Published on: 3/22/2012 3:31:46 PM Print | Font Sizes:  Normal Text Large Text

Mining commissioner to decide Ring of Fire corridor dispute

By: Northern Ontario Business staff

KWG Resources and Cliffs Natural Resources hope to have a date soon with Ontario's mining commissioner to settle a dispute over a Ring of Fire transportation corridor.

Cliffs wants road access to a string of mining claims staked by Canada Chrome, a subsidiary company of KWG, and have applied to the Ministry of Natural Resources for an easement.

The claims were set aside for a future railroad to haul chromite out of the James Bay lowlands.

KWG is not granting consent and argues that the “desired easement” by Cliffs is an impediment and that the MNR has no authority to deal with the matter.

Company vice-president Bruce Hodgman said once KWG denied consent, procedure dictates that the matter must go before the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner.

Cliffs' request for an easement involves a “big chunk” of the rail corridor, a 300-kilometre-long route from the Ring of Fire chromite deposits to Exton in northwestern Ontario, said Hodgman.

“It's right on top of the claims for a good part of the way. We staked on top of an esker, about 100 metres wide, and it's the only place that road or rail could go.”

KWG is a minority partner in one of the chromite deposits owned by Cliffs.

Despite the dispute, Hodgman is confident an arrangement can be worked out.

“It's a business relationship with each company doing what's best for their shareholders. At this point, we think rail would be the best option and Cliffs feels it would be a road. These are purely business decisions.

“At some point, we'll have to come to an agreement because these deposits are going to go into production.”

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