Skip to content

Former Timmins mayor wanted to buy the Ring of Fire

Steve Black investigated city acquiring Far North deposits after Cliffs departure
2018-11-13 Final Council Meeting Steve Black MH
Timmins Mayor Steve Black chairs his last council meeting. Maija Hoggett/TimminsToday

In his first week in office, Timmins Mayor Steve Black wanted to buy a mine.

Sharing the story of how he wanted to purchase the Ring of Fire is one of the memories he shared about his time in office as he chaired his final council meeting Nov. 13.

Being elected as a councillor in 2010 was a life-changing moment for Black. When the next election rolled around, he won the mayor’s seat.

Back in 2014 in his first week on the job as mayor, he recalled going to the CAO and announcing his desire to buy a mine.

At the time, former owner Cliffs Natural Resources was looking to pull out of the project. Knowing the importance of having what is now Noront come to Timmins, Black wanted the city to have control of its destiny.

“Council doesn’t even know this discussion happened because we then went to a lawyer to ask if we could do it and after some back and forth of going through the Municipal Act, the lawyer determined that we would see several legal challenges if we attempted to buy out the Ring of Fire,” he said. About a month later, Noront bought the James Bay Lowlands project.

Work to bring the company’s ferrochrome smelter to Timmins is one of the items Black listed as one he’s most proud of during his tenure as mayor. 

The Toronto-based mining company is the largest developer in the Ring of Fire and has narrowed down the location for its smelter to two cities: Timmins or Sault Ste. Marie.

“I am extremely optimistic that Timmins is well-positioned for this bid in the coming months,” said Black.

“There’s not a doubt in my mind that logistically, financially, it makes the most sense to be in the City of Timmins and I’m hoping that when that decision is made that that proves to be the case. And wherever I am, I’ll have a smile on my face if that is the case, hopefully it’s on a beach somewhere warm.”