Archive | Manitoba Mining

[Thompson, Manitoba Steelworkers President] Nychyporuk says ‘no’: USW rejects vision – by Ryan Flanagan (Thompson Citizen – May 21, 2011)

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.  [email protected]

“We believe our community will not recover from the loss of our jobs or
any other related employment. We also believe this decision will change
the landscape of our community forever.” (Thompson Steelworker President
Murray Nychyporuk – May 21, 2011)

Almost exactly six months after Vale’s announcement that they will close their Thompson smelter and refinery by the end of 2015, the company and other local stakeholders have begun to turn their attention to what they want the city to look like after that point.

In a joint May 18 news release from the City of Thompson and Vale, the two groups announced the formation of the Thompson Economic Diversification Working Group (TEDWG), which will be chaired by the city and will also include representation from local business and aboriginal communities. Vale is funding the group, which is expected to last an initial 12 months for identification and implementation of a strategy.

“What I want this working group to do is go out there and really drill down,” said Mayor Tim Johnston. “Go out there and get the details of some proposals – I want them to be really detailed, looking at what are real opportunities.” Continue Reading →

[Thompson, Manitoba MLA] Steve Ashton threatens Vale with provincial mining legislation on smelter and refinery shutdown – by Ryan Flanagan (Thompson Citizen – May 20, 2011)

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.  [email protected]

“The 1956 agreement isn’t just about municipal services, though we believe that has
to be addressed to protect Thompson’s interest. It’s also about the fact that under
that agreement, Inco as it then was has a preferred position in this province on a
whole series of things. Clearly, if they think they can take the value-added out and
not see any consequences, they’re wrong.”
(Thompson, Manitoba MLA Steve Ashton – May 20, 2011)

Minister says if 1956 agreement isn’t going to be relied on by company, then all bets are off

It’s been more than six months since Vale announced their plans to close their Thompson refinery and smelter by the end of 2015, and more than three months since a group of local stakeholders traveled to Toronto to present Vale senior management with their proposals to reverse that decision, or at least minimize its impact on Thompson.

What’s changed in that time? To hear Thompson MLA Steve Ashton tell it, nothing.

“We’re disappointed, provincially, and I’m certainly disappointed that Vale is still not addressing the direct issue,” said Ashton on May 20. “We continue to believe that the issue here is value-added jobs from the resource, and we certainly have not given up on the smelter and refinery.” Continue Reading →

NDP Jack Layton’s Mining Strategy for Canada

When the NDP first released their Mining Strategy on March 7, 2011, probably very few in the mining sector paid much attention to the document. That was then and this is now! With the unprecedented surge in NDP support across the country – a historic game changer in Canadian political history – perhaps the mining sector had better pay much closer attention to NDP mining policy. – Stan Sudol

NEWS RELEASE: NORTHERN NEW DEMOCRATS ENDORSE MINING STRATEGY

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2011

NDP only party with a mining strategy, and a mining critic – MP Gravelle

SUDBURY, ON – New Democrats unanimously endorsed a New Democrat Mining Strategy at this weekend’s Northern Council in Sudbury.

“I am so pleased that provincial and federal New Democrats from Northern Ontario endorsed this plan which protects Canada’s strategic interest by ensuring Canadian workers and their communities will be the primary beneficiaries of our natural resources,” said NDP Leader Jack Layton. “Recent years have seen foreign control over Canada’s mining sector rise from 12% when the Harpers Conservatives took power to over 40% today. And Northern Ontario has paid its own price for this increase in foreign control.”

“Over 300,000 Canadians, particularly those living and working in rural, Northern and remote communities, are directly employed in the mining sector,” said Claude Gravelle, (Nickel Belt), the NDP’s Mining Critic and the strategy’s author. “The mining, metals and mineral exploration sector, is worth $66 billion and directly contributes almost 4% of Canada’s total GDP, even before consideration of economic spin-offs. So, it is critical that we have a strategic plan in place to defend our interests.” Continue Reading →

Sustainability In Nickel Projects: 50 Years of Experience at Vale Inco – by S.W. Marcuson, J. Hooper, R.C. Osborne, K. Chow and J. Burchell (December 1, 2009)

The principal author, Dr. Sam Marcuson ( [email protected] ) is vice-president, business improvement for Vale Inco Limited, Mississauga, ON, Canada. This article was adapted from a plenary speech made at the CIM Conference of Metallurgists held August 2009 in Sudbury, Ontario. The full paper is available from the author or the conference proceedings.

Looking at the industry’s past and present with a view to projecting into the future can be a valuable exercise for executing and maintaining sustainable development

The first eight years of this century saw rapid growth in the consumption and production of nickel and related commodities. In response to growth in the BRIC countries, but especially China, new projects, many in under-developed countries, were initiated. Nickel pig iron, produced in aging Chinese blast furnaces, unexpectedly emerged. Simultaneously, scientists concluded that global warming is “unequivocal” and human activity is the main driver, “very likely” (>90%) causing most of the rise in temperatures since 1950[1]. These factors point to a future in which sustainable development becomes of paramount interest to the mining and metallurgy industry.

To the practicing metallurgist and operator, “sustainability” may appear as keeping employees safe, meeting prevailing environmental regulations and contributing to social programs contractually agreed to, while maintaining a low-cost operation that meets production and financial targets. But this is a highly simplified view that ignores many of the sustainability concepts. Continue Reading →

Why I Support the People of Thompson, Canada — And You Should Too – by Michael Moore (February 25, 2011)

Michael Moore is an Academy-Award winning filmmaker and best-selling author. http://www.michaelmoore.com/

To people down here in the U.S., Thompson, Canada and its fight with the Brazilian mining giant Vale may seem very far away. It’s not.

(Don’t be embarrassed if you need a map to find Thompson, though — blame the U.S. media, which will only tell you about Canadians if they have some connection to Justin Bieber.)

Right now Thompson is fighting a frontline battle in a war that’s been raging for the past 30 years — the global war of the world’s rich on the middle class. It’s a war the people of Flint and all of Michigan know much too well. It’s a war going on right now in Wisconsin. And it’s a war where the middle class just won a round in Egypt. (You probably didn’t know — because the U.S. media was too busy telling you about Justin Bieber — that Gamal Mubarak, son of Egypt’s dictator and his chosen successor, worked for years for Bank of America.)

Here’s what’s happening in Thompson, and why it matters so much: Continue Reading →

Thompson Citizen Editorial: Hats off to the save-the-smelter team (February 23, 2011)

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.

February 23, 2011

While we haven’t written in this space about the local Vale refinery and smelter saga since Jan. 5, it hasn’t been for lack of interest in recent weeks. Rather, we stepped back to watch events unfold and see how things play out a bit before offering our two cents again from the cheap seats.

At the same time, however, we are cognizant that some things merit commenting on along the way before the final chapter is written in this story, which is likely some time away given the final shutdown isn’t scheduled until 2015. It’s probably trite but nonetheless true to observe the obvious: a lot can happen in four years.

Last week, the save-the-smelter team as they’re sometimes dubbed by us (it includes the refinery, too, of course, but there are only so many words you can include in a catchy headline), travelled to Toronto again to meet with Tito Martins, chief executive officer of Vale Canada and executive director of base metals for the international parent company, and his senior management team, and deliver proposals aimed at keeping the smelter and refinery open beyond 2015 with those 500 “value-added” jobs Thompson NDP MLA and Infrastructure and Transportation Minister Steve Ashton often mentions, rightly stressing those two words – value added. Continue Reading →

Michael Moore delivers the goods for [Thompson NDP MP] Niki Ashton [on Vale Shutdown] – by John Barker (February 25, 2011)

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000. It was written by editor John Barker and published on February 25, 2011.

[email protected]

It took more than a month, but Churchill riding NDP MP Niki Ashton has got her wish: American left-wing filmmaker Michael Moore has featured Thompson and Vale’s plan to shutdown the smelter and refinery here by 2015 on his website.

But in an even bigger coup, The Huffington Post, perhaps the most important English-language liberal political blog in the world, picked up at 12:02 EST Moore’s blog entry today on Vale and Thompson — which is hitting the social media jackpot. New York City-based HuffPo was sold by founder Arianna Huffington earlier this month for $315 million to AOL Inc., formerly America Online, and had a reported 40 million unique visitors in January.

A Thompson Citizen online poll that ran from Feb. 9 to Feb. 15 asked readers, “What do you think of Churchill riding MP Niki Ashton’s attempt to enlist left-wing US filmmaker Michael Moore in the battle to save the Vale refinery and smelter in Thompson?” Continue Reading →

Vale’s Manitoba Operations corporate affairs co-ordinator Penny Byer backs MP Niki Ashton [Vale Job Cutbacks] (November 20, 2010)

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.

“Today, Vale ripped the heart out of Thompson.” Ashton said: “Good job standing up for us Niki…” Byer writes on Facebook

November 20, 2010

By John Barker
[email protected]

In a public posting on Facebook Nov. 19 to NDP Churchill riding MP Niki Ashton’s “wall,” Penny Byer, co-ordinator of corporate affairs for Vale’s Manitoba Operations, writes, ” Good job standing up for us Niki…”

Byer is also a rookie Thompson city councillor, garnering 1,913 votes for second place in the Oct. 27 municipal election, finishing only behind veteran Coun. Stella Locker.

Byer is a former CBC Radio journalist, who spent time in Churchill, and a long-time veteran of the corporate affairs, or public and government affairs department, as it has been also called in recent years, at Vale’s Manitoba Operations here in Thompson.

She was in charge of the four-page employee newsletter EXTRA, which Vale killed off with its Dec. 19, 2008 issue, and its successor the four-page NickeLinks, which began publishing in April 2009. Continue Reading →

Thompson Citizen Editorial: Thompson residents resilient [Vale Job Cutbacks] (November 24, 2010)

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.

Thompson Citizen Editorial – November 24, 2010

In terms of dark days for Thompson, Wednesday, Nov. 17 ranks right up there near the top. Brazilian mining giant Vale announced plans to phase out its smelting and refinery fully integrated surface operations at Manitoba Operations by 2015, eliminating 500 jobs or 40 per cent of its local workforce, and focus on “developing new sources of ore as it transitions its operations to mining and milling….”

The estimated payroll hit to Thompson for job losses of that magnitude is at least $50 million annually, money which will no longer be circulating in the local economy as some of the city’s highest paid jobs vanish.

Tito Martins, chief executive officer of Vale Canada and executive director of base metals for the international parent company, said two key issues underpin the operating changes. “Mineral reserves in Thompson have not been sufficient to operate the smelter and refinery at full capacity for some time. To account for this shortfall, Vale has been importing as much as 45 per cent of the nickel processed in Thompson from sources outside Manitoba. This external feed is no longer available after 2013. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Canada maintains number-two spot for exploration in 2010

Metals Economics Group’s 21st Corporate Exploration Strategies study

U.S. dollar currency is used throughout this press release

Worldwide nonferrous exploration budgets by region, 2010
(more than 2,200 companies’ budgets, totaling US$11.5 billion)

(Note: The annual budget totals for Canada, Australia, and the United States
are typically much larger than those of most other countries; as a result,
MEG treats these countries as individual regions in its CES studies.)

Vancouver, British Columbia, January 24, 2011 – Canada maintained the regional number-two spot for planned exploration spending in 2010, attracting 19% of worldwide nonferrous exploration allocations. According to Metals Economics Group’s Corporate Exploration Strategies (CES), Canada has held second place for nine years since overtaking Australia in 2002. (Metals Economics Group’s study covers expenditures for precious and base metals, diamonds, uranium, and some industrial minerals; it specifically excludes iron ore, aluminum, coal, and oil and gas.)

Four provinces—Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia—accounted for more than three-quarters of the $2.2 billion in planned Canadian nonferrous exploration spending in 2010. Of the 710 companies that planned to explore in Canada in 2010, 90% were based in Canada, together contributing 79% of the planned Canadian nonferrous exploration total. Worldwide, Canadian-based companies accounted for more than half of the 2,200+ active explorers covered by the 2010 edition of CES, and together accounted for 41% of the 2010 global exploration budget total. Continue Reading →

Vale: Chomiak says province will ‘bend over backwards’ [Vale Job Cutbacks in Thompson, Manitoba]

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.

January 26, 2011 -by Ryan Flanagan
[email protected]

Provincial Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak was in Thompson last week, where he updated the Thompson Chamber of Commerce on efforts to reverse Vale’s decision to close its smelter and refinery in Thompson by the end of 2015.

“We will not consider the closing of the refinery and the smelter as an only solution,” he told the crowd of approximately 75 community leaders, businesspeople, and politicians. “We will not accept that. We’ll only consider options if Thompson and Manitoba, and the people that work here, have a value-added option.”

“Before the end of the month, we’re going to be providing options,” said Chomiak. “We want Vale to look at those options seriously. We think that their decision – even though they say that they canvassed a number of options – was made by only one party, in a complex business and social development that requires the input of many people, not the least of which are the people of Manitoba who own the mineral rights.” Continue Reading →

American filmmaker Michael Moore’s website: ‘Your search did not match any documents’ [Vale Job Cutbacks in Thompson, Manitoba]

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.

February 4, 2011 – by John Barker
[email protected]

Video or blog entries related to Vale, Thompson and USW

It’s all the buzz. Churchill riding NDP MP Niki Ashton said Feb. 1 that “award-winning documentarian Michael Moore agreed to a request” by her to “help share her message about the devastating decision by Vale to close the Vale smelter and refinery in Thompson.”

Said Ashton: “Moore’s team expressed great interest in Vale’s decision and the devastating impact it would have on Ashton’s home community of Thompson. Moore’s team plans to post Ashton’s YouTube video on his website as well as post a series of blog entries by Ashton and the people who are losing their jobs … Moore and his team pointed to the parallels between the Thompson story and the story of Flint, Michigan as told in Moore’s film Roger and Me.”

Ashton went on to say Tuesday, “The story of Thompson parallels what the people of Flint, Michigan faced. Our community is the latest victim. Our goal was to get our message spread globally. We are fighting back. We are happy to have Michael Moore help us get our message to the world.” Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: [Manitoba MP] Ashton gets a hand from Michael Moore for Thompson [Job Cutbacks]

Niki Ashton, is the New Democratic Member of Parliament for the electoral district of Churchill in Manitoba, Canada. She was first elected in the 2008 federal election. A resident of Thompson, Manitoba, she is the daughter of Manitoba provincial NDP cabinet minister Steve Ashton. (Wiki)

Renowned filmmaker to spread the community’s message

Tue 1 Feb 2011

OTTAWA–Award-winning documentarian Michael Moore agreed to a request by New Democrat MP Niki Ashton (Churchill) to help share her message about the devastating decision by Vale to close the Vale smelter and refinery in Thompson, MB.

Moore’s team expressed great interest in Vale’s decision and the devastating impact it would have on Ashton’s home community of Thompson. Moore’s team plans to post Ashton’s YouTube video on his website as well as post a series of blog entries by Ashton and the people who are losing their jobs.

“Our message is that this is about our jobs and our community,” said Ashton. “It is time our government stopped supporting profitable corporations like Vale, and started standing up for us.”

Vale, A Brazilian company, bought out Inco in a foreign takeover that was approved by Canada’s federal government in 2007. In the fall of 2010 Vale also received a $1Billion loan from Canada’s federal government. Despite promises to increase employment, Vale announced the closure of the smelter and refinery, eliminating all the value added mining jobs in Thompson by 2015. Continue Reading →

[Manitoba Government] Asleep at the Wheel [Vale Thompson Job Cutbacks] – Winnipeg Free Press Editorial (November 20, 2010)

The Winnipeg Free Press is the oldest newspaper in western Canada and has the largest readership in the province of Manitoba.

It appears that a better expenditure of the $1 billion is the one Vale
plans — to sink it into new mining operations that will at least protect
1,000 of the 1,500 jobs Vale currently supplies. (Winnipeg Free Press Editorial)

Mines Minister Dave Chomiak is heading to Toronto on Monday to talk to Vale SA officials about the mining giant’s plan to wind down smelting and refining activities in Thompson over five years, moves that will cost the city 500 jobs. The trip will be a continuation of the frantic to-ing and fro-ing that Mr. Chomiak and Premier Greg Selinger have been engaged in since news broke Wednesday that Manitoba’s third largest city was going to take a very hard economic hit.

It might be that the hand-wringing and dashing-about is simply what politicians always do in the face of bad news — they must be seen to be “doing something,” no matter how ineffectual. Or it might be what it seems to be, that the government was caught completely off guard by the news. And that raises the question that Opposition Leader Hugh McFadyen has raised: Has the government been asleep at the wheel?

It was, after all, only seven years ago that Inco Ltd., which was subsequently bought by Vale for $20 billion, threatened to shut down all operations in Thompson because the price of nickel had fallen so low that the Thompson operations were no longer viable. So it might have been expected that the government was keeping a close eye on Thompson, which has long been represented by Steve Ashton. Continue Reading →

Done Deal: Vale Stands Firm as 500 Thompson, Manitoba Smelter and Refinery Jobs Disappear by 2015 – by Ryan Flanagan

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.

Martins asks for Thompson to start looking to the future

January 27, 2011 – by Ryan Flanagan
[email protected]

Tito Martins, president and chief executive officer of Vale Canada, was in Thompson Wednesday night to address the Thompson Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting, where he delivered a blunt message about Vale’s plans for Thompson’s smelter and refinery.

“The past has passed, it’s time to move on,” he said. “Let’s talk about the future. Let’s move on to find something else to be the important pillar of the Thompson economy.”

Although many – including provincial officials such as Dave Chomiak, minister of innovation, energy and mines, and Thompson MLA Steve Ashton – have been holding out hope that a deal could be negotiated to save the processing facilties, Martins was dismissive of that possibility.

“We don’t see any possibilities to actually change our decision, unless something really new comes up,” said Martins. “It was the obvious decision. The picture we have in front of us today doesn’t show us any alternative.” Martins did note that Vale is “obligated” to look at any proposals that might be sent their way, but added that a relaxing of environmental restrictions – the federal standards for sulphur dioxide, or SO2, emissions would require a reduction of 88 per cent from the current Thompson levels – would still not give them enough reason to leave the smelter and refinery open, as the opening of the Long Harbour refinery in 2013 will see feed from Voisey’s Bay sent there rather than Thompson, putting the feed levels at Thompson’s smelter and refinery well below the line of profitability. “Of all the scenarios we ran, there were some where we looking at bringing feed to Thompson,” said Martins. “There’s none available anywhere.” Continue Reading →