Archive | Canada Mining – North of 60

Put mining on hold during the COVID-19 pandemic, say Yukon First Nations – by Mike Rudyk (CBC News North – March 31, 2020)

Mining camps with fly-in workers pose risk to communities, says Na-Cho Nyak Dun chief

Some Yukon First Nations want the territorial government to put a stop to any mining or staking in the territory during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Na-Cho Nyak Dun First Nation says Victoria Gold’s Eagle Gold Mine operations, with hundreds of workers on a rotating shift schedule, are an enormous risk to the community.

The mine is about 85 kilometres from Mayo. Many of the hundreds of workers come from outside Yukon. Na-Cho Nyak Dun Chief Simon Mervyn wrote an open letter to Premier Sandy Silver last week, saying that having mines open during the pandemic puts the nearby community of Mayo in danger, particularly the elders who live there.

“We are calling on the Yukon government to immediately implement stronger measures to protect remote and Indigenous communities such as [Na-Cho Nyak Dun],” the letter reads. “We cannot protect our citizens alone; we need your help.” Continue Reading →

Nunavut Mining: From pickups to bulldozers and haul trucks, Ola Arnaquq has learned to operate massive vehicles – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – March 30, 2020)


Sometimes at 5:30 a.m. sometimes at 5:30 p.m., Ola Arnaquq climbs up into giant bulldozers to begin her 12-hour shift at the Mary River iron mine, 160 km south of Pond Inlet. She’s also capable of operating massive rock trucks and haul trucks.

“I was in awe of (these vehicles) and knew as soon as I saw one on site that I’d love to learn to run them,” says Arnaquq, who has been working at the mine for six years. “(It’s) different getting into the seat of one for sure, a bit tense to start but it got easier. Seat time is what helps confidence with operating equipment. Remembering how that feels definitely helps coaching newcomers.”

Prior to starting work with Baffinland Iron Mines, the largest vehicle Arnaquq had ever driven was a pickup truck. Beyond size, the biggest difference between driving a pickup and operating a bulldozer or a haul truck is the elaborate safety precautions for the latter, she says. Continue Reading →

Nunavut mine goes into “lockdown” to reduce risk of COVID-19 – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – March 29, 2020)

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. says its Meliadine mine in Nunavut is in “complete lockdown” for the next 28 days, with no movement of personnel except for emergency situations, to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

The measures, which take effect on Monday, March 30, were announced by the company following a social media uproar created by an employee of one of the mine’s contractors who made dismissive remarks about the mine’s efforts to screen for the new coronavirus.

That’s although the company told Nunatsiaq News that the measures had already been decided on beforehand. These are the comments that angered many in Rankin Inlet who have been worried about the spread of the new coronavirus into their community of about 3,000. (Screen shot) Continue Reading →

Nunavut’s Baffinland gears up its crisis management plan for COVID-19 – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – March 16, 2020)

Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has clamped down on travel to and from its Mary River iron mine site in an effort to stave off the spread of the new coronavirus. To date, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nunavut, the company said today.

“However, given the possible risk of infection throughout the North and more specifically, our neighboring communities with whom we share the closest relationship, we are making arrangements to limit the potential exposure of our Nunavummiut (Inuit and non-Inuit in Nunavut) employees to the coronavirus,” said the company.

To do this, Baffinland said it is temporarily instructing all Nunavummiut to not report for work and to remain in their home communities.  “Nunavummiut currently at site will return home during the coming week,” Baffinland said in its release. Continue Reading →

Review board grants Baffinland’s request to extend its production limit – by Emma Tranter (Nunatsiaq News – March 11, 2020)

Mining company can continue producing six million tonnes per year until end of 2021

The Nunavut Impact Review Board has granted Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s request to temporarily extend its production limit at the Mary River mine.

In a March 5 news release, Kaviq Kaluraq, the chair of the NIRB, said the mining company’s request to extend its production limit from four to six million tonnes of iron ore is granted until Dec. 31, 2021. Baffinland had requested only a one-year extension, until the end of 2020, in its letter to the NIRB, dated Dec. 19, 2019.

But in its release, NIRB said a one-year extension “would have the effect of imposing undue limits on the timelines and manner in which the board’s assessment of the phase two development proposal proceeds.” Continue Reading →

How a fault that stretches from the Yukon to Interior Alaska slides Canadian gold into the state – by Ned Rozell (Anchorage Daily News – March 8, 2020)

Nate Becker lives with his family on a quiet stretch of the Yukon River as it flows into Alaska. On a recent ski trip, I visited the Beckers’ home along with two geologist friends. Nate had a question for them.

“Why are all the gold deposits located on the south side of the river here, and none are on the north side?” Becker said.

A quick look at the map of Yukon-Charley Rivers National Preserve showed what Becker was talking about. In the 160 miles between the towns of Eagle and Circle, a half-dozen gold-mining settlements — most of them ghosted out — were on the south bank of the Yukon River. Not one was on the north side. That seemed like more than a coincidence. Continue Reading →

Nunavut’s mining revenues and production up in 2019 – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – March 3, 2020)

The value of Nunavut’s mineral production grew in 2019, driven by the addition of the Meliadine gold mine and a slight increase in iron ore production.

That’s according to the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines’ analysis of the latest Natural Resources Canada statistics. These show gold production up by 43 per cent and iron ore production up by more than five per cent in Nunavut.

This production growth means an increase in revenues for Nunavut of almost 27 per cent or roughly $279 million more than in 2018. Overall, Natural Resources Canada estimates 2019 mineral production in Nunavut brought in gross revenues of $1.3 billion. Continue Reading →

Yukon and First Nation road agreement a ‘major step’ forward for Macmillan Pass – by Mariaan Webb ( – March 3, 2020)

TSX-V-listed Fireweed Zinc has hailed the agreement about road upgrades that the Yukon government and the Ross River Dena Council (RRDC) First Nation reached as a “major step” forward towards the eventual development of the Macmillan Pass zinc, lead and silver project.

The agreement centres on the North Canol road and Campbell highway components of the Yukon Resource Gateway Project.

The RRDC is collaborating with the government of Yukon on the development, environmental and regulatory aspects of the two road component upgrades. The work will include bridge replacement and safety improvements on North Canol Road and construction and resurfacing part of the Robert Campbell Highway. Continue Reading →

Fear that Teck mine’s fate might deter investors here – by Blair McBride (Northern News Service – February 29, 2020)

After Teck Resources shelved its Frontier oilsands mine proposal in northern Alberta on Feb. 23, some industry figures worry that Canada and the NWT will become less attractive for mining investment.

One of the main voices expressing that anxiety is the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, whose president Ken Armstrong issued an open letter to the public and Indigenous government leaders on Feb 25.

Armstrong pointed out that investors “need legal and policy certainty before investing” and while he noted that there are differences between mineral mining in the North and oilsands mining in Alberta, he questioned if investors would make that distinction. Continue Reading →

Fraser Survey: Alaska shines, Canada slips – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – February 28, 2020)

Canada’s provinces and territories have fallen from grace in the eyes of the global mining community, according to the latest rendition of Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies.

For the first time in a decade, no Canadian jurisdiction ranks in the top 10 for “investment attractiveness” in the annual survey conducted by the Canadian public policy think-tank.

This report asks industry professionals from around the globe to score mining jurisdictions based on their mineral endowment and various policy topics important to mining. The investment attractiveness metric of the survey is a compilation of respondent’s views on both geology and policy. Continue Reading →

Yukonomist: Three questions on Yukon Zinc and China – by Keith Halliday (Yukon News – February 20, 2020)


What would you like the Yukon government to spend $35.5 million on? Perhaps more nurses at the hospital? Some green power plants to fight climate change? Affordable housing? More front-line teachers?

Well, never mind. Judging from Yukon Zinc’s bankruptcy case, it looks like the government will be spending it cleaning up another abandoned mine. This case is particularly troubling. First, it’s recent. The mine opened in 2012. Unlike Faro, we can’t blame this one on 1960s-era mining techniques and long-dead mining executives and regulators.

Second, it’s on the Yukon’s tab. Devolution meant gaining authority over our own resources. It also meant that we would be on the hook for mining mishaps authorized by the Yukon government. The Yukon government is already going into deeper debt each fiscal year, and a $35.5 million hit will have to come out of the hide of other public programs. Continue Reading →

Agnico Eagle CEO takes blame as gold miner shocks market with poor 2020 forecast – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – February 15, 2020)

Investors and analysts punished Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. after the big Canadian gold miner shocked the market with a host of unforeseen operational problems across multiple mines.

Last year, Toronto-based Agnico put two new mines into production in the Arctic, but the ramp-up isn’t going to plan, with the company dealing with various challenges such as unanticipated equipment shortages.

At La Ronde, the company’s flagship mine in Quebec, Agnico is grappling with ground stability issues three kilometres underground, and reinforcements are needed. Also in Quebec, at its Canadian Malartic open pit mine, which it co-owns with Yamana Gold Inc., the company is processing lower grade ore than expected. Continue Reading →

Infrastructure Bank to advise on proposed $1.6-billion Manitoba-Nunavut hydro link – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – February 5, 2020)

The Canada Infrastructure Bank will advise proponents of a plan to bring hydroelectricity and broadband internet from northern Manitoba to several communities in Nunavut.

Known as the Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link project, it would lead to the construction of a 1,200-kilometre, 150-megawatt transmission line joining Gillam, Man., to four Nunavut communities on the northwestern shore of Hudson Bay, as well as inland to Baker Lake. The project would also include a fibre-optic link, bringing broadband internet to the region.

Proponents say the project would bring environmental benefits by replacing diesel power, while also supporting Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.’s gold mining activity in the region. Continue Reading →

GUEST COMMENT: Former Mine Watch co-ordinator responds to publisher’s column – by Joan Kuyak (Yellowknifer/NNSL Media – January 28, 2020)

Joan Kuyek is an organizer and former national coordinator of MiningWatch Canada.

I am writing to object to your patronizing column, which completely mischaracterizes my position on mining in the NWT.

Any mining should take into account the awesome costs that are externalized to people and the environment. The money going back to governments from mining companies has to be equal to the terrible costs for this and future generations.

I believe that Indigenous governments/peoples should have their own mineral strategies. In the NWT, as elsewhere, most of these nations have been so dispossessed and impoverished by extraction that they feel they have little choice but to accept new mines. Of course, they should decide if they want them and, if so, regulate them. Continue Reading →

[Northwest Territories] Collateral damage – where do Indigenous economies fit in climate change crusade – by Bruce Valpy (Yellowknifer/NNSL Media – January 27, 2020)

Bruce Valpy is publisher of Northern News Services Ltd.

There has been heavy criticism of the mining industry in our opinion newspages lately, notably Yellowknifer columnist and community commentator Nancy Vail and Joan Kuyek, formerly national coordinator of Mining Watch Canada.

Both are excellent writers and passionate advocates of all that is good and righteous in this day of climate change. Vail in her column Our own banana republic is dead set against mining while Kuyek in the story “Former head of mining watchdog calls for NWT to change industry” attempts to walk the line between being anti-mining and only allowing mining that doesn’t damage or alter the environment, certainly falling on the side that less mining is infinitely better than more mining, no mining is best.

Good reading but I’m left wondering where these thoughtful advocates are coming from when I read this week’s News/North. On pages 10 and 11: The headline on page 10 is Indigenous self-determination in mineral sector gets a boost. The page 11 headline is 83 percent of NWT inmates are Indigenous. Download the paper here if you didn’t see it – NWT News/North Jan. 24, 2020. Continue Reading →