Archive | Diamond Mining

Step forward for local [Sudbury] gem industry – by STAR STAFF (Sudbury Star – December 21, 2011)

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

Sudbury will continue to shine as one of Canada’s few diamond cutting and processing facilities because of a new agreement with the Government of Ontario.

Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci announced Tuesday that Vancouver- based Crossworks Manufacturing Inc. will receive the 2012-2015 allocation of diamonds from Victor Mine.

Crossworks runs the diamond processing facility in downtown Sudbury, employing 29 people to cut and polish the precious gems. The number of employees will increase to 50 during the next three years, said Bartolucci, who is minister of Northern Development and Mines.

Under an agreement between De Beers, which owns Victor Mine, and the Ontario government, 10% of diamonds mined at Victor must be processed in Ontario. Continue Reading →

Mining sector supports First Nations – by Pierre Gratton and Tom Ormsby (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – December 16, 2011)

Gratton is president CEO of the Mining Association of Canada and Ormsby is director of external & corporate affairs at De Beers Canada. A recent StarPhoenix editorial reflected on the mining boom underway in Saskatchewan and the need for the mining sector to partner with Canada’s First Nations. We couldn’t agree more.

For evidence that the mining sector understands this fully, one need look no further than Cameco, the world’s largest uranium miner headquartered in Saskatoon, to find the company with the largest number of First Nations employees in Canada.

In fact, there are now close to 200 agreements between mining companies and aboriginal communities across Canada. These typically include hiring targets, business opportunities and training, financial compensation and other components to ensure that local aboriginal communities are primary beneficiaries of mining developments that occur on their traditional lands. Continue Reading →

Transport Infrastructure and Ontario’s North: Floating New Ideas – by Livio Di Matteo (December 15, 2011)

Livio Di Matteo is Professor of Economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Visit his new Economics Blog “Northern Economist” at

One of the persistent themes in Northern Ontario economic history is transportation and access.  From the days of the fur trade, to the arrival of the railroad and later on the onset of modern highways and air travel, transportation has been essential to accessing natural resources and getting them out to market.  Yet, Northern Ontario’s transport network has borne the marks of being tailored to economic resource exploitation rather than linking together people.  The network has been designed to move resources and goods out of the region rather than facilitate travel and communication within the region.  This has been a factor in the regional divisions within a vast and sparsely populated region.

A new report by the Conference Board of Canada titled Northern Assets: Transportation Infrastructure in Remote Communities highlights the challenges of northern Canadian transportation in general and particularly the new changes being wrought by climate change such as permafrost degradation.  While the report focuses on a case study of Churchill, Manitoba, many of the issues also apply to remote rural resource communities in Northern Ontario particularly with respect to the dawn of resource exploitation in the Ring of Fire.

According the report, transportation infrastructure is more expensive to build and maintain in Canada’s North and climate change is disrupting existing rail and winter-road links.  Continue Reading →

Rethinking the future of Ontario’s north – by Janet Sumner and Anna Baggio (Toronto Star – December 7, 2011)

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.

Janet Sumner is executive director and Anna Baggio is conservation land use planning director for CPAWS-Wildlands League, based in Ontario.

Like many other Canadians, we’ve been searching our souls in response to the housing crisis in Attawapiskat, home to the Muskego Cree First Nation. We have visited Attawapiskat several times. We’ve stayed at the Kataquapit Inn and enjoyed the community’s hospitality, including a traditional feast of caribou and lake sturgeon. Our work to conserve Ontario’s northern boreal forest has been enriched by the insights of the elders and other members of the community.

That is why the people of Attawapiskat are very much in our hearts today. While a donation to the Red Cross is always a good idea, we believe Canada needs to do far more to fix the problems bedevilling Attawapiskat and many other northern First Nations communities.

It’s time for a fundamental rethink of the relationship between major industrial players in the north, our governments and affected First Nations communities.

We first became involved with Attawapiskat when the environmental assessment of the nearby De Beers Victor Diamond Mine was underway nearly seven years ago. Continue Reading →

Attawapiskat gets housing help – by Barrie Mckenna (Globe and Mail – December 12, 2011)

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.

Longer term, Mr. Angus wants Ottawa and the province to
start talking about sharing the economic benefits of the
development of nearby diamond mines and other resources.
That’s what Hydro-Québec did with the Cree on the Quebec
side of James Bay as it built massive hydroelectric

OTTAWA— Ottawa responded to the Attawapiskat Cree’s plea for more housing by promising Sunday to ship the impoverished community an additional seven modular homes, bringing the total to 22.

However, amid efforts to ease the housing crisis, community leaders continue to clash with the Harper government over its decision to take over the band’s finances earlier this month.

Ottawa has blamed the community’s problems on financial mismanagement of roughly $90-million in federal funds spent in Attawapiskat in the past five years.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan insisted Sunday the community has now agreed to co-operate with a federally appointed third-party financial manager – a claim band Chief Theresa Spence vehemently denied. Continue Reading →

Barrick’s Hemlo Operation leads the way with Towards Sustainable Mining honour

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Barrick Gold’s Hemlo Operation in Northwestern Ontario was presented with the Mining Association of Canada’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) Leadership Award at a Mining Day on the Hill event in Ottawa last month.  Other Ontario Mining Association members to receive TSM accolades were De Beers Canada, Teck Resources and Xstrata.

“Whether in Canada or abroad, Barrick strives to meet high standards for corporate social responsibility,” said Kelvin Dushnisky, Barrick Executive Vice President Corporate and Legal Affairs.  “We are proud to see our Hemlo Operation recognized as a leader in responsible mining by Canada’s mining industry and congratulate everyone involved in this great achievement.”

“Barrick is only the second company to win a Leadership Award since the TSM Awards were inaugurated in 2006,” said MAC President Pierre Gratton.  “We are honoured to be receiving this special award,” said Roger Souckey, Superintendent of Employee Relations at Hemlo.  “At Hemlo, we place great value on our relationships with First Nations, local communities and on environmental stewardship.”  Mr. Souckey has been a member of the OMA Education and Outreach Committee since its inception in 2006. Continue Reading →

Marketing the Aboriginal housing crisis – by Simon Houpt (Globe and Mail – December 10, 2011)

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 tragic tale of Attawapiskat grabbed the spotlight on the national stage only two weeks ago, but it was in rehearsal for six years.

In 2005, New Democrat MP Charlie Angus was trying to bring attention to the misery in Kashechewan, a Cree community on the shores of James Bay struggling with water-borne illnesses, when he came to a realization: People wouldn’t care unless they saw the evidence. So he orchestrated a press conference at Queen’s Park and released horrific photographs taken by doctors in the community.

“It was when we came to Toronto with the pictures of the children that suddenly it hit home,” Mr. Angus explained on Friday. “Pictures always make the difference.”

When Attawapiskat declared a state of emergency in late October, Mr. Angus knew he could go much further by leveraging a pair of tools that weren’t around in 2005: Facebook and YouTube. Continue Reading →

In Attawapiskat, deep-rooted problems won’t disappear in an instant – by Genesee Keevil (Globe and Mail – December 10, 2011)

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.

There is no word for diamond in Cree. “They hear about the diamonds,” said Maryanne Wheesk, a middle-aged grandmother in the remote James Bay community of Attawapiskat, “and they think we’re rich.”

I sat down with Ms. Wheesk two years ago, long before Attawapiskat had declared a state of emergency, and long before a housing crisis transformed the mispronounced dot on a map to a mainstay of the national conversation.

The plight of the inhabitants here is a familiar one among isolated aboriginal communities. They lack access to clean drinking water. They lack adequate shelter. And the persistent questions about economic viability are lost in a haze of mutual recrimination with Ottawa: Complaints about mistreatment by the federal government are met with accusations of fiscal mismanagement and poor governance.

But there is one thing unique to Attawapiskat, something that had – for a time, at least – given residents reason to believe their story would be a different one. Continue Reading →

RepublicOfMining’s Stan Sudol interviewed about Far North Act on The Gary Doyle News Radio Show

570 News listeners have come to know the “Gary Doyle Show” as a voice for better living in the community. Each day from Noon to 3:00pm, Gary brings a non-controversial and non-confrontational approach to topics of lifestyle, money, health, finances and more.

With the big news stories of the day in mind, Gary will also ask special guests and newsmakers the questions that need to be answered and will give 570 News listeners a chance to learn more or even weigh in with their own questions.

Click Here for interview:–2pm-does-the-far-north-act-need-a-re-write

Far North mischief – by Stan Sudol (National Post – December 7, 2011)

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

Is Ontario’s Far North Act anti-aboriginal?

De Beers Canada and its Victor diamond mine is currently in the media spotlight regarding the poverty in the nearby First Nations community of Attawapiskat. Many are questioning why the community is not significantly benefiting from this diamond mine, located on its traditional territory. The Victor deposit — which is the smallest of Canada’s four diamond mines — just started production in July 2008 and has an expected life of 11 years. The mine employs about 500 people, half of whom are of First Nations background and 100 come from Attawapiskat.

This controversy highlights the widespread problem of aboriginal poverty, much of which lies at the feet of Premier Dalton McGuinty, environmentalism and the product of this marriage — the much-detested Far North Act. Praised by the south’s many well-funded and powerful environmental movements, this legislation cuts off half of the Far North to resource development — 225,000 square kilometres or roughly 21% of the province’s land mass — and turns it into parks.

The horrific downside to this green ideology is that mineral exploration and potential mines — the only form of economic development that could reduce the impoverished, Third World living conditions in First Nations communities — is being reduced or stopped in the affected territory. Continue Reading →

With millions pouring into Attawapiskat, colonial blame only goes so far – by John Ivison (National Post – December 7, 2011)

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

Failed colonial policies are the biggest obstacles to First Nation progress, Shawn Atleo told a gathering of native chiefs in Ottawa Tuesday. The Assembly of First Nations chief was referring to moves such as Ottawa’s decision to put the troubled Attawapiskat reserve in northern Ontario under third party management. “We simply can’t lurch from crisis to crisis and we can’t accept externally imposed solutions,” he said, before lauding the chief of Attawapiskat for demonstrating transparency and accountability.

Yet the decision to intervene was simply the government exercising its fiduciary duty. The apparent mismanagement of this band by its chief, council and the co-manager, who is meant to be advising the chief but turns out to be her “life partner,” made the worst of an already bad situation. Chief Theresa Spence spoke to the chiefs in Ottawa Tuesday and urged them to take an aggressive stand with the government. “We’re not going to take it anymore,” she said.

The simple fact is, she has been stripped of authority because money has been pouring into the reserve and yet conditions have deteriorated beyond any acceptable level. Continue Reading →

CBC Radio Thunder Bay interview with Ben Bradshaw about Aboriginal/Mining Company IBAs (November 14, 2011)

Ben Bradshaw is a researcher in the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph, and the founder of the Impact and Benefit Agreement Research Network.

In a November 14, 2011 interview with Thunder Bay CBC Radio, Ben Bradshaw discusses various IBA Agreements between Aboriginal communities and mining companies across Canada including the current issues in Attawapiskat.

Impact and Benefit Agreement (IBA) Research Network


Notwithstanding an absence of legislation forcing their use, over the past two decades a number of Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) have been established between mining firms and Aboriginal communities in support of some familiar projects across northern Canada. For example, IBAs were used to facilitate the development of the Northwest Territories’ three diamond mines (Ekati, Diavik and Snap Lake), as well as Inco’s Voisey’s Bay project in Labrador. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Global Witness leaves Kimberley Process, calls for diamond trade to be held accountable

5th December 2011

Global Witness today announced that it has left the Kimberley Process, the international certification scheme established to stop the trade in blood diamonds.

The Kimberley Process’s refusal to evolve and address the clear links between diamonds, violence and tyranny has rendered it increasingly outdated, said the group. Despite intensive efforts over many years by a coalition of NGOs, the scheme’s main flaws and loopholes have   not been fixed and most of the governments that run the scheme continue to show no interest in reform.

“Nearly nine years after the Kimberley Process was launched, the sad truth is that most consumers still cannot be sure where their diamonds come from, nor whether they are financing armed violence or abusive regimes” said Charmian Gooch, a Founding Director of Global Witness. Continue Reading →

Attawapiskat: await the audit – Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Editorial (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – December 2, 2011)

The Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

HOW does a remote native community of 2,000 people that receives $18 million a year in federal funds alone — $90 million in total since 2006 — wind up in such a wretched state? Attawapiskat on the James Bay coast is not alone among reserves in poverty, but it’s housing conditions are top of mind across Canada as winter sets in. Large families living in shacks and tents is a national disgrace.

Uninformed critics blame the band council without knowing the details. Those details will shed light where it belongs, but everyone must wait for that information before coming to conclusions.

Others say the Harper government is blaming the victim, so to speak, for taking control of local spending out of the band’s hands and ordering an audit. This examination of spending will look at where it comes from as well as where it goes. The Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development department will thus be under as much scrutiny as the band itself. This alone may prove to be the most illuminating aspect of the audit, for it could shed light on a system of bureaucracy that First Nations have long complained is too complicated and restrictive. Continue Reading →

Debeers Representative Tom Ormsby Speaks to CBC Radio/TV About Attawapiskat Crisis

The housing crisis in Attawapiskat has some wondering why the community isn’t benefitting more from the nearby diamond mine. DeBeers Canada Director of External and Corporate Affairs Tom Ormsby spoke with various CBC Radio and TV interviewers:

CBC Televion Interview between Tom Ormsby and Suhana Meharchand – November 30, 2011

CBC Radio Ottawa – November 30, 2011:

(This radio clip also includes commentary from Gilles Bisson, NDP member for Timmins-James Bay that includes the Attawapiskat First Nation.

CBC Radio Sudbury – December 1, 2011: