Sault FPF project team presents submission to Noront Resources

The project team working on a submission to have Sault Ste. Marie considered as a host location for a ferrochrome production facility (FPF) presented an information package to Noront Resources today.

A local delegation comprised of project team members and community leaders travelled to the company’s head office in Toronto to present the submission.

“We produced a compelling submission that I’m pleased to deliver in-person to the Noront Resources team,” said Mayor Christian Provenzano. “Our submission includes detailed and thoughtful responses to the information requested by the company. We have determined a path forward for Noront in Sault Ste. Marie based on comprehensive research and analysis by the project team, in consultation with sector experts. I’m confident in the quality of our submission and I want to ensure the community that we put our best foot forward with a great effort.”

The project team has engaged local stakeholders, Indigenous leaders, third-party experts and City staff to produce a response to Noront. The Sault Ste. Marie submission remains in competition with other communities and, as such, the document is not being released in its entirety. In summation, the package is focused on the following competitive advantages:

  • Location
    Sault Ste. Marie proposed a brownfield site located on Algoma property and zoned for heavy industrial. The location requires no significant road or infrastructure construction in order to accommodate the FPF. The site proposal was supported by Algoma.
  • Logistics
    Noront would realize significant cost advantages when shipping its products to market from Sault Ste. Marie. The community’s strategic location at the heart of the Great Lakes and on the U.S. border means ferrochrome can be efficiently transported south to the American market. The project team engaged industry experts to analyze the data and the results are compelling. Using barge transport from Sault Ste. Marie provides Noront with the most cost-effective option.
  • Industrial Workforce
    Sault Ste. Marie has a rich manufacturing and industrial history, with a skilled labour, suppliers and post-secondary institutions able to provide services and workers to the facility. The city possesses the construction expertise required to build the FPF, the requisite experience for operating the facility and the regional companies needed to supply and service the FPF’s operations.
  • Community
    With outdoor recreation opportunities, along with top-notch amenities and attractions, the local quality of life is conducive to attracting and retaining talent from around the world.

Along with Mayor Provenzano, the local delegation that travelled to Toronto included:

  • Al Horseman, CAO of the City of Sault Ste. Marie;
  • Dan Hollingsworth (project lead), Executive Director of Business Development for the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation;
  • Rob Brewer, President and CEO of PUC Services;
  • Tom Vair, Deputy CAO of Community Development and Enterprise Services for the City of Sault Ste. Marie;
  • Ross Romano, Member of Provincial Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie; and
  • Terry Sheehan, Member of Parliament for Sault Ste. Marie.

“I am more than confident that the Sault has the knowledge, the people, the infrastructure and the enthusiasm to produce the very best products in a new ferrochrome production facility,” said MP Sheehan. “I am committed to continue working hard to hear the needs of our industries, and take action to support those companies because we know they support our communities.”

These comments were echoed by MPP Romano. “I want to express my sincere gratitude to Noront for providing our city with this opportunity, as I can think of no better place for the ferrochrome production facility to operate,” he said. “It is my humble opinion that this process is the start of a very long and mutually beneficial relationship between Noront and the City of Sault Ste. Marie.”

Background

Noront Resources, a Canadian-based mining firm, is planning to build a FPF in Northern Ontario. If developed, the plant would produce ferrochrome, a key ingredient in stainless steel. Sault Ste. Marie is shortlisted as one of four potential locations.

Timeline

The submission of information in response to Noront is the next step in a formal process started in November when the company issued a request to four cities in Northern Ontario. The firm was seeking information from each of the communitiues on their ability to host the facility. Submissions were due today. Included below is an approximate outline of the project team’s understanding of the process that will follow:

  • Spring 2018
    Noront makes a decision regarding the city with the most feasible site.
  • Between one to five years (post-site selection)
    Noront commences a comprehensive, multi-year environmental assessment and community consultation process in the selected city. The company liaises with government agencies to ensure the project meets regulations.
  • Between five to seven years (post-site selection)
    Only if environmental assessments and community consultations are successful, Noront begins constructing the FPF, which has a price tag of between $600 and $800 million.
  • Between seven to 10 years (post-site selection)
    Noront begins processing ferrochrome at its new facility. The plant will employ between 300 and 500 people directly, along with more than 1,000 indirectly through suppliers and other businesses.

“The environmental assessment would take several years and cost a significant amount of money and, as such, Noront Resources understandably doesn’t want to proceed with this stage until the company narrows down the list of potential host cities,” said Hollingsworth. “That’s the process our project team has been focused on for the past three months. We’ve been building a business case on our competitive advantages, and I’m very pleased with the proposal package submitted.”