Cliffs Natural Resources is close to announcing the location for its Ring of Fire chromite smelter.

Company CEO Joe Carrabba said on Tuesday in Thunder Bay the decision will be released in a matter of days.


Cliffs Natural Resources CEO Joseph Carrabba.

First Nations and municipal leaders in the northwest have lobbied extensively to locate the smelter in the Greenstone area.

But in northeastern Ontario, Sudbury officials are hopeful the facility will be built in Capreol. Timmins is also lobbying to be home to the smelter.

Carrabba told a meeting sponsored by a First Nations business development organization that his company wants to have good relations with the people affected by its mining projects.

"We're not the big bad mining company that comes in here and rolls people over," Carrabba said. "We do believe in earning the right to grow and earning your trust so we can do that.  In some places we've got more work to do than others."

Carrabba didn't talk about a private meeting he had with First Nations chiefs from the Ring of Fire area.

So far, Cliffs has used Sudbury as its base case for an environmental assessment.

Cliffs plans to start mining chromite in the Ring of Fire area by the end of 2013.

The mine is expected to produce for 30 years.