Archive | Mining Power Issues


THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, applauds the landmark funding announced today for a major First Nation led infrastructure project, as Wataynikaneyap Power was awarded $1.6 billion to connect remote First Nation communities to the provincial power grid.

“This is a major achievement, and I honour the determination of Wataynikaneyap Power to bring reliable supplies of electricity to our remote First Nations. Wataynikaneyap has made tremendous progress connecting 16 remote First Nations to the provincial electricity grid in the first phase of this project, and we are pleased that Ontario has funded the expansion of this vital infrastructure to more remote communities.

Connecting our remote First Nations to the provincial energy grid will finally end their reliance on costly and dirty diesel generation and help bring health and economic benefits to our communities.” Continue Reading →

East-West Tie could groom a generation of Indigenous skilled workers – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – December 20, 2017)

Next year’s start of construction of the East-West Tie Transmission Project will be a “huge win” to enable Indigenous communities on the north shore of Lake Superior to recruit and grow a homegrown skilled workforce.

“I think everyone’s eyes are going to open,” said Red Rock Indian Band councillor Matthew Dupuis, a director for SuperCom Industries, which is partnering with the project’s lead contractor.

Supercom is a contracting and training joint venture run by six First Nation communities across whose traditional land the power line upgrading project will cross. Its mandate to maximize First Nations involvement in the $700-million corridor project by supplying skilled labour, negotiating service and supply contracts, and cultivating business partnerships. Continue Reading →

75,000 manufacturing jobs lost — that’s the price of Ontario’s electricity disaster – by Ross McKitrick and Elmira Aliakbari (Financial Post – October 19, 2017)

Global factors cannot explain Ontario’s performance. Clearly electricity prices are to blame

In the 1990s and into the 2000s, Ontario was a low-electricity-cost jurisdiction. This was a competitive advantage for the province, helping attract business and foster economic growth.

Of course, in recent years, due largely to the Green Energy Act and its inefficiencies, Ontario electricity prices have soared, hurting industrial competitiveness, especially in the manufacturing sector where electricity is a major cost.

The results have been devastating. Between 2005 and 2015, Ontario’s manufacturing output fell by 18 per cent and manufacturing employment fell by 28 per cent. More specifically, from 2008 to 2015, Ontario’s manufacturing job levels fell from 805,170 to 688,735. Continue Reading →

Why Energy-Rich Australia Suffers the World’s Priciest Power – by Perry Williams (Bloomberg News – October 6, 2017)

A bungled transition from coal to clean energy has left resource-rich Australia with an unwanted crown: the highest power prices in the world.

New Yorkers pay half as much as Sydneysiders to keep the lights on, despite Australia boasting among the world’s largest coal and natural gas reserves, as well as ideal conditions for clean power generation. A decade of political dithering and climate policy missteps have set its patchwork power system adrift, ratcheting up manufacturing costs and hurting consumers with a doubling in electricity prices since last year and rising risks of blackouts.

“It is not a bit of a mess, it is a major mess,” said Sanjeev Gupta, 46, the British billionaire owner of Liberty House Group, who saw firsthand the effects of policy neglect after buying an ailing steel-making business in blackout-beleaguered South Australia in July. Continue Reading →

Glencore Zambia Unit May Fire 4,700 Workers Amid Power Spat – by Taonga Clifford Mitimingi and Matthew Hill (Bloomberg News – August 24, 2017)

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc’s copper unit in Zambia said a dispute over electricity fees that has already led to reduced power supply may result in the dismissal of 4,700 workers.

Copperbelt Energy Corp. lowered supplies to Mopani Copper Mines after the company refused to pay new power prices introduced by the government at the start of the year. Mopani said the fee increase wasn’t part of its agreement with Copperbelt. Mopani, which employs about 15,000 people including contractors, has notified the government of the planned job losses, Labor Minister Joyce Nonde-Simukoko said by phone.

“It has become necessary for Mopani Copper Mines to curtail some areas of its operations due to the restriction of power,” the Glencore unit said in an emailed statement on Tuesday. “We expect that we shall effectively have to close several areas and our scaled-back operations may affect a total of 4,700 direct employees.” Continue Reading →

First Nations-owned company receives ‘up to $60M’ to connect Pikangikum to Ontario power grid (CBC News Thunder Bay – August 17, 2017)

Canada’s Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs says the federal government has pledged “up to $60 million,” for a long-awaited power project in Ontario’s far north.

Carolyn Bennett announced in Thunder Bay on Thursday that Wataynikaneyap Power — a transmission company owned by 22 First Nations in partnership with Fortis, a Canadian utility — will receive the money to connect Pikangikum to the province’s electricity grid.

The announcement, which sets the stage for work to be done to ensure a reliable flow of electricity to the community, is “thrilling,” Chief Dean Owen said. “The community will just be jubilant about it now, and now we can move forward,” he said. Construction on a 117 kilometre-long power line from Red Lake to Pikangikum is scheduled to begin in October, 2017, according to officials with Watay Power, with an estimated completion date of November, 2018. Continue Reading →

Africa’s Biggest Copper Mine Hit by Zambian Power Restrictions – by Matthew Hill and Taonga Clifford Mitimingi (Bloomberg News – August 15, 2017)

Zambia is cutting power to mines including Africa’s biggest copper site, the Kansanshi pit owned by First Quantum Minerals Ltd., escalating a fight over tariffs.

“They have still got some significant amount of power for them to operate, but obviously their operations will not be at 100 percent because of the power restrictions,” Energy Minister David Mabumba told reporters Tuesday in Lusaka, the capital.

Glencore Plc has said it halted production at the Kitwe and Mufulira operations in Zambia’s Copperbelt province after the main electricity provider restricted supplies.

Copper miners in Zambia, Africa’s second-biggest producer of the metal, have been in a dispute with the country’s energy regulator since it raised tariffs by almost 30 percent in 2014. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Over $2 Million Announced for Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project First Nations Training Program

SIOUX LOOKOUT, ONTARIO — (Marketwired) — 07/26/17 — Wataynikaneyap Power is pleased to announce a major federal investment from the office of Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in the amount of over $2 million in support of the Wataynikaneyap Power’s First Nations training program.

Today’s announcement now brings the total amount available for capacity building and training to over $4 million. The funding announcement will ensure the communities are prepared to provide an experienced and trained up labour force to be project-ready with transferable and accredited certification. The training project is fifty per cent funded by the federal contribution and fifty per cent by Wataynikaneyap Power.

“The vision of our leaders is to create opportunities and build capacity for our people today and into the future, through meaningful involvement and participation in the project,” says Margaret Kenequanash, Chair of Wataynikaneyap Power GP. “This investment enables us to take that step forward.” Continue Reading →

[Ontario] No business like coal business – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – July 21, 2017)

Premier Wynne back in black

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government is back in black – meaning the coal business. Specifically, the use of coal to generate electricity, a practice it outlawed in Ontario on Nov. 23, 2015, after shutting down the last of the province’s coal-fired power plants in 2014.

As the Wynne Liberals proudly proclaimed back then: “Ontario passed legislation today to permanently ban coal-fired electricity generation in the province – a first in North America and a significant step in the fight against climate change.

“The Ending Coal for Cleaner Air Act prevents new and existing facilities from burning coal for the sole purpose of generating electricity. It sets maximum fines for anyone who violates the ban and enshrines the health and environmental benefits of making coal-fired electricity illegal in law … Continue Reading →

Ontario Hydro sticker shock all thanks to Liberals’ mismanagement – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – July 20, 2017)

As a new shocking Fraser Institute report on electricity pricing in Ontario reveals, real people suffer when governments are incompetent. The governments in this case are the Liberal ones headed first by Dalton McGuinty and now Kathleen Wynne, who have turned Ontario’s energy sector into a financial train wreck from which there will be no easy or painless escape for generations to come.

The numbers in the Fraser study, titled “Evaluating Electricity Price Growth,” are damning. Torontonians today pay $720 more annually for electricity than the average Canadian. Ontario electricity prices skyrocketed 71% between 2008 and 2016.

That’s more than double the Canadian average of 34%, 2.5 times more than the rise in household incomes, four times the inflation rate, and 4.5 times the growth rate of the economy. In 2015-16 alone, Ontario electricity prices increased 15%, 2.5 times the national average of 6%. Continue Reading →

$1B worth of energy wasted last year: engineers – by Shawn Jeffords (Toronto Sun – June 30, 2017)

Jonathan Hack, the president and chairman of the OSPE board, said the group
provided the analysis to all three parties at Queen’s Park. They’d like to
see engineers more intimately involved in policy creation, because at the
moment, technical decisions about the province’s hydro system have been
politicized, he said.

Ontario wasted $1 billion worth of clean electricity in 2016, according to the province’s professional engineers.

The Ontario Society of Professional Engineers, a non-partisan body, which represents the province’s engineers, says it has crunched government hydro numbers from 2016 and they show that 7.6 terawatt-hours of clean hydro went down the drain that year. That’s equal to the amount required to power 760,000 homes – or $1 billion worth of electricity – said the group’s past president Paul Acchione.

“This represents a 58% increase in the amount of clean electricity that Ontario wasted in 2015 which was 4.8 terawatt hours,” he said. “All while the province continues to export more than two-million homes’ worth of electricity to neighbouring jurisdictions for a price less than it costs to produce.” Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: OMA Welcomes Improvements to the Northern Industrial Electricity Rate (NIER) Program

The Ontario Mining Association welcomes Ontario government action on reducing electricity costs for some of the biggest job creators in Northern Ontario, including mining companies, to boost their competitiveness and help them continue to grow and benefit society.

Ontario’s mining sector includes both fully integrated value chain miners and smaller mining companies. In all cases, electricity rate is the key to maximizing the value of our mineral resources, as high power costs serve as a barrier to investment, decrease flexibility with regards to new developments, reduce mine life, and may lead to value-added processing moving to other jurisdictions.

After labour, energy is the second highest component of operating costs for Ontario mining companies. Given that Ontario’s industrial hydro rates are among the highest in North America, steps taken by the government to update the NIER program represent progress toward achieving the economic policy objectives of maintaining and growing jobs and investment, while serving to benefit the environmental policy objectives of driving change in industry and reducing peak power. Continue Reading →

Seeing the light: Mining companies look to solar power, wind for fresh revenue – by Kyle Bakx (CBC News – Jun 27, 2017)

Renewables become an option for defunct mining sites

After a century of pulling lead and zinc from the Sullivan mine in southeast British Columbia, the energy company Teck recently shut down the operation and began years of restoration work. Some of the land outside the city of Kimberley became a meadow with grass and trees, but it remained tainted after decades of mining activity.

There was no way it could be turned into a housing subdivision or some other development. The area would likely have sat empty for decades if not for an initiative by the city to take it over and build a solar field. The project has since caught the attention of the mining industry as an innovative method of re-purposing old mining sites and generating revenue, even if the land is contaminated.

As long as there are plenty of sunny days — or, in the case of wind farms, strong winds — a company has an opportunity to recoup some of the expense of cleaning up a mine, which can cost tens of millions of dollars. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Canadian mines could prove critical to clean energy transition (Clean Energy Canada – June 27, 2017)

For full report:

VANCOUVER—Canadian mines could help power the transition to clean energy, sparking new economic development in the process, a new report from Clean Energy Canada finds.

Growth in clean energy is driving significant demand for the metals and mineral products used to manufacture technologies like solar panels, wind turbines, LED lighting and electric cars, creating an opportunity for job creation and economic growth in mining communities across Canada.

Mining for Clean Energy, which focuses on the metal and mineral requirements for solar power, finds that Canada could emerge as a key supplier of these resources. Canada is home to 14 of the 19 metals and minerals needed for solar panels. Continue Reading →

Another multinational employer is fleeing Ontario and the Wynne government doesn’t seem to care – by Bob Runciman (Financial Post – May 31, 2017)

Bob Runciman, now a senator, served as interim leader of the Ontario PC Party and as minister of Economic Development and Trade.

My hometown of Brockville, Ont. was hit with a devastating blow last week with the announcement that multinational consumer-products maker Procter and Gamble is closing its local plant, taking with it 500 jobs.

P&G is Brockville’s largest private-sector employer — only the school board and the hospital employ more. The company has been a model corporate citizen for 40 years, donating millions of dollars to local causes and generally making Brockville a better place.

And I think it is fair to say Brockville made P&G a better company. The local plant has a well-educated, resourceful, diligent workforce. Although the plant made such household cleaning products as Tide and Bounce over the years, it is most famous as the site that pioneered the Swiffer sweeper. Continue Reading →