Accessing the Ring of Fire is a challenge as existing regional infrastructure in the form of paved roads is at least 300 km away. But thanks to investment in the region, Eagle’s Nest will benefit from regional infrastructure that will serve both industry and local First Nation communities. In the 2014 Ontario Budget, Premier Kathleen Wynne committed $1 billion toward infrastructure in the Ring of Fire and on August 28, 2014, a Development Corporation was established to facilitate the infrastructure construction, operation and maintenance.
New All-Season Access Road
The current preference of stakeholders is the development of an all-season road which utilizes an existing East-West winter road corridor from Pickle Lake to Webequie. The criteria used for choosing this route included factors such as:
- Minimizing impact on undisturbed areas including boreal forest and woodland caribou habitat;
- Overall construction length and costs;
- Minimizing significant water crossings,
- Impact of routes on provincial parks; and
- Sources of aggregate along proposed route.
We have assumed that any infrastructure developed for the mine will be shared with local First Nation communities. The lack of community infrastructure, if addressed while building infrastructure to Eagle’s Nest, will benefit all. Noront has designed access roads capable of handling Eagle’s Nest traffic, community traffic and traffic from additional industrial applications. The existing East-West access route is capable of accommodating significant traffic with minimal impact by incorporating a paved surface. When this East-West Transportation Corridor is built, it will also provide a natural corridor for bringing grid power, fiber optics and broadband into both the local communities and the mine site.
Rail for Shipping to Market
Nickel-copper concentrate will be bagged and loaded onto trucks at the Eagle’s Nest Mine site, then trucked to Savant lake for rail shipping to a smelter in Northern Ontario.
A diesel-fired power plant will be built on-site to service the electrical load requirements for processing equipment, the underground mine and surface infrastructure, such as the camp facilities and airstrip.
Regular movement of people and perishable supplies to the site will utilize the Muketei River airstrip, which will have the capacity to land large cargo aircraft. It is expected that this facility will be built and operated by Marten Falls Logistics.