Commentary on Mining Watch: Ring of Fire Report – by Stan Sudol


Map Courtsey KWG

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant who writes extensively about the mining industry.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

“In the next 25 years, demand for metals could meet or exceed what we have used
since the beginning of the industrial revolution. By way of illustration, China needs to
build three cities larger than Sydney or Toronto every year until 2030 to accommodate
rural to urban growth. This equates to the largest migration of population from rural to
urban living in the history of mankind.” (John McGagh, Rio Tinto – Head of Innovation)

Mining Watch Reputation 

Mining Watch was established in 1999 in response to the actions of Canadian exploration companies operating in Latin America and other jurisdictions in the developing world.

As stated on their website, “MiningWatch Canada … addresses the urgent need for a co-ordinated public interest response to the threats to public health, water and air quality, fish and wildlife habitat and community interests posed by irresponsible mineral policies and practices in Canada and around the world.”

In contrast to many in the mining sector I find a few of Mining Watch’s criticism’s legitimate and they have worked cooperatively with the industry in Ontario. In 2008, Mining Watch in conjunction with the Ontario Mining Association supported the amendment of the Ontario Mining Act that enabled companies to voluntarly rehabilitation mine sites even thought they had no legal requirments to do so. 

Recently, Mining Watch has issued a report titled, “Economic analysis of the Ring of Fire chromite mining play”. It was written by former Sudbury resident and well-known social activist Joan Kuyek. While the report covers a wide range of topics, I would like to focus on some important issues that have been downplayed or omitted, primarily the current state of mining, geo-politics and a history of enormous wealth creation from the mineral sector due to government infrastructure support. 

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Battle of the Canadian Gold Rushes: Klondike Versus Northern Ontario – by Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant, who writes extensively about mining issues.(

The Yukon Klondike

I have a small complaint about Canadian mining history or more importantly, our media coverage of past gold rushes. The Yukon Klondike gold rush of 1896-1899 seems to take all the glory – thanks to writers like Jack London, Robert W. Service and Canadian literary icon, Pierre Berton – while northern Ontario’s four globally significant gold/silver discoveries in the first half of the last century do not get the historical respect they deserve.

The initial Klondike discovery, on August 16, 1896, at a fish camp near the junction of the Yukon and Klondike rivers, is credited to George Carmack and his Tagish Indian brothers-in-law, Skookum Jim Mason and Dawson (Tagish) Charlie. Robert Henderson, a Nova Scotia prospector is credited as a cofounder, since it was on his advice that the discovery was made, however he made no money from the find.

At the height of the rush, Dawson City, the main staging town at the mouth of the Klondike River had a booming population of about 30,000 and was known as the most cosmopolitan city west of Winnipeg and north of Vancouver.  Due to its isolation, all the claims had been staked by the time most people finally arrived. Some of the most memorable photographs from the period show a thin line of thousands of people climbing the legendary Chilkoot Pass – the shortest but most difficult route to the goldfields – bringing the required year’s supply of food and living material.

Fortunes were made and lost in Dawson City’s “rip-roaring” frontier atmosphere where prostitutes were tolerated and nearly everyone was on the lookout for charlatans and con men. Many became rich just supplying services to the stampeders.  In total, about 12.5 million ounces of gold was produced during this short-lived rush that lasted for less than a decade.

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