The president and chief executive officer of Noront Resources, Al Coutts, was in Sudbury Thursday night.

He was the featured speaker at a function called Winterlude Social Night.

The topic of discussion was the Ring of Fire development, and of course, many people were looking for an update on where the new ferrochrome smelter will be built, either Timmins or Sault Ste. Marie. Currently, Noront is negotiating commercial terms with Glencore and Algoma Steel, but another sticking point is road access and cooperation from the province.

“Ultimately this isn’t diamonds and gold, its base metals. And so, we need to get all-season roads into the Ring of Fire area. And it’s critical to bring the mining products to market. And without that road, and without the clarity on the timetable associated with the road, we can’t advance the project any further. But, we're very optimistic. The local communities have been working well with us.” said Coutts.

He says the company is optimistic that it will receive some positive news from the province in the coming weeks.