Noront CEO responds to Timmins mayor about ferrochrome smelter
SAULT STE. MARIE -- CTV News spoke to Noront Resources President and Chief Executive Officer Alan Coutts at the open house hosted in Sault Ste. Marie Wednesday night.
When asked if the plans for the proposed ferrochrome smelter to be built in Sault Ste. Marie for the Ring of Fire are finalized or if there is still a chance it could be built in Timmins, Coutts said it's "too early to speculate on that."
"Listen, I'm flattered. I know the mayor and I’m flattered that you know Timmins still wants us. We told Sault Ste. Marie it’s very preliminary to speculate on moving the plants out of here somewhere else. We are going to engage and we’re going to try to make this work with the Soo, and this is our choice and we’re going to make best efforts to make this happen here," said Coutts.
TIMMINS – On the eve of Noront hosting an open house in Sault Ste. Marie at the Delta Hotel, Timmins Mayor George Pirie says he will patiently wait for the tide to turn.
As there has been much backlash regarding the construction of the proposed Noront Resources Ferrochrome Production Facility in Sault Ste. Marie, Pirie thinks it's only a matter of time before plans change in favour of establishing it in Timmins.
Noront is giving the Sault Ste. Marie community an opportunity to hear more about the company and the proposed Ferrochrome Production Facility on Wednesday.
However, Pirie thinks the backlash Noront has already received from physicians in the city, threating to leave town, and from Indigenous people, will prompt Noront to look for a more favourable location like the one in Timmins.
"The pollution associated with that type of facility is water pollution and we're able to handle it because as I said, those tailing facilities out there are result of 50 or 60 years of processing 150 million tonnes of poly metallic materials and all the nasties are contained in there… the systems are designed to contain it so there's no threat to the water table," explained Pirie.
He also thinks it's more than just about public opinion and says money talks.
"I think it will come down to shareholder pressure. The shareholders aren't going to be happy that Noront's… the name, the brand is being negatively affected by the perception in Sault Ste. Marie… I think it will come down to that type of pressure," he added.
Noront officials say they are in travelling mode and will wait to comment once they arrive at the open house in Sault Ste. Marie.
The open house runs from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on October 23 at the Delta Waterfront, Sault Ste. Marie.