A Vast Canadian Wilderness Poised for a Uranium Boom – by Ed Struzik (Yale Environment 360.com – January 30, 20120

This article is from Yale Environment 360.com: http://e360.yale.edu/

Canadian author and photographer Ed Struzik has been writing on the Arctic for three decades.

Canada’s Nunavut Territory is the largest undisturbed wilderness in the Northern Hemisphere. It also contains large deposits of uranium, generating intense interest from mining companies and raising concerns that a mining boom could harm the caribou at the center of Inuit life.

Until her semi-nomadic family moved into the tiny Inuit community of Baker Lake in the 1950s, Joan Scottie never knew there was a wider world beyond her own on the tundra of the Nunavut Territory in the Canadian Arctic. She didn’t see the inside of a school until she was a teenager and didn’t venture south until she was an adult.

But that all changed in 1978, when a Soviet satellite carrying 100 pounds of enriched uranium for an onboard nuclear reactor crashed into the middle of the wilderness she knew so well, resulting in a military search that recovered some of the radioactive debris. Everything that Scottie learned about uranium after that convinced her she wanted nothing to do with a mineral that had the potential to cause such serious health problems or be used for military purposes.

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Descendant of Jack London opposes [Northwest Territory] mine – by By Stephen Hume (Vancouver Sun – January 28, 2012)

The Vancouver Sun, a broadsheet daily paper first published in 1912, has the largest circulation in the province of British Columbia.

Aboriginal opposition to development of silver-zinc deposit in Nahanni National Park Reserve is supported by writer’s great-granddaughter

Celebrated writer Jack London’s great-granddaughter is supporting northern first nations and environmental groups challenging efforts by a Vancouver mining company to redevelop a rich silver-zinc deposit within the Nahanni National Park Reserve.

The park, surrounding the South Nahanni River where it carves through the Mackenzie Mountains about 1,300 kilometres north of Vancouver, has been called Canada’s Grand Canyon.

Last December, the Dehcho First Nations wrote to the federal government saying that a decision by the Mackenzie Valley Environmental Impact Review Board dismissing the need for an environmental impact review for the Canadian Zinc Corp.’s Prairie Creek mine was “troubling and disappointing” in its failure to adequately address their concerns about downstream water quality.

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What miners should know about the injunction against Solid Gold Resources [Wahgoshig First Nation] – by Nalin Sahni & David Hunter (Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP – January 27, 2012)

Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP: http://www.fmc-law.com/Home.aspx

Ontario Court Halts Exploration After Mining Company Refused to Consult First Nation – Nalin Sahni & David Hunter

The Wahgoshig First Nation (“WFN”) in Northern Ontario has obtained an injunction to temporarily stop Solid Gold Resources Corp. (“Solid Gold”), a junior mining company, from drilling on their First Nation Treaty lands. In a decision released last week (2011 ONSC 7708 (CanLII)), Justice Brown of the Ontario Superior Court halted all exploration activities for at least 120 days after finding that Solid Gold had repeatedly failed to respond to consultation requests from both WFN and the Ontario Government.

While this decision should not come as a surprise to knowledgeable observers, it is important for three reasons:

1) It confirms that as yet there is no Aboriginal veto over mining exploration activities;

2) It highlights problems with the Crown’s practice of delegating the consultation to proponents and

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Questions raised about foreign aid link with resource development – by Elizabeth Payne (Montreal Gazette – January 27, 2012)


The Conservative government is fundamentally realigning the way Canada delivers foreign aid, using private-sector partners in the mining and agricultural sectors. In some instances the government’s aid agency is even helping write legislation regulating the mining industry in developing countries.

But if the policy direction at the Canadian International Aid Agency seems to blur the line between Canada’s economic interests and international development goals, it is not something that worries International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda. When asked, during an interview with the Citizen, how she separates Canada’s trade and foreign policy interests from Canadian development goals, she replied: “I really don’t separate them.”

“I think if we can increase the capacity of any country to become a global trading partner, if they’ve got products Canadians need, we can import them, and if Canada has products they would like, Canada can export them.”

And Oda says she wants to see more partnerships between aid agencies and companies to help deliver Canadian aid around the world.

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Conflict mineral readiness: what companies need to know – by Charlene Easton (Canadian Mining Journal – January, 2012)

The Canadian Mining Journal is Canada’s first mining publication providing information on Canadian mining and exploration trends, technologies, operations, and industry events.

Charlene Easton is a Senior Manager and Business Practice Leader in Ernst & Young’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services group. She is based in Vancouver.

Canadian mining and metals companies’ corporate social responsibility is about to get a lot more interesting as an uptake in regulations and frameworks for due diligence on mineral supply chains in conflict-affected and high-risk areas emerge around the world. The goal of these newly introduced regulations and frameworks is to ensure responsible supply chain management so that so-called “conflict minerals” do not directly or indirectly contribute to regional conflicts in areas where armed aggression can lead to severe human rights abuses against workers and local people.

In an attempt to prevent mined minerals from fuelling conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the US introduced a conflict mineral requirement in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010. Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act requires all US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) registrants – including any Canadian company listed on a US stock exchange – to disclose whether the minerals they source contribute to armed conflict.

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Solid Gold fights court order – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – January 27, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper

A mineral exploration company that was forced by injunction to halt drilling outside Wahgoshig First Nation has responded with a two-pronged legal attack.

Solid Gold Resource Corporation has filed an appeal against the court’s decision to award an injunction and it is suing the Ontario government.

“We’re appealing the injunction that was awarded to Wahgoshig, ordering the Crown and Solid Gold to enter some kind of consultation,” said company president Darryl Stretch. That appeal is to be heard on Feb. 29 in Toronto.

“We have also just served notice to the Crown for damages that have affected our company as a result of this injunction,” said Stretch. “That claim is for at least $100 million.”

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Miner Solid Gold sues Ontario over court ruling halting its operations – by Romina Maurino (Canadian Business – January 25, 2012)

This article came from the Canadian Business website: http://www.canadianbusiness.com/

The Canadian Press

TORONTO – Solid Gold Resources Corp. (TSXV:SLD) says it plans to sue the Ontario government for $100 million over a ruling that temporarily prevents the junior mining company from drilling on Crown land near traditional First Nation territory.

The company alleges the province is liable for losses it suffered after a ruling earlier this month sided with the Wahgoshig First Nation in saying Solid Gold failed to consult before beginning its exploration.

Solid Gold has said any duty to consult with First Nations falls to the government, not the mining company, and it’s not something the province can delegate.

Solid Gold president Darryl Stretch, who is appealing the injunction, said the ruling has far-reaching implications because it means it would now be up to companies to get consent from First Nations on any project that runs near their traditional land.

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Canadian mining company denies link to shooting death of protester in Mexico – by Peter O’Neil (National Post – Janurary 26, 2012)

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

OTTAWA — Vancouver-based mining company Fortuna Silver says it has nothing to do with the shooting death of a protester in a town near the company’s mine site in Mexico.

Police have arrested the alleged shooter implicated in the death of Bernardo Mendez Vazquez, who was shot last week during a protest that news reports have linked to opposition to the gold and silver mine.

The shooting took place in the town of San Jose del Progreso, where the mine is the chief employer. The town and mine in the southwestern state of Oaxaca have been the sites of past conflicts involving groups who say the mine is an environmental threat to the arid region’s scarce water supply.

But Fortuna Silver president Jorge Ganoza said “misinformation” is behind media reports tying his company to the violence, which also left another protester with a leg wound.

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Gold junior [Solid Gold Resources] sues Ontario govt for C$100m over ‘precedent-setting’ ruling – by Matthew Hill (Miningweekly.com – Janaury 24, 2012)

Mining Weekly is South Africa’s premier source of weekly news on mining developments in Africa’s most important industry. Mining Weekly provides in-depth coverage of mining projects and the personalities reshaping the mining industry.

TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Solid Gold Resources, a Toronto-based junior with precious-metals prospects in Ontario, said on Tuesday it is suing the Ontario government for C$100-million, and possibly more.

The company is seeking damages sustained as a result of a January 3 Superior Court of Ontario ruling that prevents it from drilling at its Lake Abitibi property, located east of Timmins in northern Ontario, for 120 days while the TSX-V-listed company consults with the Wahgoshig First Nation.

Judge Carol Brown’s judgement “squarely conflicts with the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Haida Nation v. British Columbia, which held that third parties cannot be held liable for failing to discharge the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate,” Solid Gold said in a statement on January 19.

It said it would appeal the decision.

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NEWS RELEASE: NWT Mining Industry Recommends Mineral Resource Potential Remain Open for Development in the Ramparts Region

Yellowknife, NT – January 20, 2011.

The Chamber of Mines has submitted its recommendations that important mineral resources in the 10,000 square kilometre Ts’ude niline Tu’eyeta, or Ramparts area of the Northwest Territories be protected for its future development potential. The area is a candidate protected area under the NWT Protected Areas Strategy.

Geoscience studies reveal that large parts of the Ramparts area have the potential to host deposits of zinc, lead, copper, diamonds and oil & gas that could create socio‐economic opportunities for the K’asho Got’ine people, for the Sahtu region, and for the Northwest Territories. To maximize the opportunities, the Chamber recommends that the moderate to high mineral potential areas not be included under any protected area designation that blocks development forever.

The Chamber recommends the Sahtu Land Use Plan be the tool used for protection as it can be modified by future generations to accommodate their needs, it provides a more flexible approach to balancing environmental values and economic development, and it provides more control to local communities.

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What is going on at CIDA? [Aid dollars support miners] – by Elizabeth Payne (Ottawa Citizen – January 19, 2012)


Canada’s aid agency is becoming more politicized, less effective, and less transparent, writes Elizabeth Payne

Something is rotten at the Canadian International Development Agency. Many things, in fact, according to increasingly vocal critics who say Canada’s international development organization is becoming more politicized, less effective, and less transparent under the Conservative government, despite persistent claims to the contrary.

If CIDA has really introduced “more transparency, timeliness and predictability” as International Co-operation Minister Bev Oda claims, there is little sign of it.

Aid agencies are frustrated and demoralized by delays and lack of transparency in their dealings with CIDA. Some have cut programs and laid off staff as a result.

And the government’s recent habit of prioritizing and then deprioritizing countries for foreign aid dollars makes it difficult for aid agencies to build long-term relationships and has perplexed many in the international community.

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Arizona town bitterly split over copper mine – by Paul Waldie (Globe and Mail – January 19, 2012)

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.

Florence, Ariz., isn’t the kind of place that usually gets a lot of attention. After all, its main claim to fame is being home to nine prisons.

But these days Florence is up in arms over plans by a Canadian company to build a copper mine right in the middle of town. The proposed mine, by Vancouver-based Curis Resources Ltd., has garnered national attention and brought out some heavy hitters, including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and developer Robert Sarver, who owns the Phoenix Suns basketball team.

Ms. Brewer has expressed support for the project, saying it will spark badly needed economic development in the area. Mr. Sarver, whose company has a housing project in town, is backing a campaign to stop the mine, arguing it will ruin the water supply.

The city’s 10,000 residents are bitterly divided over the proposed mine. A recent survey by city officials found 39 per cent of locals support the mine, 32 per cent don’t and 28 per cent aren’t sure.

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Oil sands money trail – by Vivian Krause (National Post – January 18, 2012)

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

Billionaire U.S foundations fund Canada’s green groups

Last week, on the eve of the environmental review for the $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline project that would carry Alberta oil to Kitimat for export to Asia, Canada’s Minister for Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, expressed concern that foreign-funded environmentalists would jeopardize the review and block the pipeline. Oliver didn’t mention my name, but the research that raised concerns about the foreign funding of environmentalism in Canada is apparently mine.

For five years, on my own nickel, I have been following the money and the science behind environmental campaigns and I’ve been doing what the Canada Revenue Agency hasn’t been doing: I’ve gathered information about the origin and the stated purpose of grants from U.S. foundations to green groups in Canada. My research is based on U.S. tax returns because the U.S. Internal Revenue Service requires greater disclosure from non-profits than does the CRA.

By my analysis and calculations, since 2000, U.S. foundations have granted at least US$300-million to various environmental organizations and campaigns in Canada, especially in B.C.

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Canada: A global energy superpower – by Joe Oliver (National Post – January 17, 2012)

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

Joe Oliver is Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources. These remarks, from a speech titled Canada: A global energy superpower, were made Monday at the Hart House Alumni Committee Dinner Series in Toronto.

Today, the oil sands account for one-10th of 1% — that is one, one-thousandth — of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have shown that life-cycle GHG emissions from the oil sands — the well-to-wheels calculation — are similar to, and in some cases lower than, several of the heavy crude oils produced elsewhere in the world, including California.

Close to 90% of the water used in the oil sands is recycled.

Scientists with my department are working with a consortium of oil sands companies to develop new technologies to deal with tailings. Rather than sitting in open ponds, we may soon see the day where tailings are reduced and compressed into dry, stackable blocks.

Yes, it takes time to reclaim land that has been used for oil sands mining, but it is being done. I walked through a forest in northern Alberta last summer. You would never know it had once been part of an oil sands project.

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A Mining Law Whose Time Has Passed – by Robert M. Hughes and Carol Woody (New York Times – January 11, 2012)


Op-Ed Contributors Robert M. Hughes and Carol Ann Woody are fisheries scientists based in Corvallis, Ore., and Anchorage, respectively.

IN 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a mining law to spur the development of the West by giving hard-rock mining precedence over other uses of federal land. But the law has long since outlived its purpose, and its environmental consequences have been severe.

Mining claims for copper, gold, uranium and other minerals cover millions of those acres, and the law, now 140 years old, makes it nearly impossible to block extraction, no matter how serious the potential consequences. Soaring metal prices are now driving new mine proposals across the West.

Oregon’s Chetco River is one example. The river’s gin-clear waters teem with wild trout and salmon, including giant Chinook salmon tipping scales at more than 60 pounds. In 1988, Congress designated the Chetco a national wild and scenic river “to be protected for the benefit of present and future generations.”

But the river is now threatened by proposals to mine gold along almost half of its approximately 55-mile length. Suction dredges would vacuum up the river bottom searching for gold, muddying water and disrupting clean gravel that salmon need to spawn.

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