The SaultFPFproject Team was asked a series of questions from local citizens regarding the proposed project and its impact on the Sault Ste. Marie area. To share the information with the public, the response is posted below:
It is important to the leadership of the community, and the community itself, that a broad and substantial effort is made to educate the public on the current technological process involved in a modern Ferrochrome Processing Facility (FPF). The SaultFPFproject Team is comprised of representatives from the City of Sault Ste. Marie and the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation (SSMEDC). Its written submission and presentation to Noront Resources outlined concerns and sensitivities expressed to the City and the SSMEDC by local citizens and organizations. The project team raised these concerns and advised Noront of the importance of a proper outreach and consultation process to address the concerns and provide relevant and appropriate information.
The project team believes education, information sharing and a respectful dialogue are essential aspects of this project. If Noront decided to move forward with Sault Ste. Marie, a comprehensive community consultation will begin. In the meantime, the project team wanted to do its best to answer the questions posed by this petition.
Note: Questions are included in their original wording as submitted.
How a ferrochrome smelter will affect air and water quality? How it will impact human health (cancer rates, respiratory problems, etc)? How the smelter might affect food grown or harvested in the immediate area?
Both in the submission and during the project team’s presentation, the concerns expressed regarding potential impact on air, water quality and human health were raised. Noront is committed to a comprehensive, multi-year environmental assessment and community consultation. The City is committed to participating in and supporting this process. Additionally, Noront is committed to an environmental mitigation strategy and following the best practice in environmental protection. It is important to note that prior to this project reaching the construction phase, it will first need to receive government approvals and pass environmental regulations.
What negative impact it could have on tourism – one of Algoma’s biggest employers?
The project team does not expect the FPF will have a negative impact on the tourism industry. The proposed location for the facility is zoned for heavy industrial, and the development must undergo a rigorous environmental approval process prior to moving forward.
How it might negatively impact property values?
The project team does not expect the FPF will have a negative impact on property values. In fact, both the construction and operation will lead to job creation, which in turn should positively impact property values. Consumer confidence and job creation are important factors that affect property values.
What concessions and incentives are being offered by the city to attract NorOnt (the proponent)?
The submission outlined programs and opportunities that can be considered, relied upon or applied to for support. The project team is open to further discussion and consideration of incentives and/or support. Anything that is completed in that respect would need to be approved by City Council in open session, and as a result no specific offers or commitments have been made.
How have Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation, the Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Council, Bay Mills Indian Community, and the Sault Tribe of Indians been consulted?
The project team sought input from Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation and Missanabie Cree First Nation during the development of the proposal submission. The project team received letters of support from Batchewana First Nation, Garden River First Nation and Missanabie Cree First Nation. Those letters were included in the submission along with materials. The project team outlined the importance of meaningful First Nation consultation and involvement. The project team has not yet engaged the Historic Sault Ste. Marie Métis Council, the Bay Mills Indian Community and the Sault Tribe of Indians, at this point.
How Chippewa County and The City of Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan have been consulted?
The project team has not formally engaged yet with Chippewa County, at this point. However, discussions have taken place with the City of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, which provided the project team with a letter of support that was included in the submission to Noront.
Will a smelter be a deterrent to people and businesses wishing to relocate to the Sault?
The project team does not expect the FPF to be a deterrent to people and businesses wishing to relocate to the Sault. This development will only move forward if it passes environmental regulations. Also, both the construction and operation will lead to job creation, and this is expected to attract new residents and potential businesses to the city.
What exactly is the nature of the jobs potentially being created and how many would go into our existing workforce?
Once operational, the production facility is expected to employ between 300 and 500 people directly. This estimate is based on Noront’s expectations for a facility of this size and scope. It is anticipated that more than 1,000 indirect jobs would also be created, mostly at local businesses that supply products and services. Hundreds of jobs would be generated during the construction phase of the facility. It is estimated as a $600 to $800-million project, and construction is expected to take between five to seven years.
How will a smelter affect our local energy sector? How will a smelter affect our local energy security?
Power infrastructure will need to be constructed to facilitate the operation of the FPF. The project team has engaged PUC Services Inc. and a local electrical engineering firm to assess power needs, stability and the ability to satisfy the potential energy needs of the FPF. At this stage, the project team does not believe that our local energy supply or infrastructure will be negatively affected. In fact, within the region, there is an excess supply of renewable energy that would be beneficial to utilize in a facility such as this.
Members of the public are encouraged to visit www.SaultFPFproject.com for information about the submission, answers to frequently asked questions, a timeline, and details on community consultation and the environmental assessment. Questions to the project team can be submitted by emailing SaultFPFproject@ssmedc.ca.