Archive | Canadian Media Resource Articles

Cliffs threatening to pull out of Ring Of Fire – CBC Sudbury Morning North Markus Schwabe (October 23, 2013)

For the interview, click here:

Cliffs Natural Resources is saying it needs the government’s help, or else it will pull out of the Ring of Fire mining development. At issue are wetlands that are currently staked by a much smaller company, which Cliffs needs to build a road.

Caterpillar hit by mining sector’s woes – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – October 24, 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 mining industry’s woes are spreading with Caterpillar Inc. becoming the latest casualty of weak metal prices.

The company, often viewed as an economic bellwether, on Wednesday slashed its sales forecast and reported a profit shortfall this quarter because of less demand for its giant tractors and equipment used to move large pieces of earth.

“This is an unfortunate consequence of what is going on at the top of the food chain,” said Blake Langill, mining leader with Ernst & Young LLP.

A combination of lower metal prices and high costs has forced the largest mining companies such as Barrick Gold Corp. to suspend projects and sell expensive mines in order to survive. Continue Reading →

Christy Clark’s unenviable path to B.C. pipeline prosperity – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – October 24, 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 — The last time a Canadian Premier complained loudly about getting shortchanged in energy developments, he dug in his heels and made what turned out to be very lucrative deals for his province.

That was Newfoundland’s Danny Williams, who in the past decade demanded better terms from the world’s largest oil majors as they planned the Hebron project on the Grand Banks.

The pugnacious former leader won the right to buy a 4.9-per-cent stake in the multibillion-dollar development, and established a policy for equity positions in future projects. He also imposed a new royalty regime that allowed the province to benefit from rising oil prices.

Now, on the other side of the country, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark faces the prospect of questionable returns for her province from massive energy developments, with a few unique twists. Continue Reading →

Quest to move ahead with Quebec rare-earth project after positive results – by Bertrand Marotte (Globe and Mail – October 23, 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.

MONTREAL — A Canadian mining company vying to become one of the world’s major producers of heavy rare-earth minerals says it’s moving ahead with development of its Northern Quebec deposit after positive results from a prefeasibility study.

Quest Rare Minerals ltd. estimates total construction capital costs for development of its Strange Lake deposit at $2.57-billion, based on a minimum mine life of 30 years. It will be one of the world’s largest and highest-grade heavy rare-earth mining projects and a planned processing facility in Southern Quebec will be North America’s largest such operation, the company said on Wednesday.

Quest is in competition with other companies to be the first to get production up and running in order to take advantage of supply constraints resulting from Chinese restrictions on export of the minerals. The country is the world’s top producer of rare-earth minerals and wants to guarantee supplies amid huge internal market demand. Continue Reading →

Platinum Group suffers funding setback at South Africa mine – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – October 23, 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.

JOHANNESBURG — In a mining sector struggling with a toxic combination of rising costs, falling prices and labour unrest, Vancouver-based Platinum Group Metals Ltd. believed it could buck the trend.

That dream has now taken a serious hit, with one of its partners abruptly pulling out of its $506-million platinum mining project in South Africa. It’s just the latest blow to the slumping platinum industry, beset by labour violence and soaring costs, although the Vancouver company is optimistic that it can keep its plans alive.

About half of the platinum companies in South Africa – the world’s biggest platinum producer – are estimated to be losing money, industry officials say.

Platinum Group president Michael Jones says his company will try to find new financing to push ahead with its mine in the western limb of the Bushveld complex in South Africa, despite the loss of $21.8-million in planned funding from its partner, Wesizwe Platinum, which holds 26 per cent of the project. Continue Reading →

Cliffs threatens again to abandon Ring of Fire project – CBC News Sudbury (October 22, 2013)

Company says it can’t access land already staked by other company

Cliffs Natural Resources has renewed its threat to abandon a proposed mining project in the Ring of Fire region in the James Bay lowlands of Northern Ontario. The threat has set off a political firestorm, since the proposal is set to bring thousands of jobs to the region and a new smelter to Capreol in Greater Sudbury.

Cliffs said if it can’t access a piece of land already staked by KWG Resources, it won’t have a transportation route. Without that route, the company said it will have to shut down its proposed multi-billion dollar chromite project, which is considered the centre piece of the Ring of Fire.

Cliffs has requested the provincial government intervene, and possibly even expropriate the land on its behalf. The issue was raised in the Ontario legislature yesterday when New Democrat MPP Michael Mantha, who is also the party’s critic on Northern Development and Mines, called on the province to get involved. Continue Reading →

Pretium shares sink as geologists declare ‘no valid gold’ at B.C. project – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 23, 2013)

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

The controversy around Pretium Resources Inc. is escalating after the miner revealed that a highly-respected team of geologists declared its entire resource to be invalid.

The judgment came from Strathcona Mineral Services Ltd., the Toronto firm that famously declared Bre-X to be a scam. Pretium shares plunged 28% to $3.45 on Tuesday as investors absorbed the news.

There is plenty of gold in Pretium’s “Valley of the Kings” discovery in British Columbia, but disagreement persists over how it should be measured. Strathcona, which was hired by Pretium to oversee a bulk sample program for the deposit, resigned two weeks ago because it disagreed with the company’s chosen methodology and found fault with its resource.

Strathcona President Graham Farquharson criticized Pretium management on Tuesday, saying his firm informed Pretium about its concerns several times and they were not immediately disclosed. Continue Reading →

Kathleen Wynne: Ring Of Fire Environmental, First Nations Concerns Must Be Addressed – by Canadian Press (Huffington Post – October 22, 2013)

TORONTO – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says the governing Liberals must address environmental and First Nations concerns before moving ahead with developing the Ring of Fire.

She says there are a lot of “moving parts” in the massive mining project in northern Ontario and the government needs to “get it right.”

Her comments come after one of the major players in developing the Ring of Fire urged the government to ensure the company has access to the chromite deposit.

U.S.-based Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. has been unable to build an all-weather road to the site because it would cross land staked by a rival company. It says the project is in a “tenuous state” and if it can’t get access to the deposit, it will consider pulling out.

Both the New Democrats and the Progressive Conservatives say the economic potential of the project is too important to lose. Continue Reading →

Ontario shuts down Lambton power plant ahead of schedule – by Adrian Morrow (Globe and Mail – October 23, 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.

 TORONTO — One of the last coal-fired power plants in Ontario has been shut down early, bringing the province’s Liberal government closer to fulfilling a long-delayed promise, industry and Queen’s Park sources told The Globe and Mail.

Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli will announce Wednesday that the coal plant in Lambton, near Sarnia, Ont., finished operating in late September, three months ahead of schedule, the sources said. The government, which is on a long-term mission to replace all of the province’s coal facilities with greener sources of energy, said in January that the Lambton plant, along with another in Nanticoke, would close by the end of the year.

But one source said the government moved the time-frame for Lambton up to the end of September, and the plant burnt its last coal Sept. 26. The source said the Nanticoke plant is set to keep burning until Dec. 31. Continue Reading →

Foreign Affairs/CIDA restructuring panel includes CEO of Rio Tinto Alcan – by Elizabeth Payn (Ottawa Citizen – October 21, 2013)

The chief executive officer of one of the world’s largest mining conglomerates is among those who have been brought in to help advise the new Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development on restructuring.

The move is raising eyebrows among those who say Canada’s development policy is too closely tied to Canada’s business interests overseas. The Canadian International Development Agency was folded into the federal Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in last May’s budget, creating a new super-department.

The federal government said the move would create more policy coherence and effectiveness, but some critics feared it would undermine foreign aid and further tie development dollars to Canadian business interests overseas. Canada already has several international development partnerships with mining companies — including Rio Tinto Alcan, which co-finances one in Ghana — and promises to “deepen and broaden” its engagement with the private sector “in order to achieve sustainable economic development and reduce poverty in developing countries.” Continue Reading →

Expect weak earnings from miners – and a glimmer of hope – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – October 21, 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.

Canadian miners will report another set of lousy results for the third quarter, but there may be some light among the wreckage as companies take drastic steps to slash costs to stay alive in a lower commodity-price world.

For more than a year, miners have been in turmoil, trying to operate amid the downturn in metal prices. The country’s three largest gold companies, Barrick Gold Corp., Kinross Gold Corp. and Goldcorp Inc., have recorded billions of dollars in writedowns. Other producers have stopped developing projects and cut jobs and dividends.

The bad news is not expected to stop when companies start reporting their quarterly results this week. Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. warned it will earn less because its customers are waiting for the price of the fertilizer to drop further before making their purchases. Other miners, including the world’s biggest gold producer, Barrick, could write down more assets as they try to mitigate the drop in metal prices and high cost of fuel, analysts say.

And if metal prices do not lift during the final quarter of the year, miners will be forced to write off some of their reserves because it will be too expensive to dig resources out of the ground. Continue Reading →

Nuclear suppliers still hope for new Ontario reactors – by John Spears (Toronto Star – October 22, 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.

Companies that supply Canada’s nuclear industry still hope Ontario will build new reactors

Canada’s nuclear industry isn’t taking the province’s decision to scrap plans for two new reactors as final, says the spokesman for nuclear suppliers. “I think the province will, in a year or two years time, once again open the file and look at new construction,” said Ron Oberth of the Organization of Canadian Nuclear Industries.

Oberth expressed the hope in an interview after speaking to the Toronto Star’s editorial board. Energy minister Bob Chiarelli said earlier this month that Ontario won’t proceed with two new reactors at Ontario Power Generation’s Darlington nuclear station.

“It is not wise to spend billions and billions of dollars in new nuclear when that power is not needed,” Chiarelli said.
Over-all demand on Ontario’s power grid dropped 10 per cent from 2005 to 2012. (The figures don’t capture power supplied from some renewable energy projects). Continue Reading →

‘New day’ for Canada’s uranium market as free trade deal pushes industry past Cold War era – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 22, 2013)

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

More than 20 years after the Cold War ended, Saskatchewan’s uranium sector is finally moving past it.

Following years of lobbying from Premier Brad Wall, the federal government has agreed to strike down foreign ownership restrictions on uranium mining in its proposed free trade deal with Europe. It opens the door for eager foreign companies like Areva SA and Rio Tinto Ltd. to make much larger investments in Saskatchewan’s uranium-rich Athabasca Basin.

“From the moment we were elected [in 2007], we’ve been working with the federal government on this,” Mr. Wall said in an interview. “In terms of uranium mining, it’s certainly a new day.”

The investment restrictions have been in place since 1970, when Ottawa introduced the non-residential ownership policy (or NROP). The law prevents foreign companies from owning more than 49% of a uranium mine in Canada, unless they cannot find a Canadian partner. It is a direct result of Cold War-era concerns about nuclear proliferation, and has looked increasingly dated in the years since then. Saskatchewan is the only province with producing uranium mines, so it is the only one affected by the law. Continue Reading →

Why analysts are suddenly bullish on Canadian stocks – by John Shmuel (National Post – October 22, 2013)

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

Call it the Great White Bull if you want, but analysts are increasingly optimistic that Canadian stocks are where investors should be putting their money.

Sentiment for the beleaguered S&P/TSX Composite Index, which in 2012 was one of the worst performing in the world, has been steadily turning this year. Canadian stock bulls last week received a big boost in confidence as the index moved above 13,000 for the first time since July 2011. It closed Monday up 50.53 points or 0.38% at 13,186.53.

“The decisive move above the 13,000 level is putting the index on the expedited route toward 14,000 and higher,” said Ron Meisels, technical analyst and founder of Phases & Cycles in Montreal.

The TSX has even managed to edge the S&P 500 in the past three months, with a 3.9% return versus the latter’s 3.1%. It’s an encouraging sign for Canadian stock investors who have become accustomed to seeing U.S. stocks post much better returns. Continue Reading →

Off Brazil’s coast, a national oil dream suffers a setback – by Stephanie Nolan (Globe and Mail – October 22, 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.

RIO DE JANEIRO — A strange-bedfellows consortium of Chinese and European firms bought the rights to exploit Brazil’s biggest-yet oil discovery with the national oil company, in a highly anticipated auction that fell flat and exposed international misgivings about the government’s management of the energy sector.

Anglo-Dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC and France’s Total SA each bought 20 per cent of the consortium to develop the huge Libra offshore oil find, while China National Petroleum Co. and China National Offshore Oil Corp. each took 10 per cent. Brazil’s national oil producer Petrobras added 10 per cent to its 30 per cent mandatory share.

Only 11 foreign companies signed up to bid, far fewer than the 40 that Brazil’s oil agency had originally expected, and in the end only these four were part of the sole offer.

The poor turnout signalled international concerns about the government of Brazil’s heavy role in Libra, and may be seen a setback for the country’s vision for the project to kick-start its flagging economy and provide widespread social benefits to its citizens. Continue Reading →