Ring of Fire Updates Weekly News Roundup

July 27 – August 2nd, 2021 : Weekly News Roundup

This week the Canadian government agreed to a settlement of over $8 billion with multiple First Nations over water quality problems on reserves across the country. This agreement includes compensation for people across 258 First Nations that have been under boil water advisories in recent years, a First Nation Economic and Cultural Restoration Fund, and a further $400 million to be distributed every year to make sure these communities have access to safe drinking water. A historic settlement!

In more corporate news, after all the controversy over Noront Resources potentially getting taken over by Australian company Wyloo Resources, the world’s biggest miner (and another Australia-headquartered resource company) has entered the scene with an even better offer, too good for Noront Resources to pass up. As part of its attempt to transition out of the thermal coal business and towards so-called “commodities of the future”, BHP has made a $325 million bid on the company, which Noront’s board of directors has unanimously agreed that shareholders should accept. The offer is conditional on acceptance by more than 50% of the Noront common shares, with the exception of the small stake already owned by BHP.

KWG Resources (which is financially tied to Noront both through investments and shared properties) has also announced its plans to partner with two other companies in the creation of an ore transportation and utility corridor, which it says would service both the Ring of Fire and other remote communities.

July 27, 2021 (Seeking Alpha):

BHP offers to buy Noront Resources for $0.55/share

Unfortunately this piece is behind a paywall. If you have access to Seeking Alpha, the article link is here.

July 27, 2021 (The Globe and Mail):

BHP strikes friendly deal to buy Ring of Fire explorer Noront for $325-million

Unfortunately this piece is behind a paywall. If you have access to the Globe and Mail, the article link is here.

July 27, 2021 (TB News Watch):

Noront Resources gets a new bid for its Ring of Fire property

The Noront board is recommending acceptance of the offer from Australia’s BHP

“There’s a new bidder for Noront Resources, the owner of the Eagle’s Nest nickel and copper deposit in the Ring of Fire mineral zone in Northwestern Ontario. Australia-based BHP is offering C$325 million for all of Noront’s issued and outstanding shares, trumping a bid by another Australian firm, Wyloo Metals, to increase its current 24 per cent stake in the company. The growing interest in the Noront property is seen as reflecting the competition to nail down sources of battery metals due to the increasing use of electric vehicles.” Read more here

July 27, 2021 (Junior Mining Network):

KWG Resources announces Ring of Fire ore transportation and utility corridor

“KWG Resources Inc. has engaged Rail-Veyor Technologies Global Inc. and Cormorant Utility Services Ltd. for the preparation of Design Engineering Feasibility Proposals to construct an ore haulage system and electrical power transmission lines to the Ring of Fire and several contiguous remote communities. […] It has been proposed that the utility corridor assets may be vested in a Trust in order to be operated by the beneficiaries whose traditional territories host this infrastructure, so the provision of the Ring of Fire’s mining transportation requirements can become a substantial and independent indigenous enterprise.” Read more here

July 27, 2021 (Regina Leader-Post):

BHP swoops in to buy Canadian miner Noront resources, trumping Andrew Forrest’s bid

BHP’s cash offer values the company at $325 million

“BHP Group agreed to buy Noront Resources Ltd. to add a nickel project in Canada, trumping a bid by Australian mining magnate Andrew Forrest, as the world’s biggest miner accelerates its push into metals poised to benefit from the green-energy transition. BHP is increasingly gearing its portfolio toward so-called commodities of the future, as investors put greater weight on resource companies’ environmental credentials. The company is in the process of exiting thermal coal and is considering getting out of oil and gas.” Read more here

July 27, 2021 (Regina Leader-Post):

BHP makes recommended all-cash offer of C$0.55 per share for Noront, Noront board recommends shareholders accept the offer

“Noront CEO, Alan Coutts: “This transaction provides a significant premium to Wyloo’s indicative offer, and crystallizes immediate and certain value through an all-cash offer. After careful consideration, Noront’s Board of Directors, with input from its financial and legal advisors and the Special Committee, determined this offer is in the best interests of the company and shareholders. BHP has the financial strength, world-class mining expertise, and commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders to advance Eagle’s Nest and the Ring of Fire, which has the potential to deliver benefits to local communities, First Nations, and Ontario for years to come.”” Read more here

July 27, 2021 (Sault Star):

BHP makes cash offer for Noront Resources

“The board of directors of Noront Resources is backing a takeover bid from a second Australian mining company. BHP Lonsdale, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BHP, is making an offer of 55 cents a share to take ownership of the Toronto-based mining company. Noront wants to develop the Ring of Fire in northwestern Ontario. The company plans to develop a ferrochrome smelter in Sault Ste. Marie. The offer is nearly a 70 per cent premium for Noront’s shares that closed at 32 cents on Monday. Noront’s board, senior management and a major shareholder who hold about 10 per cent of the company’s shares have agreed to tender their shares.” Read more here

July 27, 2021 (CTV News):

BHP moving to take over Noront Resources

“Noront Resources, the mining company that currently holds development rights in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire chromite deposit with plans to build a smelter in Sault Ste. Marie, is about to be taken over. The company’s board of directors is recommending acceptance of an offer to shareholders from BHP—a global resources company with headquarters in Australia. The offer is $0.55 a share, in a deal worth $325 million.” Read more here

July 27, 2021 (570 News):

BHP reaches deal to buy Ring of Fire explorer Noront Resources for $325 million

“BHP has reached a deal to buy Noront Resources Ltd. for $325-million. BHP Lonsdale Investments Pty Ltd., a subsidiary of the Australian mining giant, says it will pay $0.55 per share for Noront. This represents a 69 per cent premium over the company’s closing price on the TSX Venture Exchange on Monday. BHP’s offer is also 75 per cent higher than the $0.31 per share proposed by Australian company Wyloo Metals Pty Ltd. in May. Noront’s board is recommending shareholders accept BHP’s offer. Noront chief executive Alan Coutts says the all-cash offer provides “immediate and certain” value for shareholders.” Read more here

July 27, 2021 (Australian Financial Review):

BHP beats Forrest in takeover battle for prized nickel project

“BHP has made a sensational bid to snatch a high-grade nickel project in Canada from the clutches of Andrew Forrest in another sign of how determined it is to secure a future in battery metals.” Unfortunately the rest of the article is behind a paywall. If you have access to the Australian Financial Review, the piece is here.

July 30, 2021 (The Globe and Mail):

BHP was rebuffed twice by Noront’s biggest shareholder before making takeover bid

Unfortunately this article is behind a paywall. If you have access to the Globe and Mail, the link is here.

July 30, 2021 (The Globe and Mail):

Federal government settles with multiple First Nations over safe drinking water lawsuits

“Ottawa is committing nearly $8-billion to settle two class-action lawsuits from First Nations over unsafe drinking water and to fix water-quality problems on dozens of reserve communities across the country.

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller announced the agreement in principle on Friday, along with the leaders of three plaintiff communities – Curve Lake First Nation, Neskantaga First Nation and Tataskweyak Cree Nation – who expressed cautious optimism for the deal’s potential to end decades of health and social issues on reserves. […] The agreement would provide $1.5-billion in compensation for roughly 142,000 people spread across 258 First Nations that have posted drinking-water advisories in recent years, and includes another $400-million for a First Nation Economic and Cultural Restoration Fund.” Read more here…

July 30, 2021 (CTV News):

Feds reach $8B agreement to settle First Nations drinking water class action

“The federal government has reached an agreement in principle to settle class-action litigation regarding clean drinking water for First Nations communities. “This agreement addresses several important concerns identified by First Nations,” Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller said alongside representatives from Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Curve Lake First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation in the announcement Friday.” Read more here

July 31, 2021 (CBC):

Singh hopes to build momentum on tour of Indigenous communities

NDP leader says he wants to turn former Liberal voters to New Democrat supporters in next election

“When the evacuation of Neskantaga First Nation due to tainted water made international headlines last fall, then-chief Chris Moonias encouraged the prime minister and other federal politicians to visit the remote northwestern Ontario community to see for themselves how people live under Canada’s longest on-reserve boil water advisory. On Monday, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh became the first federal leader to take up Moonias’s invitation during a tour of Indigenous communities. “It was something that we wanted to do because we wanted our voices heard,” Moonias told CBC News. “If the [prime minister] doesn’t want to come, might as well ask somebody else to carry your voices.”” Read more here

July 31, 2021 (Net News Ledger):

Government announces plan to end boil water advisory in Neskantaga and other First Nations

“There could be an end to the longest boil water advisory in Canada. In Neskantaga it has been over a quarter of a century since people have been able to do what most of us take for granted, drink from the tap or bath in water that won’t make us sick. On Friday in Ottawa in a virtual announcement, Tataskweyak Cree Nation, Curve Lake First Nation and Neskantaga First Nation, together with the Marc Miller, Minister of Indigenous Services announced that an Agreement in Principle has been reached through a successful negotiation process to resolve national class action litigation related to safe drinking water in First Nations communities.” Read more here

August 1, 2021 (Jurist: Legal News and Commentary):

Canada, First Nations reach $8B settlement agreement over drinking water advisories

“The Canadian federal government reached a nearly $8 billion agreement Friday with First Nation leaders to settle a lawsuit over the lack of access to clean drinking water in their communities. […]

Michael Rosenberg, who represented the First Nations in court, said: “This historic agreement recognizes a basic human right to clean drinking water [and] compensates those who were wrongly deprived of it . . . All Canadians should be proud of these measures to end a water crisis.”

Chief Doreen Spence of Tataskweyak Cree Nation stated: “[The agreement] signals Canada’s recognition of the harmful trauma that we have suffered . . . [and] provides First Nations with compensation for hardships that we should not have had to experience.” Representatives from the Neskantaga community were similarly optimistic about the development, but reminded audiences that the problem is not yet fully resolved: “Our suffering is still going on. We are cautious about promises . . . It is time Neskantaga got clean drinking water.”” Read more here...

August 2, 2021 (The Guardian):

Canada reaches C$8bn clean water deal with First Nations after decades-long battle

The agreement promises to compensate residents and ensure drinking water infrastructure is built

““Why does this have to happen? Why did we have to sue the government in order to get this thing to where it is today?” said Wayne Moonias, Neskantaga chief, during the press conference. “We have suffered so much, we have lost so much, we have endured so much. But yet our community continues to be resilient. We know how hard it is if you don’t have the basic necessities of life.”” Read more here

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