Ore haulage tramway system to Ring of Fire could cost $840 million

TORONTO — Whether it’s by road or by rail, transporting ore out of Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral zone won’t be cheap.

The Ontario government supports a road link but one of the stakeholders in the Ring of Fire, KWG Resources, continues to plan for a specialized rail line.

It maintains that both the environmental impact and the operating costs would be less than using trucks.

Last week, the company released the results of an engineering study from Rail-Veyor Technologies.

It estimates it would cost US$657 (CDN$840 million) to build an electrified tramway system designed to transport 10 million tonnes over a distance of 338 kilometres to a processing and/or transfer facility near Nakina.  

KWG owns the Black Horse chromite deposit as well as Canada Chrome Corporation, which has staked mining claims along an esker – a ridge of stratified sand and gravel – between Aroland and the Ring of Fire.  

If the rail project goes ahead, it will follow that route.

KWG also announced that it is in discussion with newly-incorporated The Gitchiziibii Company Inc. which is assisting with the creation of a Trust for members of the Matawa and Mushkegowuk First Nations.

“The Trust is being designed to be endowed with the beneficial interests in infrastructure assets required for mining in the Ring of Fire,” KWG said.

There’s no construction schedule yet, but the Gitchiziibii Company, KWG and CCC plan to apply for the designation of the proposed ore-haulage tramway system as mining works under the Ontario Mining Act.

This is in preparation for flotation of a bond issue for construction financing.

Last week, a bidding war between two Australian companies for the largest stakeholder in the Ring of Fire – Noront Resources – concluded with a victory by Wyloo Resources.  

Noront’s prime asset is the Eagle’s Nest nickel, copper and palladium deposit.

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