Battered and bruised by bear markets and hog cycles – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vanacouver – December 15, 2015)

Good-news stories for B.C.’s mining sector were few and far between in 2015

Surely, by the end of 2014, falling commodity prices would have found their bottom and someone would have shot that damned bear. That was the hope for Canada’s mining sector in 2014.

But as Hallgarten & Co. mining strategist Christopher Ecclestone recently suggested, the industry may finally be waking up to the realization that the current situation is more about hog cycles than bear markets.

“It has taken the market four long years to finally grasp that the mining supercycle is dead,” Ecclestone recently wrote.

So just how bad was 2015 for mining? Five mines in B.C. were placed in care and maintenance in 2015, resulting in 1,800 layoffs – 17% of the industry’s workforce, according to the Mining Association of BC.

Vancouver-based Finning (TSX:FTT) – whose biggest markets in Canada are the mining and oil and gas sectors, and which had already cut staff by 1,900 in 2015 – announced in November it will cut a further 1,100 jobs in Western Canada and South America, following a 27% decline in new equipment sales in the second quarter.

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