Archive | Canadian/International Media Resource Articles

I helped plan Energy East, and I know the government’s excuses are bunk – by Dennis McConaghy (Financial Post – October 12, 2017)

Dennis McConaghy was formerly the executive vice-president of pipeline strategy and development at TransCanada Pipelines.

I was a senior officer of TransCanada Pipelines when the Energy East project was conceived and developed commercially, up to the mid-summer of 2014 when I retired (I continue to be a shareholder but obviously I am no longer a company insider).

Two things are clear to me. One: the termination of the Energy East project is a major economic loss for Canada, removing an important option for providing market access for growing production from Canada’s oil sands resource, including direct access to eastern Canadian crude oil markets.

Two: The Trudeau government should be stepping up to accept some real culpability for contributing to TransCanada’s decision to abandon the project, instead of resorting to various sophistries and distortions. The real lessons to be learned from the Energy East termination cannot be ignored if this country is to ever have a regulatory and public-policy regime conducive for private capital to take on the risks of major hydrocarbon infrastructure. Continue Reading →

AUDIO: Sudbury researcher John Gunn meets Sweden’s environmentally minded king – by Samantha Lui (CBC News Sudbury – July 13, 2016)

John Gunn shared the story of Sudbury’s regreening efforts with the king and other researchers

The regreening of Sudbury’s damaged landscapes is a story known across the world. In fact, it’s even caught the attention of Carl Gustaf, the king of Sweden. Sudbury’s John Gunn was recently invited to attend the king’s 12th Royal Colloquiam just outside of Stockholm.

The event’s been held since 1992 by Gustaf, and it invites leading scientists and researchers to take part in discussions about issues relating to environment and development. Gunn, who is the director of the Vale Living with Lakes Centre in the city, shared details about Sudbury’s progress over the years with the king and other researchers around the world.

“It was a great honour to participate in such a discussion group with the king of Sweden,” he said. “Sweden and the adjoining Norway are very supportive of international studies in the environment. I was pleased to be able to go and represent Sudbury and provide some information.” Continue Reading →

Donald Trump says he would approve Keystone XL, but with new deal and piece of the profits – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – May 27, 2016)

CALGARY — The U.S. environmental movement’s biggest win yet, the defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline, could be history if Donald Trump takes the White House in November.

The Republican presidential candidate confirmed Thursday he would approve TransCanada Corp.’s proposed oil pipeline to link Alberta’s oilsands to refineries in the U.S. Gulf, but on different terms.

“I would absolutely approve it, 100 percent, but I would want a better deal,” Trump told reporters at a press conference in Bismarck, N.D., where he was scheduled to give a speech to an oil conference on the energy policies he would pursue. “I want it built, but I want a piece of the profits,” Trump said. “That’s how we’re going to make our country rich again.” Continue Reading →

Idaho silver mine shaft sunk to final depth of 9,587 feet – by Frik Els ( – May 24, 2016)

The Lucky Friday silver, lead and zinc mine is located deep in the Bitterroot Mountains, in one of the world’s most prolific silver-producing districts: northern Idaho’s Silver Valley.

Lucky Friday has been in commercial production since 1942 and this week the number 4 shaft project to extend the life of the mine for another generation reached a big milestone. Cementation USA Inc. on Tuesday announced it has completed sinking the deepest shaft in the United States at the mine owned by Hecla Mining outside the town of Mullan in Shoshone county, Idaho.

With a finished diameter of 18 feet, the Lucky Friday #4 Shaft was sunk to a final depth of 9,587 feet (2.92 kilometres) below surface. The project is moving into the furnishing construction phase where shaft steel and the final conveyances will be installed. Continue Reading →

Freeport Sees Indonesia Deal ‘Imminently’ on Export Curbs – by Liezel Hill (Bloomberg News – July 23, 2014)

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) expects to sign a deal with the Indonesian government “imminently” to resolve a dispute that has curbed production at the world’s third-biggest copper mine.

The largest publicly traded copper producer and the government have developed a memorandum of understanding under which the company would commit to help develop a smelter, Phoenix-based Freeport said today in a statement. The agreement includes reduced export taxes and higher royalties for copper and gold.

The agreement, which would enable the immediate resumption of exports, also states that Freeport and Indonesia would start negotiations immediately on changes to the company’s contract to operate in the country.

Freeport reduced operating levels this year at its Grasberg copper and gold mine after Indonesia introduced restrictions and duties on mineral exports in a bid to increase local processing. Exports of concentrates, a semi-processed raw material, have yet to resume after months of negotiations between the company and government officials.

Freeport has been able to run Grasberg at about half of normal rates because it sends some concentrate to a domestic smelter it helped build in the 1990s. Continue Reading →

Bill passed to provide $270m for SE Alaska mines – by Henry Lazenby ( – May 6, 2014)

TORONTO ( – The Alaska State Legislature has unanimously passed Senate Bill 99 (SB 99), which includes provisions authorising the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) to make up to $270-million available for infrastructure and construction costs at two south-east Alaska mining projects.

The passing of the Bill provides TSX-V-listed Prince of Wales Island project developers Ucore Rare Metals and Heatherdale Resources with the state-backed financial boost needed to develop the deposits into mines amid an otherwise tight financial market.

Introduced by Senator Lesil McGuire in 2013, SB 99 also aims to clarify ambiguous language associated with the Sustainable Energy Transmission and Supply Development Fund within the AIDEA. The AIDEA is a public corporation created by Alaska lawmakers to promote economic development across the state, and has been active in the financing of multiple capital project initiatives in the Alaska mining sector since 1985.

The Delong Mountain Transportation System, a road and port facility connecting the isolated Red Dog mine to world markets, and the Skagway Ore Terminal, a south-east Alaska facility that ships about 37-million pounds of copper concentrates from Capstone Mining’s Minto mine, in Canada’s Yukon Territory, are examples of mining-related projects the authority has funded. Continue Reading →

Price slump hits B.C. coal miners – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – April 16, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

VANCOUVER — A devastating price slump is hammering British Columbia’s coal sector as a U.S.-based company halts mining in the province while other players face mounting pressure.

Walter Energy Inc. highlighted the troubles Tuesday when it announced its decision to stop B.C. mining until coal prices recover.

Last week Virginia-based James River Coal Co. filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States, underscoring tough times in the global industry.

The coal industry has traditionally been a key driver of B.C.’s economy, with companies generating billions of dollars in revenue every year and employing thousands of workers. Now producers are starting to question the viability of their projects as prices hit new lows.

In 2011, coal prices soared to $300 (U.S.) a tonne. Prices for metallurgical coal have since tumbled to roughly $120 a tonne, hurt by ample new supplies from Australia, slower-than-forecast economic growth in China and a shift away from long-term coal pricing contracts that had provided some stability. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Taseko seeks path forward for New Prosperity – by Russ Hallbauer (Vancouver Sun – September 2, 2013)

Misinformation tainted hearings, sowed mistrust

Russ Hallbauer is president and CEO of Taseko Mines Ltd.

The final weeks of the First Nations community hearing sessions of the federal environmental assessment for New Prosperity Gold-Copper Mine witnessed emotional testimony from many Tsilhqot’in and Shuswap First Nations peoples.

The New Prosperity project is located in British Columbia’s Cariboo-Chilcotin region. It proposes to save the culturally sensitive Fish Lake, and it will have a significant positive socio-economic impact on the region, British Columbia and Canada.

The Tsilhqot’in people have a long history and traditional connection to the land throughout their traditional territory, including in the proposed mining area around Fish Lake.

These communities, many with strong family ties, are working to heal some pressing social issues by strengthening awareness of their heritage and traditional practices among their youth as well as more broadly in the general population. Continue Reading →

Toward less of a potash oligopoly – Editorial (Globe and Mail – July 31, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

The breakup of Belarus Potash Co., one of two international potash cartels, is good news for consumers and farmers across the world, which carries a promise of less expensive fertilizer and (as a result) cheaper food. It is hard to see how BPC’s North American equivalent, Canpotex International Pte. Ltd., the marketing organization shared by Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc., Agrium Inc. and The Mosaic Co., will be able to maintain potash prices at their previous levels. The raison d’être of Canpotex is likely to be in question. Without the quasi-duopoly of Canpotex and BPC, the potash market will be substantially more competitive.

OAO Uralkali, the Russian member of BPC, has accused its former Belarussian partner, Belaruskali, of selling potash outside BPC. Indeed, last December, the dictatorial President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, issued a decree cancelling BPC’s exclusive right to market and export Belarussian potash; maybe Belaruskali was just being obedient.

But Uralkali may have another motive, too; it has the advantage of being able to ship potash directly by rail to China, a country with a great appetite for fertilizer. Uralkali appears to have decided to seek buyers by offering attractive prices, rather than by restricting supply. Continue Reading →

For First Nations, Great Jobs in a Controversial Industry -by Katie Hyslop (The – July 26, 2013)

One organization’s success teaching Aboriginal people mining skills isn’t without complications.

Unemployment for Aboriginal people in the province is twice as high as the rest of British Columbians. But Aboriginal people are defying the employment odds in the province’s mining industry, thanks in part to the BC Aboriginal Training Association (BCAMTA), which provides job training for the mining industry to Aboriginal people in B.C.

In a July 22 press conference in Vancouver, the association released a PricewaterhouseCoopers audit of their practices from their start in January 2010 until March 2013. Results show the organization has registered 1,533 training candidates, 500 of which have successfully achieved employment in their field.

BCAMTA’s work has paid off for the economy, too. CEO Laurie Sterritt says a $6.68-million federal government investment to start the program has translated into a $53.4-million annual contribution to B.C.’s GDP.

“This isn’t a one time boost to the economy: this is an amount that will grow as our employee candidates get salary increases, earn bonus payouts, and move up the ladder to more senior positions,” she said. Continue Reading →

SA seventh-largest iron-ore producer – by Yolandi Booyens ( – July 26, 2013)

South Africa’s position as the number three supplier of iron-ore to China emphasises the strategic importance of iron-ore deposits in the country and its importance as a significant iron-ore contributor worldwide, says minerals adviser Venmyn Deloitte MD Andy Clay.

He adds that this is testimony to the rapid historical development of South Africa’s iron-ore mines, in conjunction with the South African government’s infrastructure development.

South Africa is the seventh-largest producer of iron-ore and has also traditionally been the fourth-largest exporter worldwide. The country increased the percentage of iron it exports because of the suspension of mine operations in Goa, India, in September 2012 , owing to contraventions in terms of mining without licences or beyond licensed areas.

As a result, the global demand that Goa’s iron-ore mining operations used to meet can now be met by South Africa, in addition to other producers, such as Australia. “One of the factors that enables South Africa to export so much ore is the efficient Sishen iron-ore rail line,” notes Clay.

Opened in 1947, the Sishen mine is iron-ore supplier Kumba’s flagship operation and one of the largest openpit mines in the world. It has sufficient resources to sustain 21 years of production. It operates 24/7 and, in 2011, it transported 38.9-million tons of iron-ore. Continue Reading →

Agnico’s spending cuts won’t affect Quebec mines – by Robert Gibbens (Montreal Gazette – July 25, 2013)

The three Quebec gold mines of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. will probably escape the $250 million in spending cuts the company plans this year and next to offset sagging bullion and base metals income.

Agnico Eagle, which started producing gold north of Val d’Or in 1988 with the launch of its rich LaRonde mine, has since become an international company with operations in northwestern Canada, Finland and Mexico. It targets overall annual output of 1.2 million ounces within three years.

It had planned to invest $600 million U.S. a year on mine development, but with gold down to about $1,350 an ounce from a peak of almost $2,000 and co-products silver and zinc depressed, Agnico Eagle has cut that number to $400 million.

Most of the savings will come from delays in exploration and mine construction activity outside Quebec, CEO Sean Boyd told analysts Thursday. Year-end completion of a new cooling and ventilation system will boost output from LaRonde’s deep higher-grade reserves next year and the mine will produce 300,000 ounces a year for a long time yet. Continue Reading →

Seeing Upside in Iron-Ore Miners – by Diana Kinch (Wall Street Journal – July 25, 2013)

Some Investors Say Stocks Have Fallen Too Far, and News Isn’t All Bad

LONDON—Mining stocks are among the worst performers this year, with those exposed to iron ore down sharply amid concerns about overcapacity and sluggish demand from China. But some investors believe the rout could be overdone, with share prices of miners falling much further than market prices for iron ore.

“Right now, we’re moving into the low and everyone’s twitchy; the market’s focused on the third quarter, when we’ll have shutdowns in the Chinese steel industry and a seasonal downwards [move],” said Clive Burstow, manager of Barings’ Global Mining Fund, which holds some $15 million in mining stocks.

Capacity to produce iron ore is set to boom in the next few years as expansion programs planned before the financial crisis start to come on stream. By 2018 there will be an extra 419 million tons of capacity, according to estimates compiled from producers’ data, around 40% above 2012’s seaborne traded levels of just over one billion tons.

About half of the new capacity is expected to come on stream by late 2015, including from new projects by Rio Tinto RIO.LN +0.17% PLC and BHP Billiton PLC in Australia, and from Vale SA VALE5.BR -0.31% in Brazil. Continue Reading →

Akin to railroads of the 1880s, oil pipelines poised to spur Canadian growth – by Henry Lazenby ( – July 26, 2013)

TORONTO ( – Canada is expecting a boom in oil production from its prolific Alberta oil sands deposits; however, production from the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, after Saudi Arabia and Venezuela, is hampered by a lack of sufficient transport to markets, resulting in lower prices for Canadian crude.

In much the same way as the transcontinental railroads of the 1880s acted as economic enablers and opened up the Canadian hinterlands of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta to settlement and agriculture, so new oil pipelines transporting crude to coastal refineries and markets, and refined petroleum products back inland, are expected to have an enormous economic impact on Canada, driving economic growth.

Canada is desperately seeking alternative oil transport networks to its inadequate rail infrastructure to boost an industry that last year accounted for C$100-billion in exports of oil and natural gas, Al Monaco, the country’s largest pipeline operator Enbridge’s president and CEO, said at a recent Bloomberg Canada Economic Summit, in Toronto.

“It’s a very exciting time to be in the pipeline business. It’s not too often that you get the supply fundamentals and the demand fundamentals lining up extremely well. So, at this point, you’ve got a producer push of volume that wants to get to market. You’ve also got a market pull,” he said. Continue Reading →

Editorial: [British Columbia’s] Prosperity’s temerity – by Gwen Preston (Northern Miner – July 24, 2013)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry. 

I visited Taseko Mines’ Gibraltar mine north of Williams Lake, B.C., in 2008. The company bought the shuttered operation in 1998 and restarted it in 2004. Four expansions later, Gibraltar now employs 700 people, churns out 90 million lb. copper annually and is a major regional economic driver. It’s been a great story for a part of the province that has struggled with mill closures and unemployment.

During that Gibraltar tour, talk kept veering towards the Prosperity project, 175 km south. I remember Taseko president and CEO Russell Hallbauer downplaying the challenges of permitting the new mine. He figured Taseko had earned respect from the locals through Gibraltar and that, combined with a dire need for new economic activity locally, would mean enough support to dial down any voices of discontent.

What Hallbauer could not have predicted was that Prosperity, which happens to sit on lands involved in Canada’s most significant aboriginal land claims court case, would become a rallying cry for almost every anti-mining voice in the province.

Prosperity is a copper-molybdenum porphyry that Taseko wants to open pit mine. There’s a lake beside the deposit — known as Fish Lake, or Teztan Biny — that is one of 13,000 lakes in the Caribou region in the 100- to 150-hectare size range. Continue Reading →