Ferrochrome Plant no where near a go, or no go, says Provenzano

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Ferrochrome Protest
Photo by Megan Pounder/SaultOnline

Mayor Provenzano says there are a lot of steps which need to be determined before the a Ferrochrome Plant in Sault Ste. Marie comes to a final decision.

We asked both he and CAO Malcolm White where the plans for the plant stood as there has been both support and significant opposition in the community to its potential existence.

“You certainly wouldn’t say it’s a go, or no go. I think it’s frankly too early to be to be either of those things. And really, you’ve got to just look at the the news about the company to determine that there’s a lot of story left to be told here,” said Provenzano during a longer discussion which covered a variety of topics.

“Noront [has] always been very clear that they weren’t going to be doing anything on the Ferrochrome Production Facility Project until they had clarity on on the road. There still is no road into the Ring of Fire.”

Since then, Provenzano says there has been competing takeover bids for Noront by two Austrailian mining and resource companies, Wyloo Metals and most recently with an even sweeter offer by BHP Group. Until the new owners make their wishes known, Sault Ste. Marie is in a holding pattern.

“Now that project is still, if it comes to pass, a long way off. But the City has to do some of its own assessment in that regard too. When we originally responded to the request for information, one of the parts of it obviously was the ability to host a electric arc furnace on that site,” explained Provenzano.  “And obviously, it’s something that is doable, because Algoma Steel is now doing it. So there has to be some consideration whether or not it’s possible to operate multiple electric arc furnaces on that site. And that’s not something that we really ever considered in any significant way.”

Power consumption, environmental impact, accessibility, and other factors would all need to be taken into account if the plant was to move forward.

“We’ll also have to see what the capacity is locally for not only the electricity generation, but its transmission and distribution that’s never, frankly, been considered. So there’s a lot to look at here and we’ll have to try and kind of wrestle it to the ground and sort out where it goes. I think probably sooner rather than later.”

“But in the end, nothing has been done to move either a provincial environmental assessment forward or a federal environmental assessment forward. And both those things will have to be completed before anything was to occur here.”

“I want to just be clear with the City and assure the City that nothing has happened on that project since really the last time there was public information on it,” stated the Mayor.

Stay with SaultOnline/ONNTV for continuing coverage of this development as details are made available.

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