Why Ian Delaney, the Smiling Barracuda of Bay Street, is moving on – by Jacquie Mcnish (Globe and Mail – December 17, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

TORONTO— Weeks away from ending a 21-year run at the helm of Sherritt International Corp., Ian Delaney has lost none of the bluster that defined his tumultuous reign at the mining conglomerate.

“I’m not retiring; I’m firing myself,” he says, flashing the toothy grin that years ago earned him the nickname, the Smiling Barracuda of Bay Street.

In January, Mr. Delaney, 68, will hand the reins to successor David Pathe, saying it’s time. “One of the disadvantages about getting old is you get too thoughtful. We need younger people who have higher energy levels,” Mr. Delaney says.

Still, talking to the chief executive officer over a simple lunch of baked chicken and steamed vegetables at Sheritt’s spartan offices in Toronto’s Rosedale neighbourhood, the Bay Street legend sounds more restless than tired. “The intensity is gone,” he says, poking at a steamed vegetable. “I can no longer flip the company on its ear every 18 months with a deal.”

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NFB Film: The Hole Story – by Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie


The following is from the National Film Board of Canada Press Kit


“Don’t know much about mines? Not many people do. Mines don’t talk. Especially about their history.” Richard Desjardins and Robert Monderie explore this history in their latest documentary, The Hole Story. Produced by the National Film Board of Canada, the film continues in the same provocative vein as their earlier Forest Alert.

The history of mining in Canada is the story of astronomical profits made with utter disregard for the environment and human health. It’s also a corrupt and sometimes sinister story. For example, during the First World War, nickel from Sudbury was sold to the German army to make the bullets that ended up killing soldiers from Sudbury in the Battle of Vimy Ridge. In Cobalt, a town in Ontario that once had no garbage collection, people were dying of typhoid.

Meanwhile, the first Canadian mining magnates were growing filthy rich selling silver to England from the 40 mines surrounding the town.

Timmins has its own shameful mining story. In the woods,50 kilometres west of the railroad, prospectors quickly staked their claims before heading to the government office to register their hectares and take ownership of the subsoil.

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Northern mining communities prosper as south struggles – by Chip Martin/QMI Agency (December 12, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

Mining analyst Sudol said the high-tech nature of mining
in 2011 is not well understood. “We all talk about high
tech in Kitchener-Waterloo and Silicon Valley in California
and we are sort of ignoring an extraordinarily interesting
concentration of mining technology, research and education
in Sudbury.”

The same thing killing jobs in southwestern Ontario is creating them by the thousands in Northern Ontario.

The industrialization and urbanization of China, Brazil and India is causing the flight of well-paid industrial jobs to those emerging economies. The fallout is unemployment in Ontario’s industrial sector and unemployment rates soaring to 9.8% in London and 10.8% in Windsor.

But the loss for the south is a gain for the north.

Unemployment is low in places such as Kirkland Lake and Sudbury. Mines and mine-related businesses are clamouring for workers.

“The industrialization and urbanization of China, India and Brazil and many other developing countries will be ongoing for many generations to come,” says respected mining consultant and analyst Stan Sudol.

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Quadra Takeover Up for Grabs With Escalating Price Driving Deal – by Tara Lachapelle and Liezel Hill – (Bloomberg.com – December 8, 2011)


Quadra FNX Mining Ltd. is poised to secure the largest takeover price increase in North America as the cheapest copper bid on record leaves room for Vale SA (VALE3) or Antofagasta (ANTO) Plc to make a competing offer.

Poland’s KGHM Polska Miedz SA agreed this week to buy Quadra for C$2.28 billion ($2.26 billion) including net cash, valuing the Canadian miner at 5.2 times net income, the lowest for a copper takeover of similar size, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The price is also a 36 percent discount to net asset value, based on analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. After closing 5.4 percent above the bid yesterday, Quadra is more likely to draw a higher offer than any other deal greater than $500 million in North America, the data show.

While the Vancouver-based company agreed not to solicit rival proposals to KGHM’s C$15 a share in cash, Quadra may still lure offers from Vale (VALE5) or Antofagasta with its copper deposit in Chile and mines in the U.S. and Canada, according to Stifel Nicolaus & Co. With analysts expecting Quadra to reach C$18.28 in the next 12 months as an independent company, a bidding war may push the price tag to as much as C$28.25, 88 percent higher than the current agreement, said Salman Partners Inc.

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Investors question ‘cheap’ takeover offer for Quadra FNX – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – December 7, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Quadra FNX Mining Ltd. has agreed to a $3-billion takeover by Polish copper producer KGHM Polska Miedz SA, triggering criticism the company is accepting a low-ball offer due to an overly cautious view of the metal’s prospects.

The $15-a-share, all-cash bid offers a 40-per-cent premium to Quadra’s recent stock price. But some investors believe it’s a stingy offer that undervalues the company’s assets, which include the promising Sierra Gorda copper project in Chile and operations in Sudbury, Ont.

“Unless the operations are running much weaker than expected, we do not see why one of the most bullish copper companies is selling out so cheap,” said Cormark Securities analyst Cliff Hale-Sanders. .”

Toronto-based hedge fund West Face Capital Inc., which said Tuesday that it owns a 6-per-cent stake in Quadra, called the bid opportunistic. “Given the fact that the shares were trading at $16 a few months ago, it is puzzling that the board did not attempt to contact any other purchasers or run a process,” said chief executive officer Greg Boland.

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Vale board approves US$21.4bn investment budget for 2012 – by Dorothy Kosich (Mineweb.com – November 29, 2011)


Iron ore gets the lion’s share of Vale’s project capex budget next year, with the bulk of investment allocated to Brazilian projects and operations.

RENO, NV – Brazilian über iron ore miner Vale Monday announced its board of directors approved US$12.9 billion for projects, US$2.4 billion for research and development, and US$6.1 billion for sustaining operations in 2012.

The company also reinforced estimated mining production for 2012 including 312 million metric tons of iron ore, 50 million metric tons of pellets, 16.6 million metric tons of coal, 300,000 metric tons of nickel, 340,000 metric tons of copper, 650,000 metric tons of potash and 8 million metric tons of phosphate rock.

Vale now has 20 main projects now under construction to implement organic growth, comprising 75% of the $12.9 billion budgeted for project development next year. The bulk of the investment will be made in Brazil, which gets 63.7% of the total 2012 investment budget, while Canada will receive 11.7%.

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Long-time Sherritt chief Ian Delaney to retire – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – November 25, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Ian Delaney, the “Smiling Barracuda” of Bay Street who transformed Sherritt International Corp. into a multifaceted mining company with reaches into Cuba and Madagascar, is stepping down, again, as its CEO.

The 68-year-old business maverick, who still exchanges notes with Fidel Castro and shrugs off his ban from the United States, said he can comfortably relinquish the chief executive officer’s role now that his successors are primed to take over during what he sees as a prolonged period of market volatility.

“They are all firing on eight cylinders, they don’t need me,” Mr. Delaney said in an interview on Thursday after announcing his retirement effective at the end of the year, three years after being “drafted” back to the position. He will be replaced by chief financial officer David Pathe on Jan. 1.

The provocative former Merrill Lynch investment banker will remain as chairman of the diversified Toronto-based resources firm he won control over in a hostile proxy contest in 1990, turning it into Canada’s largest coal producer and the largest independent energy producer in Cuba.

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Truth time on Thompson, Manitoba smelter and refinery – Editorial (Thompson Citizen – October 26, 2011)

The Thompson Citizen, which was established in June 1960, covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.  editor@thompsoncitizen.net

It’s time for all the parties or stakeholders to tell the truth about Vale’s plan, announced almost a year ago, to close the Thompson refinery and smelter in 2015. And the truth is the smelter and refinery is closing. Vale has been consistent in their position on this since the day they made the bombshell announcement last Nov. 17.

You don’t have to like that piece of bad news delivered by Tito Martins, chief executive officer of Vale Canada in Toronto and executive director of base metals for the Brazilian parent company, or for that matter you don’t have to like Martins’ direct style or Martins’ himself even. That’s OK.

But you have to give credit where credit is due and Tito Martins has been nothing but a straight shooter on the company’s position on closing the smelter and refinery. He’s told people involved privately what he’s said publicly. And just in case anyone didn’t get the message Nov. 17, 2010 he reiterated it in person Jan. 26 at the Juniper Centre at the Thompson Chamber of Commerce annual general meeting.

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Sudbury in the 1960s – by Sudbury Star (Unknown Date)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The 1960s were a period of tension and turmoil in Sudbury, with huge changes in local labour organizations. It was also a period of massive urban renewal and municipal restructuring.

When the decade opened, the entire mining industry workforce was represented by one union — the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers. When the decade ended, the United Steelworkers Union had established itself as bargaining agent for Inco employees in Sudbury.

To mark its presence in the community, the union purchased the former Legion Hall at Frood Road and College Street. The building became the Steelworkers Hall.

It was also a time of increasing demand for nickel products throughout the world, helped in no small part by the war in Vietnam. Both of the community’s mining companies, Inco and Falconbridge, were expanding operations.

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Mining pioneer’s memoir reissued [Sudbury History] – by Paul Bennett (Halifax Chronicle Herald – October 9, 2011)


Paul W. Bennett is founding director, Schoolhouse Consulting, Halifax, and the author of Vanishing Schools, Threatened Communities: The Contested Schoolhouse in Maritime Canada, 1850-2010.

Dusty old memoirs rarely attract much attention, unless they celebrate the lives of famous figures or capture well the social experience of bygone days. Men and women living ordinary lives rarely write autobiographies and fewer still have the resources to get them published.

The rather obscure Cape Breton-born mining pioneer Aeneas (Angus) McCharles (1844-1906) was an exception to the normal pattern. His personal memoir, Bemocked of Destiny, published posthumously in 1908, achieved some notoriety for its homespun philosophy and has been re-published recently as a centenary project.

McCharles’s fascinating life caught the imagination of Martin McAllister, an amateur historian and former columnist for the Inco Triangle, the official newsletter of the International Nickel Company in Sudbury, Ont. While researching the mining pioneers of Sudbury District some years ago, he stumbled upon McCharles and his long out-of-print memoir.

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Rails to the Ring of Fire – Stan Sudol (Toronto Star – May 30, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

“The Ring of Fire railroad should be subsidized by
governments as the huge economic impact will benefit
the economy for decades to come, help balance budgets
and alleviate aboriginal poverty in the surrounding
First Nations communities.” (Stan Sudol)

Notwithstanding the recent correction in commodity prices, near-record highs for gold, silver and a host of base metals essential for industry confirm that the commodity “supercycle” is back and with a vengeance.

China, India, Brazil and many other developing economies are continuing their rapid pace of growth. In 2010, China overtook Japan to become the world’s second largest economy and surpassed the United States to become the biggest producer of cars.

In March, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney remarked: “Commodity markets are in the midst of a supercycle. . . . Rapid urbanization underpins this growth. . . . Even though history teaches that all booms are finite, this one could go on for some time.”

Quebec’s visionary 25-year “Plan Nord” will see billions invested in northern resource development and infrastructure to take advantage of the tsunami in global metal demand and generate much needed revenue for government programs.

In Ontario, the isolated Ring of Fire mining camp in the James Bay lowlands is one of the most exciting and possibly the richest new Canadian mineral discovery in more than a generation. It has been compared with both the Sudbury Basin and the Abitibi Greenstone belt that includes Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Noranda and Val d’Or.

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Vale’s massive Newfoundland nickel refinery takes shape – by Paul Brent (Canadian Mining Journal – September, 2011)

The Canadian Mining Journal is Canada’s first mining publication providing information on Canadian mining and exploration trends, technologies, operations, and industry events.

Vale Canada Ltd.’s $2.8-billion nickel processing facility at Long Harbour in Newfoundland will be a showcase for the mining giant’s newly developed hydrometallurgy refining technology when the plant is completed in early 2013.

Long Harbour, which will process 50,000 tons per year of nickel from the Voisey’s Bay concentrate deposit in Labrador, will operate much differently than traditional nickel processing facilities. The key difference is the use of hydrometallurgy or “hydromet” technology that utilizes a combination of water and oxygen under pressure to dissolve selected metals from the incoming concentrate.

“It is a process called POL, which means Pressure Oxidative Leaching,” says Rinaldo Stefan, who is project director of the Long Harbour processing plant.

For Vale, one of the big payoffs from the POL process is a significantly reduced sulphur dioxide footprint for the Long Harbour operation. As part of the traditional nickel refining process, sulphur is mixed with oxygen to be removed, captured and then converted into sulphuric acid to be disposed of.

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Are Ontario political party pronouncements echoing OMA’s vision for the future of mining?

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

As we move closer to October 6 election day in Ontario, it is encouraging to see mining being part of the platform of all major parties.  Many of the topics and positions being presented by the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats seem to reflect the OMA’s plan for the future of mining in Ontario.  Last week, the OMA presented each party’s’ views on mining, however, the issues continue to develop.  The full text of the OMA’s vision for the future “Action Plan for Ontario: Taking Advantage of a Critical Window of Opportunity” can be found on the OMA website www.oma.on.ca
The Liberal document “Plan for Northern Ontario” has a lot of mining content.   The OMA’s paper calls for “balancing conservation and development targets” and the establishment of a target for new mines in Ontario to demonstrate a commitment to the future success of the industry.  The Liberal platform says “at least six mines are reopening and four new mines are expected to open by the end of 2012 and we’ll open at least eight new mines in the next 10 years.” 

The OMA would like to see an engaged Ontario government working with the federal government, industry and First Nations to cut approval and permitting time lines in half.   While the Progressive Conservatives and NDP have supported permitting improvements, the Liberals have said “we’ll also work to ensure the federal government is at the table for Northern communities and First Nations in planning for smart development of the Ring of Fire. 

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Weak demand saps nickel prices – by Pratima Desai – Reuters (Sudbury Star – August 17, 2011)

The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

LONDON — Deteriorating demand from stainless steel mills and rising mine production are likely to push the nickel market into surplus in the second half of the year and put modest downward pressure on prices.

The uncertain outlook for global economic growth and demand because of the debt crisis in the euro zone and the United States mean gloomier prospects for nickel demand.

Stainless steel producers use about two-thirds of global nickel output, which is estimated at above 1.5 million tonnes this year.

First-quarter production of stainless steel rose to a record high of 8.390 million tonnes, according to the International Stainless Steel Forum, and expectations for the second quarter are, at best, flat.

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Inco Limited History (1902- 2001) – by International Directory of Company Histories

For a large selection of corporate histories click: International Directory of Company Histories

Company History:

Inco Limited is one of the world’s top producers of nickel. It operates Canada’s largest mining and processing operation in Sudbury, Ontario, and runs other mines in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Indonesia. It has interests in refineries in Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea, and sales and operations in over 40 countries worldwide. Overall Inco provides about 25 percent of the nickel used globally. The company also produces cobalt, copper, precious metals, and specialty nickel products.

Early Years

Nickel was first isolated as an element in the middle of the 18th century, but not until the following century did it come into demand as a coin metal. Up to around 1890, coining remained the metal’s only use, and most of the world’s nickel was mined by Le Nickel, a Rothschild company, on the island of New Caledonia. At that time, however, it was determined that steel made from an iron-nickel alloy could be rolled into exceptionally hard plates, called armor plate, for warships, tanks, and other military vehicles, and the resulting surge in demand spurred a worldwide search for nickel deposits.

The world’s largest nickel deposit ever discovered was in Ontario’s Sudbury Basin; before long, one of the area’s big copper mining companies, Canadian Copper, began shipping quantities of nickel to a U.S. refinery in Bayonne, New Jersey, the Orford Copper Company.

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