Archive | Mining Railway, Road and Other Infrastructure

Adani ditches plan to build rail line for Carmichael coalmine Lisa Cox and Austalian Associated Press (The Guardian – September 13, 2018)

Adani has ditched plans to build a new rail line from Abbot Point to get coal out of Queensland’s Galilee Basin, opting for a cut-price solution using existing lines.

The Indian miner had planned to build a new 388km line from its controversial Carmichael mine to Abbot Point for export, but now says it will “instead leverage existing rail infrastructure”.

The new proposal will make use of the existing Aurizon rail infrastructure that runs to Abbot Point. A new narrow-gauge rail line of about 200 km would be constructed to connect the existing network to the Carmichael mine site, reducing the length of the track Adani would have to build by 188km, and significantly reducing the cost. Continue Reading →

Reaching arctic mines by sea: Operating in northern Canada often means creating your own transportation routes – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – September 10, 2018)

Amid all the controversy over spending $4.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy a pipeline project whose $9.3-billion expansion might never go through, Ottawa managed to come up with some good, if relatively minor, infrastructure news.

Rehab work will begin immediately on an idled railway connecting with a port that together linked Churchill, Manitoba, with the rest of Canada by land and the world by sea. Should all go to plan the private-public partnership would be one of just a few recent success stories in northern infrastructure.

Denver-based owner OmniTRAX shut down Churchill’s deep-water port in 2016, blaming the demise of grain shipping through that route. The following year the company said it couldn’t afford rail repairs after a flood washed out sections of the line. Continue Reading →

A golden route north: Railway believed it was on track to help expand early 20th-century N. Ontario fortunes – by Chad Beharriell (Sault Star – September 6, 2018)

In the early days of the 20th century, a local railway had big dreams for its economic role in Northern Ontario. The early 20th century, Northern Ontario was one of expansion and exploration. Industries expanded with the technology-at-hand and exploration sought tradeable resources and new transportation routes.

The Bruce Mines & Algoma Railway (BM & A) represented those parallel drives and within its history is the chapter of one man’s work to add to both. Chartered in 1899 by the Rock Lake Mining Co., the standard-gauge BM & A was created to run north 15 miles (24 kilometres) from Bruce Station on the local Canadian Pacific (CP) rail line to the company’s copper mill at said lake.

The initial goal was to ship concentrated ore westward to a smelter in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Following the Thessalon River valley, and receiving an Ontario government subsidy, the line was finished in the Fall of 1901. Continue Reading →

Churchill residents hopeful railway deal will revitalize their shuttered port – by Rob Drinkwater (Canadian Press/Globe and Mail – September 3, 2018)

News of a deal to sell and repair a Manitoba town’s broken rail line means more than just a return to reasonably priced groceries and easier access for visitors to the polar bear capital of Canada.

It has brought hope that Churchill, the once-bustling port on Hudson Bay, will soon be busy again.

“The future looks bright in terms of that to happen,” Churchill Mayor Mike Spence said Saturday, a day after an announcement that the rail line, port facilities and tank farm in Churchill have been sold by Omnitrax. Continue Reading →

Chinese-Built Port Evokes Dreams of El Dorado in Cameroon – by Pauline Bax (Bloomberg News – August 29, 2018)

A controversial $1.3 billion port in Cameroon will open the region’s iron ore, cotton and other commodities to world markets.

Every day at sunrise, Alain Eko walks half an hour on a footpath cutting through a coastal forest to the edge of what’s to become the biggest deep-water port in central Africa.

Eko, 34, is among hundreds of migrant workers who have pinned their hopes on Cameroon’s most ambitious project since independence in 1960 that’s meant to transform the sleepy fishing town of Kribi into an industrial hub.

Built and funded by China, the project is helping Chinese companies gain a foothold in Cameroon, whose oil-dependent economy used to be dominated by French firms, and eased access to neighboring Chad and Central African Republic. Continue Reading →

Eritrea Mulls Port as Ethiopia Rapprochement Spurs Investors – by Nizar Manek (Bloomberg News – August 23, 2018)

Eritrea is considering building a port on its Red Sea coastline to export potash from deposits being developed in the Horn of Africa nation, a mines ministry official said.

Plans for the harbor signal the country’s reemergence as a potential investor destination after its surprise rapprochement with neighboring Ethiopia last month ended two decades of political tensions.

The facility could be used to ship potash from Ethiopia and adds to a series of port developments in the strategically located region by nations including Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan and the self-declared Republic of Somaliland. Continue Reading →

N.W.T. premier says Tlicho should have known about Fortune Minerals court application – by Richard Gleeson (CBC News North – June 27, 2018)

Bob McLeod defends government’s decision to help settle negotiation over access road to NICO project

The premier of the Northwest Territories says his government did nothing wrong in applying to the courts to settle a negotiation between a mining company and the Tlicho government.

Bob McLeod was responding to the Tlicho government’s suggestion that the territorial government is siding with a junior mining company against the First Nation. “It seems a stretch to me,” he said during an interview Monday. “If you negotiate a process in a land-claim agreement, how can you impute motives? Any project that comes along, are they going to accuse us of siding with a mining proponent?”

Fortune Minerals wants to build a 49-kilometre road from the end of the proposed Tlicho all-season road to its NICO project. According to an affidavit from a government official, Fortune wrote to the government to say its attempt to negotiate an access agreement with the Tlicho to allow construction of the road has stalled. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Accent: Move 10,000 civil service jobs North [Part 3 of 5] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – June 5, 2018)

Without a doubt, the provincial economy overall is doing great. Growth rates of 2.8 per cent in 2017 and a slightly lower rate of 2.4 per cent predicted for this year has allowed the Ontario to gain 335,000 new jobs and lowered unemployment to 5.5 per cent in March.

However, the vast majority of that prosperity is focused on the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). In fact, over the past decade, roughly 80 per cent of new jobs created in Ontario went to the GTA, 10 per cent to Ottawa and the rest of the province had to make due with the remaining 10 per cent.

Is it any wonder why the GTA is drowning in prosperity, with crowded subways, congested highways and an over-inflated housing market?

In the1980s, former Liberal premier David Peterson had an innovative vision of sharing the job wealth with the rest of the province as the government is a major employer. He transferred 1,600 civil service jobs from a number of ministries to Northern Ontario. Thousands of other jobs were also moved to various cities in southern Ontario like Kingston, Peterborough, Orillia and Guelph. Continue Reading →


Montreal-based Fednav has ordered a new icebreaking bulk carrier in Japan to sustain the year-round transportation requirements of Glencore’s Raglan nickel mine in northern Quebec, writes David Tinsley.

The 31,000dwt vessel has been contracted through trading house Sumitomo Corporation and will be built by Japan Marine United Corporation (JMU) at the Yokohama shipyard. The template for the project will be provided by Fednav’s 31,750dwt Nunavik, claimed to be the world’s most powerful icebreaking bulker when commissioned in 2014 from JMU’s Tsu yard.

Nunavik is in turn similar in design to the company’s 32,000dwt Umiak 1, delivered in 2006 by JMU predecessor Universal Shipbuilding. Both existing vessels support northern mining operations.

The newbuild will be of Polar Class 4 standard and, as with Umiak 1 and Nunavik, will offer a broader cargo carrying capability than that of a pure bulker. While ensuring a southbound flow of high quality nickel concentrates, she will also be used to transport a variety of supplies to the mining complex on northbound voyages, including equipment, machinery and dry and liquid consumables. Continue Reading →

Marten Falls, Webequie deny ‘closed door’ approach in all-weather road agreements (CBC News Thunder Bay – June 4, 2018)

Neskantaga and Eabametoong say they aren’t being consulted over proposed Ring of Fire projects

Two northern Ontario Indigenous communities are calling on the province to “re-set” the process governing mining development in the Ring of Fire, saying they aren’t being properly consulted.

In a media release issued last week, Neskantaga and Eabametoong say “the approach the Wynne government is taking to roads in the Ring of Fire is a scandal and could be a nail in the coffin for our Aboriginal rights and way of life,” calling the process unreasonable and unfair.

Neskantaga and Eabametoong are among the nine Indigenous communities that signed an agreement with the province in 2014, which was to be a guideline for development in the Ring of Fire, a major deposit of chromite and other minerals in the James Bay Lowlands, about 575 kilometres north of Thunder Bay. Continue Reading →

Nunavut gov’t pulled out of Grays Bay Road and Port Project before federal funding decision – by Nick Murray (CBC Canada News North – May 31, 2018)

Government says in line with new mandate, Kitikmeot Inuit Association says based on inaccurate information

The Nunavut government pulled out as a co-proponent on the federal funding application for the Grays Bay Road and Port Project, before learning whether the application was successful or not.

The move is significant as it’s one of the Quassa government’s first visible public policy shifts away from the previous government under Peter Taptuna. But the Kitikmeot Inuit Association, now the project’s sole proponent, says the government made its decision to pull out based on inaccurate information.

The proposed project is a 227-kilometre all-season road to connect a proposed deep-water port at Grays Bay — on the Northwest Passage between Bathurst Inlet and Kugluktuk — to the winter road that services the N.W.T.’s diamond mines. It’s one of Nunavut and the Northwest Territories’ richest areas in minerals. Continue Reading →

Start of environmental process for Ring of Fire roads anger isolated First Nations – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – June 1, 2018)

Neskantaga, Eabemetoong out to stop provincial road-building process that excludes them

The signing of provincial agreements to get two proposed Ring of Fire roads out of the starting blocks has drawn the wrath of two area First Nation communities.

The Matawa First Nations communities of Neskantaga and Eabametoong call the agreements to initiate the provincial environmental assessment process (EA) to build roads into the Far North an “aggressive” move by Queen’s Park that sidesteps the government’s regional consensus-based approach to development.

The communities said the government’s “private deals” with its neighbours, Marten Falls and Webequie, “will only lead to further frustrations and delays” in getting roads built in the James Bay region. “This is a big step toward opening up the North,” said Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias in an interview. ”If the roads are going to go in and there’s no involvement from our communities then it’s going to be a challenge for the proponents or the government that’s going to try and take this project forward.” Continue Reading →

Ottawa just tied Canadian miners to the tracks of a railway duopoly – by Pierre Gratton (Financial Post – May 23, 2018)

Opinion: The costs of doing business in Canada are going to rise more, as railways reap the gains of having a minister and government squarely in their corner

In the next week or so, Parliament is expected to pass Bill C-49, a bill amending the Canada Transportation Act (CTA). The bill will impact the mining sector’s ability to get our products to market reliably and cost-effectively on Canada’s railroads, which are controlled by only two companies.

Mining products represent about half of rail freight revenue and volume and 20 per cent of Canada’s exports, and support hundreds of thousands of jobs. Bill C-49 will likely contribute to higher costs and reduced railway service for Canada’s miners, and harm our nation’s ability to compete globally for jobs and investment.

Over the past few months, there has been extensive media coverage about poor rail service affecting grain farmers. But with grain representing little more than 10 per cent of rail volume, the debate has ignored the larger issue, like a tail wagging the dog of Canada’s export economy. Continue Reading →

Overwhelmed railroads threaten Canadian export economy – by Jen Skerritt, Kevin Orland and Federic Tomesco (Toronto Star/Bloomberg – May 9, 2018)

WINNIPEG—Every day for more than six months, Jessica Raycraft has confronted hulking mounds of evidence of the great Canadian bottleneck. They’re stranded on her farm — wheat, peas and canola in 91-metre-long, 3-metre-high bags, an astonishing 50,000 bushels, enough to fill 15 rail cars.

“Nobody would take it,” Raycraft said from her home near Tramping Lake in Saskatchewan. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that space finally opened up on freight trains, and then the fields were such a mess of mud from the spring melt that the bags were stuck. “We couldn’t move it.”

That pretty much sums up the problem with Canada. Its railroads are overwhelmed, threatening the country’s standing as a major exporter of commodities and slamming businesses — from relatively modest ones such as Raycraft’s to the likes of oil-giant Cenovus Energy Inc. — that have precious few transportation alternatives. Continue Reading →

Mining Group Sounds Alarm in Canadian Railway Legislation Fight – by Josh Wingrove and Frederic Tomesco (Bloomberg News – April 30, 2018)

A proposed law raising foreign ownership limits in airlines and Canada’s biggest railway carrier is headed back to the Senate, the latest step in a tug-of-war that has the mining sector speaking out.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has spent the past year plodding forward with a legislative overhaul that affects major companies like Canadian National Railway Co., Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd., Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. Senators changed the bill a month ago, giving shippers like farmers and mines more power in disputes with railways.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau will accept some but not all of the changes made and will add tweaks of his own, meaning the proposed law will need to return to the Senate. It’s unclear how long that will take. Continue Reading →