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Thunder Bay out of the running for Noront ferrochrome processor

Noront Resources has narrowed prospective locations for its Ring of Fire processing facility to Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins.
Thunder Bay from Mt McKay
(tbnewswatch file photograph)

THUNDER BAY -- A proposed ferrochrome plant to process chromite iron ore mined from the Ring of Fire will not be located in Thunder Bay.

Noront Resources officials on Friday notified Thunder Bay and Fort William First Nation leaders that the community was out of the running for the smelter.

An update from Noront said the field has been narrowed to Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins, with Sudbury also being excluded.

The company said the Thunder Bay bid had strong community support but "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."

Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs indicated the city remains hopeful it will benefit from the eventual development of the Ring of Fire.

"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," Hobbs said in a statement.

Each of the four Northern Ontario communities submitted bids to the company earlier this year.

Doug Murray, chief executive officer of the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission, said the city put forward a strong submission.

"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," Murray said.

Noront said the final phase of the site selection process is underway, with it expected to conclude by the end of the year.

Matt Vis

About the Author: Matt Vis

Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Matt is the managing editor of the Newswatch websites and is honoured to be a part of telling the stories of the region.
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