Kathleen Wynne says no point in rushing Ring of Fire – CBC News Thunder Bay (September 3, 2013)


Bob Rae and Frank Iaccobucci working closely with First Nations communities, making progress

Ontario’s Premier says the province will let businesses make decisions on where to locate smelters and processing plants, while the Ring of Fire will bring jobs to the region on its own.

Kathleen Wynne made the comments Tuesday after a mining analyst’s suggestion the government should do more to make mining attractive. Wynne said there’s no point in rushing agreements among government, First Nations, and mining companies.

“There is a political message that’s out there from the opposition parties that says … we should move faster on the Ring of Fire … and we just have to sweep all of the barriers out of the way,” Wynne said.

“That’s code for not paying attention to environmental protections, and not making sure that our relationships with First Nations are in place.” Wynne added that Bob Rae and Frank Iaccobucci are working very closely with First Nations communities, and are making progress.

With respect to the location of the chromite smelter, “I’m pleased … that that decision was made to have that processor here in Ontario,” she said.

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Thunder Bay could be chromite-stainless steel hub, analyst says – CBC News Thunder Bay (September 3, 2013)


For a nine minute interview between CBC Thunder Bay Superior Morning host Lisa Laco and Stan Sudol, click here: http://www.cbc.ca/superiormorning/episodes/2013/09/03/chromite-crumbs/

Mining writer says province should look at exporting chromite in the form of stainless steel

A mining consultant and writer says the debate should be re-opened on where to locate a ferrochrome smelter in northern Ontario.

Stan Sudol said he thinks the smelter should not be located in Sudbury, but instead go to a port city like Thunder Bay. He added that chromite from the Ring of Fire region could also be used to produce stainless steel in a new plant located in Thunder Bay.

“This would be an enormous long-term gain for not only northern Ontario, but the entire province, if the provincial government could attract one of the major stainless steel producers around the world to locate in northern Ontario,” he said.

Sudol said a waterfront location, like Thunder Bay’s port, would be key to attracting a stainless steel producer. Clustering the ferrochrome smelter and a stainless steel mill together makes the most sense, Sudol said.

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Mining deal value down 74% in first half of 2013, study says – by Peter Koven (National Post – September 3, 2013)

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

Weak commodity prices, a wave of CEO firings and more than $60-billion of writedowns have slowed mining M&A activity to a crawl. And almost no one thinks it will rebound anytime soon.

A new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC (PwC), to be released Thursday, details the damage. There were a total of 649 mining deals in the first six months of 2013, according to PwC, down 31% from the same period a year ago. And deal value plunged 74% in that period to US$20.6-billion.

The poor result is no surprise given recent market conditions. But it highlights just how much things have changed since the M&A frenzy of the last decade fizzled out. At times, multi-billion-dollar takeovers were routine.

Many of those deals backfired over the last couple years due to rising costs and falling metal prices, which forced companies to delay or cancel projects and record billions of dollars of writedowns. Barrick Gold Corp. reported US$9.3-billion of impairment charges last quarter alone. Nearly every senior mining company has replaced its CEO since the frenzy ended, and not surprisingly, the new group has a much more negative attitude towards takeovers.

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Biofuel blunder – by Douglas Auld (National Post – September 3, 2013)

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

Lobbying trumped science as politicians lavished more than $100-billion in subsidies on morally suspect energy

The federal government’s decision to shut down the ecoEnergy program for biofuels is long overdue but does nothing to modify and substantially reduce existing biofuel subsidies that will cost the Federal treasury more than $1-billion by 2017. Add to that the myriad provincial biofuel subsidies and other forms of support, and the bill to taxpayers is staggering.

Canada is not alone in doling out large sums of public money for biofuels. Globally, in 2011 Canada, the United States, the European Union, China, India, Brazil and Australia, to name the major players, spent more than $40-billion on biofuel subsidies in the name of energy security, green house gas reductions and regional economic development. Since 2005 more than $100-billion worldwide has been allocated to biofuel programs with very little, if any, net improvement in reducing green house gas emissions.

In Europe, after years of subsidies and mandates, several countries are scaling back, albeit in a small way, their grandiose biofuel initiatives, particularly biodiesel production and consumption. The demand for feedstock oils from food and non-food plants, bushes and trees to feed the biodiesel thirst has imposed huge costs in terms of deforestation, land abuse and decreased water quality on those countries supplying the feedstock for biodiesel.

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Mining: Who gets the royalties; who makes the decisions? – CBC News – The Sunday Edition (September 1, 2013)


Click here for a 40 minute interview: http://www.cbc.ca/thesundayedition/popupaudio.html?clipIds=2403660426

It may sound like sacrilege in this land of hewers of wood and drawers of water, but some argue that building an economy around what comes out of the ground is not the best path to prosperity. Mining and energy are expected to pump billions into northern Canada in the next few years – but at what cost? Who will share in the wealth, and who will make the decisions?

Guest-host Karin Wells talks to Eva Aariak, Premier of Nunavut, about her desire for more control over the exploitation of her territory’s mineral resources.

Karin Wells also speaks with Catherine Coumans of MiningWatch Canada who says Nunavut would be better off with a focus on diversifying its economy, rather than relying on mineral exploration and development.

Corporate Social Responsibility and the NGO’s:

Two years after Ottawa began supporting Canadian mining companies abroad by funding partnerships with Canadian non-governmental organizations, the battle rages on.

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Questions raised on Harper government’s approach to northern development – by Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News/Vancouver Sun – August 30, 2013)


OTTAWA — Canada’s northern leaders say their territories are ready to become economic contributors for Canada.

The question is whether the federal government’s approach to northern development will help them reach the promised land.

The premiers of Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Yukon each had a chance to bend Stephen Harper’s ear during the prime minister’s annual northern tour last week. In separate interviews with Postmedia News, the premiers indicated they outlined different priorities requiring federal support.

For Nunavut’s Eva Aariak, that meant pushing for more assistance on social issues like mental health, investments in much-needed infrastructure such as roads and ports, and devolution.

Devolution is the process by which the federal government grants a province or territory greater control over its own affairs, in this case Nunavut’s land and abundance of natural resources.

“There is so much happening in Nunavut in terms of development and the shipping activities that are happening more and more,” Aariak said. “The people of Nunavut need to take charge with their own land.”

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Israel’s natural gas reserves reshape Middle East dynamics – by Stephen Starr (National Post – August 30, 2013)

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

As the prospects of another war in the Middle East increase, one country is looking to cut its energy ties with the region and manage its own needs, thanks to newly discovered gas riches.

Indeed, the recent discovery that Israel’s offshore natural gas reserves are far larger than previously thought has the potential to revolutionize the country’s economic fortunes. The find could save Israel tens of billions of dollars in energy imports from Egypt and other places, and see it positioned as a new natural gas source for Europe, one of the world’s largest LNG markets.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, recoverable natural gas in the Levant Basin located in Israeli and Cypriot waters of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, amounts to a massive 18.9 trillion cubic feet. One industry CEO called the finding “a once-in-a-decade opportunity.”

The Leviathan Field, 130 kilometres off the Israeli coast and under 5,000 feet of water, is a potential game changer not just for the country’s economy – the third-largest in the Middle East – but in shaping broader regional dynamics.

Houston-based Noble Energy along with Israeli conglomerate Delek Group and subsidiary Avner Oil Exploration are behind the exploitation of the field expected to produce initial volumes of 750 million cubic feet per day when it opens in 2016.

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Investors press Canada over oil, gas, mining transparency laws – by (Thomson Reuters Foundation – August 29, 2013)


LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A group of international investors with $5.8 trillion under management has written to the Canadian government urging it to enact extractive transparency laws like those recently passed in Europe and the United States.

Transparency campaigners and a number of Western governments have pushed for greater transparency in the extractive sector so that citizens of resource-rich countries can better hold both their governments and extractive companies to account.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper pledged in June to push forward mandatory reporting requirements for the Canadian oil, gas and mining industry that would force the companies to publish the payments they make to governments around the world. Canada has one of the world’s largest extractive sectors in developing countries.

About 3.5 billion people live in countries with extensive oil, gas or mineral reserves, but poor governance and corruption mean many of them do not benefit from the wealth created by their extraction.

“From an investor perspective, the key is reducing risk – operating risk for oil, gas and mining companies who face potential unrest – even violence – from a populace that sees little benefit from its mineral wealth;

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South African gold producers gear up for strikes from Sunday – by Ed Stoddard and Sherilee Lakmidas (Reuters Canada – August 28, 2013)


JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African gold producers are preparing for bruising strikes that could start as early as Sunday, with some companies planning for stoppages of up to three months in a high-stakes fight between capital and labor in Africa’s biggest economy.

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) will give gold producers on Friday 48-hours’ notice of its members’ intention to strike over deadlocked wage talks, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

“The decision to issue a strike notice on Friday has now been taken,” the source, who asked not to be identified, told Reuters. Workers could then begin stoppages from the Sunday night or Monday morning shifts in the country’s gold mines.

A complete shutdown of the gold sector could cost South Africa more than $35 million a day in lost output, according to calculations based on the spot price.

This will pile pressure on a struggling economy already weighed down by a slew of ongoing strikes in auto manufacturing, construction and aviation services, and facing threatened stoppages by textile workers and petrol station employees.

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NWT seeks $600 million for roads, bridges (CBC News North – August 28, 2013)


Minister says oil, gas, and mining industry would benefit

The Northwest Territories wants to welcome heavy industry such as mining and oil and gas extraction. But Industry Minister Dave Ramsay says it won’t happen without a hefty investment from Canadian taxpayers.

Ramsay says the NWT’s requests for federal infrastructure spending add up to $600 million. The territory wants the money to improve roads, airports, bridges and other infrastructure over the next decade.

This week in Yellowknife, ministers in charge of mining in all three Northern territories met with industry representatives. Delegates called for improved roads and air transport.

Ramsay says the territory of about 40,000 people cannot invest in such huge projects alone. He says better infrastructure would benefit local residents and set the stage for industry.

“We want companies to come back and invest in exploration and development of our resources. We need that infrastructure in place to allow that to happen,” he said.

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Crossworks inks deal with Chinese firm – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – August 29, 2013)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Craftspeople at Sudbury’s Crossworks Manufacturing Ltd. plant will soon be cutting and polishing diamonds for the world’s largest jewelry company, Chow Tai Fook Jewellery Group Ltd.

Crossworks president Uri Ariel has just signed a long-term supply and licensing agreement with the Chinese firm to provide Crossworks’ patented hearts and arrows ideal cut square diamond to the company.

Under the terms of the agreement, Chow Tai Fook will have exclusive distribution rights to sell the uniquely cut diamonds through its extensive retail network in Greater China.
Crossworks Manufacturing Ltd., a member of the HRA Group of Companies, is a Canadian company with five polishing facilities in Canada, Vietnam and Namibia. One of the Canadian plants is located in downtown Sudbury, where about 35 cutters process 10% of the diamonds mined by De Beers in the James Bay Lowlands.

Crossworks designed the square cut hearts and arrows diamond to enhance the brilliance, fire and scintillation in a square cut diamond, company spokesman Dylan Dix said in a release.

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How to price a barrel of water in the oil sands – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – August 29, 2013)

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

We all know the value of a barrel of oil, but how do you put a price on a barrel of water? It’s a growing and challenging debate in the oil sands, where oil, which sells at a readily available market price, and water, which is priceless but restricted, are so intertwined one cannot be produced without somehow shortchanging the other.

Indeed, oil sands projects are also giant water handling factories, with oil sands mines using on average of about 3.1 barrels of fresh water for every barrel of oil they produce, and in-situ operations using about 0.4 barrels of fresh water for every oil barrel they produce.

Much like the larger debate over the oil sands’ greenhouse emissions, views on the right oil and water mix are polarized: for some, any water used to produce oil comes at an unacceptable cost to an ecosystem that needs it; for others, water use is minor relative to its abundance and justified by the value it creates through oil.

Environmental organizations like the Pembina Institute, for one, are indignant over withdrawals of any amounts of water from rivers like the Athabasca that run through Alberta’s oil sands region, claim development contaminates water bodies nearby and that monitoring is inadequate.

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Industrial policy good place to start generating Ontario’s economic growth -by Martin Regg Cohn (Toronto Star – August 29, 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.

The recovery from the 2008 economic slump has been feeble. Against that backdrop, all three parties are flailing. Time to get serious about jobs.

The party that best persuades voters it is serious about Ontario’s economic future will be best positioned to win the next campaign.

The recovery from the 2008 economic slump has been feeble. The political leadership has been equally weak. All these years later, all three parties are flailing.

The Tories have produced a dozen discussion papers that retreat into union-bashing and privatization to drive economic renewal. The New Democrats are obsessed with hiking corporate taxes as a panacea for prosperity.

And after a decade in power, the governing Liberals are adrift. Seven months after taking over, Premier Kathleen Wynne has yet to make her economic mark or even hint at a new vision for growth.

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Commentary: Guatemalans’ lawsuit against Hudbay in Canada – by Christina Hall and Kevin MacNeill(Northern Miner – August 27, 2013)

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

On July 22, 2013, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in Choc v. Hudbay Minerals Inc. that three separate lawsuits brought by indigenous Guatemalans against Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals and other defendants, can go forward in Canada.

The plaintiffs’ lawsuits allege that between 2007 and 2009, security personnel working for Hudbay’s subsidiaries — who were allegedly under the control and supervision of Hudbay, the parent company — committed various human rights abuses. These include the alleged gang rape of 11 Guatemalan women, the beating and shooting death of a respected Guatemalan indigenous leader who had been an outspoken critic of mining practices, and the shooting of another Guatemalan man in an unprovoked attack which left the man paralyzed.

All of these abuses are alleged to have been committed by security personnel at Hudbay’s Fenix mining project, a proposed open-pit nickel mining operation located on Lake Izabal in northeastern Guatemala. According to the pleadings in the lawsuit, Hudbay and the other the defendants asserted that they had a valid legal right to this land, while indigenous communities claimed that the Mayan Q’eqchi’ were the rightful owners of the lands, which they considered to be their ancestral homeland.

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Canadian mining executive freed by Colombian rebels – by Nadja Drost (Globe and Mail -August 28, 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.

SEGOVIA, COLOMBIA — After 221 days of captivity at the hands of Colombian rebels, Canadian mining executive Gernot Wober is free.

He was handed over Tuesday in an isolated clearing in northern Colombia by rebels of the National Liberation Army (ELN) to a Red Cross delegation and whisked away by helicopter and then plane to Bogota. “He looks good. He’s suffered a lot, but he’s very excited about his liberty,” said Archbishop Dario de Jesus Monsalve, a member of the delegation.

Mr. Wober, vice-president of exploration for Canadian junior mining company Braeval Mining Corporation, was a bargaining chip in a long-standing battle over mining rights between Colombia’s leftist guerillas and its government. Now, his release could have implications for future peace in a country racked by 50 years of violent armed conflict, by opening the door to allow the ELN, Colombia’s second-largest guerrilla group, to the negotiating table.

The Canadian went from being a pawn in the conflict over resources to a possible lynchpin in negotiating peace with one of Latin America’s oldest rebel groups.

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