Archive | Canada Mining – North of 60

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 →

Rio Tinto not interested in any part of Dominion Diamond Mines – by Richard Gleeson (CBC News Canada North – July 6, 2020)

The company thought to be the most logical to partner with or purchase Dominion Diamond Mines is not interested in the troubled diamond company.

In a recent affidavit, former Dominion CEO and former N.W.T. cabinet minister Brendan Bell says Dominion’s partner in the Diavik diamond mine — Diavik Diamond Mines Inc., a subsidiary of global mining giant Rio Tinto — is the most obvious candidate to purchase Dominion’s 40 per cent stake in the Diavik diamond mine and also to purchase the Ekati mine, which Dominion owns 90 per cent of.

Dominion is in the process of restructuring or being sold, having been granted creditor protection in April. 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 →

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 →

ZINC-LEAD: Osisko Metals’ PEA for Pine Point suggests large-scale operation (Canadian Mining Journal – June 16, 2020)

NORTHWEST TERRITORIES – A preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Osisko Metals’ wholly owned Pine Point project outlines an 11,250 t/d open-pit and underground operation, mining 47 small open pits and eight high-grade shallow underground deposits.

The proposed 10-year mine would produce an average of 327 million lb. of zinc and 143 million lb. of lead annually at estimated cash costs of US67¢ per lb. of zinc-equivalent (including smelting, transport and royalties).
With a total initial capital cost of $555.7 million, the after-tax net present value estimate for the project, at an 8% discount rate, stands at $500 million with a 29.6% internal rate of return based on estimated life-of-mine zinc and lead prices of US$1.15 per lb. and US95¢ per lb., respectively. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond sues partner in Diavik mine for breach of contract, other allegations – by Sara Minogue (CBC News North – June 16, 2020)

Dominion Diamond Mines has filed a lawsuit accusing Diavik Diamond Mines (2012) Inc. — its 60 per cent partner in the Diavik diamond mine in the Northwest Territories — of managing the mine to the benefit of its majority owner, Rio Tinto, and to the detriment of Dominion.

The civil lawsuit, filed Tuesday with the Supreme Court of British Columbia (where Dominion is incorporated), claims Diavik Diamond Mines (DDMI) has continued to make cash calls from Dominion “knowing that Dominion has no ability to pay for such cash calls.”

Cash calls are basically requests from Dominion’s partner in the mine to cover its share of operating costs or other obligations. 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 →

This Yukon First Nation wants to use native plants to help remediate abandoned mine sites – by Julien Gignac (The Narwhal – June 13, 2020)

The Narwhale

With unreclaimed mine sites littering Kaska territory, the community of Ross River is hatching a plan to help solve the problem: an industrial-scale nursery replete with native plants.

In southeastern Yukon, the Faro, Ketza and Wolverine mines have all seen their owners go bankrupt, leaving behind contamination and hefty cleanup tabs. Here, the community of Ross River, which is less than 180 kilometres away from all three mines, sees an opportunity.

The native plant nursery will be the first of its kind in Yukon, according to the project’s organizers, with a scale and mandate of supporting major reclamation projects that sets it apart from other nurseries in the territory. Continue Reading →

The downfall of Dominion Diamond – by Alex Brockman (CBC News – June 10, 2020)

How the COVID-19 pandemic pushed one of the North’s largest employers to the brink of financial collapse

A light breeze from Great Slave Lake adds a last bite of winter to the warm spring air as Chief Ernest Betsina walks through Ndilo, a Yellowknives Dene community down the road from Yellowknife.

After a few minutes, he stops at a high spot. The entire community stretches before him. He can see the abandoned Giant gold mine site across the bay. It’s a festering wound, the worst-case scenario when a mine company goes under.

Today, another mining company, Dominion Diamond, is fighting off its own financial ruin. Its cash reserves collapsed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leaving it with $1.2 billion US worth of debt it has no way to pay off unless it restructures itself through the courts. Continue Reading →

Yellowknifer editorial: No clear alternative to China buying Hope Bay (Yellowknifer – June 9, 2020)

Front Page

Chinese influence in the Arctic, but what is the alternative? The concerns Yellowknife MLA Rylund Johnson has about the purchase of a Nunavut mine by a Chinese company are not unique, nor are they unfounded.

In 2005, similar concerns quashed a $6.7 billion deal that would have seen Ontario’s Falconbridge, a nickel miner, acquired by China Metals Corp., a state-owned company. Falconbridge was already an international company, with 15,000 employees in 17 countries, but it was perceived as too important to fall into the hands of an organization ultimately controlled by a communist regime.

The deal fell apart and instead Falconbridge was sold along with its majority shareholder, Quebec-based Noranda, to Swiss Xstrata a year later. Continue Reading →

Securing essential supplies in the post-COVID world – by J. Berkshire Miller (National Post – June 10, 2020)

J. Berkshire Miller is a senior fellow and deputy director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Centre for Advancing Canada’s Interests Abroad.

The COVID-19 crisis has provided a moment of clarity for many countries, including Canada, on the importance of secure supply chains. The lockdowns around the world have revealed important weaknesses in the supply chains used by many multinational companies — including those that Canadians rely on for critical supplies, such as protective personal equipment (PPE).

Acquiring PPE has been an enormous challenge for Canada since the pandemic was declared back in March. It has been particularly challenging because one of main source countries for PPE is China, where the pandemic originated.

Many Chinese companies have been engaged in horse trading and the often-disingenuous auctioning of such supplies, attempting to take advantage of an international market for PPE and other medical supplies that cannot be satiated in the near term as a result of COVID-19. Continue Reading →

Don’t sell Hope Bay to China, Yellowknife MLA warns – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – June 3, 2020)

Debate continues to simmer around the pending $149-million (U.S.) sale of TMAC Resources and control of the Kitikmeot Hope Bay gold property to Chinese-based Shandong Gold Mining.

Commenting on a previous Nunavut News article about the prospective deal, Yellowknife MLA Rylund Johnson strongly urged the Government of Canada to reject the purchase agreement.

“There is no benefit to the Inuit in having a Canadian colonizer swapped out for a Chinese one,” Johnson wrote. “There are so many risks that come with allowing the Chinese government to increase influence in the Arctic, including the fact they are one of our main competitors in mining.” Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Inuit investment in mining needed (Nunavut News – May 31, 2020)

Front Page

The Hope Bay gold mine in Nunavut was recently acquired by Chinese gold mining company Shandong Gold Mining.

As Canada’s resource industry is rocked by the fallout from Covid-19, the foreign mining firm has scooped up Hope Bay from TMAC Resources for what is likely a good price, despite suspicious timing, creating what Tom Hoefer, executive director NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, has called “good news for everyone.”

Not everyone is happy though as the purchase has generated a national debate around Arctic sovereignty and Canada’s dealings with China. Continue Reading →

Ottawa to scrutinize Chinese acquisition of gold miner as Huawei case reaches crucial stage – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – May 27, 2020)

Reviewing deal for embattled TMAC in what one observer calls a ‘mix of security considerations and political considerations’

The federal government says it is reviewing a Chinese mining company’s proposed $207 million buyout of a struggling gold mining company in Nunavut under the Investment Canada Act, as a high-profile case against a Chinese executive in Canada reaches a crucial point.

Shandong Gold Mining Co. Ltd., a Chinese state-owned enterprise that’s listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange, announced earlier this month it would purchase Toronto-based TMAC Resources Inc., which operates a mine near Cambridge Bay that has been beset by operational challenges.

Ottawa declined to provide any details on why it is scrutinizing the TMAC buyout, but lawyers who practise in this area said the government can easily invoke national security concerns amid rising political tensions with China. Continue Reading →