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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Vale, Steelworkers to investigate Clarabelle fire – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – August 30, 2013)


A joint investigation into an Aug. 28 fire at Vale’s Clarabelle Mill will be conducted by the company and the union representing mill workers, Steelworkers Local 6500.

“Typically, when we have an instance such as a fire, we do launch an investigation to determine the cause … so we can learn what we can from it and prevent something like that from happening again,” Vale spokesperson Angie Robson said.

“As per our protocol, we’ve launched an investigation jointly with the union to look into this.” Robson said she can’t speculate as to how long the investigation will take. She said the investigation team will write a report about the incident that will be circulated internally.

The fire was reported in one of the mill’s crushing lines at around 9:15 a.m., and the all-clear was given at around 10:50 a.m., at which time employees were allowed to return to the building.

Robson said she doesn’t yet know the cause of the fire, although Greater Sudbury Fire Services Public Safety Officer Leo Frappier said it was a conveyor belt that caught fire, causing thick, black smoke to stream from the buiding.

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Diamonds are a premier’s best friend – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – August 29, 2013)



A deal benefitting a business which polishes diamonds mined at the DeBeers Victor Diamond Mine on the James Bay coast is an example of how the province works to create jobs in Northern Ontario, Premier Kathleen Wynne said.

She made the remarks during an Aug. 29 tour of Crossworks Manufacturing’s Sudbury office, which opened in 2009, and employs 35 people. Eighteen of these employees are from the Sudbury area, while the rest are originally from Vietnam.

Wynne, who is also visiting Kenora and Thunder Bay in the coming days as part of a tour of Northern Ontario, credits these jobs to a deal the province struck with De Beers to process 10 per cent of its Victor diamonds in Ontario.

“One of the things I’m determined to do as premier is to work to close the skills gap, to make sure that we provide opportunities for people in Ontario develop the skills for the businesses that are looking for those skills,” she said.

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A premier’s best friend [Sudbury diamonds] – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – August 30, 2013)

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

The partnership between government and industry that resulted in a diamond processing plant in Sudbury is the model for the kind of work the Liberals are doing to ensure business thrives in Ontario, says Premier Kathleen Wynne.

The premier visited Crossworks Manufacturing Ltd., for the second time, to kick off a northern tour in which she’s delivering a couple of messages. One is that her government’s commitment to create jobs and fuel the economy extends to all parts of Ontario, including Northern Ontario.

Another is that Wynne is premier of the entire province, not just ridings in which Liberals are elected. Under an agreement between De Beers Canada and the government of Canada, De Beers is making 10% of the annual rough diamond production from Victor Mine, in the James Bay Lowlands, available for processing in Ontario.

Crossworks was offered the opportunity by the province and the Diamond Trading Company to purchase about $35 million worth of rough stones a year and cut and polish them at the downtown Sudbury plant.

Wynne toured the plant where 35 experienced diamond cutters, the majority of them highly skilled tradespeople from Vietnam, were at work.

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Ring of Fire: Strategic Chromite and the Commodity Super-Cycle [Part One of Two] – by Stan Sudol (Sudbury Star – August 30, 2013)

Kemi Chromite Mine in northern Finland (Photo Outokumpu Group)

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

The recent announcement by American-based Cliffs Natural Resources to temporarily halt its chromite mining project in Ontario’s Ring of Fire camp was met with flying accusations of fault by many politicians affected stakeholders, environmental NGOs and First Nations communities.

There certainly is plenty of blame to go around including the company itself – stubborn opposition to a more thorough environmental assessment demanded by First Nations – Cliffs’ inability to finance the project at the present time and most importantly a currently depressed metals market.

However, this might be a great opportunity to scrutinize the entire development and decide if Ontario has leveraged as many economic and value-added benefits as possible during the current commodity super-cycle and why a tiny country like Finland has been able to do much more with a significantly smaller and lower quality chromite deposit of its own.

But first some project background and geo-political analysis on the current state of global mining would be very helpful for Toronto-centric Premier Wynne and her largely southern Ontario cabinet.

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There’s enough for everybody here – by Harvey Yesno – Onotassiniik Magazine (Fall 2013)


Harvey Yesno is the Grand Chief of NAN (Nishnawbe Aski Nation).

The following is excerpted from an opening address by Grand Chief Harvey Yesno at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Chiefs Assembly in Mattagami First Nation, April 9, and his follow-up comments to chiefs about resource development and infrastructure, April 10.

It’s time to get down to business for Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN). The First Nations across James Bay Treaty 9 and the Ontario portion of Treaty 5 will not be bystanders or a stakeholder or an interest group as Ontario and Canada prepare to take our interest in the lands and resources to market. …

I am committed to ensuring that there be a balanced treaty and economic approach. NAN First Nations and our future generations will benefit from the development in our territory as was intended at the time of the treaty. …  How do we provoke the implementation of our treaties?

We must develop a strategic approach that includes ensuring that our treaty partners, Canada and Ontario, are equally responsible to uphold the promises made at the time of the treaty. Canada and Ontario cannot opt out of addressing the needs and concerns of NAN. Ontario cannot wash its hands of the duty to consult and accommodate First Nations, nor can it download its responsibility to industry. …

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Vale workers rescued from rooftop: Final update – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – August 29, 2013)

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

Two employees working on a roof had to be rescued and were taken to hospital for examination, but there were no injuries after a $2-million fire broke out at Vale’s Clarabelle Mill on Wednesday at 9:15 a.m.

Thirty firefighters from five downtown stations responded in 10 vehicles and, in about 90 minutes, contained a fire that was belching black smoke into the area, said a fire official.

Leo Frappier, senior public safety officer with Greater Sudbury Fire Services, said at 11 a.m. the fire had been downgraded from a Level 2 to a Level 1, and was contained to the building. A Level 2 fire is one in which there could have been “contaminants in the air, but there’s none,” said Frappier.

Vale spokeswoman Angie Robson said no one was injured and there was no threat to public safety. By mid-afternoon, Robson said the fire seemed to have been confined to one of three crushing lines at the mill, so the impact on production was expected to be minimal.

The cause of the fire was unknown, she said, and there was no estimate of damage.

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The Ring of Fire: Ontario’s Mega Mining Project to be the “Next Fort McMurray” – by Derek Leahy ( DeSmog Canada – August 28, 2013)


Ontario’s largest mining find in decades – a 5000 square km region known as the Ring of Fire – won’t be developed by Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources without facing significant obstacles.

“We question whether the Ring of Fire can be mined without being a massive financial burden on Ontario taxpayers, or without trashing the province’s most pristine watershed,” says Ramsey Hart, Canada program coordinator for MiningWatch Canada, an Ottawa-based organization.

“It is also unclear if this development will proceed in the best interests of the First Nations living in the Ring of Fire,” Hart told DeSmog Canada.

A briefing note to the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs from earlier this year warns that the Anishinaabe/Omushkego* (First Nations of the Ring of Fire) “are some of the most socioeconomically disadvantaged communities in all of Canada” and this could prevent the Anishinaabe/Omushkego from benefitting from the Ring of Fire mega mining project.

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Sell-off [Ontario Northland] “not only option” – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – August 28, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – As Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle is arguably the most important link to Queen’s Park for Northerners.

Gravelle took time out of his schedule to sit down with editorial staff at The Daily Press for an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

The minister discussed at length provincial issues specific to the region. He admitted one of the biggest bones of contention in the Northeast is the divestiture of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission.

“In the 2012 budget the decision was made,” Gravelle said. “There certainly was some very clear fiscal challenges and there was a decision made at that time, obviously in terms of the budget that indeed the divestment of the ONTC was the direction the government needed to go in. It was certainly a very tough decision at the time and one that (drew) a very strong reaction from Northern Ontario.”

Since that time, there has been a change in the premiership, with Kathleen Wynne replacing Dalton McGuinty. The provincial government has somewhat softened its response on the ONTC sell-off, but has not yet made any concrete promises.

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Lobby effort vital to growth in North – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – August 28, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – For several years, there has been an ongoing effort by municipal leaders to lobby Queen’s Park on Northern Ontario issues.

The charge has been led in part by Timmins Mayor Tom Laughren and Kapuskasing Mayor Al Spacek. Through organizations like the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), Northeastern Ontario Municipal Association (NEOMA) and the Northern Ontario Large Urban Mayors (NOLUM), they have met with provincial cabinet ministers on numerous occasions.

They have attempted to get Northern leaders to speak with one voice on key issues such as the divestiture of the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, regional infrastructure needs, and potential closure of local provincial parks.

But how effective is this process? To answer that question, we went straight to the horse’s mouth. Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle has discussed these issues and many others, several times with the Northern lobby groups.

During an editorial board session at The Daily Press on Tuesday, he said such efforts allow the provincial government to clearly hear Northern concerns. “I think it is a very effective way for us to communicate,” Gravelle said. “I’ve built up some extraordinary positive relationships with Northern mayors in particular.”

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A failure of compensation [Mercury Poisoning-Grassy Narrows and Whitedog] (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – August 27, 2013)

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

THE LONG, sad tale of mercury poisoning among people at two First Nations on the English-Wabigoon River system continued this week with a demonstration at the home of Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne. Ironically, Wynne was canoeing on a river somewhere in Ontario but protesters say they still intend to remind her that she’s promised to address their concerns.

Ontarians who remember the issue when it arose more than 40 years ago may wonder why it remains an issue, given that two, small communities received more than $20 million in compensation. The answer may lie in interpretation of the details of the settlement. It is also apparent that the amounts distributed to victims of mercury poisoning are small compared with those awarded victims of the world’s first identified cases.

The Northwest issue arose back in 1970 when federal officials notified commercial fishermen and tourist lodge owners that the two rivers were contaminated with methylmercury, a highly toxic form of mercury that renders fish unsafe to eat. The contamination was traced to the former Reed paper mill in Dryden which had dumped more than 20,000 pounds of untreated mercury wastewater into the Wabigoon River between 1962 and 1970. It drifted 250 kilometres downstream.

A tourist lodge was forced out of business. Commercial fishers at Grassy Narrows and Whitedog and those who had been employed as sport fishing guides were forced onto welfare.

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Students funded in memory of Sudbury labour icon Homer Seguin – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – August 27, 2013)

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

A day doesn’t go by that Dan Seguin doesn’t think of his father, Homer Seguin, and the work he did over several decades to improve the health and safety of workers on the job.

Two students at the Centre in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH) at Laurentian University will carry on the work of the elder Seguin, in part with bursaries funded by donations pledged after Homer Seguin died April 26.

Seguin, 79, died after years of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and eventually lung cancer, partly due to his early days working in Inco’s storied — and deadly — sintering plant.

During his last days spent at Ramsey Lake Health Centre, Seguin expressed his desire for a new generation to carry on the work that was his passion for 60 years.

His son and four daughters heard that message and asked for donations when their father died, and they will fund bursaries to two students this fall. Dan Seguin, who works in management for Vale, said he and his family are very proud of all their father did “for workers, and the safety and health of people.

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CEMI in running for $10 million research grant – by Norm Tollinsky (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – August 2013)

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

The Centre for Excellence in Mining I n n o v a t i o n (CEMI) is one of seven finalists vying for four $10 million research grants from the federal government’s Business-Led Networks of Centres of Excellence program.

The program funds large-scale collaborative research networks that bring a wide range of research expertise to bear on specific challenges identified by industry. CEMI’s proposal is for an Ultra Deep Mining Network that will address challenges impacting resource extraction at depth.

More than 120 applications were whittled down to 54 in the first round of cuts, and then to seven. Matching funds from industry will provide CEMI with $20 million for the proposed four-or five-year research program.

“There are only two places you can go for a new mine,” said CEMI president Doug Morrison. “You can go to a remote location like the Ring of Fire (in northwestern Ontario), or you can go deep. Unfortunately, when you get down to around 2.5 kilometres, the heat and the logistical problems become very significant, so we see a need for changing the way we do things.”

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How important is innovation in the Sudbury cluster? – by Dick DeStefano (Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal – August 2013)

Dick DeStefano is the Executive Director of Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA).destefan@isys.ca  This column was originally published in the August 2013 issue of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal.

Often underestimated by many small and medium sized mining companies, innovation is one of the most important engines of growth. The Sudbury mining and supply cluster members have not fully embraced the value proposition that Michael Porter has clearly described as essential for success.

I have become a disciple of Porter’s business model and have diligently looked for the appropriate ingredients including leaders to grow our important mining supply and service cluster in Northern Ontario during the past 10 years.

“Michael Porter claims that clusters have the potential to affect competition in three ways: by increasing the productivity of the companies in the cluster, by driving innovation in the field, and by stimulating new businesses.

According to Porter, in the modern global economy, comparative advantage—how certain locations have special endowments (i.e., harbour, cheap labour) to overcome heavy input costs—is less relevant. Now, competitive advantage—how companies make productive use of inputs, requiring continual innovation—is more important.”

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