Archive | Commodity Super-Cycle and Decline

“The Great Canadian Mining Disaster” -by Jacquie McNish (November 25, 2006) – Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Inco Mining Story

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

This article was the cover story of the Saturday, November 25, 2006 edition of the Globe and Mail’s Report on Business Section. Jacquie McNish’s 16,000-word article on the failed Inco/Falconbridge merger has become the definitive account of this Canadian business tragedy.

THE GREAT CANADIAN MINING DISASTER

Scott Hand had a dream, to keep Inco Ltd. in Canadian hands. But he didn’t count on corporate betrayal, political apathy, a new bread of shareholders, and a lack of boardroom bravado

Introduction

The horizon clears

Inco sees its future

After days of murky weather, a wool fog lifted off central Labrador, revealing the bald rugged terrain explorer Jacques Cartier dismissed as “the land God gave to Cain.” The momentary clearing allowed a clutch of travellers to dash to two turbo props marooned at Happy Valley Goose Bay airport.

These were no ordinary tourists. Leading the parka-clad pack was Scott Hand, patrician chief executive officer of the world’s second-largest nickel producer, Inco Ltd. Behind him, eager to explore Cain, were an elite corps of international executives. Rick Waugh, CEO of Bank of Nova Scotia, a man who is gobbling up more Latin American banks than Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, was here. So was David O’Brien, chairman of EnCana Corp. and Royal Bank of Canada. Joining them were Glen Barton, retired chief of Illinois’ Caterpillar Inc.; John Mayberry, onetime CEO of Hamilton steel maker Dofasco Inc.; and Francis Mer, retired boss of European steel maker Arcelor SA and a former finance minister of France. Inco directors one and all, they scrambled to the Dash 8s under an uncertain sky to see for themselves the 21st century’s first great mining startup: Voisey’s Bay.

Mr. Hand, however, wanted his directors to see more than a prosperous mine on the afternoon of Sept. 20, 2005. Although Inco was still digesting the $4-billion, 1996 purchase of Voisey’s Bay, he believed it was time to deal again. Rival Falconbridge Ltd. was in play, presenting Inco with an opportunity to forge a global powerhouse by bringing some of the world’s richest copper and nickel deposits under one corporate entity. Continue Reading →

China as an Economic Superpower – Implications for the Canadian Mining Industry – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart - Vice President, Economic Affairs - Mining Association of CanadaPaul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. This article was originally published in May, 2007.

There is no shortage of printer’s ink being spilled in recent years writing about the emergence of the Chinese economy. This is, without question, one of the top global news stories of the past decade. After 15 years of double-digit annual growth, the size of the Chinese economy has now reached a state where continued double-digit growth has very meaningful implications for many industries and countries.

Where 10 per cent growth in 1990 may not have had much impact on a global scale, similar growth in
2007 on a much larger economic base has reverberations throughout the global economy.

The emergence of China as a world economic power, and its continued growth, will have direct implications for the Canadian mining industry in three important areas.

Impact 1 – Driver of World Mineral Prices

First, China remains the prime driver of world mineral prices. China is building a domestic infrastructure for 1.3 billion people and is concurrently expanding its role as the world’s manufacturing centre for many product areas. The country simply cannot meet its own needs for copper, zinc, nickel, and other core ingredients of a transportation, power, and communications infrastructure.

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Is China Buying Africa? – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart - Mining Association of CanadaPaul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

In a recent column, I noted that China remains the prime driver of world mineral prices. In building a domestic infrastructure for 1.3 billion people, while expanding its role as the world’s factory, China simply cannot meet its burgeoning demand for copper, zinc, nickel, and other raw materials. In response to this growing gap, China now imports $100 billion worth of base metals annually, buying 25 per cent of the world’s supply today versus a 5 per cent share in the 1980s. As a specific example, China’s share of world consumption of zinc has tripled from 10 to 28 per cent in a mere decade, while the US share has fallen from 16 to 10 per cent.

This dramatic growth in raw material demand is one of the central factors leading to a second, equally significant development; namely that China is becoming an important catalyst to the growth of Africa—a continent that offers untapped raw material supply and market demand potential. In decades past, few observers of global economic development would have envisioned the emergence of such a linkage. Few thought beyond the traditional model, where aid flows from the west would supposedly some day pull Africa to a more advanced state of development.

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The Commodity Super-Cycle Will Benefit Sudbury for Years to Come – Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol - Executive Speech Writer and Mining ColumnistThere is no doubt that the impending recession in the U.S. is causing economic upheaval across Ontario which exports about 86% of its manufactured goods to our southern neighbour.

Over the next few years as the province copes with a high Canadian dollar, competition from China and high energy prices, many communities in Ontario may be faced with a declining standard of living unless we can find sustainable solutions.

However two recent reports confirm that the commodity super-cycle has a long life ensuring that Sudbury – the location of approximately half of the province’s mining production – will be an island of prosperity as the region’s mineral products, supply and service sector and mining expertise is in great demand around the world. Continue Reading →