FERROCHROME PRODUCTION FACILITY
Noront has a vast resource of chromite in the Ring of Fire in Northwestern Ontario. We are planning to mine this chromite and build a Ferrochrome Production Facility (FPF) to process it. Our FPF will be an expandable ferrochrome smelting facility that receives ore/concentrate from our Ring of Fire chromite mines and produces ferrochrome for the stainless-steel market. The FPF is planned to be part of Noront’s high-grade, high quality, chrome business and will process our vast chromite resources in the Ring of Fire.
Noront plans to use the infrastructure developed for our Eagle’s Nest Ni-Cu-PGE Project to start the production of our first chromite mine — Blackbird. The ore would then be transported from the Ring of Fire to existing rail infrastructure by means of an all-season gravel road being developed by local communities and the provincial government. The ultimate destination for the ore will be Noront’s FPF.
In February 2018, Noront received bids to host the FPF from four northern cities; Thunder Bay, Timmins, Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. These locations were chosen because they had potential brownfield locations, local infrastructure and available quality workforces. The list was then narrowed down to two cities with a final site, in Sault Ste. Marie, chosen in May 2019. The Sault site is located on the industrial lands west of the Algoma Steel Plant, providing access to the Great Lakes and the ability to procure services from a strong industrial partner. The Algoma site is ideal for repurposing an existing site for the establishment of a modern, state-of-the-art ferrochrome facility. The proximity to markets and the lower operating cost tipped the scales in favour of Sault Ste. Marie.
The Ferrochrome Processing Facility is planned to produce high carbon ferrochrome and employ approximately 1,500 during construction and between 300 and 500 people full-time. Once Noront has established itself as a high quality, consistent ferrochrome producer in the North American market, we plan to double our FPF production, which would increase employment to more than 500 people. We will develop the Black Thor deposit and target the European and Asian markets with the increased production.
Key FPF Objectives
- Highest quartile ferrochrome product quality
- Environmentally responsible and sustainable operations
- Use of proven technology in the ferrochrome (FeCr) and/or ferroalloy industry for all unit operations at the FPF
- Best available technologies to be used for dust capture from process and material handling steps — Dust will be recycled, minimizing environmental impacts
- The plan for Stage 1 is to have two 65 MW DC open-bath electric furnaces. State-of-the-art gas cleaning equipment will be used for chromite smelting. Stage 2 will have four furnaces
- To minimize CO2 emissions and energy consumption, the ore, limestone and anthracite is planned to be pre-treated and heated in a direct-fired rotary kiln utilizing the furnace off-gases (CO)
- Power is planned to be supplied via a high-capacity transmission line with a total connected load of 210 MW for Stage 1 FPF, to be expanded to 350 MW for Stage 2
Sault Ste. Marie – Algoma Site Attributes
- Proximity to suitable electrical infrastructure and robustness of electrical grid to support over 300 MW of demand including electric furnaces
- Proximity to main rail and natural gas lines
- Effective road infrastructure and access
- Cost effective transportation costs to the location, both from mine and from the sources of the major consumables, especially anthracite
- Proximity to markets and low transportation costs to the main ferrochrome customers
- Availability of a trained and experienced workforce to staff the operation
- A demonstrated level of community support
The development of the FPF plan leading to construction is expected to occur over an estimated seven-year period. There is substantial effort to engineer, consult with the community and complete the very significant environmental assessment required to build the FPF.