Quebec needs to move beyond simply smelting aluminum – by Bertrand Marotte (Globe and Mail – November 8, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

MONTREAL – For decades, Quebec’s foreign-owned aluminum sector has been a source of pride in a province that can use all the high-powered manufacturing might it can get.

Boosted by financial backing from the government and cheap hydroelectric rates, the sector has played a starring role in the province’s economic development.

But the three major players in North America’s most aluminum-intensive region – the third largest in the world after China and Russia – struggle to make Quebec a centre of aluminum-product innovation.

Despite years of effort by the industry to update, including Alcoa’s confirmation of plans on Monday for a $2.1-billion expansion and modernization program at three Quebec facilities, the province remains for the most part a simple exporter of primary aluminum to the four corners of the world.

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Trou Story: Digging up dirt [anti-mining] – by Jeff Heinrich (Montreal Gazette – November 3, 2011)

MONTREAL – The title – Trou Story, or in English, The Hole Story – is typical Richard Desjardins: a play on words, vaguely scatological, loaded with droll sarcasm. It’s the title of his latest film, made with longtime colleague Robert Monderie: a trenchant documentary about the devastation wrought by a century of mining in the Canadian Shield of northeastern Ontario and Abitibi-Témiscamingue, the filmmakers’ home turf.

The duo have been making social-commentary docs about their far-flung region since the late 1970s. In 1999, they took a whack at the forestry industry with L’erreur boréale (Forest Alert), which won a Jutra and led to the Coulombe commission inquiry into forestry management. Another Jutra followed in 2009 for Le peuple invisible (The Invisible Nation), about the plight of the Algonquin people.

Now, Desjardins and Monderie are back with Trou Story – and already, their doc is controversial.

Produced by the National Film Board and narrated by Desjardins, the film begins with a 30-minute exposé of the history of mining in the Shield and toll it’s taken on human life: Canadian soldiers killed by bullets made from Sudbury nickel that was sold to the Germans in the First World War; unsanitary conditions that led to a typhoid epidemic in the silver-mining town of Cobalt; arsenic from abandoned Abitibi gold mines that continues to seep into the water supply.

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[Quebec] Filmmaker targets mining industry – by Nicolas Van Praet (National Post – November 2, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

MONTREAL — When documentary filmmakers target the corporate world, the results can be nasty but fleeting.

Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me forced McDonald’s Corp. to respond to the portrayal of its food as a silent killer. But it did little harm to the fast-food giant’s popularity and share price, which has more than tripled since the day the film was released in 2004.

In Roger & Me, Michael Moore decried General Motors Corp.’s closure of several auto plants in his native Flint, Mich. The movie awakened for many Americans the debate over globalization and protecting local employment.

As for the bespectacled Quebec singer and poet Richard Desjardins, he’s become a bit of a folk hero for shaking up corporate Quebec.

His 1999 shock documentary L’Erreur Boréale (English title: Forest Alert) fuelled a public outcry against deforestation. He forced Toronto-based Norbord Industries Inc. to suspend logging in the woodland west of his hometown of Rouyn-Noranda. No matter that his film was widely denounced by the forestry industry as manipulative and inaccurate. L’Actualité magazine named him Man of the Year that year.

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Canada hypocritical on a dangerous mineral [asbestos] – by Keeble McFarlane (Jamiaca Observer – October 22, 2011)

We all no doubt remember the rushing cloud of whitish dust which ballooned out over southern Manhattan on the morning of September 11, 2001, as the iconic towers of the World Trade Centre fell in on themselves after the planes commandeered by terrorists crashed into them.

In addition to the almost 3000 people who died in the towers themselves, dozens of rescue workers and others caught in the cloud have since died from exposure to the dust. Many others developed serious lung problems which have severely affected their health and which will invariably shorten their lives.

That cloud was a toxic mixture of all the materials contained in those towering structures – gypsum wallboard, floor and ceiling tiles, disintegrated concrete, shredded paper, furniture, carpets and draperies, office chemicals, metal residue, even food blown to bits in the devastation and, saddest of all, people and their clothing. Perhaps most crucial was the 400 tonnes of asbestos, used as a fire-retardant.

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Agnico-Eagle writes off Goldex mine – Euan Rocha, Reuters (Globe and Mail – October 20, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Toronto— Reuters – Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd.  is suspending operations at its Goldex mine at Val d’Or, Que., indefinitely because of water inflow and ground instability, the Canadian gold miner said Wednesday, sending its shares sharply lower.

Toronto-based Agnico will write off its investment in Goldex, resulting in a pretax third-quarter charge of about $260-million (U.S.). On an after-tax basis, the charge will be about $170-million, or $1 a share, the company said.

The writeoff prompted analysts at Credit Suisse and Macquarie to downgrade the stock, while analysts at a number of other brokerage firms lowered their price targets on Agnico-Eagle shares. Dahlman Rose analyst Adam Graf, in a note to clients, said Goldex accounts for roughly 13 per cent of Agnico’s net asset value and about 14 per cent of next year’s gold production.

“This would appear to be a major blow to Agnico-Eagle,” Mr. Graf said. “While Goldex is only a minority of annual production and value, it is nonetheless quite significant.”

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NEWS RELEASE: Agnico-Eagle’s Goldex mine to suspend production during investigation and remediation of water inflow and ground stability issue; book value of Goldex to be written off (Oct/19/2011)

Stock Symbol:   AEM (NYSE and TSX) 

(All amounts expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted)

TORONTO, Oct. 19, 2011 /CNW/ – Agnico-Eagle Mines Limited (“Agnico-Eagle” or the “Company”) announced today that it is suspending mining operations and gold production at its Goldex mine in Val d’Or, Quebec effective immediately.  This decision follows the receipt of an opinion from a second rock mechanics consulting firm which recommended that underground mining operations be halted until the situation is investigated further.

While the Company continues to assess the situation, it appears that a weak volcanic rock unit in the hangingwall of the Goldex deposit has failed.  This rock failure is thought to extend between the top of the deposit and surface.  As a result, this structure has allowed ground water to flow into the mine.  This water flow has likely contributed to further weakening and movement of the rock mass.

“Considering the safety of the Company’s employees, and the integrity of the mine’s infrastructure and that of the surrounding area, the decision was made to stop production indefinitely” said Sean Boyd, Vice-Chairman and CEO.

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(Montreal, October 07, 2011) During a ceremony held yesterday, Sean Roosen, President and CEO of Osisko Mining Corporation (“Osisko”), was named Ernst & Young’s 2011 Quebec Entrepreneur of the Year. Furthermore, he is among the five individuals to be nominated for the national honor of Canada’s 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year, being announced in Toronto on November 23.

The Quebec Entrepreneur of the Year Award is given annually to an entrepreneur who has distinguished himself by his achievements, not only in terms of business success, but also in terms of socio-economic development within the community.

“I am extremely proud to receive one of Canada’s most prestigious awards”, noted Sean Roosen. “I humbly accept this award on behalf of the entire Osisko team—now counting over 700 employees—who are the ones truly responsible for the success of the Company.”

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Quebec lawyers jump on Plan Nord – Drew Hasselback (National Post – October 5, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

“Plan Nord is not portrayed as a massive government handout.
Montreal lawyers insist they believe the North will be
developed purely through market forces. They see the plan as
the government living up to its traditional role, which is to
install infrastructure such as roads, ports, power lines and

“Plan Nord is about making sure Quebec has the roads,
electricity supplies, airports and shipping ports in
place to serve future generations.” (Drew Hasselback)

Step inside the office of any law firm in Montreal, and you won’t have to walk too far before you bump into someone who’s been assigned to that firm’s Plan Nord team. That’s because Plan Nord is the biggest source of business for transaction-oriented law firms in Montreal these days.

The plan is well understood within Montreal business circles, and it’s also caught the attention of resource investors from around the world. For lawyers, it pushes a lot of buttons. Plan Nord anticipates $80-billion worth of development in Quebec’s North over the next 25 years.

This involves the development of mining projects, transportation links, power-generation facilities, supporting businesses and other infrastructure investments. Putting the plan into action means business across a broad spectrum of legal specialities.

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Strong North, strong Canada [Resource development] – by Anne Golden and David STewart-Patterson (Toronto Star – October 2, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Anne Golden is president and chief executive officer and David Stewart-Patterson is vice-president of public policy of The Conference Board of Canada.

“At the Diavik diamond mine, for instance, the company
managed to recruit 67 per cent of its operating workforce
from local communities, with almost half being aboriginals.
Resource companies are working with governments and
aboriginal organizations to boost the future capacity of
the northern and aboriginal labour force.” (Anne Golden
and David Stewart-Patterson)

The fact that getting a morning double-double costs about 35 per cent more in Iqaluit than in Mississauga is not exactly top of mind for traffic-bound commuters in the GTA. Canada’s North looms large in our national imagination, but not in the daily lives of most Canadians.

What happens in the North, however, matters to all of us. How our far-flung northern communities develop will have a real impact on the economic future of our country, and all of us need a better understanding of the forces at work.

The galloping growth of emerging economies like China and India has made the economic opportunities obvious. The world is hungry for Canada’s resources, and much of what we have — gold, silver, copper, zinc, diamonds, oil and gas — is to be found in our vast northern spaces.

Northerners face major challenges as they seek to take full advantage of these opportunities.

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Giving asbestos new life – by Graeme Hamilton and Nicolas Van Praet (National Post – September 29, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper

He has been portrayed as a monster, a businessman with impeccable political connections who sells a product so dangerous it has been banned in Europe and largely shunned on this continent.

But Baljit Singh Chadha says he is simply aiming to make some money while helping the poor improve their lives. And it looks like the Quebec government is about to back him up.

Mr. Chadha is a Montreal entrepreneur and the new face of the asbestos industry in Canada. After acting as the sales agent in India to Quebec’s Jeffrey asbestos mine for years, he has put together a plan to buy the bankrupt business and give it new life.

The Liberal government of Premier Jean Charest has committed $58-million in loan guarantees to relaunch the mine, provided Mr. Chadha can show the project can turn a profit, that the asbestos will be used safely in importing countries and that he can find private investors willing to put $25-million into the plan.

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Rio Tinto hiring hundreds of workers in Canada because of modernization projects – by Ross Marowits, Canadian Press (Winnipeg Free Press – September 27, 2011)

The Winnipeg Free Press is the oldest newspaper in western Canada and has the largest readership in the province of Manitoba.

MONTREAL – A couple of years after it laid off 14,000 workers around the world, global mining giant Rio Tinto has launched a mini hiring spree in Canada, mainly due to its modernization projects.

The Anglo-Australian company is actively searching to hire more than 210 workers for mining and manufacturing in alumina, aluminum, iron ore, diamonds and titanium dioxide.

“We launched the campaign to help our ongoing recruitment efforts for our modernization and expansion projects,” Rio Tinto spokesman Bryan Tucker said in an email. Rio Tinto employs more than 13,000 people at 35 sites in Canada.

The company has turned to Facebook and YouTube, posting a four-minute promotional video showing operations such as the Diavik Diamond Mine, Iron Ore Company of Canada, Rio Tinto, Fer et Titane, and Rio Tinto Alcan.

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Yes, we have the $25-million,’ Quebec firm says of asbestos plan – by Julian Sher (Globe and Mail – September 27, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

MONTREAL – A year ago, over a lunch of oysters and fine wine at a posh downtown restaurant, Baljit Chadha held himself out as the potential saviour of Quebec’s faltering asbestos industry. This week, he plans to deliver.

Days before a provincial government deadline this Saturday to find private funding for the Mine Jeffrey in Asbestos, Que., the wealthy and well-connected Montreal businessman says he has “letters of intent” from unnamed investors in three different countries – enough to breathe new life into an export trade critics decry for causing death.

“I have done a lot of soul-searching on this and have come to a conclusion that we are not exporting death,” said Mr. Chadha, who combines an almost evangelical fervour for asbestos with the clout needed to pull off his controversial plan.

Mr. Chadha, whose company already handled much of the mine’s asbestos sales to his native India, offered to buy the mine outright in August of 2010, for “tens of millions.” But to clinch the deal, he had to secure an additional $25-million from outside investors while the Quebec government kept the mine afloat with a $58-million loan guarantee.

“Yes we have the $25-million,” he told The Globe and Mail.

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Planning for a gold mine: Plan Nord’s impact on Quebec’s mining industry – by Nochane Rousseau (Canadian Mining Journal – September, 2011)

The Canadian Mining Journal is Canada’s first mining publication providing information on Canadian mining and exploration trends, technologies, operations, and industry events.

Nochane Rousseau, Leader, Mining Industry Services and Plan Nord Project – PwC. For more information, please visit PwC’s mining site at:

“The plan addresses these issues [infrastructure] by
outlining actions the Quebec government will take to
build the necessary strategic infrastructure in
territories with the highest economic potential—an
“if you build it, they will come” mentality.”

“Beyond being rich in resources, the province’s mining
industry is well established and affordable
hydro-electricity is a competitive advantage for miners
operating in Quebec.” (Nochane Rousseau, Leader, Mining
Industry Services and Plan Nord Project – PwC)

Twenty-five years may seem like a lifetime away, but the Quebec government’s Plan Nord could result in a huge transformation of Northern Quebec in what’s, in reality, a relatively short amount of time, given its ambitious objectives.

The numbers are nothing short of impressive. The Quebec Government projects Plan Nord to lead to over $80 billion in investments – $47 billion towards renewable energy and $33 billion for investments in the mining sector and public infrastructure such as roads, rail and airports. It will also create or consolidate about 20,000 jobs per year over a 25-year period. In its recently released plan, the government says it hopes the initiative will be to the coming decades what the development of La Manicouagan and James Bay were to the 1960-70s.

The mining industry could play a huge part in this investment. The 1.2 million km area the plan covers is a wealth of untapped opportunities that could surely captivate the interest of domestic and global mining companies. This territory produces all of Quebec’s nickel, zinc and iron ore, to name a few, and also represents a significant portion of gold production.

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[Canada] Two faced on asbestos – by Lorne Gunter (National Post – September 14, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

June was a very wet month in Edmonton. It rained nearly every day. Sometimes, it poured. And sometimes when it poured, it also blew – hard. Near the end of the month, rain fell for three days straight, while the wind gusted at times from 90 to 110 kilometres per hour.

The downspout from the upper roof of our home emptied onto the lower roof, from where the precipitation rippled across the shingles, disappeared into the eaves, down the pipe attached to the bricks next to the family room window and out onto the lawn.

In the middle of the night on the third straight day of rain, all the water and wind that had played on the roof over all the years succeeded in lifting the corner of one or two shingles. First a little rain, then a lot, snuck under the protective, overlapping asphalt tiles and leaked into our family room through the pot lights in the ceiling.

Around 5: 00 a.m., as the sun was rising on the upper side of the clouds, I was awakened by a dripping sound. Climbing down the stairs, I found some of the rain that should have been running out onto the lawn falling by drips and spoonfuls onto the rug in two places, as well as onto the middle of a large, overstuffed ottoman.

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Investment needed to ensure returns on Quebec’s Plan Nord – by Bertrand Marotte (Globe and Mail – September 14, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

MONTREAL— Companies stand to benefit from the anticipated mining boom in northern Quebec, but they need to start building the right infrastructure projects now to capitalize on the opportunity.

The Quebec government’s ambitious $80-billion, 25-year plan to open up the vast, remote northern region of the province requires that they play a much more hands-on role in the critical development of infrastructure.

“It’s important for mining companies to be pro-active in the decision-making process because there is a need for good preparation and for clear outline of public sector-private sector responsibilities such as who will be in charge of road maintenance over the long term,” said Daniel Roth, Ernst & Young’s head of the Montreal-based infrastructure advisory service.

Infrastructure access has become more of an issue for mining companies around the world in the past year, Ernst & Young says in its annual report on the business risks facing the mining and metals sector.

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