Province still mum on OPG plant’s long-term future – by Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – July 30, 2013)

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

Those arguing in favour of keeping Thunder Bay’s power station open say the coal-burning plant got a shot in the arm thanks to an Ontario Energy Board ruling which says it must run at least for the duration of 2013.

But the province is remaining coy about the Ontario Power Generation station’s long-term fate, saying a proposed conversion to natural gas is still undecided.

“We have a responsibility to wait for the full assessment by the Ontario Power Authority before making any final decision on (an) conversion,” Energy Ministry spokeswoman Beckie Codd-Downey said Monday in an email.

The decision by the OEB was applauded by the Common Voice Northwest Energy Task Force, which until recently felt like “a voice in the wilderness.” Northwest co-chairman Iain Angus said the OEB decision reflects what the task force has said all along — that the region’s demand for electricity could be seriously compromised if the Thunder Bay station is taken off line.

“Back in January, during the cold snap, it was running at 150 megawatts,” Angus noted. About 125 people work at the Mission Island station, which has a maximum capacity of just over 30 mw.

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Women in Mining: Judy Baker – Challenges in junior exploration faced by both genders – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – August 2013)

(L to R) Judy Bake, CEO Superior Copper Resources; Delio Tortosa, Geologist; Morgan Quinn, Geologist.

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.

For Judy Baker, challenges in the junior exploration side of the mining industry aren’t necessarily linked to gender. It’s a formidable field that poses challenges for anyone who takes the work on. “The junior exploration and mining business is a tougher segment of the industry, because basically you’re taking the highest risk capital available to explore for mineral wealth, and the risk factor’s so high, it’s tough for anyone to be in, let alone women,” she said.

Baker, CEO at Superior Copper Resources, which is exploring at the former Coppercorp copper mine near Sault Ste. Marie, first developed an interest in the field while still in high school. Attending night courses in geology at Brock University, the theory of plate tectonics put forward by John Tuzo Wilson—the idea that the earth’s crust is comprised of a series of shifting plates—captured her interest and guided her into mining.

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My excellent plan for the Ring of Fire – by David Robinson (Northern Ontario Business – August 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.

David Robinson is an economist at Laurentian University.

Ontario’s northwest is one of the last great frontiers. It is a country-sized chunk of land still outside of the transportation network that links productive communities to the global economy. Ice roads, small planes and bureaucrats are all that tie the region to Canada.

But northwestern Ontario’s place in the global economy is changing. The trigger was finding enough ore near McFauld’s
Lake to justify building a road or rail link. With bulk transportation, 100 other potential mines become economic.

This comes when China plans to build urban homes for 250 million people by 2025 and will want Northern metals and wood.
And when economic recovery in the USA will help push resource prices back up. And when warming climate will make ice roads
impossible and another port on Hudson’s Bay inevitable.

A good plan starts by looking at best practices from around the world. The Finns, for example, would probably be planning an independent Aboriginal-dominated regional government for the northwest.

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Old diary used as leverage in court challenge [for ‘fair share’ from mines] – by Staff (Timmins Daily Press – July 29, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

MOOSE FACTORY – Mushkegowuk First Nations are hosting a three-day conference this week to discuss the future of Treaty No. 9. This comes on the heels of a court challenge that has been launched by Mushkegowuk council earlier this month.

The dispute is over Aboriginal land rights and traplines in the Cochrane area where there has been increased mining activity. Mushkegowuk is using as legal leverage a 108-year-old diary that belonged to Daniel MacMartin, the Ontario treaty commissioner who negotiated Treaty No. 9 in 1905.

Much fanfare was made by Mushkegowuk when the diary was discovered a couple of years ago. It was felt MacMartin’s diary reaffirms the view that Aboriginal leaders were duped into signing a written treaty which they did not fully understand.

“When my grandfather signed the treaty in Fort Albany in 1905, the terms as discussed and orally agreed to, were very clear,” said Grand Chief Stan Louttit. “It was a sacred oral agreement about living together and sharing the land.

“The Omushkego (people of Mushkegowuk) never surrendered the land or the natural resources but were told their rights would be protected.”

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Ring of Fire budget cut by $10M – by Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – July 29, 2013)

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

Six weeks after it hit the pause button on its environmental assessment for its Ring of Fire project, Cliffs Natural Resources announced that its development budget for the proposed chromite mine has been trimmed by US $10 million.

The Cleveland-based company this spring earmarked $60 million for the work to take place this year, including a feasibility study. A financial report on the company’s second quarter performance released on Thursday shows the figure has been reduced to $50 million.

Regional Cliffs spokeswoman Jennifer Mihalcin confirmed Friday that the reduction is a reflection of the earlier decision to temporarily put the brakes on work on its environmental assessment for the Ring of Fire project. An additional $25 million set aside for overall exploration remains the same.

In June, Cliffs said it was frustrated by a lack of consensus among provincial, company and First Nations interests regarding how the environmental assessment should proceed. Cliffs has been trying to nail down the assessment’s terms of reference for two years. The mine’s proposed in-production year is 2017.

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Gold may be Dryden’s new economic generator – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – July 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. Ian Ross is the editor of Northern Ontario Business

Mining and Dryden have not always been synonymous. But this area of northwestern Ontario is continuing to gain some profile with junior miners to continuing to advance gold projects despite challenges to raising exploration capital.

“There’s a lot of buzz around the mining sector and I’m getting more calls on that side of things from companies looking to jump in ahead of the curve,” said Nicole Gale, office manager at the Dryden Development Corporation (DDC).

For years, the community’s economy has always been impacted by the highs and lows of the forestry industry, namely the fortunes of the Domtar pulp mill. However, ongoing exploration work from area junior miners like Treasury Metals, Manitou Gold and Tamaka Gold has stirred up excitement in the small city of 7,600.

Located on the Trans-Canada Highway between Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, Dryden has always been a retail shopping hub for neighbouring communities. Now it’s aiming to be a local service hub for mining outfits.

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Correction – Noront Resources Environmental Assessment NOT on hold – by Shawn Bell (Wawatay News – September 17, 2012)

 Northern Ontario’s First Nations Voice:

The environmental assessment (EA) for Noront Resources’ Eagle’s Nest Ring of Fire project is nearing completion of its Terms of Reference.

In a Wawatay News article (Ring of Fire judicial review hits more delays, Sept. 13) it was reported that Noront’s EA has been put on hold. That is incorrect. In fact, the company is close to completing its Terms of Reference for the EA.
Noront President and CEO Wes Hanson submitted the following statement to Wawatay News following publication of the article:
“The Environmental Assessment for it’s flagship Eagle’s Nest project is in fact underway and NOT delayed due to the change in the road route proposed by Cliffs and the Ontario Government. The Company is currently completing the final copy of the Terms of Reference, which outlines the work that needs to be done in order to complete the Environmental Assessment.

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‘Misunderstanding’ [between Webequie and Noront]- by Jeff Labine ( – June 11, 2012)

The chief of Webequie First Nation says the situation with junior mining company Noront Resources Ltd was all a misunderstanding.

Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse voiced his disappointment when Noront announced they would be delaying their feasibility study following Cliffs Natural Resources decision to move its ferrochrome plant to the Sudbury area.

Noront had been working on a feasibility study for its deposit containing copper and nickel. The company was proposing an east-to-west, all-season road that would run from Pickle Lake to the Ring of Fire area. But the company believes the province might be making an eventual commitment to the north-south road proposed by Cliffs.
That decision is a major factor in the delay.

While the series of events may have led to some friction between the First Nation community and Noront, Wabasse said they will remain open to development and continue to work with the company.

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East-West Ring of Fire corridor in jeopardy – by Shawn Bell (Wawatay News – June 4, 2012)

Noront Resources says it will work with Cliffs Resources and the Ontario government on building a north-south transportation route to the Ring of Fire.
The announcement, made by Noront President and CEO Wes Hanson during a speech to a New York mining investment seminar, casts doubt on the possibility of an east-west road corridor connecting the Ring of Fire and four Mattawa First Nations to Pickle Lake. Noront was the main industry proponent of an east-west corridor.
Hanson said his company’s decision to reevaluate its proposed transportation corridor was “unfortunate,” but said Noront was forced to do so after Cliffs and Ontario committed to building the north-south corridor.
“One of the reasons we selected this (east-west) routing was largely because of social responsibility. We were trying to work with First Nations,” Hanson said. “But now we have a company with an $8 billion market cap committed to building the north-south route, and Ontario government support committed to building the north-south route.

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Road route [into Ring of Fire] may change picture – by Bryan Meadows (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – May 14, 2012)

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

Provincial support of a north-south corridor for Ring of Fire mining resources has Noront Resources officials shaking their heads. “Right now we’re trying to get some clarity as to what that means,” company spokesman Paul Semple said Saturday.

Cliffs Natural Resources announced Wednesday that it would build a ferrochrome smelter near Sudbury, and that ore would be trucked south from the mine site along a $600-million all-weather road to Nakina. The provincial government said discussions would begin soon on the proposed road to run south from the Ring of Fire.

Noront’s preferred route for transporting base metals and other minerals from its Eagle’s Nest mining project is an east-west link with Pickle Lake and CN Railway in Savant Lake. It had the support of at least four First Nations in the north.

“We don’t know yet if that will affect our plans, or what. We’re trying to get a clearer picture of what it means,” Semple said.

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More nickel sulphide and chromite mineralization found in [Ring of Fire] mining camp – Northwest Bureau (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – February 11, 2012)

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

Noront Resources Ltd. has identified more nickel sulphide and chromite mineralization at its McFauld’s Lake Project in the Ring of Fire mining camp.

“While drilling to increase the chromite resource at Blackbird continued to return excellent results, the discovery of two new zones of nickel sulphide mineralization within 500 metres of (the company’s) Eagle’s Nest (deposit), highlights the tremendous exploration potential of this area,” company CEO Wes Hanson said in a news release.

“Both zones of nickel sulphide mineralization were identified by a new, ground-based geophysical survey that was completed in November,” he said. Hanson noted that the Eagle’s Nest feasibility study is progressing on time and on budget as is the resource update and preliminary assessment of the Blackbird chromite deposit.

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Environmental assessment process continues for mining project – by Northwest Bureau (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – December 10, 2011)

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

Noront Resources Ltd. is working on the environmental assessment process for its base-metal mining project in the Ring of Fire mining district.

The company released its draft terms of reference for the Eagle’s Nest Mine project last week and is seeking public input on its plans.

The draft terms of reference have been prepared by Noront in compliance with Ontario Ministry of the Environment requirements. The document is available for review by the public, and copies can be downloaded at, or

The federal government’s environmental assessment process for the project is also moving along, and the draft environmental impact statement guidelines for the Eagle’s Nest Mine Project have also been released for public review.

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Noront’s [Ring of Fire] mine proposal under microscope – by Northwest Bureau (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – November 16, 2011)

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

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is accepting public comments on the proposed Eagle’s Nest project in the Ring of Fire. Noront Resources Ltd. has proposed a base-metal mining project in the area, in the James Bay Lowlands.

The agency has prepared draft environmental impact statement guidelines that identify potential environmental effects to be addressed and information that needs to be included in the proponent’s statement.

The federal and provincial governments are co-ordinating their respective processes for the comprehensive environmental assessment of the project.

Noront is proposing an 11-year, 2,960-tonne-per-day, underground nickel-copper-platinum mine, to be located 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay.

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Michael Barnes Keeps Northern Ontario’s Mining Heritage Alive – by Adelle Larmour

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. This article is from the November, 2010 issue.

Chronicled the North’s Facinating History and Folklore

Humility and hard work has kept one Ontario author’s pen to the parchment. 

Michael Barnes, a prolific Haliburton-based writer and author of several Canadian bestsellers, describes himself as a middle-rank writer that people don’t remember. Yet he has produced more than 50 books, the majority of them about the history of Northern Ontario.

“I’m one of those people that fill up bookshelves in libraries,” he said.

Even though people may not remember his name, they recognize him as the fellow who writes mining books. “That doesn’t bother me. I would rather have the guy up the hydro pole shout down and say: ‘I just read your latest book.’… I want them in the hands of the average person.”

His written contribution to preserving the history of Ontario’s North was recognized by the Canadian government when he was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994.

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Vale Inco’s Bottom Line – How Much Does it Cost to Produce a Pound of Nickel in Sudbury, Canada? – by Kelly Louiseize

This article was orginally published in Northern Ontario Business on March 18, 2010. Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investers with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North.

Differing opinions on Sudbury’s costs

When Brazil’s Vale SA snapped up Inco for $19 billion in 2006, there was plenty of buzz as to what the mining giant would do with the 107-year old Canadian miner.

Traumatic restructuring fears were quickly put to rest by Murilo Ferreira, the Brazilian in charge of the nickel division who spoke at a Sudbury luncheon. He said there would be very little change with this “successful company.”

Less than a year later, Ferreira stepped down and was replaced by Tito Martins, a former Vale communications executive who together with CEO Roger Agnelli began a series of strategies to make Sudbury more globally competitive.

Agnelli stated that based on current price levels the Sudbury operations was one of the “highest cost operations” Vale Inco owns.

Change was needed to make Sudbury more sustainable.

Productivity and bonuses were red-flagged five years ago when Mark Cutifani was the helmsman at Inco Ltd. Under his direction the intent was to increase productivity by 30 per cent and take another look at the nickel bonus when negotiations came around.

“We knew we all had to work together,” Cutifani said in a phone interview with Northern Ontario Business this past month.

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