first day in office, I made it clear that I would do everything in my capacity as the local MPP to make this happen. Within the first month after last year’s by-election, there were dozens of face-to-face meetings with Noront as well as our key partners like the CEO of Algoma, the Port of Algoma, Local 2251 and Local 2724.
I am ecstatic that because of all of my team’s efforts, we were able to resolve Noront’s concerns surrounding CCAA and compete in this bidding process. Our government and our community is fully committed to making this happen. This is a top priority.” The final site selection process is now underway and includes substantial negotiations with the owners of the remaining two sites on commercial use terms.
Noront expects to complete the final stage by the end of the year.