Archive | Canadian Media Resource Articles

Four Canadians charged in massive $140M international penny stock fraud scheme – by Adrian Humphreys (National Post – August 14, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Former Toronto resident Sandy Winick figured he was on to a good thing with his scam raking in millions of dollars from investors, U.S. authorities allege, telling a colleague his scheme was better than another: “That deal is obviously a pump-and-dump. We know enough to be subtle.”

His business partner, Kolt Curry, another Canadian, allegedly boasted: “The money is good, it’s easy. It’s easy money. Definitely easy money, and it’s good money.” And for awhile, they were right.

On Tuesday, however, they were two of four Canadians indicted in the United States, alongside five Americans, charged with running the largest international penny stock and advance fee frauds in history.

Mr. Winick, 55, was named as the mastermind behind the two related schemes that U.S. prosecutors allege bilked victims in 35 countries out of more than $140-million. Continue Reading →

Canada, Mexico not energy rivals, ambassador says – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – August 14, 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.

OTTAWA — Shrugging off the notion of an industrial rivalry, Mexican Ambassador Francisco Suarez says Canadian companies will enjoy enormous opportunities as his country seeks to rejuvenate its energy sector with sweeping, though politically challenging, liberalization.

In an interview Tuesday, Mr. Suarez said he expects Canada’s highly developed energy sector to figure as a key partner in Mexico’s multibillion-dollar effort to modernize not only its oil extraction sector but the pipeline and refining businesses as well as natural gas and electricity industries.

“This is the mother of all reforms,” he said at his office a block from Parliament Hill. “I think this opens great possibilities for Canada not as competitors but as complementary economies. I think this offers enormous opportunities for the relationship between Canada and Mexico.”

Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Monday introduced a long-promised reform package which includes constitutional amendments to allow foreign companies to invest in energy production, although it stops short of allowing non-Mexicans to own or control oil and gas reserves. Continue Reading →

Eastern Europe seeks shale gas ‘revolution’ – by Daina Lawrence (Globe and Mail – August 14, 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.

Eastern Europe could become the next hotbed of shale gas exploration as oil and gas moguls, such as Chevron Corp., chase opportunities in countries that want to establish their energy independence from Russia and rebuild their economies.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates the combined gas reserves in Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary could equal more than 535-billion cubic metres of gas. This would be enough to restock Romania’s consumption for almost 40 years, according to the agency, as Romania’s average annual consumption totals about 14-billion cubic metres.

Despite these motivations, the use of the controversial shale gas extraction method – known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking – has already caused serious domestic opposition in Eastern Europe.

While countries such as France and the Netherlands continue to ban the practice, Romania lifted a moratorium on fracking earlier this year. Protests ensued. However, the country is moving ahead in its pursuit of energy independence and has since granted exploration permits to U.S.-based Chevron to explore the country’s Black Sea region. Continue Reading →

Where Are All the Women in Mining? – by Tara Wiseman (Hujffington Post – August 13, 2013)

The other day, I was watching my friend’s one-year-old daughter as she crawled through the grass. She ripped up dandelions in her chubby fingers, and buried her hands into the warm dirt in the garden. Then, before anyone could stop her, she shoved two fistfuls of mud into her mouth. We all laughed uncontrollably.

Then my friend said, “I hope she never outgrows this.”

My friend wasn’t talking about her daughter’s love for eating dirt. Rather, she was talking about her daughter’s love of the outdoors, her sense of adventure, her desire to get dirty. Then she explained that she wants her daughter to grow up tinkering with machines, collecting rocks, and building things. Essentially, doing things that tend to be associated with boys, not girls. Continue Reading →

The hole in Canadian history – by Dieter K. Buse (Toronto Star – August 11, 2013)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Northeastern Ontario has just two National Historic interpretative centres.

Congratulations to Parks Canada for having obtained another World Heritage Site designation. Canada’s 17th such site acknowledges the importance of Red Bay, the 17th century Basque whaling station in Labrador. Perhaps the publicity will inspire more people to experience such sites and to learn more about our diverse heritage. The sites recognize special geographic, geological, biological but especially cultural and historic places. Hence in Canada they include Gros Morne, the Klondike, the Rocky Mountain parks and the core of Quebec City.

However, this achievement needs to be seen in a larger context, and some bones picked with Parks Canada. If one looks at the location of Canada’s sites — easily done on the Parks Canada website map — one finds that many are located in remote and isolated areas. Perhaps that merely reflects the nature of our vast, lightly settled country.

Yet, it does pose the question why no significant place has been identified between the Rideau Canal system near Ottawa and Dinosaur Park in Saskatchewan? Do not some important, special landscapes, such as those made iconic by the Group of Seven, exist between those points? Have no important historical events occurred in such a large area? Continue Reading →

Northern Promise: Ring of Fire smoulders anew – by Peter Koven (National Post – August 13, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Northern Promise is a six-part series that explores the pace and progress of development in Canada’s remote communities. In this first instalment, Peter Koven covers the glacial-paced evolution of Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

Six years ago, there was no talk about uncertainty over environmental permits or First Nations disputes. The only mood surrounding the Ring of Fire was sheer euphoria.

When a then-unknown company called Noront Resources Ltd. announced its first discovery hole in the James Bay Lowlands in August 2007, it launched a staking rush and investor frenzy of unprecedented proportions for an Ontario project. Junior mining companies flocked to the region, and the mere mention that they had some land was likely to triple their stock price. It all culminated in Noront’s annual meeting that October, a giant party disguised as a shareholder meeting in which Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire was blared at full volume and then-chief executive Richard Nemis was treated like a rock star.

Sadly, that Noront AGM turned out to be the high point for the Ring of Fire story so far.

That is not due to the quality of the discovery. The Ring turned out to be far bigger than first anticipated, with an estimated $30-billion to $50-billion of minerals in the ground. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire project still experiencing delays (CBC News Sudbury – August 13, 2013)

Cliffs unsure when environmental assessment to resume

Talks are continuing around the future of the Ring of Fire chromite project. Frank Iacobucci and Bob Rae have been representing the province and First Nations in on-going discussions.

Mining company Cliffs Natural Resources said it’s happy with the progress that’s been made, but still can’t say when it may resume its environmental assessment. “I think it’s encouraging to have those kinds of discussions and certainly those kind of people involved in that,” Bill Boor, Cliffs vice president said.

“So certainly, it gives me some optimism that we will be able to find a good path forward and get things started like we talked about.”

The company temporarily put its environmental assessment process on hold in June, citing unfinished agreements with the province as one of the reasons for the delay. Speaking on the CBC television program Power and Politics earlier this month, Bob Rae said he had very specific goals for the ongoing negotiations. Continue Reading →

Mexico’s oil policy change challenges Canadian energy sector – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – August 13, 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.

CALGARY — A rush of foreign investment in Mexican oil production in the wake of that country’s energy reforms threatens to fuel competition against Canada in the race to supply the U.S. Gulf Coast market with crude.

Mexico’s government is seeking to break a 75-year state monopoly on energy and lure private investors into the oil, gas and electricity industries to boost flagging output and lower energy costs for manufacturers.

The plan from President Enrique Pena Nieto, unveiled Monday, will be sent to the Congress for approval this week. It includes plans to change articles of the Constitution that prohibit private ownership of Mexican oil and introduce profit-sharing contracts.

If enacted, the reforms would mark the largest private sector opportunity in decades for Mexico’s oil and gas industry, which was nationalized in 1938 and is controlled by state monopoly Pemex. The national oil sector has been a source of Mexican pride since then, so approval of the reforms is still uncertain. Continue Reading →

Canada must continue to exercise its sovereignty in the North (Calgary Herald Editorial – August 12, 2013)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who made the Arctic a priority soon after coming to power in 2006, apparently needs to educate others in the federal government about how important the North is to the country’s well-being.

National Defence advisers have revealed there’s too much infighting going on in the civil service and that departments are failing to embrace the Tories’ so-called Northern Strategy. Their internal report, which was published last year but just now obtained by Postmedia News, is worrisome.

It is essential that Canada demonstrates its sovereignty in the sparsely populated region, which is rich in natural resources and is expected to become increasingly important for shipping in future years.

“The federal government culture can often be described by its hierarchical leanings and stove pipes which limit the exchange of information and often produce a reluctance to co-operate, lest traditional boundaries be violated or perceived authority be ceded unnecessarily,” says the report by the Defence Science Advisory Board. Continue Reading →

ArcelorMittal remains committed to Nunavut iron ore mine – by Robert Gibbens (Montreal Gazette – August 12, 2013)

MONTREAL — ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaker, said Monday it is fully committed to developing a $4 billion open-pit mine with an annual capacity of 18-20 million tonnes of high-grade iron ore on northern Baffin Island in Nunavut.

Steve Wood, ArcelorMittal’s vice-president, Iron Ore Americas, reaffirmed ArcelorMittal’s future plans for long-term development of the Mary River deposits, after addressing the 23rd World Mining Congress at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal. His comments follow skepticism from some industry sources who questioned whether ArcelorMittal was still committed to such a large capacity, following the collapse in global iron ore prices last year, along with a severe slowdown in steel demand.

ArcelorMittal’s commitment to the Baffin Island development comes at a time when executives like Rio Tinto Alcan CEO Jacynthe Côté are talking about the increased risks facing the mining industry, which is struggling with the vagaries of the economic cycle, rising operating, compliance and social costs, and locations that are more remote and challenging.

The blow to iron ore prices last year led ArcelorMittal to reduce its interest in Baffinland Iron Mines Inc. — owner of the almost inexhaustible Mary River deposits — from 75 per cent to 50 per cent. Continue Reading →

Canada’s new science minister wants green mining growth (QMI Agency – August 12th, 2013)

OTTAWA – Newly appointed Minister of State for Science and Technology Greg Rickford gave a speech at the World Mining Congress Monday in which he referred to the industry as a “cornerstone of the Canadian economy” and iterated the need for continued growth.

He described how the feds have streamlined the regulatory process, eliminated redundant bureaucratic requirements and made project reviews more market sensitive.

But unlike other, similar speeches given by his Conservative comrades, Rickford’s emphasized environmental stewardship and the need for the mining industry to “(obtain) a social licence to operate.”

If the social licence can be defined as a trust among parties that all are benefiting satisfactorily and feel their priorities and concerns are taken into account, then the renewal of such a thing between the federal government, mining companies and the local communities they affect – namely First Nations – could prove invaluable. Because when it comes to the resource extraction industry in particular, public confidence in “the system” is abysmal, said Rob Roach, vice president of research at the Canada West Foundation. Continue Reading →

Gold producers squeezed by rising costs and sliding prices – by Tim Kiladze (Globe and Mail – August 12, 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.

Midway through his master’s degree in geology in the 1980s, Brian Christie trekked to the Red Lake gold mine in Northwestern Ontario as part of a research project. About 930 metres deep, more than one and a half times the CN Tower’s height, the remote mining project was a treat for a geology student eager to make his mark in the industry.

At the time, Red Lake was near the top of the list of the world’s most important gold mines in terms of grade and volume. Even today, after decades of production, some areas of the mine produce 57 grams of the gold per tonne – many multiples ahead of the industry average.

Yet the enthusiasm for projects such as that once drew Mr. Christie to research Red Lake has been undercut by a 10-month slide in gold prices and at least $23-billion worth of writedowns by Canadian gold miners over the past year and a half.

Today, Red Lake’s high-grade gold is found as far down as 2,350 metres, about four times the CN Tower’s height, which shows the difficulty gold miners face in trying to boost their stock valuations even if prices for the precious metal rebound. Continue Reading →

The (Russian) Arctic is open for business – by Michael Byers (Globe and Mail – August 12, 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.

In the 1990 thriller The Hunt for Red October, the rogue captain of a Soviet submarine evades the U.S. and Soviet navies by threading his way through a narrow – but precisely charted – mid-ocean trench.

In real life, the Soviet navy’s charting efforts extended to the heart of the Canadian Arctic. Soviet-era charts, available today, show more depth soundings in the Northwest Passage than Canada’s most recent charts do.

The Cold War is over, but Russia still takes the Arctic seriously. Russian nuclear-powered submarines still sail under the sea ice, where Canada’s diesel-powered submarines cannot venture.

Russia is intent on transforming its Arctic coastline into a commercially viable alternative to the Suez Canal. In 2011, President Vladimir Putin said: “I want to stress the importance of the Northern Sea Route as an international transport artery that will rival traditional trade lanes in service fees, security and quality.” Continue Reading →

Opening new mines here [B.C.] is our responsibility to the world – by Daryl Anderson (Vancouver Sun – August 11, 2013)

Environmentally sound projects within Canada save poorly regulated countries from unsafe developments

I grew up in B.C. and have been involved in conservation for my whole working life including conducting inspections and investigations at mine sites for Environment Canada.

Recently I had the opportunity to address the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency panel hearings into the proposed New Prosperity mine in the Cariboo. You might be surprised to read that I am in favour of the New Prosperity proposal. The reasons I decided to speak in favour are many.

North America consumes a huge percentage of the world’s metal and mineral resources, yet we only extract about a third of those resources within our borders, relying on the rest of the world to satisfy our ever-increasing demands. As an example, the average lifespan of a new smartphone in North America is only 21 months from production to disposal. Even those among us who live a relatively simple lifestyle still utilize and benefit from the infrastructure we have developed to support our health care, education, transportation, communication and many other systems. Continue Reading →

Mining companies can be forces for good – by Craig and Marc Kielburger (Ottawa Citizen – August 11, 2013)

The sparkling rock on your finger — there’s a good chance it came from a mine in Botswana, which supplies 22 per cent of the world’s diamonds. Kgosi Kegapetswe is the chief of Letlhakane, a village in north-central Botswana that borders a huge mine that since 1969 was owned by an international diamond company.

For years, he felt like a stranger on his own land. Access to the land was restricted, according to the chief, who told us that when he visited the off-limits property to discuss an issue like grazing rights for his community’s livestock, he waited like a supplicant at the property line. When armed guards admitted him, he was marched to the meeting place and then marched back off again. He said there wasn’t enough consultation with his community. He didn’t even know the company sold the property in 2009 until the new owners showed up.

But when Canadian mining company Lucara Diamond took possession, everything changed. We have read literally hundreds of news stories about global mining operations abusing the environment and human rights. Canada is home to an estimated 75 per cent of the world’s international mining companies, and every time these companies trample rights or the environment, respect for our country takes another hit.

Continue Reading →