Archive | Manitoba Mining

Vale Manitoba Operations wins safety award – by Ryan Flanagan (Thompson Citizen – June 3, 2011)

The Thompson Citizen, which was established in June 1960, 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]

In late May, at the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM) 2011 Conference and Exhibition in Montreal, Vale Manitoba Operations was awarded the John T. Ryan Trophy for the safest metal mines in Canada.

The award was given to the T-1 and Birchtree mines, based on having the lowest reportable injury frequency per 200,000 hours worked in Canada. The two mines were actually tied based on the award criteria.

“I could not be more proud of our employees for their performance in winning this award,” said John Pollesel, chief operating officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations. “It is because of our dedication to health and safety principles that we continue to be a national leader in this area.” Continue Reading →

[Thompson, Manitoba] A letter from Lovro Paulic: Vale answers Steve Ashton – Thompson Citizen – June 3, 2011)

The Thompson Citizen, which was established in June 1960, 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]

Lovro Paulic, General Manager, Smelter and Refinery
Vale, Manitoba Operations, Thompson

To the Thompson Citizen Editor:

Re: “Steve Ashton threatens Vale with provincial mining legislation on smelter and refinery shutdown,” Thompson Citizen online, May 20, 2011.

It was with disappointment that I read comments in the Thompson Citizen recently from MLA Steve Ashton criticizing the City of Thompson and Vale for their decision to launch a process designed to strengthen and diversify the city’s economic base.

It has been more than six months since Vale announced plans to transition its operations to mining and milling by 2015. It was a decision made after years of careful consideration and analysis. Now, it is time to move forward.

This is no longer a story about Vale – it is a story about Thompson and the need to ensure its prosperity for the future. Even in the face of fundamental disagreements, I think everyone would agree that working collaboratively to attract jobs and investment to Thompson is a good thing. Continue Reading →

Steve Ashton threatens Vale with [Manitoba] provincial mining legislation on smelter and refinery shutdown – by Ryan Flanagan (Thompson Citizen – June 3, 2011)

The Thompson Citizen, which was established in June 1960, 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]

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 →

[Thompson, Manitoba] Birchtree Mine: On the ramp at the 300-foot level – by John Barker (Thompson Citizen – June 3, 2011)

The Thompson Citizen, which was established in June 1960, 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]

Vale Manitoba Mine Rescue teams show their stuff

They’re the elite: The best of the best. The miners who volunteer and train rigorously to go underground in hazardous conditions to rescue their fellow miners in the event of a fire, smoke, explosion or some unknown event, and restore the mine to a safe working condition, as Stu Waring, general manager for mining and milling, and the number two guy at Vale’s Manitoba Operations, describes the work they do.

The 2011 Provincial Manitoba Mine Rescue Competition was held May 27 and 28 at Vale’s Manitoba Operations in Thompson with the winning team this year from San Gold in Bissett. The event rotates to a different mine site in the province every year. Next year’s Manitoba Mine Rescue Competition will be held at Hudson Bay Mining & Smelting Co. Ltd. in Flin Flon. Continue Reading →

Steve Ashton: Manitoba MLA Report – (Thompson Citizen – May 27, 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]

Vale’s continued lack of commitment to value-added jobs disappointing

Steve Ashton

Since 1956 the vision of the Thompson Inco operation has been clear. It was the first fully integrated nickel operation in the world.

The 1956 framework and the agreement signed by Inco and the Manitoba government specifically identified the fact Thompson would have a mine, mill, smelter and refinery. It outlined both the obligations Inco would have to support municipal services and various land allocations, including exclusive access to mineral leases in the Thompson area.

In the early days Inco provided many of the initial facilities and services for Thompson. Over time Inco also paid a grant-in-lieu of taxes to the City of Thompson and school board. This decreased over time as renewals were negotiated. Continue Reading →

Niki Ashton: Manitoba MP Report – (Thompson Citizen – May 27, 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]

Thompson deserves better

Niki Ashton

Six months ago Vale announced its intention to close the smelter and refinery in Thompson. This came just weeks after they received $1billion in unsecured loans from the federal government.

The City of Thompson came together with the Steelworkers and the province of Manitoba to develop solutions that would keep value-added jobs at Vale in Thompson. The solutions addressed the specific issues Vale had raised. The solutions included action by the federal government. Vale rejected these solutions without ever once proposing any solutions of their own. Continue Reading →

[Thompson, Manitoba] Nychyporuk says ‘no’: USW rejects vision – 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]

‘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’

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 →

HudBay sells Guatemala mine to stick to mining techniques it knows well – by Mary Gazze (The Canadian Press – August 8, 2011)

http://www.canadianbusiness.com/

TORONTO – HudBay Minerals Inc. (TSX:HBM) sold a promising nickel mine in Guatemala to focus on Canadian and Peruvian projects the company can develop using mining techniques it has been using for more than eight decades.

Analysts said Monday the sale was a long time coming because the Guatemala project had a different geology than HudBay’s other mines and prospects.’ “We have been expecting a sale of the project for some time – admittedly,” said TD Newcrest analyst Greg Barnes .

“We are somewhat pleasantly surprised that management was able to secure a price for the project that is very close to the value for the asset.” Late Friday, Toronto-based HudBay announced the sale of its 98 per cent stake in the Fenix project to global miner Solway Group for US$170 million. Continue Reading →

‘The Thompson Project’ of 1961: Heart of the city – (Thompson Citizen Editorial – April 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]

“Vale may have bought Inco but the resource is ours. They have no right to treat our
community and our province this way. … Since the 1950s, we’ve had an integrated
operation. Read the 1956 agreement – it talks about setting up a mining, milling, smelting
and refining operation. This was part of the social contract that set up this community.”
(Thompson, Manitoba MLA Steve Ashton)

Two days after Vale announced last November they were closing their Thompson smelter and nickel refinery in 2015, wiping out 500 jobs and $65 million in payroll directly, Thompson NDP MLA and cabinet minister Steve Ashton’s regular “MLA Report” column appeared in the Nickel Belt News. Normally, Ashton’s column is week-after-week pretty tame fare and likely to offend – well, no one. This column was different.

Because of our deadlines, the column actually arrived two days before publication and just hours after Vale made the announcement in Toronto. We picked up a few paragraphs from it for a day one news story online, characterizing it as “blistering.”

“Vale’s announcement that they are eliminating the surface operation here in Thompson is unacceptable,” Ashton wrote. “Since the 1950’s Thompson has had a fully integrated mining operation. The development of the refinery and smelter were integral parts of the 1956 agreement that established Thompson. Continue Reading →

[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 →