Ring of Fire is little known, understood – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 13, 2013)

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

Much of Ontario’s future prosperity depends upon the success of developing the Ring of Fire, but many people in the province don’t know it. The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is conducting a study to measure the economic benefit of mining the ring’s rich chromite deposits and to raise awareness outside the North about their tremendous potential.

In fact, some observers believe the Ring of Fire could be worth as much as $50 billion to Ontario and be mined for as long as a century.

In Sudbury, Cliffs Natural Resources has plans to open a chromite mine in the Ring of Fire area and ship the ore to a plant in Capreol for processing, creating up to 500 jobs. However, those plans are on hold as the company sorts through a number of political, infrastructure and environmental issues.

To get people talking about the Ring of Fire, the Ontario chamber, in conjunction with the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, will hold a by-invitation-only round table in the city Oct. 9.

There it will seek business and community leaders “prescriptions” for how to move the project forward, says the senior policy adviser for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

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Ring of Fire logjam broken – by Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal Editorial (September 12, 2013)

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

A CO-ORDINATED effort by Northwest First Nations to delay the Ring of Fire mining development appears to have fallen apart. And that’s a good thing. Now First Nations in the zone of the Ring’s major player, Cliffs Natural Resources, can each get on with arrangements to share in the opportunities that can flow from such a large project.

Matawa Tribal Council’s initial concerns were understandable. Told the federal government and Cliffs were jointly pursuing an environmental review, the nine Matawa First Nations in the area worried it would not be sufficient to allay their concerns about potential pollution or include them in the process.

Matawa launched a judicial review of the environmental assessment process and in June Cliffs put a hold on its own environmental impact statement (EIS) citing issues with First Nations, the province and other matters. The sheer enormity of the Ring of Fire meant all parties had to be sure it was done properly. None more than First Nations who have watched resource developments around them come and go with little to show for it.

The Matawa challenge and Cliffs’ shift to neutral seemed to signal an uncomfortable lull in the most exciting economic news the Northwest had heard in many years.

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New Tory platform fighting caribou ESA plan – by Ron Grech (Timmins Daily Press – September 12, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Two key criticisms of the caribou conservation plan will be addressed by the Ontario Tories’ revamping of Endangered Species Act, says the party’s natural resources critic.

MPP Laurie Scott (PC – Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock) told The Daily Press Thursday the Progressive Conservatives will unveil a natural resources/northern development platform in Thunder Bay on Monday which outlines promised changes to the ESA.

Scott said the Tories would make it mandatory to consider the socio-economic impacts of any recommendations made under the ESA before its implementation. “Right now the legislation has it that the minister may consider socio-economic factors. We’re saying it must consider the socio-economic factors,” said Scott.

The Tories would also require that any scientific analysis used to determine recommendations would have to be posted publicly to the Environmental Registry to allow stakeholders to provide input.

While these changes would apply to the ESA as a whole, they also respond to key concerns raised by organizations like the Ontario Forest Industries Association about lack of peer-reviewed science and absence of any consideration of socio-economic impact in the caribou conservation plan.

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Confederation College prepares future mining workforce – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 12, 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.

Ottawa is supporting Aboriginal training in preparation for coming development in the Far North. The federal government’s Skills and Partnership Fund is allocating more than $5.9 million for employment training in the mining sector for people in the nine communities of the Matawa First Nations.

It’s part of a new Ring of Fire Aboriginal Alliance announced by Ottawa, Matawa, the Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS), Confederation College and Noront Resources, a junior miner working in the James Bay lowlands.

This fall, nine specialized training and six pre-trade courses will be made available for Matawa members with many delivered in their home communities and Thunder Bay.

The training programs include: mining essentials, environmental monitoring, basic line cutting, security guard, remote camp cook, remote camp support, underground common core, underground diamond drill helper and heavy equipment operator. The pre-trades programs are in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, welding, heavy duty equipment mechanic and construction craft worker.

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Rail over road [Ring of Fire] – by Jamie Smith (tbnewswatch.com – September 12, 2013)


A decision on a lifeline into the Ring of Fire has left one company feeling vindicated and another disappointed.

Surrounded by muskeg, claims in the proposed mining area are nearly inaccessible by land. But nature left a narrow strip of sand ridges, averaging 100 metres wide, from Exton all the way to the South end of the mineral deposits heralded as a massive economic boom for the region.

Those ridges were staked in 2009 by KWG Resources for a proposed railway. In 2012 Cliffs Natural Resources applied for 122 easements to build its proposed road around the same strip of land.

On Tuesday Ontario’s Mining and Lands Commissioner dismissed those applications after a week of hearings in February. Cliffs’ environmental director Jason Aagenes said the company is disappointed.

“We view the North-South road as a key component to our project and the Ring of Fire in general,” he said. But KWG’s vice-president of exploration and development, Moe Lavinge, said it proves what his company has said all along.

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Prophecy Platinum looks to cut costs on Sudbury-area mine – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 11, 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.

A Vancouver-based junior miner will make a production decision next year on whether to restart a mothballed open pit base metals mine near Sudbury.

Management at Prophecy Platinum are in the midst of re-examining an old feasibility study and the operating and milling costs for the Shakespeare Mine to determine if the economics make it worthwhile to proceed with the project. The nickel-copper-platinum group metals project is located 70 km west of Sudbury near the town of Webbwood.

“It’s a good asset for us; it’s just sitting in the ground parked in neutral,” said John Sagman, Phophecy’s senior vice-president and chief operating officer. The company intends to wrap up feasibility later this year and and make a decision by the second quarter of 2014.

“From our perspective it’s not a metal price issue, it’s an operating cost issue,” said Sagman. Phophecy, which acquired the mine following a merger with Ursa Major Minerals last year, is looking to carve between 20 and 25 per cent in mining, transportation and milling costs.

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Cliffs Natural Resources rebuffed – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 12, 2013)

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

Developing the mineral-rich Ring of Fire area of Northwestern Ontario could be pushed back years if Cliffs Natural Resources appeals a ruling by the Ontario Mining and Lands Commissioner, a mining rival suggested Wednesday.

The commissioner has dismissed an application by a subsidiary of Cliffs for an easement over mining claims staked in the Ring of Fire by Canada Chrome Corp., a subsidiary of rival KWG Resources Ltd.

Through 2274659 Ontario Inc., Cliffs applied for the easement to build an all-weather road to transport ore from its Black Thor deposit in the Ring of Fire, about 540 kilometres Northeast of Thunder Bay, to Nakina.

From there, it would be shipped by rail to a ferrochrome processing plant to be built in Capreol. Cliffs has 30 days to decide if it will appeal the ruling, which KWG’s Moe Lavigne heralded as “vindication” of his company’s interpretation of the Ontario Mining Act.

If Cliffs doesn’t appeal the decision, it must pay KWG’s costs to fight the application at the tribunal, which sat for seve ra l days in February, expenses estimated by Lavigne at $1 million.

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Cliffs denied road access to Ring of Fire – Staff (Northern Ontario Business – September 11, 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.

Cliffs Natural Resources has been dealt a blow in gaining transportation access to its Ring of Fire chromite projects.

Ontario’s Mining and Lands Commissioner ruled against the Ohio miner, which had been seeking a road easement to cross the mining claims of its bitter rival, KWG Resources, in order to build an ore haul road out of its deposits in the James Bay region.

In a ruling released Sept. 10, the tribunal ruled that granting an easement to Cliffs would interfere with KWG-Canada Chrome’s ability to work its claims since “numerous heavy trucks (passing) every day” would cover up future drilling and sampling sites.

In an act of foresight back in 2009, KWG began staking a long ribbon of mining claims for a future railroad from its isolated Big Daddy chromite deposit heading south for 328 kilometres to a point on the Canadian National Railway’s (CN) main cross-Canada line, just west of the village of Nakina in northwestern Ontario.

A good portion of that route was atop a sandy ridge or glacial esker, easily the best spot in the muskeg country of the James Bay lowlands. KWG formed a subsidiary, Canada Chrome, to oversee this railroad venture.

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The so-called “Great Strike” really was a lockout, part 2 – by T.W. Paterson (The Citizen – September 11, 2013)

http://www.canada.com/news/index.html [Cowichan Valley Citizen]

Premier Richard McBride, who doubled as Minister of Mines, thought it “intolerable” that the strikers should make demands upon the mine owners. Coal mining is a dangerous business at best. But Vancouver Island mines were said to be among the most dangerous in the world for cave-ins, explosions, floods and fires.

The human cost, over 90 years of operation, was appalling: 640 miners killed in Nanaimo-area mines, almost 300 more in the Cumberland colliery. Those who died of their injuries later, sometimes much later, went unrecorded.

The B.C. government had recognized these hazards, particularly that of gas explosion, when it passed the Coal Mines Act of 1911 which stated that, upon the presence of gas or other life threatening hazards being reported to management, the mine, or the section of the mine in question, was to be closed until the problem was rectified.

When Oscar Mottishaw and Isaac Portrey, members of a gas committee, reported five gas emissions in Extension No. 2 Mine on June 15, 1912, it cost Mottishaw, who was known to be an organizer for the newly arrived United Mine Workers of America, his job and he sought employment with a contractor in another Canadian Collieries (Dunsmuir) Ltd. mine in Cumberland.

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The so-called ‘Great Strike’ really was a lockout, part 1 – by T.W. Paterson (The Citizen – September 6, 2013)

http://www.canada.com/news/index.html [Cowichan Valley Citizen]

It devastated families, divided communities, set trade unionism on the Island back by more than a decade and left memories – for many, bitter, bitter memories – that survived for several generations.

August 2013. As you stand in brilliant late summer sunshine at Ladysmith’s First and French Streets, you’re surrounded by busy traffic, neat and well-maintained businesses, the historic Eagles’ Hall and some roadside artifacts dating from this 49th parallel city’s heyday as a shipping port for coal from the Extension mines.

It taxes your imagination to picture this intersection as it would have appeared in August 1913.

That’s when Ladysmith was a city besieged, having been placed under the equivalent of martial law by order of the provincial government. That’s when the Eagles Hall was headquarters to hundreds of armed soldiers, uniformed policemen and civvies-clad special constables who patrolled these very streets amid sand-bagged machine gun emplacements while on the lookout for, and often provoking, confrontations with hundreds of angry, striking coal miners.

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Canada should refine own resources – by John R. Hunt (North Bay Nugget – September 10, 2013)


A battle between environmentalists and the mining industry is shaping up at Temiscaming, Que. A junior mining company, Matamec Explorations, intends to develop a rare earth deposit at Kipawa where the nearby lake supplies drinking water for many people in the area.

Some are concerned that the project will destroy an ancient forest containing some 200-year-old oak trees. Most forests will regenerate themselves but the mining company plans to extract 4,200 tons a day in an open pit operation that will leave a large and inhospitable hole.

In today’s society everyone is worried about pollution but it is fair to point out that the mining industry has come a long way since mine wastes or tailings were dumped into Cobalt Lake in 1904. The Copperfield’s mine was operated on an island in Lake Temagami and the Sherman mine at Temagami created millions of tons of waste without causing pollution.

Matamec Explorations is a so-called junior mining company which usually means it is not part of any large corporation. The juniors are often run by aggressive risk-takers and historically have found far more mineral deposits than have the big corporations.

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Fedeli eyes ONTC as finance critic (North Bay Nugget – September 10, 2013)


Secret documents that were blacked out and deemed classified information might see the light of day to learn more about the sale of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.

“Those are the kinds of documents I fully expect to see as finance critic,” said Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli. Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak tagged Fedeli as the new finance critic Tuesday in a move that is speculated to anticipate a fall election.

Fedeli remains as energy critic leading a committee looking into cancelled gas plants in Oakville and Mississauga ahead of the 2011 provincial election that cost the province $585 million.

Documents Fedeli accessed as energy critic indicate selling the ONTC is expected to cost $790 million mainly due to severance, pensions and other liabilities. The Liberals said selling the ONTC would save the province $265 million.

“I’m looking to find out how long this has been going on, how long ago did this fire sale first get hatched. Those are the issues that I find critical,” Fedeli said.

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[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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