Archive | Canada Mining

More Mines, Lower Commodity Prices on Horizon – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

We have all heard that “timing is everything”, and that truism applies as much to mine development as to anything. It seems that there is a growing number of new mines planned in Canada just as analysts warn of major corrections in commodities prices.

Softer prices are a result of a strengthening U.S. dollar, according to analysts. Oil prices have dropped to a three-month low, if one considers $119/bbl to be low. Perhaps it is compared to $140/bbl. The much-anticipated $1,000/oz threshold for gold was topped only three days in March 2008. The price of the yellow metal has been bouncing up and down since then from $850 to $990, averaging $900 so far in August. Copper has fallen from its high of over $4.00/lb in June this year back to approximately $3.50, and the pundits predict further losses. The zinc price is continuing to slide from its late 2006 high of slightly over $2.00/lb to under $1.00. Nickel reached a high of $24.00/lb in the first half of 2007, but it, too, is giving up ground, finishing June 2008 in the $8.00 neighbourhood. Analysts are beginning to say that even potash prices have peaked. And so it goes.

All of us mining industry watchers know this is a cyclical sector. Five years of rising prices have spurred exploration efforts around the world and across Canada. Many would-be miners want to cash in on the boom. The question becomes how many of them can do that before prices soften to the point that projects are once again shelved?

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Canada Reduced to “Branch Office” Status – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

Has Canada been reduced to the level of a mere “branch office” in the global mining industry? That’s what Don Argus, chairman of BHP BILLITON, called this country at a recent business gathering in Brisbane, Australia. He was talking about two years of mergers when a large chunk of our base metals industry passed into English, Swiss and Brazilian hands. Argus is concerned lest the Australian mining industry meet the same fate.

For decades Canadians have been leaders in the highly technical business of finding and mining deposits in some of the harshest conditions imaginable. They still are. The fact that our industry attracted the attention of foreign suitors speaks to that. To be called a “branch office” is an insult.

But, truth be told, Canadians have lost control of a large part of a very important industrial sector. Part of the blame belongs to the federal government for allowing the takeovers to happen. Part of the blame belongs to investors who failed to see opportunities in the Canadian resource sector.

A measure of how far Canada has fallen can be seen in this fact: Canada has lost more mining head offices than any other country since 2003. Numbers compiled by PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS show that 12 of the world’s top 40 mining companies called Canada home four years ago. Since then, seven of the 12 have been taken over.

If the trend continues, what will be left for Canadians? Will all the profits from our natural resources (minerals, fuels, water) leave the country? Will research opportunities move offshore? Will Canadian jobs be the first to go when the mineral industry reaches its next cyclical downturn? Will Canada be poorer for losing its domestic mineral industry?

The answer to the last question is “yes”. I doubt there will be much argument there. The arguments will start when someone thinks he can reverse the trend.

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources – The Honourable Gary Lunn – Toronto PDAC Speech

Honourable Gary Lunn - Canadian Minister of Natural Resources - Toronto PDAC -Government PhotoGood morning, everyone. Thank you, Pat [Pat Dillon, President of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada] for that kind introduction. It’s a great privilege to speak to the largest gathering of mining prospectors and developers in the world.

I want to thank Pat and PDAC for the invitation and also extend a special greeting to those of you who are here in Canada from all over the world for the first time.

Canada is one of the world’s leading mining countries, and our government continues to work with you to ensure we stay at the forefront.

It was a great week last week for both the mining and exploration industry. We tabled our federal budget – there were several investments that will benefit the Canadian minerals and metals sector, both directly and indirectly, and I’ll touch on those in a few minutes.

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Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources – Gary Lunn – An Introduction

The Honourable Gary Lunn - Canada’s Minister of Natural ResourcesThe Honourable Gary Lunn was appointed Minister of Natural Resources by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on February 6, 2006. Since 1997, he has been the Member of Parliament for the beautiful Saanich –Gulf Islands in British Columbia.

The Natural Resources portfolio is well suited to Minister Lunn because his early working days were spent in the mining and forestry industries in British Columbia and northern Canada. This experience has allowed him to understand first-hand the importance of Canada’s natural resources to our present and future prosperity.

Minister Lunn speaks frequently about the need to streamline the regulatory approval process for energy and mining projects in Canada, and has made this a personal priority.

In the February 26, 2008 budget, the government committed to the establishment of a new framework for Aboriginal economic development by the end of 2008, dedicating $70 million over the next two years for Aboriginal economic development measures to support the framework. In announcing this framework, the Budget makes special mention of the role that the mining and resource sectors serve in creating economic opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians.

The Federal Budget committed $34 million over the next two years to Natural Resources Canada for geological mapping, primarily focused in Canada’s North, and for logistical support for mapping activities provided by the Polar Continental Shelf Project.

The Budget also announced a commitment to renew the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (super flow-through share program) for a further year until March 31, 2009. The temporary 15-percent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit is an incentive available to individuals who invest in flow-through shares that are used to finance grassroots mining exploration. Extension of the credit will support continued exploration for new mineral reserves in the North and other regions of Canada.

A journeyman carpenter, Minister Lunn has designed and built numerous homes, including his family’s current home in Sidney, British Columbia. He and his wife Alexis have two children, David and Victoria.