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Mayor Responds to Cliffs Media Release Announcement


February 4 , 2011 – Following the release of preliminary project information for potential development of its Black Thor chromite deposit in the McFaulds Lake or “Ring of Fire” area of Northern Ontario by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc., the City of Thunder Bay is pleased to be named as a potential location for their ferrochrome production facility (FPF).

The mining company named Sudbury as a preliminary base-case location along with Thunder Bay, Greenstone and Timmins as possible locations. A final decision will not be made until extensive feasibility studies and environmental assessments are completed.

"We are very pleased to be identified as one of the potential sites they will look at in detail over the next year," said Mayor Keith Hobbs. “The announcement of a base-case location is by no means a final decision. We think Thunder Bay has great advantages over other sites and the City and CEDC will work extremely hard to demonstrate that to Cliffs.”

During the fall of 2010 Thunder Bay representatives met with Cliffs Natural Resources staff to discuss the technical requirements relating to the site for the FPF.

"The CEDC has been working very closely with senior company officials from Cliffs since last year to fully familiarize them with the site location benefits Thunder Bay offers,” said Steve Demmings, CEO – Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC). “Last fall, Cliffs Ferro Alloys established a 7,000 square foot office in Thunder Bay. We are delighted by the possibility that the company could expand their existing presence in the community to include a processing facility. We will continue to be actively involved in those efforts to help ensure that the issues and needs of Cliffs are addressed."  

“The City of Thunder Bay also fully understands the key role that First Nations people have in this development,” said Mayor Hobbs. “We will continue to develop strong partnerships with First Nations including our partners Nishnawbe Aski Nation and neighbour Fort William First Nation. We also need to set the record straight and educate the community about what a Ferrochrome Processor is and the fact it is a world-class environmentally sustainable industry.”

While we are prepared to compete hard for Thunder Bay, Cliffs has sent a clear message that without action from the Province to provide realistic energy pricing, no one in Northern Ontario will benefit from housing the processor and that would be a tremendous loss."

“At current provincial power rates, there isn't a location in Ontario that is economically viable for Cliffs to build the FPF,” said Bill Boor, President, Ferroalloys – Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. in a Feb. 3 media release. “The viability of an Ontario-based FPF and final selection of the location are still being evaluated.”

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Contact:    Mayor Keith Hobbs, 625-3601
                 Steve Demmings, CEO – CEDC, 625-3096