RING OF FIRE – EAST WEST ALTERNATE ALL-SEASON ROAD SYSTEM
THREE DIFFERENT INFRASTRUCTURE PLANS FOR ROF & NORTHERN ONTARIO COMMUNITY ACCESS
Separate stakeholders have proposed different ‘east west’ all-weather routes and variations of those routes, to this isolated Ring of Fire mining development area in northern Ontario:
- Alternate Southern East West All-Weather Road supporting North South Railway to Exton with First Nations communities of Eabametoong, Neskantaga, Webequie and Marten Falls plus Nibinamik, Kingfisher, and Wunnumin Lake are feasible with ‘next-step’ development costing study.
- Northern East West All-Weather Road.
- Eastern West East Mushkegowuk Rail, Road to James Bay Seaport
1. PROPOSED FIRST NATION EQUAL PARTNER – SOUTHERN ALTERNATE EAST WEST ALL-SEASON ROAD SYSTEM
“We went to the forestry guys and the First Nations and asked them where do you want a road and where can you build one.”
“Our route is about one-third of the price and goes where the First Nations think it should go and where the forestry guys say they can build it.” said KWG Resources CEO Frank Smeenk.
– Sudbury Mining Solution 12/01/2014
As part of efforts to develop the mineral potential in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire and to allow for safe road-based access to northern First Nation communities, KWG Resources Inc. retained GreenForest Management Inc. (GFMI) to conduct (Click here) a preliminary scoping exercise to locate an all-weather access road corridor and provide an associated cost projection. This scoping exercise focused on the location of the most cost effective, feasible and efficient location of all-weather roads in the project area.
GreenForest Management Inc., a company with experience building logging roads, put the price to access the Ring of Fire chromite deposits between $83.6-million to $99.9-million, connecting the proposed First Nation & KWG owned and operated north-south rail line with an existing road near Pickle Lake, about 305 kilometres west.
Trunk roads to four reserves, Eabametoong First Nation (Fort Hope), Neskantaga First Nation (Lansdowne House), Webequie First Nation and Marten Falls First Nation (Ogoki Post), would add another $36.1 million to $73.1 million (depending on which route to Webequie First Nation is selected).
In total, to connect the four area First Nations to the alternative all-weather east-west road system and to access the deposits would cost $173-million instead of $559-million.
KWG Resources alternative road study notes that additional trunk roads to connect Nibinamik, Kingfisher, and Wunnumin Lake are also feasible but required further research for construction budgeting purposes.
Ring of Fire infrastructure corridor development should be;
SOCIAL ECONOMIC BENEFITS
The socio-economic benefits and opportunities range from short to long term for First Nations communities in the project area. Specifically short term and direct benefits that can be expected include:
• Heavy equipment and road construction training and skill development
• Employment on road construction and maintenance
• Employment in road construction support sectors, such as equipment parts and service, fuel supply, food and housing and equipment service centres
• Need for a road network management company, to provide road maintenance and monitoring services
Most short term benefits are the foundation for transferable and lasting benefits to northern First Nation communities. The following longer term socio-economic benefits potentially could be expected from all-weather road access to communities, including:
• Increased opportunities for local and regional-based employment, particularly associated with mining development at the Ring of Fire through an established road network
• Transfer of road construction and equipment use skills to mining and other resource management and equipment operation sectors (construction, energy, forestry)
• Expansion and improvement in health care delivery, including dental, home and long-term care services
• Increased travel options for health care purposes
• Improvement and expansion in delivery of government and social services
• Improved response time for police services
• Lower cost of living through ground-based delivery of goods and services
• Lower cost of personal travel
• Increased ability to access basic services (e.g. food, vehicle repair, clothing) and professional services (e.g. financial, legal, commercial)
• improvement in the delivery of educational services on First Nation communities (e.g. establish secondary schools thus eliminating need for placement of students out of community)
• Reduction in airport maintenance costs
• Development of new remote, resource-based tourism ventures
ROF RAILWAY CORRIDOR
KWG Resources Inc. co-discovered the Ring of Fire chromite deposits and staked and assessed adjoining claims along a 330 kilometer-long series of sand ridges to insure the discoveries could access markets via an ore-haulage railroad on top of the sand ridges.
(Click here) KWG Resources Inc. has now signed agreements with China Railway First Survey & Design Institute Group C., Ltd. (FSDI), to assist KWG to secure financing in China for construction of the railroad upon completing a study by 2017. FSDI had conducted a 9-man engineering site-reconnaissance on the Ring of Fire railway corridor during 2016.
As the various studies and plans are completed, they will be shared with the Chiefs of the Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations for dissemination within their communities to facilitate consideration of KWG’s proposal to create an equal partnership with them in the integrated mining and transportation operations.
KWG independently staked the railroad route to make all the ring of fire deposits viable and to acquire in-situ aggregates for railroad construction.
Rail construction supplies can be transported via a new industrial road branching off existing roads to the west, and provide numerous remote communities with economical new road-transportation.
As part of efforts to develop the mineral potential in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire and to allow for safe road-based access to northern First Nation communities, KWG Resources Inc. retained GreenForest Management Inc. (GFMI) to conduct (Click here) a preliminary scoping exercise to locate an all-weather access road network and provide an associated cost projection. This scoping exercise focused on the location of the most cost effective, feasible and efficient location of all-weather roads in the project area.
The (Click here) Tetra Tech study forecast that the rail option capital cost would be approximately $1.56 billion and have unit operating costs of $10. 50 per tonne based on 3 mtpy transported and that the road option would have capital expenditures of approximately $1.05 billion but would have unit operating costs of $60.78 per tonne based on a similar tonnage hauled. If 5 million tonnes per year are shipped, it is estimated that those operating costs per tonne would be reduced to $6.33 for rail and $59.28 for trucking.
Under a southern, single-site, natural gas ‘integrated concentrator/reducer operations’ scenario, 8 mtpy of chromite ore could be transported on the Ring of Fire railway, and then firstly be reduced to concentrate and subsequently be reduced to ferrochome in the Greenstone area.
2. NORTHERN EAST WEST All-WEATHER ROAD SYSTEM
In March of 2015, the federal and provincial governments announced a joint $785,000 study, by SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., of an all-weather road for the Webequie, Eabametoong, Neskantaga and Nibinamik First Nations, in the isolated Ring of Fire mining development area in northern Ontario. The government-funded study reviewed a range of options and concluded it would cost $264-million to $559-millions. The KWG Resources funded study on the southern alternative east west all-season road, with a proposed First Nations equal partnership rail corridor, to connect the four area First Nations to the alternative all-weather east-west road system and to access the deposits would cost $173-million instead of $559-million.