Archive | Red Lake

Red Lake area running out of power to feed mines (CBC News Thunder Bay – April 17, 2014)

Hydro One to consider solutions to allow production to begin at two new mines next year

The Northwest Energy Task Force is keeping a close eye on the power needs of two mines scheduled to open next year at Red Lake. Task force member John Mason said there’s a looming problem for two new mining projects that need a solution.

“Between the Rubicon operation and (Goldcorp’s) Cochenour Bruce Channel, I would estimate over $700 million has been spent, and yet could be hampered with power issues, which would be devastating to these new operations.”

Mason said the mines could be held up unless electricity infrastructure is upgraded. Rubicon’s Phoenix gold project is set to start up next spring, and mine maintenance superintendent Sylvain Talbot agrees there’s a challenge to overcome.

“There is nine megawatts available, and Goldcorp and Rubicon are maybe looking for 20 megawatts. And there is another junior company that’s coming, so Red Lake area is running out of power.” Talbot said he recently asked about options to enable Rubicon to start production at the new mine next spring. Continue Reading →

Top Ten Mining Events in Northern Ontario History – by Stan Sudol (March 22, 2014)

This column was also published on the Huffington Post – the “New York Times” of the web:

Klondike Versus Northern Ontario

For crying out loud, I continue to be astonished with our collective Canadian obsession over the Klondike Gold Rush while northern Ontario’s rich and vibrant mining history is completely ignored by the Toronto media establishment, especially the CBC.

Discovery Channel’s recent six-hour mini-series on the Klondike – vaguely based on Charlotte Gray’s book, “Gold Diggers: Striking It Rich in the Klondike – once again highlighted this glaring snub.

Unfairly, the Klondike did have the benefit of terrific public relations due to famous writers like Jack London, Robert W. Service and Pierre Berton, but I still don’t understand how this brief mining boom continues to dominate the “historical oxygen” in our national psyche.

At its peak, the Klondike only lasted a few years – 1896-1899 – and produced about 12.5 million ounces of gold. And unlike the California gold rush that created one of the largest and richest states in the union, the entire Yukon Territory’s population today is about 36,000. Contrast that with booming Timmins with 45,000 hardy souls who have dug out of the ground about 68 million ounces and counting of the precious metal, since the Porcupine Gold rush of 1909.

It’s enough to make to make Benny Hollinger, Jack Wilson and Sandy MacIntyre – the founders of this extraordinary deposit – spin in their collective graves! Continue Reading →

Red Lake housing shortage vexes officials – CBC News Thunder Bay (October 2, 2013)

The Municipality of Red Lake wants to build more housing so workers at the local mines can live in the community. A housing shortage is one reason that hundreds of contractors commute to their jobs.

Red Lake’s economic development officer said much of the land in the municipality is already staked for mining claims — meaning it can’t be built on. “Well, it might look open to the naked eye but, in truth … we cannot develop up here,” Bill Greenway said.

Mining company Goldcorp is currently building 10 homes, with another 40 planned for a subdivision. But that is just a start on what’s needed, Greenway said The cost of servicing a building lot on bedrock is in the tens of thousands of dollars, he noted.

“Infrastructure costs are probably the biggest detriment to development here, because you’re usually looking at using explosives to actually embed water, sewer lines,” Greenway said. Finding a solution to the housing shortage would make it easier for Ron Parks to attract staff to his Tim Horton’s store.

“The main problem here is they have a hard time finding a place to live,” Parks said. Continue Reading →

Wabauskang First Nation granted Supreme Court appeal over mining projects – by Alan S. Hale (Kenora Daily MIner and News – October 1, 2013)

Another Treaty 3 First Nation will have its day at the Supreme Court to argue its case against allowing the province making decisions regarding resource extraction in the First Nations traditional territory. The high court has granted an appeal to Wabauskang First Nation, which has been fighting mining projects inside its territory since it took Rubicon Minerals to court in December 2012.

“We fully expect to be successful at the Supreme Court, and we expect that we will be successful in our lawsuit against Rubicon as well,” said Wabauskang’s chief, Leslie Cameron.

“We’ve always said that Ontario had no jurisdiction to approve Rubicon’s closure plan.”

Lawyers for Wabauskang are planning to make arguments very similar to those of Asubpeeschoseewagong (Grassy Narrows) First Nation in its Supreme Court challenge against the province’s ability to issue forestry licenses in the First Nation’s territory. Wabauskang’s case is deeply intertwined with Grassy Narrows’, often using the other First Nation’s 15-year legal battle against logging in the Whiskey Jack forest as precedent for its own arguments. Continue Reading →

Red Lake starving for workers – by Jeff Walters (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 1, 2013)

Northwestern Ontario mining community struggles to keep up with booming economy

A strong economy, stable population and lots of jobs sounds like a dream come true for many communities — but the mining town of Red Lake has almost zero unemployment and is starving for workers.

Red Lake’s economic development officer figures the roughly 80 people in the community who are out of work “just don’t have the skills, or can’t work,” Bill Greenway said. “So, there’s zero unemployment here.”

The town — located about 600 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay — also struggles with millions of dollars leaving the community every year. Hundreds of contractors work in Red Lake. Many of them commute to work and, instead of living in Red Lake, they live in a bunkhouse operated by Goldcorp. That means they do not pay property taxes.

“You appreciate that the fly-in-fly-out workers are important,” Greenway said. “[But] their income leaves with them.” He said a priority is getting contractors and miners to actually move to Red Lake, which has a population of about 5,000. Continue Reading →

Immigrants keep Red Lake booming – CBC News Thunder Bay (September 27, 2013)

Northwestern Ontario mining town’s unemployment rate is nearly zero

A community founded on immigration is once again attracting new residents from around the world. Almost a century after miners from around the world rushed to Red Lake to work in its booming gold mines, the community still needs workers to keep its economy going.

“Immigration was really extremely significant because had we not had immigrants coming to work in the area, the mining would actually not be here,” said Michelle Alderton, who works at the Red Lake Heritage Centre. “We would not have an economy.”

Today, Red Lake welcomes people like Gabriela Jiminez. She came from Mexico with her husband, who found work at a mine. Jiminez said her family is comfortably settled in.

“My husband is now getting all those toys that the people like to have here,” she said. “And, I think that’s enough for us for summertime. [We] just go outside and do whatever.” Jiminez said she is proud to be part of a growing number of immigrants moving into Red Lake, a town of 5,000 people. Continue Reading →

Good news of gold in NOW (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – September 16, 2013)

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

This is the ninth instalment of a multi-part series looking at the mining sector in Northwestern Ontario and the Ring of Fire development.

“For more than 2,000 years, the natural properties of gold have made it man’s universal medium of exchange. In contrast to political money, gold is honest money that survived the ages . . .’’

Although not everyone might agree with this rather dramatic statement, it is difficult to deny the timeless allure of the yellow metal and its association with wealth, strength and excellence.

References to gold permeate our culture, hence terms like “gold seal of approval,’’ “good as gold” and the awarding of first-place gold medals to the best of the best.

Despite its vulnerability to interest rates and market fluctuation, German-born economist, Hans F. Sennnhotz (1922-2007) demonstrated his complete faith in gold as a universally enduring commodity when he made this statement. Gold remains a powerful economic driver and is still a monetary reference in many of the world’s economies, where the value of a bill still guarantees or is “backed up” by a certain amount of gold. Continue Reading →

Northern Promise: Home of the world’s richest gold mine braces for coming headwinds – by Peter Koven (National Post – August 20, 2013)

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

Northern Promise is a six-part series that explores the pace and progress of development in Canada’s remote communities. In this second instalment Peter Koven visits the home of the world’s richest gold mine

Fifty-four hundred feet below the surface, roughly underneath the local airport, a massive drill is pounding out a path to Red Lake’s latest set of riches.

Workers stand back and protect their ears as the driller carefully targets the sheer rock wall up ahead and begins to break it apart. It is slow and careful work; the horizontal drill makes about 15 to 23 feet of progress per day, sometimes less. But it is closing in on the destination, which will be reached later this year after more than three years of work.

The end result will be a five-kilometre drift connecting Goldcorp Inc.’s existing operations here with the Bruce Channel, a high-grade discovery that will be a flagship of the company’s Red Lake operations for decades to come. The ore from Bruce Channel (or Cochenour) will be hauled back to Goldcorp’s Campbell mill via an underground tram system, which is already running and is being expanded as fast as the drillers up ahead can open up the drift. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Lac Seul First Nation and Goldcorp Inc. Sign Collaboration Agreement

August 19, 2013

RED LAKE, ON, Aug. 19, 2013 /CNW/ – GOLDCORP INC. (NYSE: GG) (TSX: G) (“Goldcorp”) and Lac Seul First Nation have signed Obishikokaang Collaboration Agreement setting a framework for continued consultation and support for current and future operations of Red Lake Gold Mines and defining the long-term benefits for the First Nation. A signing ceremony was held Friday, August 16, in the Municipality of Red Lake, Ontario.

The agreement will bring recognition and economic benefits to Lac Seul First Nation, comprised of about 3,200 band members with significant historical ties to the development of the Red Lake gold camp. Many band members reside within the Municipality of Red Lake.

“Goldcorp’s commitment to working with First Nations is once again demonstrated with this agreement, ensuring both the sustainable development of the areas in which we operate and long-term economic benefits for communities,” said Chris Cormier, Mine General Manager at Goldcorp’s Red Lake Gold Mines. “We look forward to working in partnership with Lac Seul First Nation to foster continued dialogue and to implement the initiatives set out in the agreement.”

“This agreement demonstrates that Lac Seul First Nation can work successfully with industry,” said Chief Clifford Bull of Lac Seul First Nation. Continue Reading →

Gold producers squeezed by rising costs and sliding prices – by Tim Kiladze (Globe and Mail – August 12, 2013)

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.

Midway through his master’s degree in geology in the 1980s, Brian Christie trekked to the Red Lake gold mine in Northwestern Ontario as part of a research project. About 930 metres deep, more than one and a half times the CN Tower’s height, the remote mining project was a treat for a geology student eager to make his mark in the industry.

At the time, Red Lake was near the top of the list of the world’s most important gold mines in terms of grade and volume. Even today, after decades of production, some areas of the mine produce 57 grams of the gold per tonne – many multiples ahead of the industry average.

Yet the enthusiasm for projects such as that once drew Mr. Christie to research Red Lake has been undercut by a 10-month slide in gold prices and at least $23-billion worth of writedowns by Canadian gold miners over the past year and a half.

Today, Red Lake’s high-grade gold is found as far down as 2,350 metres, about four times the CN Tower’s height, which shows the difficulty gold miners face in trying to boost their stock valuations even if prices for the precious metal rebound. Continue Reading →

Rubicon Minerals appoints new operations boss – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – January 7, 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.

Rubicon Minerals has appointed a new vice president of operations and hired a new director of investor relations. “Putting in place a team that can take us to the next level is one of my key priorities,” said Michael Lalonde, Rubicion president and CEO, in a Jan. 7 statement.

Dan Labine is the new operations boss, effective Jan. 21 and Allan Candelario will handle investor relations. Labine has more than 35 years of engineering, mine operation, and project management experience, most recently as Goldcorp’s senior project manager in charge of the construction and development of the Cochenour project in Red Lake.

Rubicon is constructing a gold mine in the Red Lake district. Its Phoenix Gold project is slated for a 2014 startup. Labine supervised the construction of a five-kilometre underground haulage drift between the Cochenour project and its Red Lake mine infrastructure.

Labine previously worked in management for Inco, AMEC Earth and Environmental Ltd. and was a senior project engineer for Nordpro Mine and Project Management Services. Continue Reading →

Crown has to respect treaty rights: Wabauskang Chief Leslie Cameron – by Jon Thompson (Kenora Daily Miner & News – December 24, 2012)

Facing a lawsuit that could threaten its Phoenix Mine at Red Lake, Rubicon Minerals is not only vowing to fight back in court but to work with Wabauskang First Nation, who launched the suit on Thursday.

Based on an Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision that could redefine harvesting rights in the province, Wabauskang has asked a provincial court to either suspend or entirely cancel the approval of Rubicon’s closure plan, the primary authorization that will allow the company to begin production. The case, known as the Grassy Narrows Trappers’ Decision, found only the federal government can alter treaty agreements. The province has appealed that decision.

“We would rather not go to court, but until Canada and Ontario fulfill their responsibilities to us, we have no choice,” said Wabauskang Chief Leslie Cameron, arguing the province has unlawfully delegated its consultation responsibilities to the company. “Rubicon talks about their consultation, but where’s the government’s consultation? Ontario relied on Rubicon. That’s not right.”

Cameron compared her community’s case to that of Wahogshig First Nation’s case against Solid Gold Resources, which that First Nation argued in court on the same day Wabauskang filed its suit. She said Wabauskang will be closely watching the decision on Wahogshig, which is expected in mid-January 2013. Continue Reading →

First Nation clashes with Red Lake gold miner – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – December 21, 2012)

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 [email protected].

A small northwestern Ontario First Nation community is threatening legal action against a Red Lake gold miner which is advancing a high-grade deposit toward an early 2014 startup.

Wabauskang First Nation Chief Leslie Cameron said negotiations for a benefits agreement are not going well between his community of 300 and Rubicon Minerals over its Phoenix Gold project.

The band has instructed its lawyers to file a lawsuit at the Ontario Superior Court opposing Rubicon’s project. While the band is frustrated with the pace of development by the Vancouver-based miner, it has an even bigger bone to pick with the federal and provincial governments.

In a Dec. 17 news release, the band said it has repeatedly reminded and complained to Queen’s Park and Ottawa of its “constitutional obligations to consult and accommodate,” with First Nations on mining and exploration projects. But the band said both levels of government have ignored them and foisted those duties onto the mining companies. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Wabauskang First Nation Files Lawsuit Against Ontario and Rubicon

Wabauskang First Nation
Treaty 3
December 20, 2012

Wabauskang First Nation’s lawsuit opposing Rubicon Mineral’s proposed Phoenix Mine at Red Lake, Ontario has been filed at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

“We will oppose Rubicon’s mine until our Treaty rights are respected,” said Wabauskang Chief Leslie Cameron. “We would rather not go to court, but until Canada and Ontario fulfill their responsibilities to us, we have no choice.”

Wabauskang’s lawsuit asks the court to either suspend or entirely cancel the approval of the closure plan, which is the primary authorization that will let Rubicon go into production. The lawsuit relies on last year’s court win by Grassy Narrrows First Nation in Keewatin, where the court found that only the federal government can justify an infringement of Treaty rights.

“We know that Ontario has been informing companies that any authorizations they get in the Keewatin lands may not be valid because the court has found that Ontario doesn’t have jurisdiction to issue authorizations. We think Rubicon’s closure plan is an example of an authorization that will ultimately be cancelled by the court.” Continue Reading →

Wabauskang heading to court to stop gold mine – by Shawn Bell (Wawatay News – December 18, 2012)

Northern Ontario’s First Nations Voice:

Wabauskang First Nation is preparing to file a lawsuit to oppose Rubicon Minerals’ proposed Phoenix Gold Mine in Red Lake.

The Treaty #3 First Nation says it was left with no choice but to go to court after attempts to work with the company over the past year to address Wabauskang’s concerns failed to resolve the differences.

Wabauskang Chief Leslie Cameron pointed blame over the dispute directly at the federal government. Cameron said the government has passed its duty to consult First Nations onto Ontario and then onto mining companies. “The government has to deal with us directly,” Cameron said. “They can’t hide behind mining companies.”

Cameron said Wabauskang expressed its concerns with Rubicon’s Phoenix Gold Mine project right from the time the project was initiated. Despite those concerns, Ontario approved the mine’s process review in the fall of 2011.

“We didn’t want to go to court, so even though we don’t think Ontario had the authority to approve the mine, we tried to work with the company over the last year to resolve our concerns,” Cameron said. “We’ve been unsuccessful, so we’re forced to go to court to ensure that our interests are protected.” Continue Reading →