An environmental assessment has begun on a chromite smelter proposed to be built north of Sudbury. But other Northern cities believe they are still in the running for the plant to process ore mined in the Ring of Fire.

Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren said he has also been meeting with officials from Cliffs Natural Resources, the company  looking at building a smelting facility for its proposed northwestern Ontario mine.

"Do we think we're part of the running? Absolutely," said Laughren. "Would I be as confident as Sudbury, probably not. But again, I think there's many places in northern Ontario that this could happen in."

Laughren said what's most important is that the smelter is built somewhere in northern Ontario.

He said northern leaders should not fight with each other, but rather lobby the province to offer lower hydro rates than Quebec and Manitoba.