Interesting chromium news came out of Ontario’s Ring of Fire this past Friday, when Noront Resources (TSXV:NOT) announced that it has filed NI 43-101 technical reports for the Black Thor, Black Label and Big Daddy chromite deposits. The company gained rights to the properties when it acquired them from Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF) back in April.
Black Thor reportedly contains a measured and indicated resource of 137.7 million tonnes grading 31.5 percent Cr2O3, plus an inferred resource of 26.8 million tonnes at 29.3 percent Cr2O3. Black Label’s measured and indicated resource totals 5.4 million tonnes at 25.3 percent Cr2O3, and its inferred resource is 900,000 tonnes at 22.8 percent Cr2O3; finally, Big Daddy contains 29.1 million measured and indicated tonnes averaging 31.7 percent Cr2O3 and 3.4 million inferred tonnes at 28.1 percent Cr2O3.
“These are very impressive mineral resource totals,” Noront’s president and CEO, Alan Coutts, said in a press release. “As I’ve said before, Noront has acquired a world-class series of chromite deposits both in size and quality. Our current focus is on the permitting and development of our Eagle’s Nest mine because we see that as a proving ground for successful large scale development in the Ring of Fire. Alongside that, we are actively advancing our chromite strategy with a view to completing a Preliminary Economic Assessment outlining our preferred approach for moving development forward there as well.”
Black Thor and Black Label are 100-percent owned by Noront, while Big Daddy is a joint venture between Noront and Canada Chrome Mining, which holds 30-percent interest in the deposit and is a wholly owned subsidiary of KWG Resources (CSE:KWG). The dynamic for Big Daddy is an interesting one considering that earlier this year Noront and KWG were both vying to increase their hold on the Ring of Fire by acquiring that deposit, along with Black Thor and Black Label. And while Noront won that battle, it’s evident that KWG isn’t giving up on the region by any means.
KWG issues shares for five-claim Hornby property
Also on Friday, KWG announced that it will be issuing 4 million treasury shares to MacDonald Mines Exploration (TSXV:BMK) as part of its agreement to acquire the five-claim Hornby property. As per the agreement, the vendor will retain a 2-percent net smelter return (NSR) royalty, half of which KWG will be able to buy back for $1 million any time prior to production at the property. While this news isn’t particularly exciting, it’s significant in that it shows that KWG is still making moves in the highly prospective Ring of Fire. The company will also have the right to buy the balance of the NSR at any time the holder wishes to sell it.
KWG will also be issuing 361,600 common shares priced at at $0.025 to RBL Communications under a shares for services contract; meanwhile, the company will issue 904,000 shares to Agora Internet Relations and 1,356,000 shares to JDBailey Productions to partially fund a documentary on the history of the Ring of Fire.
According to Friday’s press release, the Hornby property is part of an extensive area on the southern boundary of the Big Daddy deposit, meaning it would “effectively double the surface area available for possible future mining operations at the Big Daddy deposit and the adjoining Black Thor deposit.” The document also notes that the property is adjacent to the Koper Lake property, which contains the Black Horse chromite deposit. KWG has an 80-percent earn-in option on any chromium production at Black Horse; it recently filed an updated NI 43-101 report for the deposit, and it shows an inferred resource of 85.9 million tonnes at 34.5 percent Cr2O3.
While Noront still holds a majority land position in the district, KWG has managed to hold onto a portion of the Ring of Fire. It will be interesting to see what else happens between the two companies moving forward. At end of day Monday, Noront’s share price was down 7.89 percent, closing at $0.35, and KWG’s was up 33.33 percent, closing at $0.02.
Securities Disclosure: I, Kristen Moran, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.