Where have all the mining towns gone? – by Ashleigh Gaul (Up Here Magazine: Life in Canada’s Far North – September 2013)


They’re toxic and deserted wastelands – but to those who once lived there, the remains of mining communities are worth holding onto.

In July Susan Mather packed her family into a motor home. She drove north from Calgary, four kilometres past Yellowknife, to a skeletal timber headframe so rickety that cranes can’t set demolition workers on top to assess just how rickety it is. At its base, a yellow-and black-painted board reads, “Giant Mines Yellowknife, Ltd. Last injury: May 1999.”

That was six months before the last gold brick was poured in Yellowknife, and three years after Mather left her first home. These days, when she wants to visit, she books in advance. A mine manager escorts the family through a line of buildings in various states of disrepair.

They’re given hardhats, safety glasses, reflective vests and a rundown of safety precautions, then asked to log in. When Susan fills out a single line on behalf of the whole family, her son Karl jokes, “This isn’t a guest book, mom, it’s a log. This is a worksite.”

Estimated to cost between $500 million and $1 billion, Giant Mine and the townsite it built to house its workers might be the single largest industrial cleanup in Canadian history.

Read more

New road connects Renard diamond mine with other “Plan Nord” jobs – by Russell Noble (Canadian Mining Journal – October 2013)

Russell Noble is the editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

Stornoway Diamond Corporation of Longueuil, QC is proud that its Renard Diamond Mine has been officially deemed “Quebec’s First Diamond Mine,” but the company is equally proud of one more of its achievements; its Renard Mine Road, a 97-km-long portion of a 240-km route that now links the mine with the public highway, Provincial Route 167, and the popular mining communities of Temiscamie and Chibougamau.

The new road is a two-lane, 8.5-m wide gravel passage completed two months ahead of schedule and on budget. It’s an all-season road that will now enable the company to continue developing its Renard Mine year round without delays in the delivery of machinery, supplies, or people.

In fact, the new road brings a feeling of “community” with other Quebec mining companies in central Quebec because it now “connects” the mine and its workers with a permanent road to and from the site.

Since 1996 when the property was discovered, Stornoway’s geologists and field crews have relied either on a seasonal road or air support.

Read more

Nunavik’s Makivik Corp. wants impact and benefits agreements to remain private – by Sarah Rogers (Nunatsiaq On-line.ca – October 7, 2013)


Reforms to Quebec’s mining act don’t reflect existing agreements: Nunavik groups

Nunavik groups say proposed changes to Quebec’s mining act don’t go far enough to address the region’s distinct needs and existing agreements. Bill 43, a bill to reform Quebec’s mining act, was presented last spring, although public hearings on the bill wrapped up in Quebec City Oct. 1.

The draft bill imposes tougher environmental protections while increasing legal requirements for mining companies looking to explore in Quebec — changes that are welcomed in Nunavik.

But Makivik Corp. said the bill should not require that impact and benefits agreements between Nunavik and mining companies be made public. In other words, these should remain secret.

Article 163 of Bill 43 calls for information obtained from holders of mining rights to be made public as the provincial government sees fit.  That information includes the quantity and value of ore extracted, as well as the royalties paid out during the previous year.

Read more

Manitoba Reed Mine approval a ‘step back,’ says Wilderness Committee – by Ian Graham (Thompson Citizen – October 4, 2013)

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.  IAN@THOMPSONCITIZEN.NET

The province’s approval of Hudbay’s Reed Mine copper project in Grass River Provincial Park, which was granted on Sept. 24, is not going over well with the Wilderness Committee, which opposed the mine because of its proximity to the habitat of woodland caribou, a provincially and federally protected species.

“It is hard news to take,” said Eric Reder, the Wilderness Committee’s Manitoba campaign director in a Sept 25 press release. “Canada stopped mining national parks in 1930. Eight decades later and Manitoba still can’t join the party?”

The Reed Mine, which is 70 per cent owned by Hudbay, is projected to produce 1,300 tonnes of copper per day and is located about 80 kilometres west-southwest of Snow Lake on the southern side of Highway 39. The mine is expected to be in production for approximately five years, during which time 2.16 million tones of copper ore will be extracted and then trucked to and processed in Flin Flon, according to a project overview prepared by AECOM on behalf of Hudbay. At full production, the mine will provide 88 jobs, the company says.

Read more

Can a ghost town be resurrected? – by Andy Radia (Yahoo Canada News – October 4, 2013)


A U.S. businessman wants to turn Kitsault, B.C., into a natural gas hub

Across the county, there are a very few success stories of revitalizing ghost towns or depressed mining communities.
There are some: Elliot Lake. Ont., for example, transformed itself from a uranium mining community into a retirement village. Kimberly, B.C., once home to a major copper mine, is now a tourist destination with golf courses and ski hills. And, Kitimat, B.C., has once again become a boomtown by selling hydro instead of processing aluminum.

Now Virginia-based businessman Krishnan Suthanthiran wants to emulate those successes in his coastal town of Kitsault, B.C..
Kitsault – located 800 km northwest of Vancouver – is not unlike many other ghost towns in Canada.

Its story began in 1980: Amax Canada claimed the 350 acres of land to extract molybdenum, a metal used to harden steel. The mining company spent $50 million to build homes, roads, a school, a hospital, a shopping mall and even a rec centre for its 1,200 miners and their families. Unfortunately, by 1982, the price of molybdenum plummeted, the mine closed down and everybody packed up and left.

Unlike most other ghost towns, however, Kitsault’s story might just have another chapter.

Read more

Two of Canada’s more isolated mines continue to impress: Raglan and Eleonore – by Russell Noble (Canadian Mining Journal – October 2013)

Russell Noble is the editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

Nunavik and Quebec’s Raglan Mine and Éléonore, operated by Glencore and Goldcorp respectively, are two of the larger and more successful mining operations in the country, but their locations are about as unfamiliar to most people as the northern landscapes where they are located.

In other words, most people don’t have a clue where they are on the map, let alone what the surroundings are like that far north. Both mines are indeed, remote and somewhat isolated, but when it comes to mineral deposits, Raglan Mine and Éléonore are at the forefront and envy of the mining community across the country.

In fact, the world is also keeping watch as Glencore and Goldcorp continue to move towards making their Canadian operations two of the more productive mines on the globe.

Starting at the farthest point north at the Raglan Mine, which is located in Nunavik approximately 1800 km northwest of Montreal or, about the same as Cuba is to the south, is near Deception Bay on the Hudson Straight and is linked by all-weather roads to an airstrip at Donaldson.

Read more

Editorial: KWG-Cliffs ruling – No appeasement on the easement – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – October 2, 2013)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry. Editor John Cumming MSc (Geol) is one of the country’s most well respected mining journalists.  jcumming@northernminer.com

One of the more significant events for Ontario mineral explorers in September took place in the halls of the province’s bureaucracy, with Cliffs Natural Resources losing its application for easement (surface access right-of-way) across mining claims held by KWG Resources in the Ring of Fire chromite camp of northern Ontario.

The precedent-setting ruling by the province’s Mining and Lands Commissioner (MLC) was a win for the “little guy,” in that it strongly affirmed the rights of existing mining-claim holders in the face of an aggressive major company with a competing development plan for the area.

If you recall, KWG Resources and Spider Resources discovered the Big Daddy chromite deposit in the McFaulds Lake area in 2008, and a year later KWG approached Cliffs about becoming a shareholder to help with Big Daddy’s development.

With Cliffs’ approval, KWG staked a series of claims through its subsidiary Canada Chrome Corp. (CCC) along a string of sand ridges leading away from Big Daddy, with the intention of securing land for a future railway that would connect the remote Big Daddy property with infrastructure to the south.

Read more

[Ontario] PC’s conclusions inaccurate: Fraser Institute – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Star – October 3, 2013)

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

The Tories said Ontario fell from the top mining jurisdiction in the world in 2000 to 17th in 2012, but that information isn’t accurate, according to the right-wing think tank that authored the survey the PCs cited.

In its white paper report on Northern jobs and resources, the Conservatives cited findings from the Fraser Institute’s Survey of Mining Companies 2012-13 to make the assessment of Ontario’s global status in mining. But Ken Green, the Fraser Institute’s senior director of natural resources studies, said in an email the Conservative white paper report “does not conform to the findings of our survey.”

The Fraser Institute survey contained two main indices: the Policy Potential Index and the Current Mineral Potential Index. It did not include an overall global mining ranking, as was implied in the Conservative white paper.

Norm Miller, Conservative MPP for Parry-Sound Muskoka, and the party’s critic for Northern Development and Mines, confirmed the party’s report was referring specifically to the Fraser Report’s Current Mineral Potential Index. Ontario was the first of 35 jurisdictions in the index in 2000, but fell to 17th out of 96 jurisdictions in 2012.

Read more

$100bn in private equity stalking mining assets – by Frik Els (Mining.com – October 2, 2013)


It may be too early for private equity players to gobble up juniors or put together mega-deals, but mid-tier miners may have new investors knocking on their doors. The $1 billion injection for former Xstrata chief executive Mick Davis’ new venture X2 Resources may be just the start of wave of new private equity investments in the mining industry.

According to one estimate cash raised for investment funds dedicated to mining and oil has reached a decade high of $24 billion this year. The 2013 year to date record haul brings the total close to $100 billion accumulated for resource investments over the past six years.

Philip Heywood, director for transaction services at consultants PwC in Vancouver, says although there hasn’t been that many big deals announced, interest in mining from private equity players is strong and picking up.

“There has always been a niche interest from private equity in mining, but now larger players are entering the market,” says Heywood, adding that private equity players are seeing opportunity in the sector now that valuations have come down, sellers expectations are diminished and competition for good assets are much less.

Read more

Minister says MPP spouts ‘unhelpful rhetoric’ – by Michael Gravelle (Timmins Daily Press – October 2, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Over the past five months I have worked with my Minister’s Advisory Committee and we have gained a better appreciation for the current operations of each ONTC business line and the realities of the public sector working in a competitive marketplace.

We have had a number of important discussions to date and our work is ongoing. I am convinced, as are members of the committee, that the status quo is no longer an option. It is disappointing that Mr. Fedeli (MPP Vic Fedeli, PC — Nipissing) continues to claim costs to taxpayers when in fact no decisions have been made on the future of this important asset.

It is in the interests of his constituents, ONTC employees, and all Northerners that Mr. Fedeli move away from his unhelpful rhetoric and actually make a useful contribution to this conversation.

In order to provide an accurate representation, the ONTC business case reviewed all of the financial issues facing the ONTC. The numbers shared by Mr. Fedeli would see absolutely no job retention and shows no consideration for the socio-economic development needs of the region.

Read more

Wabauskang First Nation granted Supreme Court appeal over mining projects – by Alan S. Hale (Kenora Daily MIner and News – October 1, 2013)


Another Treaty 3 First Nation will have its day at the Supreme Court to argue its case against allowing the province making decisions regarding resource extraction in the First Nations traditional territory. The high court has granted an appeal to Wabauskang First Nation, which has been fighting mining projects inside its territory since it took Rubicon Minerals to court in December 2012.

“We fully expect to be successful at the Supreme Court, and we expect that we will be successful in our lawsuit against Rubicon as well,” said Wabauskang’s chief, Leslie Cameron.

“We’ve always said that Ontario had no jurisdiction to approve Rubicon’s closure plan.”

Lawyers for Wabauskang are planning to make arguments very similar to those of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation in its Supreme Court challenge against the province’s ability to issue forestry licenses in the First Nation’s territory. Wabauskang’s case is deeply intertwined with Grassy Narrows’, often using the other First Nation’s 15-year legal battle against logging in the Whiskey Jack forest as precedent for its own arguments.

Read more

PoV: Responsibility for black bear management belongs to MNR – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – October 2, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

The battle for Northern Ontario is heating up, even though a provincial election has yet to be called. A trio of Northern Progressive Conservative candidates were pushing pro-North policies at the party’s recent convention. One component of the proposed policy — which has not yet been endorsed by the party –would be to allow municipalities to reinstate the spring bear hunt in their areas.

If the Tories form the next government and legislate this change, it would reverse a decision made by the Mike Harris-led Conservatives in 1999 to cancel the spring bear hunt. The decision came after the Tories caved in to animal rights groups, which threatened a major advertising blitz in eight key swing ridings shortly before an election.

“When the spring bear hunt was removed, it was done for political reasons after a large lobby by southern special interest groups,” said Steve Black, Tory candidate for Timmins-James Bay. “A misguided campaign was launched to convince people that ending the hunt was the right thing to do.”

This proposal came on the heels of the Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association supporting a similar resolution being presented to the provincial government.

Read more

What’s with the bears [northern Ontario]? – Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal (October 1, 2013)

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

ANOTHER bear attack; another call for resumption of the spring bear hunt; another defence of bears that are baited by shooters sitting in tree stands. It’s been 14 years since Ontario banned spring hunting for bears hungry after winter hibernation. In that time there have been a remarkable number of bear attacks on humans.

Is there a direct connection? Hunting advocates insist it is obvious while the Ministry of Natural Resources points to variations in natural food sources and carelessness by humans increasingly living or travelling in the forest.

The latest incident occurred Sunday near Peterborough. A 53-year-old woman is recovering after being attacked and mauled by a bear while walking her dogs on a trail. The dogs were also injured when they came to the woman’s rescue.

Bear attacks, including many fatalities, have increased with North American population growth and recreational intrusion into the wilderness. Most of the deadly attacks — 86 per cent — have occurred since 1960. In more than a third of those cases, improperly stored food or garbage likely attracted hungry bears. Which leaves almost two-thirds of cases unexplained.

Read more

Northern MLA’s: Lead now or leave [northern Ontario stainless steel] – by David Robinson (Northern Ontario Business – October 2013)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.  

Dave Robinson is an economist with the Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development at Laurentian University.drobinson@laurentian.ca 

Northern MP’s have come to a time of reckoning. They hold the balance of power in Ontario. The five NDPers and one conservative can change the North. In the next few months we get to see if they have the vision and the guts to act.

The provincial legislature has 107 members. There are 50 Liberals. Any four Northern members can make a deal with Catherine Wynne: Give us one really big win for the north and we’ll give you one more year of power.

There are several policies that are worth breaking party lines for. Leaving resource revenues in the north, creating a regional government, control of Ontario Northland and northern transportation policy, and especially the big one, creating a stainless steel industry for the North based on the Ring of Fire.

If Northern MLA’s deliver any one of these changes they will be heros. They will own their election seats for the next 100 years. If they don’t even try, northerners should throw the toothless pussycats out. They will have thrown away the North’s future.

Read more

Northlander: A solemn anniversary – by PJ Wilson (North Bay Nugget – September 28, 2013)


There is still a feeling the axe is going to fall on Englehart, a year after the Northlander passenger train made its final run. “We’re all still very nervous,” says Val Kennedy, a union representative for Ontario Northland.

The small community midway between North Bay and Cochrane was devastated when former Northern Development and Mines minister Rick Bartolucci announced the province was going to sell the Crown corporation in March, 2012.

At the time, Ontario Northland employed about 1,000 people in Northeastern Ontario. More than 10% of those employees worked out of Englehart. The community has been hard hit by the uncertainty. “Who’s going to buy a car?” Kennedy asks.

A general store, in business a number of years, is closing down, she says. She blames its loss on the nervousness and fear in the community. On Sept. 28 last year, the Northlander made its final run, one passenger train southbound from Cochrane to Toronto, the other northbound from Toronto to Cochrane.

Read more