Sault Ste. Marie, Timmins mayors on being shortlisted for Noront ferrochrome smelter

Two small northern cities, one billion-dollar investment.

Two northern cities now squaring off to lure billion dollar investment

Timmins mayor Steve Black said he feels Timmins in a strong position to be selected as the site for Noront's ferrochrome smelter. (Jean-Loup Dodard/ Radio Canada)

Two small northern cities, one billion-dollar investment.

That's how mayors from Sault Ste. Marie and TImmins are looking at it, after mining giant Noront Resources announced the location of its proposed ferrochrome smelter would be one of the two cities.

Earlier in July, Sudbury and Thunder Bay were eliminated from the hunt.

Timmins Mayor Steve Black is confident his city shows well. The proposed location is the Kidd Metallurgical Site, an active site currently used for concentrate.

He also understands what his city has to gain if Noront selects Timmins.

Smelter a 'game changer'

"I think everyone has made it aware that it's a game changer," Black told CBC's Up North. "It's several hundred jobs for several decades ahead."

Black said his community is generally supportive of the bid, and may not encounter the same protests from citizens that Sudbury did.

Various groups in Sudbury voiced their concerns about pollution and water contamination, as well as the proximity of the smelter to the nearby community of Coniston.

"Our site is still an active concentrator on site, so there's more acceptance in the community to have it used in the mining and milling, processing industry," Black said.

Black also said Noront could save some capital dollars by using existing infrastructure after Kidd closes down.

"It's supposed to close down in 2021 or 2022, so it would be the ideal site to make a nice transition to Noront," Black said.

"But again, it has to go through all the proper testing."

Thunder Bay and Sudbury are out of the running, but Timmins and Sault Ste. Marie are still in the race to play host to Noront Resources ferrochrome smelter. Here's our conversation with Timmins Mayor Steve Black about this latest development. 4:03

Algoma ideal site, says Sault mayor

Sault Ste. Marie mayor Christian Provenzano says his city's bid is located on the Algoma site. Like Kidd, the property is owned by a third party and would involve negotiations with Noront before any deal moves forward.

Provenzano also said he recognizes any environmental concerns from people as legitimate.

"If Noront does want to move forward, then we'll begin the process of reaching out to community at large and our First Nations partners to have these discussions," Provenzano said.

Sault Ste. Marie mayor Christian Provenzano says Noront still has some serious negotiating ahead with not only the city, but neighbouring First Nations. (Twitter)

"From my perspective, people just want to have a better understanding of what it means," he said. "What are the environmental consequences of a production facility? Are there any other consequences?"

"They have the right to all that information and I frankly think it's my responsibility to ensure I get that information out."

"Noront has been very agreeable to that, and sees it the same way."

It's down to two. Sault Ste. Marie and Timmins are the northern Ontario cities left vying to Noront's proposed new ferrochrome smelter. We hear from the mayor of the Soo. 7:39

With files from Wendy Bird


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