[Timmins] Mine reclamation conference set to start – by Kyle Gennings (Timmins Daily Press – September 10, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – The impact of mining and the importance of reclamation practices will be the topic of conversation over the next few days as Whish Ki Yak It 2013 kicks off on Tuesday morning.

The conference is a joint venture between AMAK, Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines, the University of Waterloo and Golder Associates and will host a number of key speakers which will comment on the current state of mining in the country.

“We are a partner on the final conference night for Wish Ki Yak It,” said Timmins Museum: National Exhibition Centre curator Karen Bachmann. “This is the final conference night and we’ve brought in Joseph Boyden a Canadian Author and the entire evening is geared as a cultural exchange.”

Participants will be introduced to reclamation on Tuesday morning with a tour of Goldcorps award winning Coniaurum Reclamation site, where the geomorphic approach, environmental monitoring and traditional ecological knowledge and traditional knowledge will be cross examined.

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Renewable energy key for First Nations, towns – by Robert Daniel (Bob) Nault – Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Editorial (September 7, 2013)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

THERE are over 630 First Nations governments across Canada serving a population of over 700,000 people. A good number of these communities, which are located in northern and remote locations, are off the grid and rely on environmentally-unfriendly diesel generators for their electrical needs which are a source of air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to smog formation which can affect community health.

Not only is diesel power bad for the environment, it is also expensive and unreliable. These communities pay, both directly and indirectly, more for their power than anywhere else in North America, even with government subsidies and programs.

As former Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development, I saw firsthand how First Nations communities sought to reduce greenhouse gases and understood the importance of sustainable development. Some First Nations communities have initiated solar and wind power and mini hydroelectric initiatives but more needs to be done to ensure that all remote communities have access to clean and affordable energy.

It’ s time for private enterprise and government to collaborate with First Nations and other remote communities to make clean affordable renewable energy available.

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Standing up to big gold – by Roxana Olivera (United Church Observer – June 2013)


A fight pitting Indigenous Peruvians against a multinational mining company highlights the real cost of the global boom in precious metals

n July 3, 2012, Peruvian police opened fire on a public demonstration in the Andean town of Celendin, killing four protesters. José Sánchez was shot in the throat; Eleuterio García in the chest; Faustino Silva in the head. César Medina — the youngest among the dead at only 16 years old — was also shot in the head. Dozens more were seriously injured, and several arrested without cause. They were among 3,000 people rallying against the Minas Conga, a proposed gold mine that threatens to contaminate their community’s water supply.

The government immediately called a state of emergency in Celendin and two other provinces, suspending civil liberties and mobilizing riot police and soldiers to the region. But the very next morning, police and soldiers again fired at unarmed anti-Conga demonstrators in the nearby town of Bambamarca, this time killing Joselito Vásquez, 26, and injuring and arresting several others.

News of the violence sparked indignation in Peru and abroad. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, along with a host of other human rights groups, condemned the brutality, calling for a thorough investigation.

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EXPLORING for GOLD: Lac Seul holds shares in junior explorer AurCrest Gold; Webequie part owner of Cyr Drilling – by Bryan Phelan (Onotassiniik – Fall 2013)

 Onotassiniik is Wawatay’s new mining quarterly.

Ian Brodie-Brown’s first contact with Lac Seul First Nation stood out. Then CEO of Tribute Minerals, a junior exploration company, Brodie-Brown hadn’t just sent a letter to the band. He had sent it voluntarily. “He was the first guy that I’d ever seen – the first company representative – approach a First Nation without being told to by the Crown,” recalls Chris Angeconeb, Lac Seul’s lands and resources co-ordinator at the time.

The introductory letter arrived almost seven years ago. Exploring for base metals at Confederation Lake, in Lac Seul’s traditional territory, Tribute was “basically trying to drum up support for a micro-mine with small output; a little underground project,” Angeconeb says.

Brodie-Brown says he expected new provincial rules for mineral exploration and consultation with First Nations would come eventually (regulations for exploration plans and permits, under a modernized Mining Act, finally took effect this spring). Instead of waiting, “We just decided to take a proactive role,” he says.

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Ontario’s new mineral exploration landscape [Aboriginal and treaty rights] – by Bryan Phelan (Onotassiniik – Fall 2013)

 Onotassiniik is Wawatay’s new mining quarterly.

Mining Act rules now require consultation on Aboriginal and treaty rights

A bear somehow found itself dangling beneath a bridge, desperately holding on with its paws. At this point, we don’t know how it got there or what will happen next.

Bernie Hughes, a director of Aboriginal relations for the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM), uses the image to introduce his presentation on new Ontario Mining Act rules.

“We needed to play some catch up with respect to all of the law that has changed in the last 20 years … in how resource development works in relation to Aboriginal and treaty rights,” Hughes says. “The industry has done something in a certain way for perhaps over a hundred years. We’re now in a state of transition and a state of change.” Along with change comes difficulty, he adds, looking at the picture of the vulnerable bear.

The new rules, which took full effect April 1, apply to early mineral exploration activities that until then weren’t regulated. Proponents must now file exploration plans with the province, and Aboriginal communities that could be affected by proposed work will be given 30 days to review a copy and provide comment. But MNDM encourages consultation with Aboriginal communities even before a plan is submitted, so the document can reflect those conversations.

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A red-letter day for Lakehead – Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – September 5, 2013)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

It was so refreshing to stand in a room filled with hope, pride and a sense of achievement. It was the opening of Lakehead University’s faculty of law, the first new law school in Ontario in more than 40 years.

You could almost hear buttons popping and chests filled with pride. The little gymnasium at the former Port Arthur Collegiate Institute was filled with a collection of local legal community members, university VIPs, community leaders and provincial visitors, not the least of which, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister Michael Gravelle and MPP Bill Mauro and Mayor Keith Hobbs. Provincial, regional and local representatives who are ever-present at university functions were at the opening in full force.

“What a great day,” seemed to be the first words out of the mouths of every speaker, and there were many — but the refrain never grew old. Everyone in the room was there to cheer a great day for Thunder Bay, Ontario and the country.
The new faculty will be somewhat unique as it offers a focus on aboriginal and environmental law.

The faculty of law, which received a slim $1.5 million from the province, is a huge investment for Lakehead University. Along with the medical school, Lakehead University has risen in the ranks of the Canadian university community by becoming truly comprehensive.

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Local ghost tale subject of book – by Kyle Gennings (Timmins Daily Press – September 5, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Timmins is a community built on harrowing tales. There are many stories of men and women who overcame everything under the sun to build a life for themselves in the wild and unforgiving North.

But for a local educator, it was one story that inspired him. It is a story that has stayed with him and moved him to share it with the world.

That story is Popchuck’s Ghost. “Let me tell you a little bit of the history of the book,” said author and educator Paul Toffanello. “Back in the mid ’80s when I was teaching at Schumacher Public, I had a bunch of boys who were pretty reluctant readers and I had to find some way to engage them.

“And it just so happened that the Joe Cameron from Camp Bickell asked me to be the director at Camp Bickell and I found out there was a ghost called Arnold Popchuck. “I just took all of the little stories that the kids at the camp had about him and put it all together into a story that I hand wrote.

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New lease on life for Cobalt – by Norm Tollinsky (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – September 2013)

This article was originally published in the September 2013 issue of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal.

Refining, milling, assaying and bulk sampling capacity creates critical mass

Proclaiming the rebirth of Cobalt, one of Ontario’s earliest mining camps, may be a stretch, but the recent reopening of the Yukon Refinery just north of town is a step in the right direction.

The refinery had been in mothballs for 13 of the preceding 15 years when United Commodity AG of Switzerland purchased it in June 2012. It has since added a Merrill-Crowe process for gold and silver recovery and struck some longterm deals for processing concentrate.

Originally a silver mill, Cobatec purchased and converted it to a recovery plant for tailings in the early 90s, recalled plant supervisor Gunner Skillins. “That didn’t work too well, so we went into feed from a smelter stack in Cuba containing both cobalt and nickel.”

That, too, proved short-lived. The plant shut down and was purchased in the late 90s by Canmine Resources, which operated it for a few years before going bankrupt. Ownership devolved to the bondholders represented by a Swiss financial group, which kept it on care and maintenance while trying to sell it for 10 years.

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Mine safety inquiry would have clout: Steelworkers – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 4, 2013)

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

A delegation from United Steelworkers, including Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand, will meet again this week with Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi about how to make mining safer in Ontario.

The USW delegation will return to Queen’s Park on Thursday with revisions and comments on a proposal Naqvi presented when the union visited him last month to renew its call for an inquiry into mining practices.

USW has been calling for a full-scale inquiry, similar in scope to the one being held into the June 2012 collapse of the Algo Centre Mall in Elliot Lake. Naqvi gave the union with a proposal that falls short of a full inquiry, a process some are calling a review.

Bertrand said his union doesn’t believe a review will have the clout of an inquiry, which would compel mining companies to provide testimony and release documentation to a hearing chairperson.

The union has been reviewing and reworking the minister’s proposal since meeting with him Aug. 15. “We’re going back to have a discussion about possible changes to see if there’s an avenue … to get things done,” said Bertrand.

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Industry facing cut in wood allocation for caribou – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – September 3, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Despite reassuring words from provincial politicians, the forest industry still faces a massive reduction in wood volume due to caribou conservation efforts being proposed in this region.

“On the Abitibi River Forest, it’s a disaster because they have not changed the long-term management direction one iota,” said Cochrane Mayor Peter Politis. “The existing long-term management direction sees about a 65% volume loss in 25 years which will devastate towns right from North Bay to Hearst.”

This is a marked change in tone from two months ago. Industry and municipal politicians were hailing Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources when it formally acknowledged the Crown Forest Sustainability Act fulfils the requirements of the Endangered Species Act.

However, the decision to harmonize these acts hasn’t made any difference to the caribou conservation efforts being implemented on the Abitibi River Forest.

“What the MNR is doing, they’re trying to recover caribou all over the place, all the way down south of Lake Abitibi where they don’t exist right now,” said Politis. “That’s what’s causing the problem.”

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[Thunder Bay generating station] Up in the air – by Leith Dunick (tbnewswatch.com – September 3, 2013)


Premier Kathleen Wynne says the future of the Thunder Bay Generating Station is still up in the air.

The Ontario leader, in the city for a series of events this week, including Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle’s nomination Tuesday night, said the conversation about the plant is ongoing, but no decisions have been made.

Last year the province decided to halt the conversion from coal to natural gas, stating it would save $400 million.

The Ontario Power Authority also said the power it creates won’t be needed down the road, though the region’s energy task forced begged to differ, presenting a much different – and more prosperous – outlook for Northwestern Ontario’s mining sector.

“It’s one of those fundamentals of infrastructure and conditions that has to be in place for job creation to happen and economic development to happen and economic growth to happen,” Wynne said in a brief media availability on Tuesday morning.

“So we’re committed to making sure that power supply is there and the specifics on that conversion are ongoing,” she said.

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Premier meets with mining probe proponents – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – September 01, 2013)


Wynne ‘very compassionate’ to accident victim’s family

The premier took some time during her visit to Sudbury last week to meet with those pushing for a mining safety probe in Ontario.

Kathleen Wynne met Aug. 30 with Steelworkers Local 6500 president Rick Bertrand, as well as Wendy and Briana Fram, the mother and sister, respectively, of Jordan Fram, who died in 2011 along with Jason Chenier at Vale’s Stobie Mine.

The Fram family are part of the Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support (MINES) committee, which is pushing for a full inquiry into mining safety in the province. Steelworkers Local 6500, the union representing Vale workers, made the original recommendation for the mining inquiry in its 2012 report into Fram and Chenier’s deaths.

“It was wonderful to meet with her, share our story and tell her why we feel we need an inquiry into Ontario mines,” Briana said. “She was very compassionate and listened to our story.” The meeting with Wynne comes after a previous failed attempt to do just that by those who want a mining inquiry. The Steelworkers requested a meeting with the premier in May, but didn’t receive a response until late July, at which time Wynne turned down their request, referring the matter to Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi.

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Hope muted but persistent for Labrador Trough iron rush – by Keith Norbury (Canadian Sailings-Transportation & Trade Logistics – August 27, 2013)


Signs abound that enthusiasm for new iron ore mines in the Labrador Trough have tapered off since February 2011 when the spot price was nearly $190 a tonne. Since then, prices have been on a roller coaster, which experienced more downs than ups. They dipped as low as $87 last September, soared back up over $150 in February, and then tumbled back down to below $115 in June.

Coinciding with that volatility, Canadian National Railway suspended a feasibility study on a new $5 billion rail line to serve potential new mines in the Labrador Trough. Mining giant Rio Tinto has put up for sale its 58.7 per cent interest in Iron Ore Company of Canada, one of the Trough’s and Canada’s largest iron ore producers.

Champion Iron Mines Ltd., one of the promising junior players in the Trough, abruptly pulled out of its participation in a new multi-user $220 million multi-user iron-ore port at Pointe-Noire in Sept-Îles, Que. And Cliffs Resources shut down indefinitely its pelletizing plant at Pointe-Noire.

Despite those setbacks, the consensus among financial analysts and economists who follow the trials and tribulations of the iron ore industry, as well as of industry insiders, is that long-term prospects for ramping up iron ore production in the Trough remain solid.

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Ring of Fire: Chromite Crumbs or Stainless Steel for Ontario? [Part Two of Two] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – August 31, 2013)

Outokumpu Stainless Steel Plant Tornio, Finland. Outokumpu Group is the largest stainless steel producer in the world.

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

This was originally published in the Sudbury Star on August 31, 2013 under the title “From ore to steel“.

Canada is the only G-8 country in the world that does not have a “major” stainless steel sector. There is one speciality steel producer, ASW Steel Inc. in Welland, Ontario, that dedicates 30 per cent of its production capacity to stainless steel. Employing  about 95 people, the company manufactures roughly 30,000 tons of stainless steel ingots and billets. By comparison, Outokumpu, the biggest international producer, produces almost 3.6 million tonnes of stainless steels worldwide, slightly over ten per cent of the 35.4 million tonnes of global production last year, according to International Stainless Steel Forum preliminary figures.

We do have world-class carbon steel plants mainly concentrated in Ontario at Hamilton, Nanticoke and Sault Ste. Marie.

Stainless steels are more valuable than carbon steels due to their corrosion and rust resistance due to the addition of chromite. Nickel is added to some varieties of stainless steels to increase the hardness and strength, further corrosion resistance as well as enabling the material to withstand extreme cold and hot temperatures without becoming brittle or deforming.

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Sudburians didn’t really get chance to meet premier – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – August 30, 2013)

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

Premier Kathleen Wynne visited Sudbury for two days to get to know people — Liberals and non-Liberals , she says — and for them to get to know her. But there were few opportunities for Sudburians to speak to the premier about what’s on their minds or for Wynne to tell them how a Liberal government led by her would improve their lives in any real way.

Wynne visited a diamond manufacturing plant Thursday afternoon, with every move photographed and videographed by the media, and later attended a “celebration party” with Liberal riding association members. No doubt, Grits were required to pony up for the party at the meet-and-greet.

Wynne conducted one on one interviews with reporters — as well as a short call-in on CBC Radio and an online chat with a Sudbury newspaper — but most of her appearances were by-invitation-only.

The premier spoke briefly with a Liberal supporter when she arrived for an interview with The Sudbury Star on Friday morning at Old Rock Coffee Roasting Company on Minto Street. Earlier, a security guard scoped out the small coffee house, consulting with owner Carole Roy about where the back entrance was should the premier have to leave in a hurry.

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