Archive | Mining Railway, Road and Other Infrastructure

JOURNEY DOWN THE RAILWAY THAT COULDN’T BE BUILT – by Peter Gzowski (MACLEAN’S Magazine – Novmeber 16, 1963)

https://archive.macleans.ca/

A portrait, then and now, of the extraordinary feat that is the Quebec North Shore and Labrador line

THE SUN was inching into the bleak northern sky when Maclean’s photo editor Don Newlands and I checked out of the Sir Wilfred Grenfell Hotel in Wabush, Labrador, to begin the journey to Seven Islands, Que. We had flown into Wabush directly from Toronto and spent a few days there looking into life on the last frontier, à la 1963, and although we had both enjoyed our visit with the men and women who are opening up the wilderness, I for one was anxious to get going.

Our program was to drive our rented car to Labrador City, three miles away over a dirt road, and then take the passenger-express train from there to Seven Islands. Most of this journey would be over the QNS & L — the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway — and seeing the railway, I knew, would be an exciting experience for me.

I had spent the summer of 1952 as a beardless (though not for lack of trying) chain man on a survey party helping to build the QNS & L. And, although I hadn’t been back in eleven years, I had retained a sort of proprietary interest in the railway.

The QNS & L was one of the great construction projects of our time, a job that many expert engineers were certain could never be finished, and many of us who worked on it — there were as many as seven thousand men employed at one time — looked on the achievement much the way war veterans look on battles their regiments have won. Continue Reading →

Paved with promises (Part Two): The North’s infrastructure deficit impacts sovereignty, the economy and quality of life – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – October 7, 2019)

http://resourceclips.com/

Canada would gain a deep-water arctic port, Nunavut would get its first road out of the territory and mineral-rich regions would open up if two mega-proposals come to fruition.

Recent funding announcements to study the Northwest Territories’ Slave Geological Province Corridor and Nunavut’s Grays Bay Road and Port projects could lead to a unified all-season route from a highway running northeast out of Yellowknife to stretch north through the Lac de Gras diamond fields, past the Slave and Izok base and precious metals regions, and on to Arctic Ocean shipping.

In mid-August, as federal and NWT elections neared, representatives from both levels of government announced a $40-million study into a possible 413-kilometre all-season route linking the NWT’s Highway #4 with a proposed Nunavut road. The project would also extend the NWT electrical grid to the Slave region, which straddles both sides of the NWT-Nunavut border. Continue Reading →

Paved with promises (Part One): The North’s infrastructure needs get some attention from campaigning politicians – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – October 7, 2019)

http://resourceclips.com/

Could this be the time when decision-makers finally get serious about Northern infrastructure? With one territorial election just concluded and a deficit-budget-friendly incumbent federal party campaigning for re-election, Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut might have reason to expect definitive action demonstrated by men, women and machinery at work. But while some projects show real progress, much of Canada’s Northern potential remains bogged down in talk and studies.

That’s despite some $700 million allocated to the North in Ottawa’s pre-election budget and months of Liberal spending promises since then. Not all that money was intended for infrastructure, however, and even some of the projects labelled that way turn out to be social or cultural programs.

Not necessarily new money either, much of it comes out of Ottawa’s $2-billion National Trade Corridors Fund, now two years into an 11-year program that promised up to $400 million for transportation infrastructure in the three territories by 2028. Continue Reading →

Nunavut’s newest MLA talks about mining and infrastructure – by Elaine Anselmi (Nunatsiaq News – October 17, 2019)

https://nunatsiaq.com/

As Nunavut’s legislature starts its fall sitting, David Qamaniq delivers his first members statement

The opening of the Nunavut legislative assembly’s fall sitting saw the newly minted Tununiq MLA, David Qajaakuttuk Qamaniq, give his first member’s statement.

“I would not be here today without the hard work and success of many people,” he opened, thanking his family and friends, as well as the opponent he faced in last month’s byelection, Charlie Inuarak.

“I fully recognize that I have joined this house at the midway point in its term. It feels like joining the National Hockey League midway through the season,” Qamaniq said, prompting laughs all around. Continue Reading →

How to build Ontario: The north needs roads – by Sean Marshall (TV Ontario – September 25, 2019)

https://www.tvo.org/

ANALYSIS: To boost the region’s economy, meet the challenges of climate change, and provide access to First Nations communities, experts say we need to invest in road infrastructure.

In January 2016, a bridge over the Nipigon River failed. Located roughly 100 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, it forms part of the Trans-Canada Highway — when it was closed after bolts snapped, causing decking to rise 60 centimetres, the highway’s east-west link was severed. “This is the one place in Canada where there is only one road, one bridge across the country,” said Nipigon mayor Richard Harvey.

The only alternative route was through the United States. Truck drivers were stranded in towns such as Greenstone, which issued a state of emergency until temporary repairs could be completed. (The cable-stayed bridge — Ontario’s first — is now complete and has separate spans for eastbound and westbound traffic.)

Across Canada, governments invest in road infrastructure to boost trade and tourism and to improve safety and travel times. In southern Ontario, major highway projects underway include the completion of Highway 407 through Durham Region, a new alignment of Highway 7 between Guelph and Kitchener, and the widening of Highway 400 between Vaughan and Barrie. But in northern Ontario, where the road network is sparse, highways are an essential lifeline. Continue Reading →

‘Historic event’: Groundbreaking marks start of Tlicho all-season road construction (CBC News North – August 23, 2019)

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

Elected officials stabbed at muddy ground with clean shovels at the official groundbreaking on the Tlicho all-season road in Whatı̀​​​, N.W.T., on Saturday. For Whatı̀ Chief Alfonz Nitsiza, the moment was the culmination of decades of effort.

Speaking to reporters in a scrum, Nitsiza said that decades ago two elders — including his own uncle, who is a former chief — survived two plane crashes in the Tlicho region.

“They quickly realized, this is too much, and there’s a lot of people going in and out of the community for medevac, we need to get a road here. That’s when it all started — almost 30 years ago.” Continue Reading →

Pre-election goodies for First Nation bridges, clean water projects – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – September 10, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Ahead of a federal election, Ottawa was rolling out funding and breaking ground on First Nation community infrastructure projects across Northern Ontario. Nipissing First Nation, west of North Bay, received $3.3 million to build a new road between the on-reserve communities of Yellek and Duchesnay.

The construction involves building a 2.1-kilometre paved road with shoulders, walkways and culverts. Local MP Anthony Rota said on Sept.6 that the road gives members “better access to critical services” and will improve community safety.

The province is chipping in $808,650 for the project while Nipissing First Nation is contributing $294,225. “In 2015, our citizens identified this linkage as a priority to address safety concerns stemming from both communities having only one access point,” said Chief Scott McLeod in a press release. “This critical new infrastructure will also open up land for development and lead to more centralized services to improve quality of life for our citizens.” Continue Reading →

China would benefit most from billion-dollar, 700-km highway through Canadian Arctic, critics say – by Meagan Campbell (National Post – August 23, 2019)

https://nationalpost.com/

Questions are being raised about plans to build a $1-billion, 700-km highway from Yellowknife to a proposed port on Nunavut’s Arctic coast, paid for by Canadians but which critics say would largely serve Chinese government interests.

Last week, Transport Minister Marc Garneau pledged more than $50 million to the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to study the feasibility of a highway to replace ice roads that are no longer reliable amid climate change.

While local leaders applaud the funding, critics say the largest benefit would go to a mining company, MMG, which is controlled by the Chinese government and holds several mineral deposits in the region where the highway would be built. Continue Reading →

Northern residents applaud pair of federal announcements paving way to long-awaited all-weather Arctic road – by Bob Weber (Globe and Mail – August 16, 2019)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

CANADIAN PRESS: Two federal announcements this week are expected to kick-start a long-awaited road into the heart of the Canadian Arctic that would lower grocery costs for northern families and unlock billions of dollars in mineral resources.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau pledged more than $50-million to cover preliminary studies and planning for an all-weather road from Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories to a deep-water port on Nunavut’s central Arctic coast.

“This will change the economy of Canada,” Wally Schumann, the NWT’s minister of industry, tourism and investment, said Thursday. A direct, all-weather connection to southern Canada’s highways – Nunavut’s first – would allow everything from fresh vegetables to construction materials to be shipped more cheaply and easily by trucks. Continue Reading →

Ottawa gives $21.5 million to Kitikmeot road and port project – by Derek Neary (Nunavut News – August 13, 2019)

Nunavut News

The federal government is committing $21.5 million to the Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s slimmed-down request to get the Grays Bay Road and Port project “shovel ready” over the next couple of years.

The funding announcement for the initiative, which is expected to make Nunavut mining projects more economical and potentially reduce cost for community resupply, came Tuesday in Iqaluit. Federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau was on hand for the occasion.

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. (NTI) had already announced that it would give $7.25 million to the initiative. “We are very happy with the outcome… we feel good about where we are,” said Scott Northey, CEO of Nunavut Resources Corporation in regards to the financing from the federal government and NTI. Continue Reading →

Guinea iron ore prospectors set sights on ArcelorMittal rail – by Barbara Lewis and Saliou Samb (Reuters U.S. – June 5, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON/CONAKRY (Reuters) – The race to mine Guinea’s iron ore has started although the focus is not on its giant Simandou deposits but on smaller finds whose output could be transported via Liberia if ArcelorMittal shares its railway, banking and industry sources said.

Guinea’s aspirations to develop Simandou, the world’s largest known untapped iron ore deposit, have foundered because of the cost of infrastructure and protracted legal disputes.

Guinea says it is still trying to reach a deal with China to build the roughly 650 km (406 miles) of railway needed to transport the iron ore through Guinea. Continue Reading →

Thunder Bay: Project to build permanent road to northern Ontario First Nation ‘the right move’ chief says – by Matt Prokopchuk (CBC News Thunder Bay – April 18, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/

The chief of a northern Ontario First Nation says an ongoing project to build an all-season road to the community will help in many ways.

Marten Falls, which is about 300 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, is in the midst of the provincial environmental assessment process to construct a thoroughfare that will link the remote First Nation to the provincial highway system north of Nakina.

“There’s a lot of socio-economic benefits that would derive from having an all-weather road to the community,” said Chief Bruce Achneepineskum, adding that those would include lowering the cost of freight, making it easier for community members to travel and better positioning the First Nation to take advantage of various economic development opportunities in the forestry, mining and tourism sectors. Continue Reading →

CLIMATE CHANGE THREATENS ICE ROADS. SATELLITES COULD HELP – by Nick Stockton (Wired Magazine – April 18, 2019)

https://www.wired.com/

FOR A FEW months each winter, Canada’s Tibbitt to Contwoyto Winter Road is the world’s longest ice highway, a 300-plus-mile network of frozen lakes that connects lucrative diamond mines in Canada’s Northwest Territories to supplies from the nation’s not-quite-so-far north.

But warmer winters and earlier springs have shortened the road’s open season by up to two weeks over the past decade. The loss of the road for even such a short time is very expensive, because the only other way to reach these mines is by air.

Salvation may come from space. A Canadian researcher has demonstrated that radar emitted from satellites can peer through the ice, determining not just its thickness but also its quality. (Does it have a lot of bubbles? Continue Reading →

Grays Bay Road and Port gets going again – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – April 9, 2019)

https://nunatsiaq.com/

“We have just applied for funding from the federal government to make the project ‘shovel ready’”

Western Nunavut’s Grays Bay Road and Port Project is back: the Kitikmeot Inuit Association’s wholly-owned subsidiary, the Nunavut Resources Corp., has reapplied for money from the federal trade corridors program.

“We have just applied for funding from the federal government to make the project ‘shovel ready,” said Scott Northey, the NRC’s director and CEO, who spoke at last week’s Nunavut Mining Symposium in Iqaluit. To do that, they’ll need about $22-million to add to the roughly $7 million that Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. has committed to the project.

The $550-million Grays Bay project would involve the construction of a 227-kilometre all-weather road running from the site of the defunct Jericho mine, which is located at the northern end of the Tibbit-Contwoyto winter road, to a deep-sea port at Grays Bay on Coronation Gulf. Continue Reading →

Panelists at Nunavut Mining Symposium want link to Canada’s road system – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – April 2, 2019)

https://nunatsiaq.com/

Governments of NWT and Nunavut and Inuit orgs united in call for North-South road connection

At the Nunavut Mining Symposium, now underway in Iqaluit, you don’t have to look far to find supporters of a road linking Nunavut to the Northwest Territories or Manitoba, to reduce the North’s dependence on marine transportation and satellite telecommunications.

At a Monday morning panel session called, “Maybe the resources are the road?,” the Northwest Territories’ industry minister, Wally Schumann, Nunavut’s transportation minister, David Akeeagok, and Kitikmeot Inuit Association President Stanley Anablak all made pitches for roads and how the federal government should come up with money to help make that happen.

Anablak, a promoter of the Grays Bay port and road project, which would aim to join the Arctic coast to mines in the western Kitikmeot and eventually the N.W.T., said that proposed project in western Nunavut finally has regained Nunavut government support. Continue Reading →