Mushkegowuk launches lawsuit on treaty promises – by Lenny Carpenter (Wawatay News – August 7, 2013)

During a conference on Treaty 9 held in Kashechewan First Nation in 1987, respected Elder James Wesley of Attawapiskat recalled words of a man who was present when treaty commissioners met with First Nations in 1905.

“Henry Reuben says he was sitting there and saw them writing the important things,” Wesley is quoted as saying at the time. “There was someone there that did the writing. So this is what is lost. Maybe one day it will show up.”

Eight years later, the diaries of the three commissioners were discovered and, according to Mushkegowuk Council, verify what Elders have been saying all along: the commissioners made oral promises that are not reflected in the treaty. The diaries serve as the key piece of evidence in a lawsuit being launched by Mushkegowuk against the Ontario and Canadian government.

A statement of claim sent to the Ontario Superior Court on July 4 by Mushkegowuk Council asserts that the governments of Ontario and Canada have “no power or right under Treaty 9 to unilaterally restrict or extinguish” the harvesting rights of the Mushkegowuk people by authorizing resource companies to develop on their traditional territory.

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Web portal aims at educating First Nations youth in mining – by Lenny Carpenter (Wawatay News – August 6, 2013)

An online web portal aimed at helping First Nations youth explore the world of mining was launched on July 25. is an interactive web portal developed by Oshki-Pimache-O-Win Education & Training Institute that provides information on the mining industry and careers.

Rosie Mosquito, Oshki’s executive director, said the portal was developed with the upcoming mining opportunities within the Ring of Fire in mind as First Nations stand to benefit from such opportunities.

“With all the mining opportunities that will become available in the north, we want to see First Nations people employed as engineers, environmental technicians, project managers, geophysicists, and in administration,” Mosquito said. “This new portal encourages young people to prepare for a career in the mining industry and most importantly provides them guidance in how to get started.” features a mining game called Waaniike, where the player explores the land and discovers resources and artifacts using mining gear and equipment. The game combines traditional knowledge and modern mining practices and aims to build “mining literacy” in the player.

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Partners look to powerful future – by Kyle Gennings (Timmins Daily Press – August 6, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

COCHRANE – Tuesday marked a turning point for the Taykwa Tagamou Nation (TTN). The Cochrane-based First Nation signed an agreement with Ontario Power Generation (OPG) with full blessing from Liberal Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli.

Through its corporation Coral Rapids Power, TTN entered into a partnership with OPG to develop a generating station capable of producing about 25 megawatts of hydroelectric power on New Post Creek as it enters the Abitibi River.

“Here as we announce this facility at New Post Creek and as we make our way to the Lower Mattagami Project, we are reminded of the very important role that Ontario’s First Nations and Metis community play in Ontario’s energy system,” said Chiarelli. “In transmission, in generation and in hydroelectric, and so it is truly exciting to be here today and celebrate this exciting new partnership between Ontario Power Generation and Coral Rapids Power.”

Chiarelli said this is the first of many steps towards creating a network of clean energy creation which will benefit Ontarians for decades to come.

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Ontario Minister gets a charge from hydro project – by Kyle Gennings (Timmins Daily Press – August 6, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

TIMMINS – Ontario Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli visited the Northeast on Tuesday. He was fully charged over plans for hydro generating improvements. The Ottawa West – Nepean MPP was named to the cabinet in February when newly elected Premier Kathleen Wynne dismantled the array longstanding McGuinty Ministers.

Chiarelli visited both Cochrane and the Lower Mattagami Project in an effort to shed light on the good clean energy projects being developed throughout the Northeast.

“What we are seeing here is capacity building for Northern Ontario,” said Chiarelli, while overlooking the expansion of the Smoky Falls Generating station, roughly 80 kilometres north of Smooth Rock Falls.

“This is 450 megawatts of hydroelectricity generation, 1,500 jobs at maximum, a significant number of which will be made available to First Nations members who have been trained and apprenticing on this particular site.” The energy being generated from the site will be distributed throughout the province. “This energy will be traveling all of the way down south,” said Chiarelli.

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Mining a challenging career for Vale manager – Women in Mining: Samantha Espley – by Lindsay Kelly (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.

At her first summer mining job, while an engineering student at the University of Toronto, Samantha Espley was one of four women—of 10 students—hired on at Falconbridge’s Keno Gold Mine in Val d’Or, Que. It wasn’t until later that it dawned on her how unique it was to work with that many other women.

“I didn’t really think much of it at the time until after I realized how few women there really were to choose from,” said Sudbury-based Espley, who was the only woman in her engineering class. “So it was quite a neat experience.”

After graduating, Stan Bharti, who would later bestow Laurentian University’s engineering school with a $10-million endowment, interviewed Espley for her position at Falconbridge, where she remained for a few years before hiring on at Inco (now Vale). Since then, she’s worked in research, been a general foreman underground, acted as superintendent of business systems, and served as manager of nickel services for mining operations. She’s currently the general manager for mines and technical services.

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Mining engineer an “oddity” in Canada – Women in Mining: Imola Götz – by Liz Cowan (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.

Imola Götz’s choice to study mining engineering wasn’t an unusual one while growing up in Romania. “There were many mines around my home town and I knew the possibilities and thought this was a very interesting career,” said the chief engineer at Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mines in Timmins.

It was not unusual to find women working in the industry, with many filling technical positions. However, when she immigrated to Canada more than two decades ago, she was surprised there were not as many women working in the industry or pursuing engineering.

“When I got to Canada I was an oddity and I often got asked why I chose mining,” said Götz. She has been with Goldcorp for nearly 10 years and previously spent about 15 years in Manitouwadge. Her husband, Laszlo Götz, also works for Porcupine Gold Mines as its environmental manager. The couple decided to leave Romania early in their careers since the communist regime was “getting more and more intolerable.”

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Falling profits for Vale – by Reuters and Star Staff (August 6, 2013)

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

Battered by falling iron ore and nickel prices, Vale on Wednesday is expected to report a 30% drop in second-quarter profit to $1.85 billion US from a year earlier, analysts are predicting. If so, it would be Vale’s eighth consecutive quarterly profit fall, according to the average preliminary estimates of seven analysts surveyed by Reuters.

Most of the decline is due to a 12% drop in average iron ore prices and a 38% decline in nickel prices, more than offset-t ing increases in volumes shipped by the world’s No. 1 iron ore miner and No. 2 nickel producer.

Its shares have been the worst performer among the world’s big five mining companies, down 27% this year, despite a rally from nearly four-year lows in July. Of the big five, Rio Tinto, Brazil’s Vale, Glencore Xstrata and Anglo American are expected to report sharp drops in profit.

They have been slammed by weaker copper, iron ore and coal prices as they struggle to sell off assets. Anglo — the first of the diversified majors to publish results — said last week underlying operating profit fell in the six months to $3.3 billion, ahead of a consensus estimate of $3.12 billion.

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Queen’s Park: First Nations have iron grip on Ontario’s economy – by Ian Harvey (Law Times News – August 5, 2013)

Ian Harvey has been a journalist for 35 years writing about a diverse range of issues including legal and political affairs. His e-mail address is

Ontario’s economic future is in the hands of First Nations who effectively control all resource development. Moving forward, there will be no oil flowing in a pipeline nor will there be any copper, gold, nickel, uranium or chromite pulled from the earth unless a First Nation has approved and is getting its cut.

It’s the result of years of neglect coming to fruition, says Bill Gallagher, a Waterloo, Ont.-area lawyer whose book, Resource Rulers: Fortune and Folly on Canada’s Road to Resources, is turning heads.

“Natives have amassed an unprecedented legal winning streak in the last decade, 185 wins almost in a row, across the resources sector,” says Gallagher, who spent 30 years negotiating deals in the resource sector, including at Voisey’s Bay, N.L., where he sees parallels with Ontario’s Ring of Fire mines. “Ontario is behind in dealing with this.”

The province is also the target of a $100-million lawsuit brought by Solid Gold Resources Corp. this year. The northern gold-mining explorer staked a claim in 2007, but before exploratory drilling, it was advised by the province, following direction in Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests), to consult with the local Wahgoshig First Nation.

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Speaker’s Corner: Piercing of corporate veil in Hudbay case may send Canadian companies elsewhere – by Megan Lem (Law Times News – August 5, 2013)

Compañía Guatemalteca de Níquel (Guatemala Nickel) owns and operates the Fenix nickel mine in Guatemala. Between 2007 and 2009, there were some unfortunate security incidents at the mine when protesters clashed with police and private security details working for a security contractor that had been retained by Guatemala Nickel. These clashes allegedly led to the death of one man, the serious injury to another man, and the rape of several women.

The alleged victims of this violence in Guatemala, rather than suing Guatemala Nickel domestically in that country, brought three separate actions in Canada against Hudbay Minerals Inc., the parent company of Guatemala Nickel, for an aggregate of approximately $67 million in damages. Hudbay, in response, brought a motion in Ontario’s Superior Court to dismiss the Guatemalan claims, asserting that the proper place for a trial, if any, was in Guatemala, and that the proper party that should be responsible for whatever happened in Guatemala, if any, was Guatemala Nickel.

On July 22, Superior Court Justice Carole Brown denied Hudbay’s motion to dismiss the case in Canada, allowing the Guatemalans to continue their lawsuit against Hudbay in Canada. This precedent-setting decision is, according to Murray Klippenstein, counsel for the plaintiffs, “the first time that a Canadian court has ruled that a claim can be made against a Canadian parent corporation for negligently failing to prevent human rights abuses at its foreign mining project.”

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Lament for Sudbury’s golden age: City was transformed in the early 1980s through collective vision and drive – by Narasim Katary (Sudbury Star – August 3, 2013)

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

The golden age of Sudbury was from 1973 through 1985 — a period during which a mining town became a mind-full town.

A good definition of golden age is a period when there are notable peak activities. The transformative activity of any city consists of innovation for constant reinvention. During the golden age, the area that became Greater Sudbury excelled in innovation in a spectrum of fields.

The lament for the loss of creativity and confidence is an ancient art form: Veterans full of memories are aghast at the society that they think is behaving like a herd. A singular cohort often has a tendency to romanticize the period when they were active. People who know me well can attest to the fact I am notoriously resistant to the siren songs of Arcadian Romanticism. If anything, I am known to be in the tradition of English self-flagellation.

I title the period as the golden age because I was fortunat e to be a participant, observer and witness at close quarters to the performance of institutions in the city before the golden age and the functioning of the city after that period. In that sense, I am an equal opportunity offender. Knowledgeable people will point out the period commenced before I arrived on the scene and ended before I left the arena, thus absolving me of any contribution to its lustre.

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[Hammond Reef] Gold project hampered by prices – by Bryan Meadows (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – August 3, 2013)

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

Lower gold prices are impacting Osisko Mining Corp.’s plans for its Hammond Reef Gold Project near Atikokan.
In its second quarter report released Thursday, the company said that the Hammond Reef project requires higher gold prices to justify the investment on construction of a new mine there.

In addition, the company determined following a review of the project, that an impairment charge — a reduction on a company’s balance sheet that adjusts the value of a company’s goodwill — of $487.8 million was necessary. Accordingly, the project’s value recorded on the company’s books was reduced to nil, the report said.

Osisko acquired the Hammond Reef gold project, about 25 kilometres north of Atikokan in 2010, through the acquisition of publicly-traded Brett Resources Inc. for $375 million.

Hammond Reef is a large and growing development project with potential to become a substantial open-pit mine.
During the second quarter of 2013, Osisko invested $2.2 million, including working capital, on the property and focused efforts on the preparation of the feasibility study and the publication of the environmental assessment report.

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Ring of Fire bogged down by politics – by Brian MacLeod (Sudbury Star – August 1, 2013)

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

Can dousing the Ring of Fire with politicians rekindle the spark? All sides are betting it can.

The fate of the Ring of Fire, a 5,120-squarekilometre deposit rich in chromite (a metal hardener) and other minerals with a potential value of $100 billion and a lifespan of 30 or more years, has become murky during the last few months as falling chromite prices have dropped, shares prices of the lead developer — Cleveland-based Cliffs Natural Resources — have fallen, environmental and political processes have stalled and disputes among the mining companies developing the deposit remain unresolved.

Politicians have compared the Ring of Fire to Alberta’s oilsands, which highlights its wealth, but raises red flags among First Nations in northern Ontario about environmental issues.

It was always going to be a massively complicated deposit to develop. There was always too much money involved for this to go smoothly. Ontario stands to gain 1,200 jobs and millions in mining royalties, as well as billions of dollars in private investment to develop the area.

But in June, Cliffs announced it had halted its environmental assessment on its Black Thor deposit because nothing was happening on the political level.

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Miner’s family still positive as Wynne refuses meeting – by Heidi Ulrichsen (Sudbury Northern Life – July 31, 2013)

Province may launch review of mining safety

The sister of a local miner killed two years ago said her family is trying to remain “as positive as possible” despite Premier Kathleen Wynne’s recent refusal to meet with Steelworkers Local 6500 about a mining safety inquiry.

The union called for the inquiry last year in their report into the deaths of Jordan Fram, 26, and Jason Chenier, 35, who died at Vale’s Stobie Mine June 8, 2011 when they were buried by an uncontrolled run of muck. So far, though, the province has refused to launch such an inquiry.

The Fram and Chenier families, along with other citizens who want a mining inquiry, formed a group last year called Mining Inquiry Needs Everyone’s Support (MINES).

A postcard campaign advocating for a mining inquiry was also launched in April 2012 by Gerry Lougheed Jr., and sent thousands of cards to Queen’s Park. The campaign was taken up by the Steelworkers and the families of fallen workers.

Briana Fram said her mother, Wendy Fram — the co-chair of MINES — met with Labour Minister Yasir Naqvi and Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle a few months ago.

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Steelworkers attack Wynne over mine inquiry – by staff (Sudbury Star – July 31, 2013)

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

Leaders of Ontario’s largest mining union are accusing Premier Kathleen Wynne of “callously” rejecting their calls for what they say is a long-overdue inquiry into mine safety.

“Premier Wynne appears unfazed by the fact that our mining communities have suffered scores of deaths and thousands of injuries since the government last examined mine safety in this province,” Marty Warren, United Steelworkers’ Ontario director, said in a release.

“We hoped the new premier would take this issue more seriously than her predecessor, but that is not the case,” Warren said. The Steelworkers have been calling for an inquiry since the deaths of two Sudbury miners, Jason Chenier, 35, and Jordan Fram, 26, at Vale’s Stobie Mine, in 2011.

“It’s disgraceful that the prem ier has no interest in discussing the pleas of the grieving families and co-workers of deceased miners, who know only too well that a mine safety inquiry in Ontario is long-overdue,” said Rick Bertrand, president of USW Local 6500, representing 2,600 mine workers in Sudbury. Bertrand and Warren said they sent a joint request to Wynne on May 16, asking to meet with the premier to make the case for a mine safety inquiry.

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ONTC solution must be built collaboratively – by Peter Politis (Timmins Daily Press – July 30, 2013)

The Daily Press is the city of Timmins broadsheet newspaper.

Peter Politis is the Mayor of the Town of Cochrane.

TIMMINS – In the latest CTV news piece around the Minister’s Advisory Committee on the ONTC, I again found myself feeling less than inspired about the future of this critical northern asset.

While the employees and families of the operation continue to express their desire to work with the province and the committee, the province strangely continues to be less than receptive.

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle’s response to the employees, who are basically saying they understand that unusual changes are needed to the role employees play in the future of the ONTC, is to say thanks but you need to speak directly to the employer about that not me, or the committee.

Curiously though, Gravelle’s own ministry keeps telling the employees and the ONTC, their direction from the minister is to keep divesting and until that changes there is nothing to talk about.

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