Cliffs appeals Ring of Fire road decision

US-based Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) is not giving up on its battle against Canadian junior KWG Resources, as it appealed today to an Ontario's Mining and Lands Commissioner ruling that didn’t allow the iron ore giant to get road access to its US$3.3-billion chromite project, through KWG’s mining claims.

The Cleveland-based company wanted to build an all-weather road to the touted Ring of Fire, a massive planned chromite mining and smeltering project in Canada’s mineral-rich area of the James Bay Lowlands, Ontario, which could be used to transport ore. But the proposed way would go through lands belonging to KWG, which has plans to build a railway connecting at Exton instead.

In a ruling released Sept. 10, the tribunal ruled that granting an easement to Cliffs would interfere with KWG's ability to work its claims since “numerous heavy trucks (passing) every day” would cover up future drilling and sampling sites.

“It's extremely material,” said Smeenk of the commissioner's office ruling. “There couldn't be any more material information for the owners of KWG.”

The claims on the northern half cover the only ridge of high ground where a road and rail could be built.

Bill Boor, SVP Global Ferroalloys with Cliffs, told NetNewsLedger he believes there is no “Ring of Fire” without access to the area.

“Without access to the surface lands to develop the needed infrastructure, there is no project. Our proposed development has the scale needed to develop the road access and is therefore a catalyst for other smaller mining opportunities in the Ring of Fire,” Boor was quoted as saying.

Toronto-based KWG has a 30% interest in the Big Daddy chromite deposit and the right to earn 80% of the Black Horse chromite deposit. KWG also owns 100% of Canada Chrome Corporation, which has staked claims and conducted a $15 million surveying and soil testing program for the engineering and construction of a railroad to the disputed area from Exton, also in Ontario.