By Lindsay Briscoe
The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) was under media fire recently after being accused of declining the listing application of several Ring of Fire mining and exploration companies because they have no concrete transportation infrastructure plan for moving materials.
“In our view, the creation of infrastructure is just one of many issues and risks facing mining companies,” stated global business law firm Fasken-Martineau, in a public release, adding that commodity price risk, metallurgical issues, native claim and title issues, environmental permitting, and changes in taxes and other government policies also play a role in whether or not those mining and exploration projects move forward.
The firm also stated that if the risks are provided in a document with the application, then there should be no reason to apply what they call a “blanket prohibition.”
But TMX Group Corporate Communications Manager Catherine Kee says that the accusation is not true and that the TSX does not agree with the Fasken-Martineau assessment.
“To put it simply, companies apply to list on the Exchange and they are evaluated against these publicly-available listing requirements,” Kee told The Northern Sun News. “TSX judges each application on its own merits – it is approved or not approved on that basis only.”
Kevan Cowan of the TSX has also said that its primary objective is to maintain a global reputation in quality exchanges.
“The integrity of our markets requires all issuers, regardless of their location, to adhere to the same high standards,” said Cowan.
Shipping materials like gold and diamonds from remote locations doesn’t pose much of a challenge as they can be moved by plane. The major players in the Ring of Fire, on the other hand, plan to mine mainly chromite and nickel and ship it out by bulk tonnage which requires a road or rail line.
In May of 2012, the Ontario government announced its intention to join forces with Cliffs Natural Resources – one of the key Ring of Fire companies – in the planning of a transportation route. Since then, Noront has proposed an alternative route that would be longer but would likely make better use of existing infrastructure and several First Nations communities in the region have expressed concern about lack of consultation on the issue. Cliffs maintains that despite “significant infrastructure challenges” the chromite mine will be in production by 2016.