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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New energy infrastructure ‘strategic imperative’ for Canada – by Carrie Tait (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.

CALGARY — Oil and gas companies need to diversify their export markets because new discoveries south of the border will temper demand for Canadian energy, say the country’s natural resources ministers.

Joe Oliver, Canada’s minister of natural resources, met with the majority of Canada’s energy and mining ministers Tuesday in Yellowknife at their annual meeting. The group emphasized the importance of opening export markets in the Asia-Pacific region, which requires new infrastructure.

Energy proponents have long argued new pipelines must reach tidewater so Canada can charge more for its products because it would bring access to more global customers. Now the industry and politicians are increasingly calculating the impact of surging oil output in the United States, as production soars in places like North Dakota and Texas.

The shift in focus shows how Canada’s energy ministers are trying to strengthen the argument for export pipelines. Mr. Oliver noted Canadian energy exports to the United States will continue to grow, but at a slower pace.

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As Syria fears send oil higher, Canada looks like bastion of safety – by Yadullah Hussain (National Post – August 28, 2013)

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

As war clouds loom over Syria, oil soared to a six-month high and oil traders fretted over more trouble in the Middle East.

Western countries appear to be preparing a military response to Bashar Al Assad’s chemical attack against the opposition, but the defiant Syrian government has chillingly responded that Damascus’ defense will ‘surprise’ the world — sending most financial markets tumbling and bolstering safe havens like gold.

Add Russia, Iran, Israel and Lebanon’s Hezbollah into the mix, and fears of a wider Middle East conflict engulfing more stable Gulf oil exporters have escalated.

Brent ended the day 3% higher, to $114.08 after rising to $114.15 — a six-month high. West Texas Intermediate also hit a five-week high to $109.32, retracing its July 19 price, and its highest level since March 2012.

“Assuming that the Western powers want to protect their dwindling credibility and influence in the region, military reprisals against the Syrian regime appear likely,” said Pierre Fournier, geopolitical analyst at National Bank Financial Inc. in a note to clients, adding that the strikes may have a limited mandate to punish Syria rather than topple the Assad regime.

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Mine training fails First Nations people, researcher says (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 27, 2013)


Feds promise $6M to train First Nations people in Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

The federal government’s $6 million in funding to train people from Matawa First Nations in the mining sector is unlikely to improve employment prospects for aboriginal people, an Ontario researcher says.

Lindsay Bell, a university of Toronto researcher, looked at mine training programs in the Northwest Territories. She says after being trained, few aboriginal people found jobs in the mines. The federal government announced earlier this month that 260 people will be trained through the fund.

The money will go to a group of stakeholders called the Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance, which includes Matawa First Nations, NorOnt Resources and Confederation College.

The program will feature 15 courses including environmental monitoring, heavy equipment operation and several pre-trades courses such as carpentry, plumbing and welding. Other job possibilities range from security guard to camp cook to electrician.

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How to fix southwestern Ontario’s economy – by Mike Moffatt (Canadian Business Magazine – August 27, 2013)


No silver bullet, but a salvo of ideas.

While the national unemployment rate currently stands at 7.2%, some regions are suffering more than others. Southwestern Ontario is one such place, with Windsor and London showing 9.2% and 8.6%, respectively. And so, as a business school economist in London, Ontario, it isn’t surprising that the question I’m most frequently asked by non-economists is some variant of “How can we grow southwestern Ontario’s economy?”

My first response is to point to some recommended reading on the topic, including several research papers by the Mowat Institute (see here, here and here). I’m also looking forward to coming recommendations from the Ivey School of Business’ Lawrence Centre which is working on a number of regional research projects. (On the other hand, if I’m at a cocktail party and feeling glib, my response is similar to that which I gave in the middle-class roundtable.)

But there is no silver bullet—it will take a suite of smart policies and a willingness to experiment. That’s the short answer. The longer answer is not policy prescriptions per se, but rather things we should be mindful of when developing and promoting policy ideas.

Support at the industry level should be general and based on real comparative advantages. Identifying the region’s well-positioned industries is an easier task than identifying companies, particularly when examined from the point of view of comparative advantage.

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Fracking misinformation on tap – by Peter Foster (National Post – August 27, 2013)

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

There are no examples of chasms, or even cracks, opening as a result of fracking

From Binghamton, New York to the village of Balcombe in England’s rural West Sussex, holding up fracking has joined halting the oil sands as the great cause for anti-development radicals and their celebrity supporters.

Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, involves pumping water with a tiny proportion of chemicals under high pressure into deep subterranean shale formations to release natural gas.

Last Friday, when President Obama gave a speech in Binghamton, protestors and supporters of fracking jousted outside. In recent weeks, there has been an even mightier ruckus at Balcombe over drilling by a company called Quadrilla, whose activities were brought to a halt by up to 1,200 protestors. The stand-off ended last week after hundreds of police were brought in.

In fact, President Obama has embraced the shale gas boom, but New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has been hemming and hawing on state approval, concerned both about the power of environmental NGOs and the good opinion of anti-frackistas such as Yoko Ono and Lady Gaga. Nevertheless, the shale gas train has left the station in the U.S., which is the reason why radicals are keen to pull the wheels off before the industry can establish itself in Europe.

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Uralkali CEO’s ‘bizarre’ arrest in Belarus will heighten potash tensions, analysts say – by Peter Koven (August 27, 2013)

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

TORONTO – The potash industry has become engulfed in political intrigue, as a Russian executive at the centre of a cartel-busting plan has been detained by the autocratic government he used to do business with.

OAO Uralkali confirmed on Monday that CEO Vladislav Baumgertner was detained by authorities in Belarus. He is accused of abuse of power, according to reports. The timing is not coincidental.

Just three weeks ago, Uralkali threw the potash market into chaos by dismantling Belarusian Potash Co. (BPC), a cartel-like marketing company controlled by Uralkali and Belaruskali, its state-owned Belarusian counterpart. Uralkali vowed to end its practice of withholding production to prop up prices, prompting speculation that potash prices will fall dramatically. They are already under pressure.

Belarus is very unhappy with this development, but industry experts suggested that this arrest will only push the two sides further apart. It is the most dramatic political intervention in the potash business since Canada rejected the takeover bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. in 2010. “It is certainly a bizarre development. You’ve got to think Russia and [President] Vladimir Putin will respond,” said Joel Jackson, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets.

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I’ll be back – juniors, exploration trends, and a major change – by Kip Keen (Mineweb.com – August 27, 2013)


MinEx’s Richard Schodde discusses the changes to global exploration trends seen over the last few years and why he is not quite as pessimistic as some about the future.

HALIFAX, NS (MINEWEB) – In this two part series Kip Keen unpacks the trends developing within the exploration sector, with the people that know it intimately.

This is not a tonic for those sick to the stomach as they contemplate the state of exploration spending and discovery trends. But then neither is it poison, exploration hemlock, taking you on the path to oblivion. It’s an interview with Richard Schodde, an academic and the owner of MinEx Consulting. He thinks and presents on exploration trends and recently produced a wide ranging synthesis on the exploration sector in a presentation entitled, “Long Term Outlook for the Global Exploration Industry ‘Gloom or Boom.’” (Outside link to presentation here; and full acknowledgement to the blog incakolanews.com for inspiration.)

Lots will strike you in the presentation. Some of it we show you here: Like China’s expenditures booming from almost next-to-nothing to 14% in the past decade. Or global exploration expenditures reaching near $30 billion in 2012, far up from under $5 billion back during hell days in the early 2000s. And – spoiler alert – Schodde doesn’t see them going back there either.

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Attawapiskat election under shadow of controversy – by Teresa Smith (Ottawa Citizen – August 26, 2013)


Off-reserve members unable to cast ballots unless they make long, expensive trip north

OTTAWA — With band council elections for the Attawapiskat First Nation set for Tuesday, some off-reserve members are still hoping the chief and council will postpone the vote to deal with widespread concerns the band’s electoral process is unfair.

The current band council and Chief Theresa Spence, who gained national attention for fasting on Victoria Island during the height of the Idle No More protests, are requiring ballots to be cast in person on the reserve Tuesday, making it difficult for band members who live outside the remote northern Cree community to have a say in Attawapiskat’s leadership. Of the First Nation’s 3,351 members, just 1,862 live on the reserve, according to July 2013 numbers from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada.

“I can’t afford to go all the way there,” said Jocelyn Iahtail, who lives in Ottawa with her daughter. She left the reserve so her son could get the constant medical care he needs for a traumatic brain injury suffered during surgery. “They, of all people, should understand poverty and make it possible for off-reserve members to have a voice.”

On Monday, a return flight from Timmins to Attawapiskat was selling for $1,200. A return from Ottawa was more than $2,000.

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Canada must capitalize on its resource bounty while it still can, says Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver – by Jason Fekete (Vancouver Sun – August 26, 2013)


OTTAWA — Calling the development and export of Canada’s resources “nation building,” federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says Canada must seize a once-in-a-lifetime energy opportunity or watch the associated economic benefits disappear.

But cultivating Canada’s natural resources demands that governments do more to earn the social licence to develop the oil, gas, diamond, uranium and other lucrative deposits found across the country, he said Monday at the annual meeting of Canada’s energy and mines ministers in Yellowknife, N.W.T.

Yet, groups observing the talks, such as Environmental Defence, say the feeling around the conference is “very disconnected with the reality” of Canadians’ concerns about the impacts of natural resource development on land, water and air.

In a keynote speech to fellow ministers, Oliver compared the development and export of the country’s natural resources to the building of the railroad across Canada or construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway. The country’s economic prosperity is not a birthright, he said, meaning Canada must capitalize on its resource bounty while it still can.

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