Ramaphosa Cuts Short Trip as Power Crisis Grips South Africa – by Paul Vecchiatto and Liezel Hill (Bloomberg/Yahoo – December 11, 2019)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) South African President Cyril Ramaphosa cut short a trip abroad to deal with an escalating crisis at the state power company, as week-long blackouts threaten to tip the economy into recession.

The rand declined the most in a month Tuesday as Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. said there’s a high likelihood of power cuts all week and mining companies including Sibanye Gold Ltd., the world’s biggest platinum producer, temporarily halted operations. Vodacom Group Ltd., the nation’s biggest mobile operator, said the outages are disrupting its service.

Ramaphosa returned from Egypt, having terminated his trip a day early to “attend to urgent domestic priorities,” the presidency said in a statement. Eskom management will brief the president on Wednesday morning on “plans to mitigate and resolve the current electricity crisis,” it said.

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South African mines grind to halt as floods worsen power crisis – by Helen Reid (Reuters U.S. – December 10, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Mines across South Africa are shutting down after flash flooding caused the largest power blackouts in more than a decade, threatening a key export sector in a further blow to the country’s already slowing economy.

Heavy rains across parts of South Africa have submerged whole neighborhoods, leading to mass evacuations and aggravating problems at state-owned utility Eskom, which has been struggling to keep the lights on since 2008.

Harmony Gold, Impala Platinum, and Sibanye-Stillwater all said they had been forced to cut production since Monday owing to power shortages. “There are very few underground mines that operated overnight and will be operating normally today,” said a spokesman for the Minerals Council, an industry body.

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Nfld. & Labrador: Nalcor building $22M transmission line to Labrador mining project (CBC News – August 19, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/

The provincial and federal governments announced new funding Friday for a project to provide hydroelectricity to a mining operation in western Labrador.

The province’s Department of Natural Resources said Nalcor will build a new terminal station and a 27-kilometre transmission line from the Menihek Hydroelectric Generating Station’s existing line to the Tata Steel processing site.

The transmission line will enable Tata Steel to reduce the mine’s diesel consumption by up to 40 per cent. Lisa Dempster, minister of municipal affairs and environment, says her department prioritized the project to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while encouraging resource development in Labrador.

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UPDATE 1-Zimbabwe faces worst power cuts in 3 years, mines hit (Reuters Africa – May 13, 2019)

https://af.reuters.com/

HARARA, May 13 (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s state power utility imposed the worst rolling blackouts in three years on Monday, with households and industries including mines set to be without electricity for up to eight hours daily.

The power cuts are bound to stoke mounting public anger against President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government as Zimbabweans grapple with an economic crisis that has seen shortages of U.S. dollars, fuel, food and medicines as well as soaring inflation that is eroding earnings and savings.

Many Zimbabweans say life is getting harder and that Mnangagwa is failing to deliver on pre-election promises last year to rebuild an economy shattered during Robert Mugabe’s 37-year rule.

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Sudbury: Ontario hears from mining executives about electricity prices (CBC News Sudbury – May 6, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/

Consultation sessions recently held in Sudbury

Some mining officials say the key to mining success in Ontario is keeping electricity prices competitive.

On Friday, consultation sessions were held in Sudbury between industry stakeholders and the provincial government. Markham MPP Paul Calandra and Sault Ste. Marie MPP Ross Romano, parliamentary assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, met with mining officials.

“We want to hear first hand from the mining sector on how we can improve our electricity system to make businesses more competitive,” Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines Greg Rickford said.

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Ontario changes regulations on who pays to upgrade power lines (CBC News Thunder Bay – April 15, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/thunder-bay/

Changes approved by the Ontario Energy Board could make upgrades to power lines across the province cheaper for industries setting up shop in far-flung parts of the province.

The OEB recently overhauled the rules on who pays for the upgrades to power lines. Previously, if industry required a line to be upgraded, it would bear the full cost of the upgrade. Now, a company only has to pay a portion of the upgrade.

Iain Angus, the co-chair of the energy task force with Common Voice Northwest, said one example is an upgrade needed on the power line to Greenstone.

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Mines could go nuclear in less than 10 years – by Karen McKinley (Northern Ontario Business – March 15, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Historic panel talks “reliable, clean and cost-effective” energy being researched partly in Sudbury

Nuclear power is grabbing the attention of the mining industry, to the point where there is a real possibility there could be portable reactors powering mines in less than 10 years.

That was the news delivered at a first-of-its-kind panel discussion at the Prospectors and Developers Association’s (PDAC) annual convention, in Toronto on March 3.

The panel included Vic Pakalnis, president and CEO of Sudbury-based Mirarco, which is part of development of the technology to create small modular reactors (SMR); Diane Cameron of Natural Resources Canada; Ryan Blinn of Westinghouse Electric Company in Pittsburgh, Penn.; Corey McDaniel of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories in Chalk River, Ont.; Frank Saunders of Bruce Power in Tiverton; and Nathan Tedford from Hatch Ltd. in Mississauga.

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Federal government gives $4.2 million to renewables projects at northern mines – by Kylie Williams (CIM Magazine – January 29, 2019)

https://magazine.cim.org/en/

Wind turbines and compressed air energy storage to displace diesel at Raglan and Hope Bay

The federal government is investing $4.2 million in two renewable energy projects in Quebec and Nunavut to reduce reliance on fossil fuels at mines in Canada’s north.

Both projects will be managed by Tugliq Energy Corporation, a renewable energy company focused on remote regions.

The projects will be funded through Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program, said Paul Lefebvre, the parliamentary secretary to Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, at the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia’s (AME) Roundup conference in Vancouver on Monday.

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Mining company optimistic about N.W.T. proposed power expansion – by Richard Gleeson (CBC News Canada North – January 25, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

Environmental group says money could be better spent helping communities off the power grid

A company that’s trying to revive mining in the Yellowknife area is optimistic about funding for the Taltson hydroelectric system — the biggest infrastructure project in the Northwest Territories.

“We’re obviously happy to see somebody starting to pay attention to power in the North,” said Joe Campbell, the executive chairman of TerraX Minerals.

The company is exploring 776 square kilometres of land in and around the city. It’s part of the historic Yellowknife greenstone belt that gave rise to the two gold mines — Con and Giant — and supported the city for more than 50 years.

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News Release: First Nations call on Ontario to fix unjust process threatening electrical transmission reliability (January 17, 2019)

Toronto, Ontario – Today, leaders of six First Nations call on the Ontario Government to intervene and fix a broken process created by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) and the previous Ontario government that ignores First Nations’ rights and northern development pertaining to a necessary and important electricity transmission project planned for Northern Ontario.

The six First Nations are part of Bamkushwada Limited Partnership (BLP). BLP has developed a relationship with NextBridge, the East-West of the East-West Tie Transmission Project that was awarded Leave to Develop by the OEB in 2012. BLP becomes partnered with NextBridge in ownership of this Project when it goes into operation, providing many millions in business contracting and hundreds of employment opportunities for First Nations, and for northern municipalities.

This transmission line is a priority initiative of the Province of Ontario, needed to ensure the reliability of electrical service to communities in the Northwest. Without the Project in-service by 2020, as has been urgently deemed necessary by the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines, and the Independent Electricity System Operator, residential and business customers face a higher likelihood of outages and less reliable electricity overall. NextBridge (partnered with BLP) is the only proponent that can build this line in the timelines that are required by Ontario.

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NEWS RELEASE: NAN WELCOMES PIKANGIKUM’S CONNECTION TO PROVINCIAL ELECTRICITY GRID (December 20, 2018)

THUNDER BAY, ON: Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler, on behalf of the Executive Council, celebrates the shut down of Pikangikum First Nation’s diesel generating station and official energization of the transmission line during a ceremony in the community today.

“This is an enormous achievement and I congratulate Chief Dean Owen and Council for their years of effort to secure a connection to the provincial electricity grid. A reliable power source will finally end Pikangikum’s reliance on diesel generation and help the community advance plans for growth and development,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler.

“We also congratulate Wataynikaneyap Power for their work to connect 17 First Nations to the provincial electricity grid through the first phase of this project. Connecting our remote communities to the provincial grid is better for the environment and will help improve the lives of our members.”

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Northwest Ontario wants regional power pricing – Staff (Northern Ontario Business – December 7, 2018)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

The abundance of hydro-electric power generation in northwestern Ontario has community leaders calling on Queen’s Park for a regional electricity pricing system to attract industry. The Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) is endorsing a proposal from the energy task force of Common Voice Northwest, a public policy think-tank.

“NOMA Board and most residents of the Northwest believe strongly that they should receive the benefit of the low-cost hydro-electric generation scattered throughout the region rather than being forced to pay the higher blended price applied to the entire province,” said NOMA president Wendy Landry in a Dec. 6 statement.

Zonal, or regional pricing, regime was being studied earlier this year by the province’s Independent Electrical System Operator (IESO). It was part of a larger review of the method by which Ontario structures its wholesale electricity rates. The review finished in November.

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Powering the North: $1.6 billion project connects remote communities to grid – by Nick Purdon and Leonardo Palleja (CBC News Canada North – December 2, 2018)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

Ambitious Wataynikaneyap plan involves 17 towns, aims to create skilled jobs in North

“It would mean to me that I am worth something.” That’s why Anthony Begg wants a job on the Wataynikaneyap Power Project. Begg, 24, is one of a dozen trainees taking a two-week “work readiness” course in Kingfisher Lake, Ont.

Located about 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay with no road access, Kingfisher Lake — population 350 — is as remote a community as there is in this country. The training course doesn’t guarantee Begg work on the $1.6-billion project, but it brings hope to a region with an unemployment rate seven times the national average.

“It’s like a second chance to rebuild my life,” says Begg, who dropped out of school part-way through Grade 11. “I didn’t finish, because in my teenage years I was heavily in my addiction, like drinking and drugs and all that stupid stuff.” Begg ended up in jail for assault, but says prison changed him for the better. “I looked around my surroundings and I thought to myself, ‘I don’t want to be like these people. I want to work.'”

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Indigenous Partnerships in Powerful Alignment at Goldcorp’s Musselwhite (Goldcorp.com Blog – November 27, 2018)

Between 2012 and 2015, Goldcorp’s Musselwhite mine partnered with surrounding First Nations communities and provided early funding to create a joint-venture called Wataynikaneyap (Watay) Power, to bring electrical grid connection into the northwest region of Ontario, Canada, and potentially provide power to Musselwhite.

Musselwhite, a fly-in, fly-out operation located approximately 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, operates in a region where 25 remote First Nations communities rely on high-cost diesel generation as their sole source of electricity, burning approximately 25 million litres of diesel fuel a year to get electricity into their homes and businesses – enough diesel to fill 10 Olympic-sized swimming pools.

With additional fuel delivery challenges and environmental disadvantages, this has limited the growth of the communities and their access to economic opportunities. Similarly, Musselwhite has also been significantly constrained by limited transmission grid capacity in the area, resulting in a heavy reliance on diesel generation.

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Will Ford keep his promise to lower hydro costs? He’d better – by Lawrence Solomon (Financial Post – October 30, 2018)

https://business.financialpost.com/

Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s boast, like that of U.S. President Donald Trump’s, is “Promises Made, Promises Kept.” Trump’s strict adherence to keeping his promises — he has kept two-thirds of his 334 promises to date and broken none of any significance — explains the intense loyalty of his base, his rising popularity and the likelihood of his re-election.

Ford has, like Trump, broken out of the gate upon assuming office by fulfilling an impressive number of election promises, among them scrapping the carbon tax and repealing the Green Energy Act.

But the single most important one for super-charging the provincial economy — lowering electricity rates toward free-market prices by cancelling the above-market renewable energy contracts the past Liberal government handed out to friends and benefactors — seems on course to be broken.

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