Northern Ontario’s mining memorials tell a tale of hard-fought labour protections – by Bill Steer (Bay Today – January 19, 2022)

 

https://www.baytoday.ca/

Back Roads Bill Steer is the founder and remains the GM of the Canadian Ecology Centre. He teaches part-time at Nipissing University (Schulich School of Education) and Canadore College. His features can be found across Village Media’s Northern Ontario sites.

With the help of the region’s scholars, Back Roads Bill recounts the struggles and horrific working conditions endured by early miners and the reason we should all remember them

It is part of a history lesson we know little about, so perhaps we need a little schooling. Envision hard rock miners, once toiling far underground in dark, cramped and dangerous conditions; it was arduous and risky work.

They emerged tired and dirty at the end of their shifts, walking back to small wood-sided homes and their immigrant families. Mining, along with forestry, created what was then called ‘New Ontario,’ — what we know as Northern Ontario.

Indigenous mining in the north began after the last period of glaciations, people of the Plano culture moved into the area and began quarrying quartzite at Sheguiandah on Manitoulin Island. Mining is an important economic activity in Northern Ontario. It has been since the first copper mines at Bruce Mines in 1846 and Silver Islet in 1868.

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Book Review–Cobalt: Cradle of the Demon Metals, Birth of a Mining Superpower – by Daniel Sekulich (Northern Miner – February 17, 2022)

Global mining news

As work continues to create a greener, cleaner future for the planet, the rush to find critical minerals that will spearhead the transition away from fossil-fueled energy has taken on a greater urgency. Explorers and developers are actively seeking out new sources of nickel, copper and lithium throughout the globe.

And then there’s cobalt, a metal whose ability to store energy has already made it crucial for everything from laptops to smartphones, and gives it an even more important role in the green revolution. This has led to a renewed interest in securing sources of the metal across Canada, including around the namesake community of Cobalt, in northern Ontario.

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Temiskaming refinery developer lands key permit – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – February 10, 2022)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Electra Battery Materials plans to flip the switch on international cobalt processing plant later this year

Electra Battery Materials has passed a major regulatory milestone toward restarting a Temiskaming metals refinery and is on a clear path to achieve another.

The aspiring Toronto-based chemical processor announced it has received its industrial sewage works permit from the province and has filed its closure plan on Jan. 19 for its proposed cobalt, nickel and manganese processing operation located outside the town of Cobalt.

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Charlie Angus’s novel Cobalt reveals reality of mining – by Jamie Portman (Canada.com – February 2022)

https://o.canada.com/

“There’s something absolutely beguiling about these great mineral rushes,” Angus says.

There were the cockroach races that saw miners betting as much as a $1,000 on the outcome. There was the day vaudeville performer Daisy Primrose walked down the street in Harem pants, a new form of female apparel so scandalous that it had been condemned by the Pope. There’s even an appearance by a dog named Bobbie Burns who may well have been the inspiration for Hollywood’s most celebrated canine star.

So if Charlie Angus had wanted, he could easily have confined himself to delivering a robust history of Cobalt, the fabled Northern Ontario mining town in which the New Democrat MP has long lived. But although he is a born storyteller with a passion for popular history that matches the best of Pierre Berton and James H. Gray, Angus had a lot more on his mind when he set out to write his latest book, Cobalt.

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Charlie Angus’ new book a reflection on rough, complex history of Cobalt, Ont. (CBC News Sudbury – February 6, 2022)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Town was ‘somewhere between a squatter’s camp and elegant cosmopolitan power’ Angus says

The rich, colourful history of Cobalt, Ontario is the subject of Charlie Angus’ new book Cobalt: Cradle of the Demon Metals, Birth of a Mining Superpower. In it, Angus traces Cobalt’s history– the community was one of Canada’s first boomtowns– and the eccentric characters who dotted its landscape .

“There was a great description of Cobalt in 1909,” Angus said. “It looked somewhat like a cross between a wild west town and a medieval slum.” The town had its own banks, theatres and bordellos, Angus said, and even had a stock exchange long before Vancouver or Toronto.

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The dark side of Cobalt, the digital age’s miracle metal – by Charlie Angus (Toronto Star – January 30, 2022)

https://www.thestar.com/

Charlie Angus looks at lessons from an early 20th-century mining rush. An excerpt from the new book by the New Democrat MP for Timmins—James Bay, “Cobalt: Cradle of the Demon Metals, Birth of a Mining Superpower.”

The world is searching for cobalt, the miracle ingredient of the digital age. The metal’s capacity to store energy and stabilize conductors has made possible the proliferation of rechargeable batteries, smartphones and laptops. More crucially, in the face of catastrophic climate change, cobalt offers the hope of a clean-energy future.

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The Drift: Temiskaming battery metals park should fill missing link in electric vehicle battery supply chain – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – December 28, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Electra Battery Materials’ integrated metals processing complex could bring 200 to 300 jobs

Trent Mell and Electra Battery Materials are out to occupy some crucial middle ground in the growing North American electric vehicle industry.

The Toronto company is refurbishing a once-shuttered refinery outside the town of Cobalt that’s 12 months away from the start of production to process cobalt hydroxide coming from the Democratic Republic of Congo into cobalt sulfate, one of the critical materials needed for manufacturing rechargeable batteries for the automakers. But they’re not stopping there.

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After failing to find the motherlode, First Cobalt reinvents itself as a battery metal middle man – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – November 20, 2021)

https://financialpost.com/

In early 2018, Trent Mell, chief executive of Toronto-based First Cobalt Corp., was riding high on hopes that his company would discover a motherlode of cobalt in North America — a key component in the cathodes of lithium-ion batteries.

Nearly three-quarters of the world’s cobalt is produced in the Democratic Republic of Congo, much of which comes from small-scale and artisanal mines, where the use of child labour, dangerous working conditions and other human rights abuses have been well-documented.

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Junior miner hunts for ‘missed’ silver in historic Temiskaming camp – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 18, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Kuya Silver takes a second, in-depth look near former Silver Centre mines

Vancouver silver explorer Kuya Silver is on its second round of deeper drilling in the historic Silver Centre mining camp, south of the town of Cobalt. The company announced recently it has started a 2,000-metre drill program at its Silver Kings Joint Venture.

Kuya has an option to acquire a 70 per cent interest in the land holdings of Electra Battery Materials (formerly known First Cobalt) in on a jointly held area known as the Silver Kings Project.

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Temiskaming could be the North American refining hub to feed the electric vehicle market – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 9, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

First Cobalt unveils ambitious expansion plans to create battery metals industrial park in northeastern Ontario

For Trent Mell, it makes little sense to mine the metals needed to power the coming electrical vehicle (EV) revolution here, ship it overseas to Asia refiners to make into battery-grade material, and then send it back to North America to use in car production.

If the president-CEO of First Cobalt has his way, the Temiskaming district will be this continent’s centre of production to deliver many of those key ingredients, shorten the logistics journey, and help create a secure home-grown supply chain for EV makers for the first time ever.

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First Cobalt wants to go big on a battery metals processing park for Temiskaming – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 8, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Refinery developer wants to supply battery-grade metals for North American car market

The Toronto company behind the refurbishment of a mothballed Temiskaming hydrometallurgical refinery said it’s going all in on creating a “battery park” to feed refined cobalt and nickel to the electric vehicle market.

First Cobalt announced it’s making a name change and other strategic moves toward providing North American automakers with a domestic source of raw material with a proposed industrial park outside the town of Cobalt in northeastern Ontario.

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Construction contract awarded for Timiskaming cobalt refinery – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – October 5, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

The upcoming construction picture for a Temiskaming-area cobalt refinery is beginning to take shape with the awarding of a major metals processing contract.

First Cobalt selected Metso Outotec for the design and manufacturing of the equipment for a new solvent extraction plant and its process controls. Metso Outotec is a leading global company in the field of sustainable mineral processing and metal refining equipment.

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Global cobalt supply deficit ‘not as dire,’ analysts say (S&P Global Market Intelligence – September 28, 2021)

https://www.spglobal.com/

A market deficit for cobalt is narrowing as the world’s leading producers of the prized metal expand production to meet the spike in demand for batteries used in electric vehicles.

Amid the surge in EV sales this year, hunger for cobalt drove major producers to announce plans to increase output at multiple mine sites in the Democratic Republic of Congo and balance the market.

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Cobalt company collaborates with Timiskaming First Nation on medicinal, edible plant study – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 28, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

First Cobalt partners on Indigenous community initiative to assess long-term impacts of industrial contamination on wild plants

The Toronto mining company that’s overhauling a metals refinery outside the town of Cobalt has launched a unique environmental and community initiative with an area First Nation.

First Cobalt is working with Timiskaming First Nation on a two-year study to assess the historic impact of settlement, logging, mining and industrial processes on the ecosystem in the former Cobalt mining district.

Specifically, this tag-team study is examining the long-term impact on medicinal plants and mushrooms in this area of the Timiskaming region.

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Cobalt refinery operators have ambitious plans for ‘Battery Park’ – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 14, 2021)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

First Cobalt seeks to bring manufacturing partner to northeastern Ontario for value-added processing

The company refurbishing a mothballed metals refinery near the town of Cobalt are discussing the idea of creating a Battery Park, catering to the supply chain needs of the North American electric vehicle industry.

Toronto’s First Cobalt wants to produce refined cobalt at the facility, along with a used battery recycling plant, but they’re also strategizing to produce nickel sulfate on the same site, five kilometres outside of town, within the next few years. Both nickel and cobalt are used in electric vehicle battery production.

For First Cobalt, this is a US$60-million expenditure to bring the former Yukon refinery back to life. The facility ran for about a decade – producing cobalt, nickel, copper, silver and other products – before being shuttered in 2015. First Cobalt acquired the shuttered building in 2017.

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