Archive | Mining Railway, Road and Other Infrastructure

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 →

China unveils its Arctic ambitions, declaring it’s a “near Arctic state” – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – January 29, 2018)

Policy promotes “Polar Silk Road” for circumpolar shipping

China is ready to take its place at the top of the world, according to the country’s new Arctic policy paper. “China is an active participant, builder and contributor in Arctic affairs who has spared no efforts to contribute its wisdom to the development of the Arctic region,” states the policy white paper, released last Friday, Jan. 26.

In the policy, China says it’s a “Near-Arctic State,” one of the continental states that are closest to the Arctic.

As well, “the natural conditions of the Arctic and their changes have a direct impact on China’s climate system and ecological environment, and, in turn, on its economic interests in agriculture, forestry, fishery, marine industry and other sectors,” the policy paper said. Continue Reading →

China unveils vision for ‘Polar Silk Road’ across Arctic (Reuters Canada – January 26, 2018)

BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Friday outlined its ambitions to extend President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative to the Arctic by developing shipping lanes opened up by global warming.

Releasing its first official Arctic policy white paper, China said it would encourage enterprises to build infrastructure and conduct commercial trial voyages, paving the way for Arctic shipping routes that would form a “Polar Silk Road”.

“China hopes to work with all parties to build a ‘Polar Silk Road’ through developing the Arctic shipping routes,” the paper, issued by the State Council Information Office, said. Continue Reading →

Seen as first step to multi-modal system with a future rail ‘spine’ (North Bay Nugget -January 25, 2018)

Two Ontario rail advocacy groups say the recent expansion of Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) bus service is not only the first sign of hope for Northern public transportation users in many years, but it also paves the way to better rail service in the future.

“Any improvement of our system is welcome, whether that it be rail, bus or any other mode that is applicable and affordable,” says All Aboard Northern Ontario founder Eric Boutilier.

“Northern Ontario has seen nothing but a decline in mobility since January 1990, when the federal government hacked off half of the VIA Rail Canada system. The damage done by those cuts was only made worse by the provincial government’s callous 2012 decision to end the ONTC’s Northlander rail service instead of modernizing it.” Continue Reading →

Northern communities face threat of climate change – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – January 25, 2018)

TIMMINS – About 120 Indigenous leaders, scientists and government officials are meeting for a conference in Timmins this week to discuss the potential impacts of climate change on First Nation communities within Mushkegowuk region.

The conference, hosted by Mushkegowuk Council, kicked off Wednesday. The prospect of shorter winters is a particular concern to many residents on the James Bay Coast who rely on the ice road to travel south.

Vern Cheechoo, director of lands and resources for Mushkegowuk Council, said if this warming trend continues, it will add to a push for governments to eventually finance an all-season road from the coast. Mushkegowuk Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon said he has observed changes in climate along the coast within his own lifetime. Continue Reading →

Baffinland railway may be “dead,” Pond Inlet group declares – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – January 8, 2018)

Committee alleges QIA is in a conflict of interest

The controversial 110-kilometre railway that Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. wants to build between the Mary River iron mine and its port at Milne Inlet “may be dead in its tracks,” says a Pond Inlet hamlet committee.

In a statement released near the end of December, when Nunatsiaq News had shut down for the holiday period, the committee, which represents the Hamlet of Pond Inlet and the Mittimatalik Hunters and Trappers Organization, said they have “mounted a challenge” to Baffinland’s railway proposal.

“The Pond Inlet Hamlet Council, together with hunters and trappers organizations from several communities, have written letters, passed resolutions and submitted technical documents opposing the proposed railway,” the Pond Inlet statement said. Continue Reading →

Ontario Northland: Through timber to tidewater – by John Thompson (Railway Age – December 28, 2017)

Some Railway Age readers will be surprised to learn that GO Transit, launched in 1967, was not the first venture of the Province of Ontario into the railway business; that event actually occurred some 60 years earlier. The honor actually belongs to the provincially owned Ontario Northland Railway, which links the city of North Bay, on Lake Nipissing, to Moosonee, on the salt waters of James Bay.

At that time, and until recent years, North Bay was on the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) transcontinental (Montreal-Vancouver) main line. During the past decade, the trackage between a point just east of North Bay, to Smiths Falls (60 miles west of Montreal) was abandoned.

The territories served by the two provincial railways could hardly be more different: GO Transit is based in Toronto, Canada’s largest city, and carries commuters in business attire through an area of subdivisions, apartment towers, industries and fertile farmland. Continue Reading →

Expect action on Ring of Fire in 2018: MPP – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – December 21, 2017)

It won’t be too long after ringing in the New Year that the Ring of Fire will begin to feel a bit closer to reality. “We’re talking about shovels in the ground in 2018,” said Glenn Thibeault this week, in reference to a pair of roads the Wynne government is committed to building to the mineral-rich region.

Earlier in the day the Sudbury MPP met with representatives of Noront Resources, which plans to both extract chromite from the James Bay deposits and refine it through a smelter that will be built somewhere in Northern Ontario — potentially Sudbury.

Noront CEO Alan Coutts was thrilled in August when the Liberal government announced it would fund road construction to The Ring, telling The Star at the time this was “the catalyst that was needed.” Continue Reading →

Long-awaited link to First Nation – by Larry Kusch (Winnipeg Free Press – December 12, 2017)

Berens River residents hope all-weather road boosts economy, tourism

The once-isolated Berens River First Nation celebrated the completion of a $200-million all-weather road Tuesday and the hope it will spur ecotourism and other economic opportunities.

The 2,000-member community greeted provincial Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler with soup, bannock with butter and jam, and tea after his four-hour trek from Winnipeg. “It’s supposed to be very beautiful in the summer, but driving up in winter was just magnificent,” Schuler said upon his arrival.

Berens River Mayor Allan Atlookan said community elders have spoken about a year-round road link for decades. Some have died before they could witness the realization of that dream. “It’s over 40 to 50 years in the making,” he told reporters in a telephone conference call.”It is an opening to the world out there for not just the local… people, but for tourism. The doors are starting to open up for us.” Continue Reading →

Noront expects to see roads to Ring of Fire in the new year (CBC News Thunder Bay – December 11, 2017)

It’s no secret that the Ring of Fire development, located approximately 575 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ont., is expected to generate a significant amount of minerals, including nickel, copper and chromite.

And while the project has been stalled for some time due to the lack of road access, this past summer Premier Kathleen Wynn announced that the provincial government is ready and willing to work with a handful of nearby communities to develop a year-round road access to the mineral-rich area. Noront President and CEO Alan Coutts said roads are needed in order to move this project forward as “assets are stranded there” otherwise.

He said when the Premier made her announcement in August of 2017, she chose a few nearby communities with road proposals in place — Marten Falls, Webequie, Nibinamik as well as Aroland — to facilitate an all-season road access into the region and connect the communities to Ontario’s highway system. Continue Reading →

Remote First Nation celebrates construction of all-season bridge – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – October 19, 2017)

Span at North Caribou Lake First Nation will offer community year-round access

A new bridge constructed at North Caribou Lake First Nation will eliminate the community’s reliance on winter roads and provide year-round access. The span, which crosses the Weagamou Lake narrows, connects the community to Pickle Lake via the Northern Ontario Resource Trail (NORT).

Launched 12 years ago under the winter alignment process, the project cost $5.1 million and was funded by the federal government.

“Our Elders have asked for the Wa-Pik-Che-Wanoog bridge for years because they have witnessed the effects of climate change in our territory and knew how it would influence life in our community. The winter roads can be dangerous, and two pieces of heavy equipment have gone through the ice while trying to maintain them,” said Chief Dinah Kanate in a release. Continue Reading →

Noront hits encouraging VMS mineralisation at McFaulds No 8; requests proposals for plant – by Henry Lazenby ( – November 27, 2017)

VANCOUVER ( – Ring of Fire (RoF) development champion Noront Resources has intersected encouraging results at the McFaulds No 8 volcanogenic massive sulphide (VMS) deposit, hosted on the property where the first discoveries in the RoF were made and which spurred the initial staking rush in 2002 to 2003.

The Toronto-headquartered company reported that follow-up drilling on the recently discovered McFaulds No 8 VMS occurrence was completed in October, comprising a single hole (MCF-17-89) totalling 566 m being drilled up-dip from a previous intersection in hold MCF-17-88.

The Main Zone at hole MCF-17-89 intersected 10.9 m of massive sulphide grading 1.1% copper, 1.7% zinc, 10.9 g/t silver and 0.4 g/t gold. The MCF-17-89 intersection is located about 88 m up-dip from MCF-17-88, and is an early indication of excellent up-dip continuity of the sulphide lens at McFaulds No 8, the company advised in a press release on Monday. Continue Reading →

Climate change moving faster than Ontario government: Winter road plan needs timeline and goals, says logistics prof – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 28, 2017)

The rate of climate change in the Far North may render the winter road network unsafe and uneconomic within a decade, according to a logistics expert.

Barry Prentice, a University of Manitoba professor of Supply Chain Management, responded to recommendations in a draft report of the provincial government’s Northern Ontario Multimodal Transportation Strategy (NOMTS) on the topic of the winter road network.

The draft strategy recommends that winter roads be designed and constructed in such a way as to mitigate the impact of climate change or consider other transportation alternatives. It also suggests expanding all-season roads in cooperation with government and First Nation communities. Continue Reading →

Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk road finally connects Canada from sea to sea to sea – by Jim Coyle (Toronto Star – November 18, 2017)

When Eddie Gruben got into the transportation business in the 1950s in the Northwest Territories, his means of locomotion for hauling supplies between Arctic communities was dogsled.

The corporate logo for E. Gruben’s Transport Ltd. is still a man with a pack on his back and a dog team. But the company — now grown into a successful contracting and project management firm with offices in Inuvik and Edmonton and headquarters in Tuktoyaktuk — has changed dramatically.

This week, so did the region, with the official opening on Wednesday of the Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, a road Eddie’s grandson helped build. “It’s a lot of years coming,” said Merven Gruben, a former mayor of the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and current vice-president of the firm his late grandfather founded. “It’s something that we’ve been dreaming about for so many years.” Continue Reading →