Archive | Manitoba Mining

[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 →

The Crisis in Manitoba Mining Versus the Prosperity in Saskatchewan – by Stephen L. Masson

Stephen L. Masson, M.Sc. P.Geo. is the President, of the Manitoba-Saskatchewan Prospectors and Developers Association

“Saskatchewan has now become a “have” province based on the enormous revenues of its mining industry plus oil and gas, whereas Manitoba struggles despite the huge mineral potential of the province.” Stephen L. Masson (December, 2010)

Another year of good metal prices but lower exploration costs has made for continued strength in the mineral exploration of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, but far more in Saskatchewan than Manitoba.

Soaring gold has made it possible for even small juniors to fund their projects at whatever stage. Uranium in Saskatchewan and Rare Earth metal exploration in both provinces remains strong. Nickel exploration in the Thompson Nickel Belt continues at a good pace, although the shut-down of the Bucko Lake Mine offered a small wrinkle in this otherwise promising historic exploration real estate.

The Snow Lake, Flin Flon, and Sherridon Camps saw continued strong exploration, riding in part on the coattails of the huge Lalor Lake Zn-Cu-Au discovery in the Chisel basin of Snow Lake. Hudbay Minerals is now proceeding towards development of this large and very rich deposit. Continued success by Hudson Bay and VMS on the Reed Lake deposit promises a near surface deposit rich in copper, with a recent hole reporting 6.69 per cent copper over 71.69 m.

Flin Flon continues to dominate the Copper-Zinc news as one of the great mining camps in this country, which remarkably continues to turn out discoveries and world class deposits. Halo continues to increase its inventory of Copper Zinc in the Sherridon Camp and Rockcliff, along with VMS, Callinan, and Copper Reef, which are aggressively exploring in the Snow Lake and main Flin Flon Camps. Continue Reading →

HudBay, Lundin Bucked off Merger-Go-Round – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Big and small companies are still jockeying for position on the merger-go-round. Unfortunately, not everyone is completing the ride; some are being bucked off. It appears, however, that even in times of scarce financing, there are deals to be done for enterprising executives.

One of the highest profile mergers, that of HudBay Minerals and Lundin Mining, has been derailed. The two companies agreed to terminate their arrangement agreement on Feb. 23. The deal was stridently opposed by HudBay corporate investors who demanded the deal go to a shareholder vote. The Ontario Securities Commission agreed and overturned a previous approval without a vote made by the Toronto Stock Exchange. Although Lundin shareholders had already voted in favour of the merger, HudBay determined that it was unlikely its shareholders would approve the deal. HudBay currently holds a 19.9% interest in Lundin.

The deal between IamGold Corp. and Orezone Resources was complete on Feb 25, and Orezone Gold Corp began trading on the TSX. The acquisition gives IamGold a 16.6% interest in Orezone, including the four-million-ounce Essakane gold project in Burkina Faso. The project could reach full production at over 300,000 oz/year in late 2010. The deal give Orezone a C$20-million equity injection toward the US$350 million needed to develop the Essakane deposit.

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Bucko Lake Canada’s Newest Nickel Producer – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Canada’s newest nickel producer is the Bucko Lake mine near Wabowden, MB. The mine, which belongs to Toronto’s Crowflight Minerals, shipped its first concentrate on Feb. 12, 2008, to Xstrata’s smelter Sudbury, ON.

The initial concentrate shipment weighed of 90.0 tonnes and contained 11.5 tonnes of nickel. Full commercial production is expected early in Q2 2009.

The Bucko Lake deposit was first investigated by Falconbridge, and a 340.0-metre-deep shaft was sunk in 1971-72. The mine is designed for longhole open stoping with sublevel access on 30.5-metres intervals. The intervals are connected via an internal decline. Backfill consists of cemented hydraulic material and development waste.

Underground mining began late last year in the first high-grade stope area on the 1,000 level (305 metres). Lower grade stopes on the 1,000 level are also being mined, and the high grade stope area on the 900 level (275 metres) is now being developed. The main ramp has been driven approximately 115 metres vertically from surface. Some ore development and crown pillar support activities will occur from the 450 level (135 metres), which should be reached late in the first quarter.

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HudBay, Lundin Combo Under Fire – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

I wonder who first said, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Wherever that bit of wisdom came from it would seem to apply perfectly to the proposed friendly business combination of Toronto’s HudBay Minerals and Vancouver’s Lundin Mining. Major backers are weighing in with their opposition, and shareholders have voted with their wallets.

On Nov. 21, HudBay and Lundin announced their intention to create “a new Canadian leader” in the mining sector. Lundin would become a wholly owned subsidiary of HudBay with each Lundin shareholder receiving 0.3919 of a HudBay common share. The offer represents a 32% premium over Lundin’s 30-day average trading price. HudBay CEO Allen J. Palmiere will be CEO of the combined company. Other members of the HudBay board will be Philip J. Wright, Lukas Lundin, M. Norman Anderson, Colin K. Benner, Donald K. Charter, Ronald P. Gagel, R. Peter Gillin and William A. Rand.

The combined company will be Canada’s second-largest base metals producer as measured by market capitalization. It will have a portfolio of mining assets in Canada, Portugal, Sweden, Spain and Ireland. It will have development projects in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Guatemala.

If all goes according to plan, HudBay will have cash-on-hand of $900 million and a total debt of US$240 million (as of Sept. 30, 2008), it says. HudBay will then loan Lundin $135.8 million for capital investments and general corporate purchases. Lundin will issue 97.0 million common shares to HudBay in return.

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