Archive | Canadian Regional Media and Web Publications

Sault steel mill prepares to build new $55-million alternative port – by David Helwig (Northern Ontario Business – March 16, 2018)

Essar Steel Algoma Inc. is seeking regulatory approvals for a new $55-million alternative port facility, apparently prepared to pull the plug on its existing arrangements with Port of Algoma Inc.

Recently filed court documents disclose that the Sault steelmaker started looking into building a port of its own last August.Early concepts included floating structures, fixed structures or a combination of both.

A prefeasibility investigation conducted for Algoma by a design and construction company concluded earlier this year that a fixed structure for docking ships and unloading raw material was feasible as an alternative to the existing Sault port, subject to securing necessary regulatory approvals. 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 →

Kitimat would be biggest loser if U.S. revokes tariff exemption – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – March 13, 2018)

Rio Tinto Alcan aluminum smelter employs 1,000, exports $600 million annually to U.S.

Vancouver’s shipbuilding and construction industries could pay more for steel and aluminum if the U.S. revokes an exemption granted to Canada under plans to impose 25% tariffs on steel imports and 10% tariffs on aluminum imports.

But no community in B.C. would suffer more than Kitimat under the tariffs if they result in a worst-case scenario: layoffs or even a complete shutdown of the Rio Tinto Alcan (NYSE:RIO) smelter there.

The smelter is Kitimat’s biggest employer and taxpayer. With a workforce of 1,000, it employs one out of every six people in the town of 6,400 inhabitants. It sells roughly $600 million worth of aluminum to the U.S. annually, so a 10% tariff would add $60 million to U.S. prices. Continue Reading →

Vale, Glencore approve Sudbury projects – by Jim Moodie (Sudbury Star – March 13, 2018)

Vale and Glencore are digging deep to dig deep. Each company is committing about $700 million to develop new mines and will be using cutting-edge, automated machines to reach the ore located more than two kilometres below the surface.

Vale is going ahead with its Copper Cliff Deep project, which includes refurbishing the south shaft at the Copper Cliff complex and eventual access to an ore body beneath Kelly Lake. The first phase is pegged at $760 million.

Glencore has freed up about $900 million for Onaping Depth, a new project near Craig Mine that will burrow 2.6 km into the earth. Jean-Charles Cachon, a professor in marketing and management at Laurentian University, said the price tags for these projects are typical of the industry. Continue Reading →

Single ‘space rock’ could be worth $800 billion – by Ian Madsen (Troy Media/Sudbury Star – March 13, 2018)

While not literally pie in the sky, asteroid mining used to be science fiction. It’s getting closer to reality. Various private space companies have focused on launching satellites, with hazy side-bets on future colonization ventures. And now, technological advances make mining asteroids a legitimate prospect.

There are millions of asteroids in space, many orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Those closer to Earth tend to be carbon- or silica-based, like Earth’s crust, with only a few containing more valuable minerals.

Some asteroids are iron-based, with other elements. Some scientists speculate that many asteroids contain lucratively high proportions of gold, platinum, rhodium, cobalt and even rarer metals. These are used in electronics, metal alloys, permanent magnets, batteries and electric motors (importantly, the motors of electric vehicles). Continue Reading →

Confusion and concern over land-use planning across northern Ontario – by Dayna Nadine Scott (The Conversation – March 11, 2018)

Dayna Nadine Scott is an Associate Professor of Law and Environmental Studies, specializing in environmental law and justice., York University, Canada.

Peawanuck is a Cree community in northern Ontario near the shores of Hudson Bay and the home community of the Weenusk First Nation. When I visited in February, caribou hides and animal furs hung in the yards, teepee smokehouses smouldered outside homes and snowmobiles pulled boxed sleighs to carry food harvested from the land.

Like many Indigenous communities across northern Ontario, Peawanuck is confronting the realities of a changing climate, increasing pressure from mining companies that want to extract minerals from their lands and new land-use planning regimes flowing from the province.

At the same time, Indigenous communities across the country are increasingly claiming their rights to free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) grounded in international law, in respect of decisions affecting their homelands. And both Canada and Ontario say they are ready to establish a “new relationship” with Indigenous peoples. Continue Reading →

Memorial ride to honour late miner who inspired McIntyre Powder Project – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – March 9, 2018)

Research into impact of aluminum dust continues; compensation claims under review

Janice Martell cried when she learned the Ontario Network of Injured Workers Groups (ONIWG) would hold a memorial cycling ride between Massey and Elliot Lake this May in tribute to her late father, Jim Hobbs.

The veteran miner made that same trek countless times between 1978 and 1990 while working for the area’s underground uranium mines. In retirement, Hobbs was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease – something his daughter attributes to his exposure to a finely ground aluminum dust known as McIntyre Powder – which eventually took his life in May 2017.

That ONIWG is recognizing the significance of occupational disease on the province’s workforce while honouring her father and other miners impacted by McIntyre Powder exposure is a gesture that touched Martell deeply. Continue Reading →

Beware hexavalent chromium and the many ifs of the Coniston smelter – by Mark Gentili (Sudbury Northern Life – March 8, 2018)

Mark Gentili is the editor of Northern Life and

If the Ring of Fire development happens this lifetime … if the chromite market doesn’t tank … if Noront Resources isn’t bought out by a bigger miner … if Coniston is selected as the site for a chromite smelter … if, if, if.

There are a lot of ifs when it comes to the city’s bid to host a ferrochrome processing facility (a.k.a. a smelter) on the site of the old Inco smelter in Coniston. These ifs aside, what appears to be a relatively small group of opponents have already taken up the fight against the project.

I’m not criticizing people for holding the city to account and expressing an opinion — far from it. I’m all for having an engaged citizenry, willing to stand up for what it believes in. That’s democracy. No, that’s not what I’m writing about. Today (again) I want to talk about Ward 2 Coun. Michael Vagnini. Continue Reading →

City confident in community’s support for Noront bid – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – March 8, 2018)

TIMMINS – While some opposition has emerged in other communities to the proposal by Noront Resources Inc. to create a new chromite ore processing facility in Northern Ontario, Timmins Mayor Steve Black is confident about the solid support from this city.

Noront, a junior mining exploration company, is the leading player in the Ring of Fire mining development and is looking at possible future sites for a chromite refinery in Northern Ontario.

Timmins is one of four Northern Ontario cities that have responded to a call for proposals from Noront. Other cities include Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay. All the bids were submitted in February and are currently being reviewed. Continue Reading →

Chromite critics warn element ‘very toxic’ – by Mary Katherine Keown (Sudbury Star – March 5, 2018)

Despite a ringing endorsement from city council for a Noront ferrochrome processing plant, some stakeholders are expressing concern over the safety of the smelter and its impacts on human health.

Mayor Brian Bigger travelled to Europe earlier this year to check out the Outokumpu ferrochrome production facility in Tornio, Finland. Following his visit, the mayor said he has no concerns about the safety or health impacts of an arc furnace.

“I have no concerns,” Bigger said in February. “That’s the level of confidence I wanted to come back with, with the entire team. We asked questions of all of the people we met, looking for any concerns whatsoever on their part. We found none. On my part, I have full confidence in welcoming a ferrochrome facility into our community. I think it’ll go well with our plans to diversify our economy and attract investment to create jobs. It fits in with the long-term strategy of growing our community.” Continue Reading →

[Northern Superior Resources] Junior miner ditches duty-to-consult lawsuit against Ontario – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – March 2, 2018)

Exploration president criticizes Queen’s Park on hands-off approach to Indigenous engagement

A Sudbury junior miner has dropped a $25-million duty-to-consult lawsuit against the Ontario government and has settled out of court.

With their case still on appeal, Northern Superior Resources president Tom Morris said with a favourable outcome far from certain, it just made financial sense for the small exploration firm to end its five-year legal battle with Queen’s Park.

He declined to comment on the terms of the agreement reached with the province. “There was no guarantee that we were going to win anything out of that. The reality was that with what was offered to us, it just made sense to bite the bullet and move on; and the same from the government’s standpoint.” Continue Reading →

Glencore, Vale approve C1.8 billion in mine development spending for Sudbury – by Norm Tollinsky (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – March 1, 2018)

Copper Cliff and Onaping Depth projects underway

Vale and Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations have received board approval for major mine development projects in the Sudbury Basin.

Following several delays attributable to low commodity prices, Vale is proceeding with a C$760 million phase one development of its Copper Cliff Deep project, while Glencore is moving ahead with a C$900 million development of Onaping Depth.

Both projects are being undertaken to replace declining production from established mines.

“I don’t think it’s a surprise to anyone that most of our mines are facing declining production profiles,” said Vale’s Dave Stefanuto, vice-president, capital projects for the North Atlantic. “We need to find replacement volumes of ore, so we’re starting to focus more on what we can do to start supplementing these declining orebodies. In the last few years, we spent a lot of time focusing on our surface plants, including the $1 billion Clean AER project. We’ve invested enough in our surface facilities. Now we have to feed them because they’re no good if they’re running empty.” Continue Reading →

Tech, mining make strange bedfellows in B.C. supercluster – by Tyler Orton (Business Vancouver – February 28, 2018)

B.C. technology, natural resources and health-care companies are partnering with post-secondary institutions to accelerate innovation in the province

In the 1990s, when flip phones were still pricey and 56K modems were a luxury, B.C.’s tech scene was not the guaranteed money-maker that now employs more than 100,000 people. “My dad told me, ‘You’ve got to get a job in mining or forestry because then you’ll have a job forever,’” recalled Edoardo De Martin, director of the Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT) Canada Excellence Centre.

New funding from Ottawa’s $950 million supercluster initiative will afford De Martin, who now leads the tech giant’s office in Vancouver, the opportunity to bridge the gap between his chosen profession and his father’s suggestion.

The supercluster program is intended to jump-start public-private partnerships within specific regions across the country to facilitate collaborations between companies and post-secondary institutions that don’t normally work together. Continue Reading →

Sudbury letter: Smelter is safe, mayor says – by Brian Bigger (Sudbury Star – March 1, 2018)

Brian Bigger is the Mayor of Sudbury.

Re: “Smelter plan ‘underhanded, shocking’,” Feb. 25.

I want to thank all the residents who’ve taken the time to express their sentiments regarding the city’s bid to Noront Resources. It’s important that we have these discussions to alleviate some of the misconceptions.

It’s important to make clear that no decision has been made regarding the ferrochrome processing plant Noront is proposing. The location we are proposing was provided close to the bid due date to keep our competitive advantage over other communities.

As you are aware, I went to Finland to see first-hand what a facility like this looks like and to hear how the company works within the community. The response was overwhelmingly supportive. Our community survey was also quite supportive, with 77 per cent of respondents supporting the idea of submitting a proposal for a ferrochrome smelter in our community. Continue Reading →

Looking for Hemlo II: Canadian Orebodies – by Jay Currie ( – February 27, 2018)

A lot of exploration is about looking for pointers, for clues, as to where a deposit might be. For Canadian Orebodies, a train of boulders, a number of which had high-grade gold mineralization pointed in a particular direction. If you look at the map above you can spot the boulder train. Angular boulders which suggest that the source is not far away.

If you follow the boulder train “up ice” – because the boulders were almost certainly the result of glaciation – you will see what Gordon McKinnon and his team at Canadian Orebodies have been quietly working on for the past nine months. The acquisition of the “Century Mining Claims”. It was not straightforward.

“Century Mining was in bankruptcy,” said McKinnon. “And Teck Resources held a bunch of rights including the right of first refusal and a back-in right. There were also two prospectors who had a 3% Net Smelter Royalty, which made for a drawn out five-party negotiation. After nine months of discussions, we managed to get Teck to give up its rights in exchange for a 0.5% NSR, and we negotiated a royalty buy down with the prospectors. Eventually, we got what we wanted and we finalized the acquisition of the property. Continue Reading →