An Ontario Divisional Court in Toronto has heard an appeal by Cliffs Natural Resources over gaining access to its Ring of Fire chromite deposit.
The two-day hearing, which ran June 16-17, stemmed from a ruling last September by Ontario’s mining and lands commissioner. The tribunal dismissed the Ohio iron and coal miner’s application for an easement to build an access road over the claims staked by KWG Resources of Toronto.
A KWG spokesman said the judges have reserved their decision and have not given any date for their ruling. Cliffs did not respond to a call for comment.
KWG has a 30 per cent stake in the Big Daddy chromite deposit that it shares with Cliffs.
The two rival companies were once exploration and development partners in the Ring of Fire.
Cliffs’ argument is that KWG’s use of mining claims to stake a transportation corridor from Nakina, Ont. north to the James Bay exploration camps is not in the public interest and is restricting access to the mineral-rich region.
The Cliffs halted all technical work and cut funding on its Ring of Fire project last fall and recently sold its remote exploration camp to Noront Resources.
Heading into the summer, Cliffs’ entire future in Ontario chromite is in doubt.
Casablanca Capital, a New York hedge fund and a 5.2 per cent owner in Cliffs is actively pushing for a complete overhaul of the Ohio mining company’s senior management and favours spinning off its international assets into a limited partnership.
The matter comes to a head July 29 at the company’s annual general meeting in Cleveland.