Thou must not question Big Environment – by Rex Murphy (National Post – January 14, 2012)

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

Rex Murphy offers commentary weekly on CBC TV’s The National and is host of CBC Radio’s Cross Country Checkup.

The environmental movement has enjoyed smooth, mostly untroubled progress since its beginnings in the 1960s, when its activists romped around the northern sea floes off the coast of Labrador. The enviros migrated with almost the same punctuality as the seals:

Every spring, you could treat yourself to the sight of them bobbing up and down on the ice-pans, high-bosomed starlets stroking the pelts of large-eyed newsmen and seals alike, whole platoons of photographers aiming for the perfect cute shot, and a kite tail of various enthusiasts and camp followers to give a sense of noise and drama. Labrador is more or less quiet these days: Those Who Care have decamped to the oil sands and other pastures.

Robert Redford, when he can tear himself away from the general dorkiness of the Sundance Festival, is big on saving the planet these days. James Cameron can generally be found rustling the vines somewhere in the Amazon rain forest. Leonardo DiCaprio is always good for a Vanity Fair cover as long as its backlit and there’s a polar bear somewhere.

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[Solid Gold Resources vs. Wahgoshig F.N.] Court, government threw junior miner “under the bus,” company claims – by Northern Ontario Business staff (January 11, 2012)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

A Thornhill, Ont. junior miner has come out swinging against an Ontario Superior Court decision that temporarily halted exploration in northeastern Ontario.

Solid Gold Resources fired back at Justice Carol Brown’s Jan. 3 ruling to side with the Wahgoshig First Nation in granting an injunction to temporarily halt exploration at the company’s Legacy gold project.

Solid Gold was ordered to stop its activity for 120 days while the company and the Ontario government pay for a third party mediator to begin a consultation process. The First Nation claimed it was not consulted on exploration activity and that the area in question holds significant cultural and archaeological values.

The company declined an interview request, but in a statement company president Darryl Stretch called the court’s ruling “plainly wrong on many levels.”

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First Quantum exits DRC with $1.25-billion settlement – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – January 6, 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.

First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (FM-T22.220.241.09%) is closing a painful chapter of its history in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) by selling its mines and settling all legal claims for $1.25-billion (U.S.), years after its operations were nationalized by the government.

Vancouver-based First Quantum will sell the controversial Kolwezi copper-cobalt project, as well as its Frontier and Lonshi mines, to Kazakh miner Eurasian Natural Resources Corp. PLC, also known as ENRC, the same company it has been battling in international courts over its properties in DRC, one of the world’s most attractive copper regions.

The settlement comes as copper prices (HG-FT3.40-0.03-0.80%) are struggling to rebound from a 20-per-cent drop last year, amid worries that debt concerns in Europe and a slowdown in China’s rapidly growing economy could curb demand for the metal used in everything from cars to construction.

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Injunction ‘a matter of respect’ for First Nations – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – January 6, 2012)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper

Wahgoshig First Nation is not out to stop development, says Chief Dave Babin. The community, he added, simply wants its values respected by industry.

Wahgoshig won an injunction this week to halt mining exploration by Solid Gold Resource Corporation on its territory. The company was drilling in an area which the First Nation had identified as sacred ground.

“It’s a long-overdue issue that First Nations are facing with the industry and these are the things the industry has to understand with First Nations,” said Babin. “I’m not going to have people coming around here and terrorize the land because they feel they are following the Mining Act.

“They have to have respect for our cultural values within our territories. We have issues out there that we want to protect. It has no value to them but it has value to us.”

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[Aboriginal] Injunction shuts down [Northern Ontario] miner – by Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – January 6, 2012)

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

A court ruling in favour of a Timmins-area First Nation regarding a mining dispute is further evidence that courts are backing up Aboriginal legal requirements to be consulted before drilling and staking begins.

“It proves the point that if you don’t follow the law, you’re going to end up in court and it’s going to cost your investors money,” Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Stan Beardy said Thursday.

Beardy was reacting to Ontario Superior Court of Justice Carol Brown’s decision this week that granted a 120-day injunction to Wahgoshig First Nation to temporarily prevent junior miner Solid Gold Resources from drilling on their land.

According to the ruling, “no consultation occurred with (WFN) before Solid Gold’s drilling began in the spring of 2011.”

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MINING WATCH NEWS RELEASE: Wahgoshig First Nation (Ontario) Wins Injunction Against Solid Gold Resources’ Exploration

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Source: Wahgoshig First Nation

(Toronto) In a decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, released January 3, Madam Justice Brown ordered that Solid Gold Resources Corp. cannot carry on any further exploration activity on its claims block for 120 days, and that during this time the company and the Ontario Crown must engage with Wahgoshig in a process of meaningful consultation and accommodation about any such further exploration. She ordered that if this process is not productive, Wahgoshig can go back to court to seek an extension of the injunction.

Solid Gold’s mining claims block is in the heart of Wahgoshig’s traditional territory, on land that is of significant importance to Wahgoshig. Solid Gold came onto this land and started drilling without any consultation or accommodation occurring first. The court decision clearly finds this to be wrong.

“We are very pleased with this decision,” says Wahgoshig Chief David Babin. “We feel that justice has been done. Exploration and other companies across Canada will hopefully recognize that aboriginal and treaty rights really mean something and that courts will not let our rights be trampled on by unilateral actions and failures of industry and government.”

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ONTARIO NDP NEWS RELEASE: First Nations injunction win shows why Province must consult: Vanthof

[John Vanthof is the MPP for Timiskaming – Cochrane]

January 4, 2011

TEMISKAMING SHORES — Today, after Wahgoshig First Nation won an injunction to prevent a junior mining company, Solid Gold Resources, from continuing exploration on Wahgoshig territory without proper consultation, Timiskaming – Cochrane MPP John Vanthof strongly criticized the McGuinty government’s failure to fulfill its obligations to consult with First Nations. 

“By ignoring First Nations at the outset of the exploration process, the government is in fact slowing down mine development and hindering economic opportunities throughout the province,” added Vanthof. “It benefits all Northerners to ensure resource development is done in a way that maximises economic benefits and sustainability for local communities. That means better consultation and accommodation from the outset, not lengthy legal battles.”

“Lack of action from the government forced Wahgoshig First Nation to appeal to the courts to settle a dispute which could have been avoided altogether through proper consultation,” said Vanthof.

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MINING WATCH NEWS RELEASE: Diamonds and Development: Attawapiskat and the Victor Diamond Mine

Thursday, December 15, 2011

In the last two weeks there has been an intense media storm around the current housing crisis in Attawapiskat, a remote Cree community on the coast of James Bay. The crisis is occurring in the context of many long-standing issues that are certainly not unique to Attawapiskat. Hopefully, the current attention will provide some immediate relief for the situation in Attawapiskat but also help drive an eventual resolution to the root issues that are causing the current crisis.

One element of the story that’s getting some attention and is of particular interest to MiningWatch is the fact that the community is ‘host’ to DeBeers’ Victor diamond mine, located 90 km west of the community, upstream on the Attawapiskat River, within the traditional territory of the Omushkego Cree. The juxtaposition is stark: a diamond mine producing millions of dollars of a sparkling luxury item, next to the poverty and infrastructure deficits in Attawapiskat.  It has led people to ask us: if there are millions of dollars of diamonds being taken from their traditional territory, why aren’t the conditions in the community improving?

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Anatomy of a quarry fight – Jayme Poisson (Toronto Star – December 31, 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.

MELANCTHON, ONT. — Here in Melancthon, farmers love the land so much they etch pictures of their homesteads on family gravestones.

When they die in this township — an idyllic stretch of rolling farmlands that juts out of Shelburne, just north of Orangeville — they are buried with a handful of the rich soil in their caskets. So it seemed a somewhat bold gesture when strangers suddenly came calling, offering to take the land off their hands.

Ralph and Mary Lynne Armstrong remember their first encounter in the fall of 2006. A man swung round to inquire if they were interested in selling their 80-hectare cattle and pig farm. “You could retire, head to Florida for the winters,” said the man, who evidently didn’t know much about whom he was talking to.

Ralph, whose red-chapped cheeks reveal a lifetime exposed to the elements, laughs at the thought of lounging in the sun. “I could stand sitting in a chair on the beach for five minutes most,” he says. Most mornings, he’s in the barn before dawn.

There were other visits, seven in total.

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Temagami Mining Controversy – Letter to Hon. Michael Gravelle Ministry of Natural Resources

December 15, 2011

Hon. Michael Gravelle Ministry of Natural Resources,
Suite 6630, 6th Floor, Whitney Block
99 Wellesley Street West,
Toronto ON M7A 1W3
Fax: 416-325-5316

Re: Wolf Lake EBR Registry Number: 010-7775

Dear Hon. Michael Gravelle,

I am writing on behalf of the Association of Youth Camps on the Temagami Lakes (AYCTL) to express our strong opposition to the proposal to remove the forest reserve status from parts of the Wolf Lake Forest Reserve. Mining in this area will negatively affect our ability to run canoe trips in the region and destruction of the old growth forests permanently eliminates a landscape vital to our economic health.

Forest reserve status is intended to make the area a park-in-waiting, with existing mining claims and leases being automatically designated as parks as soon as they lapse.

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NEWS RELEASE: Temagami Area Camps speak out for full protection of Wolf Lake

$3.5 million in annual economic activity depends on areas like Wolf Lake

Sudbury – December 15, 2011 – A group of eight Temagami camps wrote to Minister Gravelle today urging him to permanently protect Wolf Lake and its ancient forests from all industry.  The camps infuse over $3.5 million in direct spending into the economy each year, while providing leadership development, healing, and educational experiences to approximately 700 youth.  

“Mining in this area will negatively affect our ability to run canoe trips in the region and destruction of the old growth forests permanently eliminates a landscape vital to our economic health,” said Eoin Wood, President of the Association of Youth Camps on the Temagami Lakes (AYCTL). 

An MNR proposal takes this unique landscape further away from regulation as a permanently protected area – a designation that is long overdue. In doing so it leaves irreplaceable ecosystems and prime canoe routes in peril from industry and badly managed recreation.

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Old-growth area draws [mining/environmental] interest – by Laura Stricker (Sudbury Star – December 14, 2011)

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

“As soon as they put the word balance on you, balance means
you’re going to get screwed … Balance means southern
Ontario rules, and let’s keep Northern Ontario pristine.
It’s hopeless. We’ve already lost so much of our land.”
(Gordon Salo, President Sudbury Prospectors and Developers

Environmentalists want to preserve it.  Miners and prospectors want to explore it. But members of both groups agree on one thing. The government isn’t doing enough to help them get what they want.

The provincial government wants to remove protections from an environmental jewel — an old-growth forest about 50 kilometres northeast of Sudbury — to open it up for further mining exploration.

Wolf Lake, a hiking and canoeing paradise in the Temagami region, has long been designated a forest reser ve by the government, which now wants to change 340 hectares around the area to be for “general use.” The Wolf Lake forest reserve was put into place in 1999, said Michael Gravelle, minister of natural resources.

“The definition of forest reserve is an area that permits mineral exploration and develo p m e nt, but doesn’t allow other industrial uses,” Gravelle said. “The intention of the forest reserve is that as mineral claims or tenure lapses … those areas can be added to protected areas.”

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NFB Film: The Hole Story – by Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie


The following is from the National Film Board of Canada Press Kit


“Don’t know much about mines? Not many people do. Mines don’t talk. Especially about their history.” Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie explore this history in their latest documentary, The Hole Story. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the film continues in the same provocative vein as their earlier Forest Alert.

The history of mining in Canada is the story of astronomical profits made with utter disregard for the environment and human health. It’s also a corrupt and sometimes sinister story. For example, during the First World War, nickel from Sudbury was sold to the German army to make the bullets that ended up killing soldiers from Sudbury in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. In Cobalt, a town in Ontario that once had no garbage collection, people were dying of typhoid.

Meanwhile, the first Canadian mining magnates were growing filthy rich selling silver to England from the 40 mines surrounding the town.

Timmins has its own shameful mining story. In the woods,50 kilometres west of the railroad, prospectors quickly staked their claims before heading to the government office to register their hectares and take ownership of the subsoil.

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Temagami plan not a done deal as old-growth red pines at risk [from mining] – by Moira Welsh and Robert Benzie (Toronto Star – December 13, 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.

The plan to destroy old growth forest near Temagami is not a done deal, said the Minister of Natural Resources.

In the wake of a Star story about his ministry’s plans to remove protections for stands of 300-year-old red pine around Wolf Lake in northern Ontario, Minister Michael Gravelle said he will decide soon whether the area will be opened up for increased mining.

“I will be speaking with my officials soon about that,” Gravelle said. “There is no question that there is now an elevated interest in this issue,” he added, referring to the Star story.

The ministry wants to change the “forest reserve” designation for 340 hectares around Wolf Lake, located 50 kilometres from Temagami, to “general use,” which puts a greater focus on mining instead of forests and recreation.

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Peru declares emergency after talks fail on ending anti-mining protest – by Franklin Briceno (Toronto star – December 6, 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.

LIMA, PERU—President Ollanta Humala declared a 60-day state of emergency Sunday to quell increasingly violent protests over the country’s biggest investment, a highlands gold mine, by peasants who fear it will damage their water supply.

The emergency restricts civil liberties such as the right to assembly and allows arrests without warrants in four provinces of Cajamarca state that have been paralyzed for 11 days by protests against the $4.8-billion (U.S.) Conga gold-and-copper mining project. U.S.-based Newmont Mining Corp. is the project’s majority owner.

Dozens have been injured in clashes between police and protesters, some of whom have vandalized Conga property. The general strike also shuttered schools and snarled transportation as protesters mounted roadblocks.

Humala said in a brief televised address Sunday night that protest leaders had shown no interest “in reaching minimal agreements to permit a return of social peace” after a day of talks in Cajamarca with Cabinet chief Salmon Lerner, who had been accompanied by military and police chiefs and was guarded by hundreds of heavily armed police.

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