Hundreds of people have already applied for jobs with Ring of Fire mining company Cliffs Natural Resources, who plans to start operating a chromite smelter in Capreol in 2016.

The company’s vice president said he was shocked to see job applications already being submitted in droves.

But before Cliffs can employ many of those people, Bill Boor, said a lot needs to be done first.

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Cliffs Natural Resources senior vice president Bill Boor (Supplied)

"With the phase of development that we're in right now, with some of these milestones needing to happen, there's risk in the schedule," he said after a Sudbury Chamber of Commerce speaking engagement on Tuesday.

An environmental assessment has yet to be completed, and the company is actively negotiating several issues with First Nations and both levels of government.

450 jobs planned for smelter

Even though the smelter is at least four years away from start-up, Boor said more than 1,700 people have already applied for a job.

More than 900 of these applications are for the smelter in Capreol.

Sudbury Mayor Marianne Matichuk said it's not the number of jobs, but the kind of employment with which she's most pleased.

"Those are good paying jobs, those are sustainable jobs," she said. "Those are jobs that will really grow this community and if you look at it, the spin-off jobs that are going to come from that in mining are huge."

But Councillor Dave Kilgour said — while the community should be excited — people should also temper their expectations.

"There's a lot of things that are going to have to come into alignment before it actually comes into fruition."

Cliffs has said it will hire 450 workers for its Capreol smelter.