Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining and Oil/Gas

OPINION: Environmentalists’ new tack signals even more difficult era for pipelines – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – July 10, 2020)

Environmentalists have taken a new, and clever, tack in their war against the hydrocarbon economy. As well as going after the companies that pump oil and natural gas, they are going after the companies that transport those products – the pipelines.

And they’re winning. In the past week, three big pipeline projects have taken severe blows.

On Monday, a U.S. federal judge ruled that the Dakota Access Pipeline, which had been in operation and was taking oil from North Dakota to Illinois, must shut down while a new environmental review is conducted. Construction of the pipeline, which is partly owned by Canada’s Enbridge, was fiercely opposed by Native American groups. Continue Reading →

IN-DEPTH: The battle for the ‘breathing lands’: Ontario’s Ring of Fire and the fate of its carbon-rich peatlands – by James Wilt (The Narwhal – July 11, 2020)

The Narwhal

Northern Ontario’s muskeg serves as home to dozens of First Nations, stores immense amounts of carbon and sits on top of vast mineral deposits. Whose vision for the bogs and fens will win out?

Compared to the Amazon or Great Bear Rainforest, the sprawling peatlands of Ontario’s Far North might seem a bit, well, boring. “People don’t wake up and go ‘oh yeah, woohoo, decomposing organic material is the best!’ says Anna Baggio, the director of conservation planning for Wildlands League, in an interview with The Narwhal. “It’s not sexy. But it’s hugely valuable and we can’t even begin to get our heads around it.”

It’s true: Ontario’s peatlands — or muskeg, as the wetland ecosystem is often called — offer a mind-boggling range of ecological benefits.

Like tropical and temperate rainforests, the peatlands sequester a huge amount of carbon, storing an estimated 35 billion tonnes of carbon in Ontario’s Far North alone (that’s equivalent to annual emissions from seven billion cars). The peatlands also serve as critical habitat for wildlife including caribou, wolverines and many migratory birds. Continue Reading →

Laying the tracks for future prosperity in the North – by Betsy Kennedy (National Post – July 8, 2020)

The Bayline railroad has been a part of our Cree family for decades. My grandfather, Adam Dyck, who grew up in Split Lake, Man. (now known as the Tatskweyak Cree Nation) worked the Bayline, the affectionate name for the Hudson Bay Railway, which runs for 1,300 kilometres through northeastern Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba.

My father, uncle and son worked for the railway and I have another uncle who was born on the train. His name? Bayline Dyck. Not to be outdone by my uncle, I was born at a railroad work camp south of Churchill, Man.

We are like many First Nations families who have been tied to the railroad for generations and that is why we cannot stand idly by and watch it die. For us, and for non-Indigenous communities of northern Manitoba, it is a lifeline. Continue Reading →

When it comes to Canada-China relations, it is time to look North – by Jessica Shadian and Erica Wallis (Policy Options – July 7, 2020)

Policy Options – Institute for Research on Public Policy

Canada could chart a new course for its relationship with China, and protect our interests, by thinking more strategically about the North.

If there is one thing that the COVID-19 crisis has not brought to a halt, it is China’s Belt and Road Initiative, a global network of land and maritime infrastructure projects. In fact, while businesses around the world fold or face bankruptcies, China is taking this opportunity to make the most of the global liquidation sale, including in Canada.

During May’s chaotic lockdown, China entered a bid to buy a struggling Northern mining company, TMAC Resources. TMAC operates the Doris North gold mine at its Hope Bay property in Nunavut. The property up until very recently was labelled as “Canada’s next gold mining district,” but TMAC encountered operational challenges.

In late June, TMAC’s shareholders voted overwhelmingly in favour of the company’s sale to the second-largest gold mine company in China, state-owned Shandong Gold Mining Co. (“SD Gold”). Only five years ago, TMAC had successfully raised several hundred million dollars and began trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Continue Reading →

North: New Inuit benefit agreement worth $1B over life of Mary River Mine – by Beth Brown (CBC News North – July 7, 2020)

Baffinland Iron Mines Corporation and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association have a new agreement for Inuit oversight of the Mary River Mine. Officials from both groups say it will be worth more than $1 billion over the life of the iron ore mine.

Announced Monday, the Inuit Certainty Agreement was signed on June 16. It’s been in the works since an environmental review of the mine’s production and rail expansion ended abruptly last fall, says PJ Akeeagok, president of the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.

The new, legally binding agreement clears up most technical concerns that previously left the Baffin Inuit organization unable to support the Nunavut Impact Review Board’s hearing for the phase-two expansion, which would increase production at Mary River. Continue Reading →

Supreme Court rejects Indigenous groups’ appeal to halt Trans Mountain expansion – by Emma Graney (Globe and Mail – July 3, 2020)

Three British Columbia Indigenous groups have vowed to keep fighting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion after they were dealt a major legal blow on Thursday, when the Supreme Court of Canada decided it would not hear their appeal of the project’s approval.

The groups said the top court’s decision – posted on the Supreme Court website without further detail – threatens not just their traditional lands but the very fabric of reconciliation in Canada.

The Coldwater Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation sought leave to appeal in April, after the Federal Court of Appeal ruled that cabinet’s approval of the pipeline project in June, 2019, was reasonable under the law. Continue Reading →

Ginoogaming First Nation Chief Celia Echum won back land owed to her community – by Willow Fiddler (Globe and Mail – June 18, 2020)

At 5 foot 2, Ginoogaming First Nation Chief Celia Echum was below average in height. But despite her diminutive size, she held enormous influence in her community.

In 2016, Ms. Echum initiated a claim seeking compensation for land that Ginoogaming was entitled to under Treaty No. 9 but did not receive. Once settled, the claim will see the Anishinaabe community in northwestern Ontario gain almost 25 per cent more land.

Peter Rasevych, one of Ms. Echum’s nephews from Ginoogaming, was a boy when his Aunty Celia, as she was known to many, began serving the people of Ginoogaming. She received her community health representative (CHR) certificate from Laurentian University in the late 1970s. Continue Reading →

A Miner Blew Up Ancient Human History. Now An Industry May Pay – by David Stringer, Matthew Burgess and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – June 30, 2020)

(Bloomberg) — Scraping away delicately at the reddish-brown earth of northwestern Australia’s vast Pilbara region, a team of archaeologists uncovered a record of life dating back more 40,000 years.

Buried in natural shelters at the base of a cliff were thousands of stone and wooden tools, the sharpened fibula bone of a kangaroo and braided strands of hair.

They worked quickly inside the Juukan Gorge rock shelters to recover the artefacts — and needed to. The team was a salvage squad, sent in with a tight deadline to excavate a site in the path of an encroaching iron ore mine and approved for destruction. Continue Reading →

Want richer First Nations? Say ‘yes’ to pipelines – by Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan (Financial Post – July 2, 2020)

Mark Milke is executive director of research and Lennie Kaplan chief research analyst at the Canadian Energy Centre, an Alberta government corporation funded in part by taxes paid by industry on carbon emissions.

According to the 2016 census, 380,000 Indigenous Canadians live on reserve, many of them far from the economic opportunities that cities provide.

Given concerns about economic conditions on many reserves, one of this era‘s most pressing policy problems is how to provide economic opportunity to First Nations far from urban centres.

One answer: Allow the natural resource economy on or near First Nations to flourish. A perfect example is underway in British Columbia, with the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline. Continue Reading →

Yukon First Nation calls on territory to abolish ‘colonial’ claim staking process for mines – by Julien Gignac (The Narwhal – June 29, 2020)

The Narwhal

A Yukon First Nation is calling on the territorial government to abolish its wide-open process for recognizing mineral claims, citing colonial underpinnings that have brought waves of miners to the territory since the advent of the Klondike Gold Rush.

Under Yukon’s free entry system, prospectors can stake a claim anywhere they want, as long as it isn’t in a park or on certain municipal or settlement lands, for instance.

This outdated legislation hands over the rights to miners while removing First Nations from the consultation equation, according to Carcross/Tagish First Nation. The nation voiced this concern in its response to a request for comments on a Yukon Mineral Development Strategy now in the works for the territory. Continue Reading →

Amazon gold rush: illegal mining threatens Brazil’s last major isolated tribe – by Simon Scarr and Anthony Boadle (Reuters Canada – June 25, 2020)

(Reuters) – Illegal gold mining activity has risen sharply over the last five years in Brazil’s indigenous Yanomami reservation in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, a Reuters review of exclusive data from satellite images shows

The Yanomami are the largest of South America’s tribes that remain relatively isolated from the outside world. More than 26,700 people live within a protected reservation the size of Portugal, near the Venezuelan border.

However, the land beneath the pristine forest they have inhabited for centuries contains valuable minerals – including gold. Continue Reading →


In a recent Sudbury Star article titled Stalled Ring of Fire worth
more than $117 billion, Carleton University Geology Professor
Dr. James Mungall asked “How much is the Ring of Fire really worth?”

Frank Smeenk is the President and Chief Executive Officer of KWG Resources Inc.

Stainless steel is approximately 18% chrome and 8% nickel with iron constituting most of the remaining 74%. A decade ago, the private Chinese enterprise Tsingshan Group, started to establish facilities in Indonesia to produce large quantities of nickel pig iron to make stainless steel there by adding ferrochrome melt made with coal-generated electricity.

In the first half of 2017 Indonesia produced no stainless steel. Now, Tsingshan produces up to 3 million tons per year there. This will increase to 4 million tons next year. That is about 8% of global production, from zero less than 30 months ago!

With that, Chinese companies currently generate more than 50% of global stainless-steel production. They intend to increase that as the world’s consumption of non-corroding steels continues to grow. This is a big boys’ game that Canada has just been suited-up for!

When chrome-containing chromite was discovered in an area of northern Ontario known as the Ring of Fire, China’s state-owned steelmaker, Baosteel, made a strategic investment in Noront Resources. It’s a Canadian exploration company with significant mining claims in the Ring of Fire. Continue Reading →

Despite COVID-19 challenges, Agnico Eagle says it’s in Nunavut for the long term – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – June 17, 2020)

The president and CEO of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., which operates two gold mines in Nunavut, says Canadian companies are best positioned to manage mines in the territory, where partnerships with communities are key.

Sean Boyd, speaking on Tuesday, June 16, at an online keynote session at the Canadian Mining Symposium, was referring to the proposed buyout of TMAC Resources Inc.’s Hope Bay mine in western Nunavut by the Chinese state-owned Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd.

“We think that should be done by Canadian companies run by Canadians, based in Canada, because we have the understanding of history and we have that sense of pride in the country and that willingness to see people benefit from that opportunity,” Boyd said. Continue Reading →

Culture warriors obsessed with statues ignore Rio Tinto’s vandalism of Indigenous heritage – by Jeff Sparrow (The Guardian – June 16, 2020)

As the professional offence takers at News Corp and elsewhere bring themselves to repeated rage-gasms over the vandalism of Captain Cook statues and the removal of Chris Lilley in blackface from streaming platforms, they ignore, more or less entirely, the incalculably more important obliteration of cultural heritage taking place in the Australian desert.

A few weeks ago Rio Tinto dynamited the Juukan rock shelters, destroying, in a few minutes, a site of human occupation dating back more than 40,000 years. Gone with the Wind remains available online (Google it!) despite HBO Max’s decision to (temporarily) drop it. But the caves – described as “staggering” by scientists who worked on them – have been ruined for all time.

In a hundred years, when no one remembers whether or not Jonah from Tonga could be downloaded from the ABC, the destruction of the rock shelters will remain an unhealed wound. Continue Reading →

Western Nunavut gold miner hopes shareholders approve Chinese buyout – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – June 16, 2020)

Only a little more than a week remains before TMAC Resources Inc. shareholders cast their votes on June 26 on whether to support a buyout of the Hope Bay mine in western Nunavut by Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd.

If the deal with the Chinese state-owned company, better known as SD Gold, is a go, TMAC president and CEO Jason Neal says the Hope Bay mine will be able to ramp up to full operating levels.

“More importantly, we have acted in the interests of all stakeholders to put Hope Bay on a new trajectory for long-term success,” Neal said in a news release about the deal. He said he hopes TMAC shareholders will approve the buyout at a special meeting in Toronto, on Friday, June 26. Continue Reading →