Posted by Mary-Anne Mackett on Apr 23, 2019
AT OUR CLUB April 23, 2019
Rod Morrison introduced our guest speaker Glenn Nolan of Noront Resources who gave us a very interesting talk jokingly titled “We’re Still Here – Making Progress!” complete with professional slide show on the history, present efforts and future of Noront Resources Inc., a significant player in the Ring of Fire.
Pictured left to right: President Warren Philp, Rotarian Jim Madder, today's guest Glenn Nolan of Noront Resources and President-Elect Rod Morrison.
Glenn is a member of the Missinaibi Cree First Nation, a former chief and the first indigenous president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC). He has been involved in mining for decades, a member of many not-for-profit boards, of a junior diamond exploration company and a long-time advocate for sustainable inclusive mineral redevelopment in both Canada and globally.
Glenn showed us the time line of Noront’s inception and growth which now has 85% of the staked claims in the Ring of Fire including the very rich deposit of chromite, nickel, copper, platinum and more. Glenn told us that there is some 150 to 200 years’ of ore found– that we know of so far. The Eagle’s Nest deposit will be the first mine and it has a rich vertical tower of ore.
Glenn grew up in the bush with no running water or power, a mile from the railroad. Thunder Bay is enough of a Big City for him. When he was brought in to work on community engagement and he set up the Noront Resources Thunder Bay Office for Noront in 2011 everyone expected him to retire upon the mine opening in 2017 – he’s still here, they're making progress!
Environmental assessments, road-building, power infrastructure and construction are some of the many big issues that need to be dealt with before the mines can get up and running. Sustainability and environmental concerns are key: the mine sites will not have open pit mines or hills of tailings etc. Rather, all the waste will be kept underground. Like Musselwhite MIne, the mine is expected to be a fly-in community with a small "footprint".
The proposed roads would connect Aroland north to Marten Falls and then west to Webequie, the two First Nations closest to the Ring of Fire, and the first proposed mine sites. Glenn explained how some mining will eventually be done remotely by operators who live and work in Thunder Bay if not by autonomous vehicles – very futuristic! There will always be a need for underground miners. There is a shortage of skilled tradespeople to the tune of some 120,000 skilled jobs in mining, and further numbers of skilled tradespeople across other industries, so technology is part of the answer and dedicated training programs for indigenous groups and others are the other part of the answer. Confederation College is a key partner in these efforts.
Thunder Bay will benefit from the development of the Ring of Fire by the employment and supply needs of the mining industry. The chromite smelting will not be done in Thunder Bay as the prospect got insufficient community support and had environmental issues. Glencor in Timmins and Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie are the likely future locations for further ore refining.
Our Rotary Club boasts quite an engaged number of mining experts of various background and Glenn’s talk was well-received indeed. Jim Madder thanked Glenn Nolan, for his contribution to the industry and for his very interesting talk today.