Archive | Books, Art, Music and Photography About Mining and Northern Topics

As Germany Acknowledges Its Colonial-Era Genocide in Namibia, the Brutal Legacy of Diamond Mining Still Needs a Reckoning – by Steven Press (Time Magazine – June 10, 2021)

https://time.com/

Steven Press is the author of Blood and Diamonds: Germany’s Imperial Ambitions in Africa, available from Harvard University Press.

Between 1904 and 1908, Germany’s military and leadership oversaw the killing of at least 80,000 Africans in what is now the independent country of Namibia. On May 28, Germany apologized. Declaring his country’s past violence in Namibia “genocidal,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also pledged $1.3 billion in aid to Namibians, whose capital, Windhoek, still has a prominent street named after Otto von Bismarck.

The German apology is a commendable step and important precedent. But its parameters are inadequate, and one reason why may be embedded in your family’s heirloom engagement ring.

Millions of carats in diamonds have been exported from Namibia since 1908. These same sparkling stones have a dirty history tied to German colonial rule. Right now, official statements about Germany’s debt to Namibia do not account for those gemstones at all. Continue Reading →

‘A life well lived’: Veteran journalist and writer Mick Lowe has passed away at age 73 – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury.com – April 17, 2021)

https://www.sudbury.com/

Award-winning Sudbury journalist and author Mick Lowe passed away peacefully at his home at Pioneer Manor this morning. Lowe, who was 73, died as a result of complications from a fall he suffered about three weeks ago.

He was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and immigrated to Canada in 1970 as a Vietnam War draft dodger. Lowe’s journalism has appeared in a range of publications such as Maclean’s, Canadian Business, Canadian Lawyer, the Globe and Mail and on CBC Radio.

Lowe is also a former editor of Northern Life, Sudbury.com’s predecessor publication, and the author of seven books (with another pending publication), as well as a former lecturer in Cambrian College’s now-defunct journalism program. Continue Reading →

Stanford Historian Traces Colonial Origins of Conflict Diamonds in Namibia – by Sandra Feder (The Namibian – April 14, 2021)

https://www.namibian.com.na/

WHEN STANFORD historian Steven Press was trying to unearth hidden narratives about Germany’s colonial activities in South West Africa’s highly secretive diamond industry, he pursued that age-old maxim to “follow the money”.

Steven Press is an assistant professor of history in the School of Humanities and Sciences. His new book, Blood and Diamonds, traces the devastating cost of diamond mining and German colonial domination in Namibia during the late 18th and 19th centuries.

Chasing that trail led to some disturbing discoveries about the full extent of Germany’s ruthlessness as it pursued its economic aspirations in the African country now known as Namibia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Continue Reading →

High notes and hard hats: The Men of the Deeps look to add new voices – by Erin Pottie (CBC News Nova Scotia – February 26, 2021)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/

Interest shown from mine workers who spent time in western Canada and at idled Donkin mine

The Men of the Deeps want to add new voices to their singing ensemble. But unlike many choirs around the continent, this group has a prerequisite — coal mining experience.

Ernie Kliza, who sings baritone in the group, said members serve as ambassadors to the island’s mining history and folklore. “It’s a similar camaraderie to when we actually worked in the mines, like each person watching over the other person,” said Kliza, who worked in the mining industry for 23 years.

“The singing and the storytelling is to perpetuate the various events that took place over the last hundreds of years.” Continue Reading →

Murder and New York’s Diamond District – by Victoria Gomelsky (New York Times – December 3, 2020)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Rob Bates did not set out to write a cozy mystery, a subgenre of crime fiction in which an amateur detective, typically a woman, solves a murder in a small town. But in “A Murder Is Forever,” a novel published in October by Camel Press, he wrote just that — except the small town is New York City’s diamond district.

The heroine, Mimi Rosen, is an unemployed journalist who makes ends meet by answering phones at her father’s diamond business on West 47th Street. When a dealer in the district’s tightknit community of Orthodox Jews is murdered, she is determined to bring the killer to justice.

As news director of JCK, a 151-year-old jewelry trade publication based in New York — where he works with me, the editor in chief — Mr. Bates is familiar with the district and its people. Continue Reading →

Timmins-James Bay MP Charlie Angus announces new book about Cobalt: the town and the metal – by Lydia Chubak (CTV Northern Ontario – September 13, 2020)

https://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/

TIMMINS — He’s a member of parliament, a musician and an author. Timmins-James Bay MP (NDP) Charlie Angus has written a new book–his eighth–and this time, it’s focussed on the town of Cobalt which he calls ‘the cradle of Canada’s mining industry.’

It’s not out yet, but he said he’s already signed a deal with a national publisher.

“We’re going to see this town play I think and an important role. (Cobalt) is a mineral that should not be the blood mineral and a mineral of such toxic environmental damage but a mineral that could actually lead us to a better and cleaner digital future,” said Angus. Continue Reading →

Homestake history detailed in Mitchell book – by Tim Velder (Rapid City Journal – December 2, 2002)

https://rapidcityjournal.com/

The history of the Homestake Mining Company in the Black Hills is a parallel with the overall history of the region, taking it from the unsettled Indian country in the mid-1870s, to an industrially-developed area rich with natural resources.

Steven T. Mitchell, a former manager at the Homestake Mine, has detailed this historical transition and permanent presence the mining company had in this area in a new book to be released this month titled “Nuggets to Neutrinos: The Homestake Story.”

Mitchell, a life-long resident of the Black Hills, recently discussed his new book during a special presentation at the Adams Museum. His book tells the story of how the Homestake Mine came into existence and its development into the largest underground mine in the world. Continue Reading →

[Cobalt Silver Mining] Ghostly tales from Ontario’s past make great summer reading – by Miriam King (Orillia Matters – May 30, 2020)

https://www.orilliamatters.com/

Exploring the fascinating landscape and history of Cobalt, Ontario; It’s a fun read, perfect for a summer night

Ontario is filled with ‘ghost towns’ – towns that experienced an economic boom, grew swiftly to encompass the lives and dreams of their residents, and then experienced a decline.

Many were mining towns, abandoned when mines closed or deposits ran out. Some, like Dalton Mills and Creighton, were abandoned. Only ruins stand where there was once a thriving community.

Others still exist but as a mere shadow of their former glory, like the town of Cobalt. Located about halfway between North Bay and Timmins near Lake Temiskaming, once the “silver capital” of Canada, the town had a population of over 12,000 during the boom years. Continue Reading →

Steve Earle’s new album considers coal miners’ perspective – by Steven Wine (WJLA.com/Associated Press – May 20, 2020)

https://wjla.com/

Contemplating the treacherous political landscape of West Virginia, Steve Earle decided to build a bridge.

The singer-songwriter known for his liberal views undertook a project that would speak for the other side on the issue of coal mining. Earle’s empathetic attempt to address the divide has resulted in one of his best albums: “Ghosts of West Virginia.”

The set draws material from the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 men. Earle wrote folk songs for a play about the disaster, and has used them as the foundation of a concept album that considers coal’s role in the life of West Virginians from their perspective. Continue Reading →

HISTORICAL BOOK: From Nazis to refineries: How Switzerland has handled the world’s gold – by Dominique Soguel-dit-Picard (Swiss Info.ch – June 23, 2019)

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/

Written by Swiss anti-corruption watchdog Mark Pieth, Gold Laundering – the dirty secrets of the gold trade and how to clean up shines a light on the key players in the gold industry, the different risks associated with large-scale versus artisanal mining, and the shortcomings of various international regulations and certification schemes.

How did we get here? In a discussion with swissinfo.ch, Pieth explained the history of how Switzerland came to be at the heart of a highly profitable but opaque trade. These are some of the key historical moments in the Swiss gold story, according to him.

World War II – Swiss neutrality and Nazi gold

Pieth says that Switzerland benefited from its neutrality during World War II by purchasing vast amounts of gold from Allied and Axis powers. It exchanged the precious metal for Swiss francs, the only free convertible currency at the time outside the American dollar. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise – by Charlotte Gray (November 30, 2019)

A terrific Christmas gift! To order a copy of Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise: https://bit.ly/2lHTbYt 

Charlotte Gray is one of Canada’s best-known writers of non-fiction, specializing in history and biography, and her books have been nominated for or won most major non-fiction literary prizes. Murdered Midas is her eleventh book, and her second study of a great gold rush. In 2010, she published Gold Diggers: Striking it Rich in the Klondike which was the basis for both a PBS documentary and a Discovery Channel mini-series. She lives in Ottawa and is an adjunct research professor at Carleton University and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Excerpt from Murdered Midas: A Millionaire, His Gold Mine, and a Strange Death on an Island Paradise 

Had Harry Oakes once again arrived too late for a big strike? In Toronto in the spring of 1911, the thirty-six-year-old stared at the geological charts and topographical maps in Ontario’s Department of Mines, noting the extensive grid of prospectors’ claims superimposed on the region north of North Bay, bang in the centre of the immense expanse of Canada.

On paper, Northern Ontario looked as though government surveyors had already outlined its features and its potential. By now, the provincial bureaucrats suggested, the land had been “tamed.” Oakes traced with his stubby, stained finger the settlements strewn across the grim monotony of forest, rock, water, and muskeg swamp.

The charts recorded only mining camps; the cartographers had ignored the numerous Indigenous communities, although their presence showed up in the Ojibwa or Cree names of several features, such as Lake Temagami. Most of the network of links connecting mining camps consisted of rough, winding trails, but there were also newly laid railway tracks, punctuated at regular intervals by stations. Continue Reading →

Northern Ontario sculptor casts his legacy in bronze – by Colleen Romaniuk (Northern Ontario Business – November 18, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Tyler Fauvelle has installed public monuments across Ontario including a statue of Stompin’ Tom Connors in Sudbury

Tyler Fauvelle’s work is focused on ordinary people doing extraordinary things. From a small studio located in Lively, a suburb of Sudbury, the Northern Ontario sculptor creates his work in clay by hand. He then casts the work (at his studio space in Toronto) in bronze or a metal-infused medium to create the finished product.

Not only does he create smaller pieces, but he has also had the chance to create monumental installations that have been featured across Canada.

In June 2016, Fauvelle unveiled a life-size bronze statue commemorating Chief Francis Pegahmagabow, Canada’s most highly decorated Indigenous soldier and early First Nations’ rights activist, in Parry Sound, about 160 kilometres south of Sudbury. Continue Reading →

Joan Kuyek: Our job is to take our governments back from the mining interests – by Joan Baxter (Halifax Examiner – October 16, 2019)

https://www.halifaxexaminer.ca/

Joan Kuyek, one of this country’s most distinguished community organizers and analysts of the mining industry, will be in Nova Scotia this weekend to promote her new book, Unearthing justice: how to protect your community from the mining industry. In 1999, Kuyek co-founded MiningWatch Canada, and was its national coordinator until 2009.

She has taught at Algoma University in Sault St. Marie and Queen’s University law school in Kingston, and has worked extensively with many First Nations and other communities to help them understand the mining industry and how best they can protect themselves and the environment from harm it causes. She is also the author of the 2011 book, Community organizing – a holistic approach.

While in Nova Scotia, Kuyek will be launching her new book at a panel discussion on gold mining on Saturday, October 19 in Halifax, and then again in Tatamagouche on Sunday, October 20. Continue Reading →

Book celebrates 100 years of Kirkland Lake – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – September 11, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Mayors and reeves, renowned strongmen and multi-million-dollar lottery winners are among the cast of colourful characters in a newly published book celebrating the centennial of the Town of Kirkland Lake.

Authored by Bill Glover, Gold for a Mad Miner is an anthology of 18 stories celebrating the town’s history, quirks and legends, printed in time to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the town’s founding in 1919. Glover, who was born and raised in Kirkland Lake, said he’s always been interested in storytelling, and this marks the fifth book he’s written.

Though he’s retired now, he spent close to six decades in the mining industry, first working in Sudbury at Frood and Stobie mines, before establishing his own consultancy firm, which took him to Asia, Europe, South America, the U.S. and beyond. Continue Reading →

Linden MacIntyre shares personal connection to Newfoundland disaster in The Wake – by Holly McKenzie-Sutter (CBC News – August 22, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/

As a journalist Linden MacIntyre covered adversity around the world, sharing the experiences of those caught in tragic circumstances, but he’s waited decades to bring the story of his hometown to the page.

The investigative reporter and novelist was born in St. Lawrence, N.L., where his new book The Wake is set. The author’s hard-rock miner father moved there in the 1940s to work for the fluorspar mining operation that rolled into the poverty-stricken community, which was recovering from a natural disaster and an unexpected collapse of the area’s crucial fisheries.

In 1929, an earthquake-related tsunami struck southern Newfoundland’s Burin Peninsula, washing homes out to sea and killing 28 people. The story of environmental destruction and industrial exploitation that followed is narrated in The Wake. Continue Reading →