Cliffs Natural Resources has initiated a feasibility study at its chromite project in the Ring of Fire area of northern Ontario. The study will build further on current technical and economic evaluations, and a clearly defined project description will enable environmental assessment to move forward, Cliffs said, in announcing the study.

Discussions between Cliffs and the government of Ontario have resulted in agreement in principle on key elements of the chromite project, including development of provincial infrastructure. The company has selected Sudbury, Ontario, as its future ferrochrome processing facility site based on economic and technical factors that include transportation logistics, labor, long mining tradition, community support and access to electrical power.

Before Cliffs can make a final decision on the project in its entirety, the company must receive provincial and federal environmental assessment approvals, negotiate mutually acceptable agreements with affected First Nations communities, work with governments to address the lack of infrastructure in the Ring of Fire area, and complete its commercial and technical feasibility studies.

Cliffs currently anticipates that a majority of the project’s anticipated capital commitments will be made in 2014 and 2015, with an early works program initiated prior to 2014 to maintain the project execution timeline.