Toronto, Ontario, December 3, 2009. Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront” or the “Company”) (TSX Venture: NOT) is pleased to provide an update on their project development plans for their Ring of Fire deposits.
The Project development milestones identified were:
- Establish feasibility schedules for various project components
- Initiate socio economic studies
- Complete environmental baseline and environmental studies
- Initiate project consultations with First Nations communities
- Environmental review and permitting
- Complete marketing and sales studies
- Define project execution plans including Private Public partnerships for infrastructure development
Noront’s projects are the most advanced in the Ring of Fire and we estimate that Feasibility Studies could be completed on the Eagle’s Nest (nickel, copper, PGE’s) and the Blackbird (chromite) deposits by the first quarter of 2011. Due to the different complexities of the two types of deposits, Noront believes the Eagle’s Nest deposits could be put into production by the first quarter of 2016 while the chromite development is expected to follow as a result of increased infrastructure requirements.
The main differences in the two time schedules are driven by many factors, which are largely out of Noront’s control. These differences include:
- The Eagle’s Nest deposit is a much higher grade deposit and as a result can withstand additional inventory costs and could likely be developed with seasonal access;
- The Blackbird chromite deposits, along with other chromite deposits in the region, will require significant infrastructure development in order to be economic;
- The chromite deposits will require the development of all season access that will require the evaluation of numerous options, for both routing and mode of transportation, and will require extensive consultation with First Nations communities;
- The subsequent development of a ferrochrome smelter will require extensive environmental review and will be further complicated by the requirement of significant power supply in the order of 400-500 mega watts; and
- Noront’s due diligence shows that it is unlikely that Ontario’s current power generation or transmission capacity can handle this expanded electrical load and the development of the power supply project alone is likely to extend the ferrochrome project past 2016.
Noront is confident in the project milestones currently established and in support of achieving these milestones has taken the following steps:
- Engaged SNC Lavalin to complete a transportation study that includes numerous routes and modes of transportations. SNC Lavalin is expected to finalize the feasibility study on the preferred routes and mode of transportation, as well as the other alternatives considered, by the fourth quarter of 2010. This work, including the evaluation of alternatives, will be a significant part of the project approvals and consultation process;
- Environmental baseline studies are currently underway;
- NI 43-101 resource reports have been initially completed for Eagle’s Nest and are being finalized for Blackbird and as a result we are confident that our procedures and quality analysis and quality control protocols will meet or exceed industry standards;
- Noront is currently reviewing qualifications from various contractors in support of the feasibility studies and expects to have all major contractors engaged by early 2010; andThrough discussions with our First Nations Advisory Board, Noront is developing a consultation schedule and intends to initiate the consultation process with the First Nations communities in the first quarter of 2010. This will include the expansion of consultations as project definitions are finalized during the feasibility study process.
Mr. Paul Semple P. Eng, Noront’s Chief Operating Officer stated, “The development plans and schedules we are currently proposing are based on months of strategic planning and numerous conversations with First Nations leaders, industry professionals and Federal and Provincial government officials. We are confident of the schedules that we are proposing for the nickel copper projects and at the same time we intend to work diligently on developing the more complex chromite projects. These projects are multifaceted and will require extensive consultations, discussions and negotiations. Until we complete these steps, we cannot responsibly report on the development plans including the capital costs, schedule or the project economics of the Ring of Fire chromite deposits.” Mr. Semple further stated, “Based on Noront’s due diligence regarding the chromite market, the technical demands of a ferrochrome project, the unknown aspects of the permitting process, the complexity of developing a large infrastructure project especially as a private public partnership along with the current the status of Ontario’s infrastructure, we currently believe that the project costs, scope, smelter location, project economics or development timeline can not be accurately forecast or estimated. We believe any forecasts on the chromite projects, at this stage, absent of a project definition being completed, consultation with impacted First Nations being initiated and intensive discussions with the Provincial and Federal governments is purely speculation.”
Noront Resources Ltd. is focused on its significant and multiple, high-grade nickel-copper-platinum-palladium, chromite, gold and vanadium discoveries in an area known as the “Ring of Fire”, an emerging multi-metals district located in the James Bay Lowlands of Ontario, Canada. Noront is the dominant land holder at the Ring of Fire and continues to delineate and prove up its discoveries with NI 43-101 technical and economic reports and an aggressive and well financed drill plan for the remainder of 2009 and 2010. All material information on Noront can be found on the Company’s website at www.norontresources.com or at SEDAR at www.sedar.com
For further information regarding this Offer, please contact Wes Hanson, President and Chief Executive Officer or Joanne Jobin, Vice President Corporate Communications at (416) 367-1444, or visit Noront’s website at: http://www.norontresources.com.
Wesley (Wes) Hanson
President & Chief Executive Officer