Archive | Mining Railway, Road and Other Infrastructure

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 →

For truck drivers on Siberia’s ice highways, climate change is terrifying Andrew E. Kramer (Toronto Star/New York Times – April 27, 2018)

At a truck stop at the northern terminus of the Vilyui ice highway in northeastern Siberia, drivers make small talk not about life on the road but rather the life of the road.

It might last another week, suggested one driver casually, tucking into a steaming plate of meatballs. “Not likely,” countered Maxim A. Andreyevsky, 31, the driver of a crude oil tanker truck. “Didn’t you see the shimmer on the surface? It will be gone in a day or two.”

Every spring, thousands of miles of so-called winter highway in Russia, mostly serving oil and mining towns in Siberia and far northern European Russia, melt back into the swamps from which they were conjured the previous fall. And every year, it seems to the men whose livelihoods depend upon it, the road of ice melts earlier. Continue Reading →

Grays Bay project dealt huge blow as federal funding denied – by Nick Murray (CBC News North – April 16, 2018)

Government of Nunavut pulls out of project that would connect proposed deep-water port to diamond mines

The Nunavut government has pulled its resources out of the Grays Bay Road and Port Project, after its request for federal funding to cover three-quarters of the estimated $527-million price tag was denied by Ottawa last week.

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 Northwest Territories’ richest areas in minerals.

The project has the potential to create 2,250 full-time equivalent jobs in Nunavut and contribute $665 million to the territory’s mining operation revenues, according to a January 2018 economic assessment report. Continue Reading →

Chemical, mining industries say rail backlog causing plant shutdowns, lost sales – by Eric Atkins (Globe and Mail – March 22, 2018)

The rail backlog that has angered the North American grain industry and led to the ouster of one railway chief has spread to chemical and metals companies, who say unreliable train service is causing plant shutdowns and lost sales.

Bob Masterson, chief executive of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, said inadequate rail service has disrupted production at 13 plants, including five that had “complete shutdowns.” Eight companies said the rail problems extended to their customers, who also had to halt production because of delayed train deliveries, he said, declining to identify the companies.

Teck Resources Ltd., a miner that says it is the biggest customer of Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. and the country’s biggest rail shipper, claimed rail service failures have cost it hundreds of millions of dollars in the past decade. Continue Reading →

Could the road, railway to the Ring of Fire be built by foreign workers? – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – March 14, 2018)

Union warns Trans-Pacific trade deal potentially undermines Canadian contractors, tradespeople on big resource projects

A union representing heavy equipment operators claims the Trans-Pacific Partnership opens the door to an influx of temporary foreign workers that will cost jobs in Canada.

The International Union of Operating Engineers said a loophole in the trade deal signed by the Canadian government this month could take wages offshore and stands to undermine the Canadian economy.

“By signing this deal, the Liberals are failing to protect construction workers in this country,” said Mike Gallagher, business manager of Local 793 in Oakville, representing nearly 15,000 crane and heavy equipment operators across Ontario. Continue Reading →

Noront sees some light from the Ring of Fire – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February 8, 2018)

Mine developer pleased First Nation partnership, government getting traction on access road

What a difference a year makes. Early last year, Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts delivered a doom-and-gloom speech to a Sudbury crowd that cast doubt about whether the Toronto mine developer even saw a future in the Ring of Fire.

There was frustration over government inaction in planning an access road to reach the isolated James Bay mineral deposits, the glacial pace of dialogue with First Nation communities with the Regional Framework talks seemed to be going nowhere, and Coutts was dropping hints that the project could be shelved if the company’s financial backers weren’t seeing progress.

This time, an upbeat Coutts was striking a more optimistic tone as the featured headliner at the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce’s Procurement, Employment and Partnerships Conference on Feb. 6. Continue Reading →

Ontario Northland excited about potential of Ring of Fire – by Chris Dawson (Northern Ontario Business – January 31, 2018)

CEO Corina Moore mused about opportunities for rail network

Corina Moore knows it’s not happening now, but the Ontario Northland CEO is excited about the potential the Ring of Fire has for the Crown corporation.

“It would be the 50 years (of) sustainability for Ontario Northland,” said Moore during a luncheon at the Canadian Club meeting in North Bay on Jan. 24.

“It is a very huge opportunity. It is a number of years out and there are lots of different other mining opportunities that are closer in turn that we are working with.” Continue Reading →