A mining consultant and writer says the debate should be re-opened on where to locate a ferrochrome smelter in northern Ontario.

Stan Sudol said he thinks the smelter should not be located in Sudbury, but instead go to a port city like Thunder Bay. He added that chromite from the Ring of Fire region could also be used to produce stainless steel in a new plant located in Thunder Bay.

si-stan-sudol-220

Mining analyst Stan Sudol says Ontario could get more out of the Ring of Fire, by attracting a stainless steel plant to Thunder Bay. (Supplied)

"This would be an enormous long-term gain for not only northern Ontario, but the entire province, if the provincial government could attract one of the major stainless steel producers around the world to locate in northern Ontario," he said.

Sudol said a waterfront location, like Thunder Bay's port, would be key to attracting a stainless steel producer.

Clustering the ferrochrome smelter and a stainless steel mill together makes the most sense, Sudol said.

He added it's a good thing Cliff's mining project is on hold right now, because that gives the province some time to re-assess, and potentially begin talks with stainless steel producers to find out what can be done to entice them to potentially bring a plant to Thunder Bay.

"I don't feel that Ontario's leveraging the best that they can from our valuable chromite deposit," Sudol said.

"Perhaps, if the provincial government is fairly successful in talking to stainless steel producers around the world, maybe more than one, maybe a few stainless steel mills in Thunder Bay and have that cluster of chromite, ferrochrome and stainless steel expertise in Thunder Bay."

Sudol recently wrote a two-part series on the subject for a daily newspaper in Sudbury.