Archive | Canadian Media Resource Articles

An African gold rush slows to a crawl – by Iain Marlow (Globe and Mail – August 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.

ACCRA, GHANA – On a shaded patio off a large pink and yellow building in central Accra, Kweku Boohene, a Ghanaian goldsmith with a stubbly grey beard, is watching the glowing coals of his makeshift smelter turn to white ash.

A colleague has just melted down a bit of gold, poured it into an ingot mould and returned inside to a cluttered workshop where five of them usually shape the precious metal into rings and chains with hammers and rolling mills. But for now, there is only one person working. As Mr. Boohene stands there in sandals and a loose-fitting green shirt, two others lounge in patio chairs.

“I used to make 10 rings a day, but now it’s not even one,” said Mr. Boohene, a 35-year veteran in the jewellery business.

In Ghana, Africa’s second-largest gold producer, the yellow metal is big business: Gold currently accounts for about 40 per cent of export earnings. As global gold prices have plummeted – 26 per cent in the first half of 2013 alone – the small-scale miners who supply this workshop have stopped coming by to sell the gold dust and tiny nuggets dug out of Ghana’s red earth. Continue Reading →

High-quality coal and house prices: A B.C. town’s second chance – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – August 20, 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.

VANCOUVER — Tumbler Ridge Mayor Darwin Wren predicts that the quality of British Columbia coal will keep his northeastern B.C. community afloat.

In 2001, Mr. Wren moved from Fort Nelson to Tumbler Ridge, where he bought a house for $28,000, just months after the nearby Quintette coal mine closed amid depressed prices for the commodity. Hundreds of houses were auctioned off in the fall of 2000 as the closing of Quintette triggered fears that Tumbler Ridge would turn into a ghost town.

The town persevered, however, as new coal mines opened several years later. Houses like the one Mr. Wren bought 12 years ago are now worth at least $200,000, despite a slump in coal markets since 2011 that has reduced coal production in northeastern British Columbia.

It’s a recurring theme for Canada: Despite efforts to diversify economically, prosperity rises and falls on the back of demand for what miners can pull out of the ground. More often than not, prices for these products find a floor and rebound. Continue Reading →

Sandy Winick: Alleged penny stock fraud kingpin arrested in Thailand – by Tony Van Alphen and Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew(Toronto Star – August 20, 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.

Police in Thailand say they have captured Sandy Winick, alleged Canadian kingpin of one of the biggest penny stock frauds ever.

Canadian fugitive Sandy Winick, accused of masterminding a massive international stock fraud, allegedly bragged that no one would ever catch up to him.

But less than five days after U.S. authorities charged the former Torontonian and eight other individuals, he is behind bars in Bangkok, Thailand, awaiting extradition proceedings.

The FBI confirmed Monday that the Royal Thai police had captured the elusive Winick, 55, in his room in the city’s Marriott Empire Place hotel during the weekend.

Police have now arrested eight of nine individuals in what the U.S. Justice Department calls one of the biggest international penny stock frauds and advance fee schemes “in history.” Continue Reading →

Chilly Arctic history bodes ill for Energy East pipeline – by Earle Gray (Toronto Star – August 20, 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.

Reserves of Canadian Arctic gas remain in the ground decades after their discovery

Winning approval to build TransCanada Corp.’s proposed $12-billion Energy East pipeline to move oil from Athabasca to the Atlantic could be the easiest part. Consider the four-decade history of government-approved plans of TransCanada and others to pipeline gas from the Arctic.

They were launched by the 1968 discovery of North America’s largest accumulations of both crude oil and natural gas. Most of the oil at the Prudhoe Bay field on Alaska’s northern Arctic coastal plain has now been produced, but Prudhoe Bay’s recoverable natural gas — equal to a third of all the known remaining recoverable gas in hundreds of fields in western Canada — remains frozen in place. So, too, do substantial gas and oil reserves in the Mackenzie River delta and Beaufort Sea, 600 kilometres east of Prudhoe Bay.

One year after the Prudhoe Bay discovery, TransCanada and two U.S. midwestern gas utilities began feasibility studies for a pipeline to move the Prudhoe Bay and Mackenzie delta gas to consumers across Canada and the United States. Continue Reading →

Northern Promise: Home of the world’s richest gold mine braces for coming headwinds – by Peter Koven (National Post – August 20, 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 second instalment Peter Koven visits the home of the world’s richest gold mine

Fifty-four hundred feet below the surface, roughly underneath the local airport, a massive drill is pounding out a path to Red Lake’s latest set of riches.

Workers stand back and protect their ears as the driller carefully targets the sheer rock wall up ahead and begins to break it apart. It is slow and careful work; the horizontal drill makes about 15 to 23 feet of progress per day, sometimes less. But it is closing in on the destination, which will be reached later this year after more than three years of work.

The end result will be a five-kilometre drift connecting Goldcorp Inc.’s existing operations here with the Bruce Channel, a high-grade discovery that will be a flagship of the company’s Red Lake operations for decades to come. The ore from Bruce Channel (or Cochenour) will be hauled back to Goldcorp’s Campbell mill via an underground tram system, which is already running and is being expanded as fast as the drillers up ahead can open up the drift. Continue Reading →

Harper heads north to promote resource development – by Steven Chase (Globe and Mail – August 19, 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 — Stephen Harper has kicked off his annual tour of Northern Canada with a focus on resource development and the jobs it brings for locals. But the Prime Minister arrives in Yukon just as controversy erupts over efforts to recruit foreign workers to the territory.

Yukon’s government recently launched a temporary foreign worker program to fill positions in tourism and mining, only weeks after 100 Yukon mine staff lost their jobs.

The territorial measure is billed as a response to chronic labour shortages but it contrasts starkly with Ottawa’s efforts in recent months to discourage the use of overseas workers wherever possible after public anger over a B.C. mining company’s plans to bring in up to 200 Chinese workers.

Mr. Harper didn’t mention the Yukon program by name as he kicked off his northern tour with a brief speech in Whitehorse. However, the Prime Minister made a point of noting his government wants economic projects in northern regions to benefit locals.  “As Conservatives, we have pledged that northern development will mean northern prosperity,” he said.  Continue Reading →

Ontario’s power policies an example of what not to do – Gwyn Morgan (Globe and Mail – August 19, 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 political firestorm raging in Ontario about the cost of cancelling two natural-gas-fired power plants reminds me of a conversation I had with then-premier Dalton McGuinty in 2005. At the time, I was head of Encana Corp. and we were co-chairing a Public Policy Forum event.

As we chatted privately before the dinner, he said: “As a gas producer, you must be happy we’re going to close our coal-fired power plants.” I replied: “Well, it’s not a big deal in the context of our North American gas markets, but you’d better make sure those gas power plants are built before you shut the coal plants.”

Eight years later, Ontario power consumers are stuck paying $585-million for two gas-fired plants that were never built. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Mr. McGuinty’s decision to shutter the coal-fired plants was followed in 2010 by his government’s Green Energy and Economy Act, aimed at replacing some of the coal-fired power with highly subsidized wind and solar energy while, supposedly, turning Ontario into the green power capital of North America.

Ontario offered so-called feed-in rates almost four times the existing system rates for wind, and more than 10 times for solar power. Like bees to honey, wind and solar companies rushed to sign 20-year, rate-guaranteed contracts.  Continue Reading →

Temporary Yukon foreign worker program launched after mine layoffs – by Genesee Keevil (Globe and Mail – August 17, 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.

WHITEHORSE – The Yukon government has launched a temporary foreign worker program to meet demand in mining and tourism, just weeks after more than 100 Yukon mine employees lost their jobs.

Prompted by chronic Yukon labour shortages, the new one-year pilot is designed to help local businesses facing seasonal upswings fill short-term positions when Canadian workers are unavailable. And while some small business owners, including members of Yukon’s burgeoning Filipino population, are welcoming the new program, others are questioning it in the face of widespread layoffs.

The federal government took several steps in April aimed at making it harder and less economically attractive to import temporary labour, after revelations that Royal Bank of Canada was outsourcing IT jobs and a B.C. mining company planned to import as many as 200 Chinese workers. But although Ottawa called the measures the biggest changes to the program in a decade, labour groups said they didn’t go far enough.

In Yukon, the government is moving in the opposite direction. Continue Reading →

B.C. mining companies digging up rage abroad – by Paul Luke (The Province – August 17, 2013)

http://www.theprovince.com/index.html 

Vancouver’s Eldorado Gold stayed calm in the face of rage triggered by the mine it’s building in Greece.  The company didn’t expect everyone in Aristotle’s birthplace in northeastern Greece would ­shower it with love. It knew that protests against everything from austerity to a U.S. pizza chain’s hiring policies are common in a region with a 35-per-cent jobless rate.

Eldorado’s gold project has the support of 12 of 16 villages in the area. It has a crucial environmental permit from the central government to start production at Skouries.  Opponents say the Skouries mine will trash the environment. ­Eldorado has offered detailed ­reassurances that it won’t.

Protesters say the mine will ruin the region’s tourism industry. “It’s not a big tourism area at all,” Eldorado spokeswoman Nancy Woo says.  But in the wee hours of Feb. 17, mine opponents went too far. About 50 people stormed the mine site, assaulted two Greek security guards and torched construction offices, trucks and heavy equipment.

“We fully condemn any activities that put the safety of our ­employees, contractors and assets at risk,” Eldorado CEO Paul Wright said in deploring the violence.  Continue Reading →

The decline and fall of Canada’s global corporate superstars – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – August 17, 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.

ROME — Here’s a depressing exercise: Scan the upper reaches of the Top 1000 companies in the July-August issue of Report on Business magazine and try to spot Canada’s global winners. You could call them Canada’s corporate ambassadors, if they existed.

The short list is exceedingly short: Barrick Gold, Bombardier, Magna International, Thomson Reuters, Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan, Suncor and BlackBerry (formerly Research In Motion). Sadly, strong arguments can be made to strike most of them.

Barrick, the gold industry’s top producer, has deftly employed a series of costly, self-inflicted wounds to more than halve its share price.

Bombardier is truly a global player and has fine brand recognition within the aerospace and train industries. However, the thrice-delayed C Series jet, its most ambitious aircraft, could yet prove to be a dud. Potash Corp., the top fertilizer company, has global sales but is largely a Canadian producer. Ditto Suncor. That leaves Magna, Thomson Reuters and BlackBerry.

Continue Reading →

B.C. First Nation renews battle to prevent open pit mining – by Kim Nursall (The Canadian Press/Globe and Mail – August 16, 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.

VANCOUVER — ozens of First Nations protesters are blockading a proposed open-pit coal mine in a remote area of northwest B.C.

The Tahltan Central Council said approximately 30 band members are demonstrating at the campsite of Fortune Minerals’ Arctos Anthracite Project, located 330 kilometres northeast Prince Rupert.  The council said members are concerned the mine will impact more than 4,000 hectares of pristine wilderness.

“It’s in the Sacred Headwaters, (which) is a place of cultural significance to us,” said council president Annita McPhee. “It’s a place that has a lot of archaeological finds of our people, and our people utilize that place right to this day.”

The area, McPhee added, supports three major salmon-bearing rivers — the Skeena, Nass and Stikine.

“The central council is not involved in organizing the protest, but we can recognize how deeply frustrated our people are because they see this company pushing ahead with plans to desecrate a sacred area in our territory,” she said, adding she will be travelling to the area and meeting with Fortune representatives.  Continue Reading →

A reckoning on home soil for mining firms – by Peter McKenna (Halifax Chronicle Herald – August 16, 2013)

http://thechronicleherald.ca/

In case you didn’t already know, Canada is a world leader in mineral extraction. Canadian companies have extensive mining operations in Africa and Latin America — and places in between.

You may or may not be also aware that some of these companies have incredibly poor reputations in many of the countries in which they invest heavily. Operations in Mexico (Calgary-based Blackfire Exploration Limited), Peru (Vancouver-headquartered Dorato Resources Inc.), and Guatemala (Vancouver-based Goldcorp), to name but a few, have each had their fair share of Canadian mining company horror stories.

Canadians travelling in Guatemala, for instance, have been told by the locals to maintain a low profile and to keep their flag lapel pins out of sight.

People in these countries have witnessed their land forcibly confiscated by the military and police, seen little in the way of financial compensation, and have watched corrupt local officials ostensibly sell-out their communities. Mining Watch Canada has done a good job of documenting many of these abuses.  Continue Reading →

Wall says he’s ‘pleased’ with Potash on promises – by Joe Couture (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – August 16, 2013)

http://www.thestarphoenix.com/index.html

Premier Brad Wall says he’s pleased with PotashCorp’s progress in keeping promises it made to the province at the time of the attempted takeover by BHP Billiton in 2010.

“We get a report from (PotashCorp), and I’ve had a chance to talk to (CEO) Bill Doyle directly about it. We had a conversation about the status of the pledge and I think Saskatchewan people should be pleased. We’re certainly pleased,” Wall said.

“They’re heading toward the exact number they promised for head office jobs. They’ve had so many move up from Illinois.

“They’ve actually exceeded their targets for overall numbers of employees. They’re moving in the right direction in terms of aboriginal employment,” he added. “And from a corporate citizen standpoint, here’s a company that has exceeded their pledge, frankly, I think, and expectations.”

As examples of that, Wall pointed to PotashCorp’s contributions to the STARS air ambulance program and to the new Global Food Security Institute. Continue Reading →

Why cartels collapse – by Jack M. Mintz (National Post – August 16, 2013)

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

The potash cartel collapsed, at least for now, and the oil cartel could be next

Cartels are tough to maintain as we have recently seen with the demise of the Russian-Belarusian duopoly that accounts for over 35% of world potash production. The North American Canpotex cartel accounting for another a third of global output faces a sharp reduction in profits.

The stock and bond markets have responded in kind. Potash Corporation, the leading global producer, has seen its credit rating downgraded by Standard and Poor’s from stable to negative following a steep drop in its stock price from $38 to $30.

Yet, not all cartels fall apart. OPEC has been in operation since 1960, first successfully manipulating global oil prices by reducing supply after the Yom Kippur war in 1973. Today, it is the swing producer, producing 32.4 million barrels per day (roughly 45% of world crude production in 2012). OPEC itself is dominated by Saudi Arabia, which accounts for almost one-third of OPEC production.

If a potash cartel can fall apart, could it happen to OPEC? Continue Reading →

ForestEthics fights for one-way democracy – by Peter Foster (National Post – August 16, 2013)

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

The question is whether eco storm troopers will abide by the decision if they lose

Eco radicals have a highly flexible approach to public participation, but little or no flexibility on its allowable conclusions. When it comes to forcing a green agenda on people – say, via removing the right to object to local wind farms in Ontario — they are all in favour. When it comes to new pipelines, however, they believe in the widest possible consultation, but with only one acceptable decision: Ban them.

This week the government’s regulatory streamlining legislation for new energy projects, contained within 2012’s Omnibus Bill C-38, was the subject of a lawsuit by an arm of San Francisco-based environmental group ForestEthics, which has for years been front and centre in anti-oil sands and anti-forestry activism.

A subsidiary, ForestEthics Advocacy, FA, and an individual named Donna Sinclair, both represented by celebrity Toronto lawyer Clayton Ruby, FA’s chairman, sought to overturn the government’s provisions on the basis that they restrict freedom of speech, not to mention threatening the survival of life on earth. Continue Reading →