The Year That Made and Broke BC – by Crawford Kilian (The Tyee – March 15, 2023)

The 1858 gold rush brought sweeping change, and sealed a grim future for Indigenous people.

Gold, Grit, Guns is an extraordinary book that focuses on the lives of four prospectors and their mixed fortunes in the B.C. gold rush of 1858. Their diaries vividly describe the expense and hard work it took just to reach an unclaimed gravel bar, and then to find the flakes and nuggets of gold it might contain. In the process of getting rich, or more likely going broke, they also began the breaking of an ecosystem and an economy thousands of years old.

The year 1858 was a pivotal one for the western regions of British North America: it saw the transformation of “New Caledonia” into the Crown colony of British Columbia (soon to merge with the colony of Vancouver Island).

Read more

A Modern Klondike: Northern Ontario’s fiery ring – by David Marks Shribman (Literary Review of Canada – April 2023)

Literary Review of Canada

To purchase Ring of Fire book:

Consider the major collisions of contemporary life in North America: the tensions between financial investments and social ideals; the threat of climate change in conflict with the thirst for energy sources; the rights of Indigenous people versus the prerogatives of elected governments; the rivalries with trading partners in competition with the hunger for goods from abroad; and the impulses of the regulatory state in full combat with the appeal of free markets.

Then consider that all of these clashes — the stuff of debate in Ottawa and provincial capitals, the topics of animated conversation in universities and coffee shops across the country — are playing out, every one of them and all at once, in a remote 5,000-square-kilometre swath of northern Canada. It’s a place that’s home to the second-largest temperate wetland in the world, that’s packed with nickel and copper, and that’s known as the Ring of Fire.

Read more

Who wants to hear about White Saviourism gone wrong? – by Ben Radley (African – March 8, 2023)

A new book on the Congo recycles stereotypes of Africa as a wasteland in need of saving in all its promo. It’s been rapturously received in the West.

Last month, award-winning author and academic Siddharth Kara published Cobalt Red: How the Blood of the Congo Powers our Lives. The book draws attention to labour conditions and living standards in areas of the Democratic Republic of the Congo that mine cobalt, a metal that will be critical in the hoped-for global energy transition.

Across 250 pages, it argues that by consuming products that contain Congolese cobalt, Western consumers are complicit in a human rights and environmental catastrophe.

Read more

Curiosity spurred Virginia Heffernan to write a Ring of Fire book – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 4, 2023)

Toronto mining journalist hits PDAC 2023 with a primer on arrested development in the Far North

“Keep the faith.” It was an oft-used phrase by Richard “Dick” Nemis, a Sudbury native and colourful mining promoter whose company, Noront Resources, secured one of the largest land positions in the mineral-rich area of the James Bay known as the Ring of Fire.

Nemis clung to that motto even as he was being ousted by shareholders as the president of the junior mining company he helped establish in October 2008. It was personal blow since the exploration outfit was named after his father’s industrial fabrication company, started in the Nickel City in 1945, and still in operation today.

Read more

‘Posthistory’ depicts coal region history after King Coal was dethroned – by Ron Devlin (Republican Herald/Yahoo – January 28, 2023)

Jan. 28—POTTSVILLE — The history of anthracite coal in the southern fields usually goes something like this: Necho Allen discovers coal in 1790, igniting an economic engine that burns brightly for 150 years or so.

The black diamonds Allen’s campfire lighted while he slept atop Broad Mountain fueled the Industrial Revolution and remained a vital energy force through World War I and World War II.

Read more

Loretta Lynn, coal miner’s daughter and country music icon, dies at 90 – by Ethan Sacks (NBC News- October 4, 2022)

“I would have given anything in the world if (my father) would have been here when I recorded ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter,’ but I think he hears me,” Lynn said in 2018. “And one day I will sing it for him.”

Loretta Lynn, who was born a coal miner’s daughter before becoming one of the crown jewels of country music, has died. She was 90. Lynn’s family said in a statement that she died Tuesday at her home in Hurricane Mills, Tennessee.

“Our precious mom, Loretta Lynn, passed away peacefully this morning, October 4th, in her sleep at home in her beloved ranch in Hurricane Mills,” the family said in a statement. They asked for privacy.

Read more

[Diamonds by Marijan Dundek] Manual refresh – by Phyllis Schiller (Rapaport Magazine – August 2022)

The newly updated edition of industry reference book Diamonds takes readers on an in-depth journey through fancy colors, famous stones, and a case study of the 603-carat Lesotho Promise.

For author and diamond consultant Marijan Dundek, diamonds are, simply put, “one of nature’s true marvels.” They were “created deep beneath the earth’s surface billions of years ago by the forces of heat and pressure. They are rare, have unique properties and are highly prized, yet are born from the most basic element that is common to all life: carbon,” he says.

Read more

VOLT RUSH THE WINNERS AND LOSERS IN THE RACE TO GO GREEN, REVIEWED – by Simon Cocking (Irish Tech News – July 8, 2022)

EVs has been touted as the technological solution that will help to save our planet, and, potentially to save us from ourselves. The switch to electric vehicles would reduce CO2 emissions, pollution, keeping (potentially) fossil fuels in the ground. Henry Sanderson however takes us on a carefully considered and well explained journey to show that it may not be as simple a transition as we hoped for.

Sanderson has chapters specifically analysing the key elements, often rare earth minerals, that are vital to the creation of the necessary batteries to drive these vehicles. Lithium, cobalt and nickel among others are all forensically considered, with often concerning impacts on people and planet.

Read more

Book Review–Cobalt: Cradle of the Demon Metals, Birth of a Mining Superpower – by Daniel Sekulich (Northern Miner – February 17, 2022)

Global mining news

As work continues to create a greener, cleaner future for the planet, the rush to find critical minerals that will spearhead the transition away from fossil-fueled energy has taken on a greater urgency. Explorers and developers are actively seeking out new sources of nickel, copper and lithium throughout the globe.

And then there’s cobalt, a metal whose ability to store energy has already made it crucial for everything from laptops to smartphones, and gives it an even more important role in the green revolution. This has led to a renewed interest in securing sources of the metal across Canada, including around the namesake community of Cobalt, in northern Ontario.

Read more

Charlie Angus’s novel Cobalt reveals reality of mining – by Jamie Portman ( – February 2022)

“There’s something absolutely beguiling about these great mineral rushes,” Angus says.

There were the cockroach races that saw miners betting as much as a $1,000 on the outcome. There was the day vaudeville performer Daisy Primrose walked down the street in Harem pants, a new form of female apparel so scandalous that it had been condemned by the Pope. There’s even an appearance by a dog named Bobbie Burns who may well have been the inspiration for Hollywood’s most celebrated canine star.

So if Charlie Angus had wanted, he could easily have confined himself to delivering a robust history of Cobalt, the fabled Northern Ontario mining town in which the New Democrat MP has long lived. But although he is a born storyteller with a passion for popular history that matches the best of Pierre Berton and James H. Gray, Angus had a lot more on his mind when he set out to write his latest book, Cobalt.

Read more

New Book Explores Appalachia’s Coal Mined Landscapes – by Robbie Harris (Radio IQ – July 8, 2021)

For more than a hundred years, coal from Appalachia helped power the nation and the world. But that’s changing as new forms of clean energy emerge. A new book documents the rise of coal and its eminent decline, when coal is no longer king.

Without coal, there might never have been an industrial revolution. But the new revolution in cleaner energy is clearly coming, so scientists from Virginia Tech and West Virginia University, set out to document everything they could find, regarding the coal economy of the past 2 centuries and a way of life that sustained communities.

“The title is, “Appalachia, Coal, Mined, Landscapes, Resources, and Communities in a New Energy Era.” Carl Zipper is professor emeritus in the School of Plant and Environmental Sciences at Virginian Tech.

Read more

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)

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.

Read more

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

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,’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.

Read more

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

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.

Read more

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)

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.”

Read more