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The Fable of the Ropes: Applied to Northern Ontario – by David Robinson

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.  

Dave Robinson is an economist with the Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development at Laurentian University. [email protected] His column was published in the February, 2011 issue.

Once upon a time there was a vast, resource-rich region – kind of like Northern Ontario. It was stuck in an old-fashioned development trap. You know, producing raw materials for other regions, with all the decisions being made outside the region, and almost all the revenue from selling off resources going outside the region.

One man was officially in charge of pulling the region out of that development swamp. He was in charge of all the forests and all the minerals. The Grand Minister of Mines and Forests struggled heroically to get the region moving. But nothing happened.

Unfortunately, the Grand Minister was relying on an outdated model of development. He was pinning his hopes on the Ring of Fire and on doing what the forestry companies want. After flirting with change, he backed away from increasing community control and putting wood in the hands of small local producers. It looked like he’d been hog-tied by the big companies. Continue Reading →

Sudbury-based Crossworks Manufacturing is the largest cutting and polishing manufacturer in North America – by Adelle Larmour

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. This article was published in the February, 2011 issue.

Sudbury diamond polisher sparkles

Would you believe that one of the largest diamond cutting and polishing facilities in North America is in Sudbury? While consumers view the stunning array of diamonds in the jewelry display cases, Crossworks Manufacturing Ltd., a cutting and polishing manufacturer headquartered in Vancouver, is busy working behind the scenes.

This unassuming, low-profile Sudbury facility prefers to fly under the radar because of the nature of its business and the millions of dollars of product with which it deals. Thirty of its 32 employees in Sudbury came from Vietnam and have a minimum of 10 years experience, further emphasizing the value of the product and the importance of accuracy.

Crossworks’ two Canadian cutting and polishing factories survived the global financial crisis that left other diamond manufacturers bankrupt. It now has the only cutting and polishing game in the country. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Better Off With Vale – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star)

Carol Mulligan is a reporter for the Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper. [email protected]

For an informative six-minute interview between Sudbury Star staff and Vale top executives, John Pollesel, chief operating officer for Vale’s North Atlantic operations and Jon Treen, general manager of Vale’s Ontario operations click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2935261&auth=John

Sudbury Better Off With Vale

There is no question in John Pollesel’s mind that Sudbury is better off with Vale running its largest mining company than it was in the old days of Mother Inco.

Vale’s chief operating officer for the North Atlantic doesn’t necessarily agree with Industry Minister Tony Clement’s opinion that Sudbury would have become the “Valley of Death” if Brazil-based Vale had not purchased it four years ago.

“Inco on its own, without somebody coming in, it would have been a tough go, there’s no question,” Pollesel said Tuesday.

When you look at the $2 billion Vale will invest in its atmospheric emissions reduction project in Sudbury, and its total projected investment of $3.4 billion to the year 2015, “We needed an investment of capital here, and that’s something that Vale has provided,” said Pollesel.

The Vale executive, who took on new duties as chief operating officer with Vale in Canada and the UK last October, participated in a 75-minute editorial board meeting with The Sudbury Star. Continue Reading →

Top 10 Business Issues With Legal Implications for 2011 – Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

The foregoing was provided by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, the largest Canadian full-service law firm focusing on business law, litigation and intellectual property solutions. BLG provides bilingual services in virtually every area of law, and represents a wide range of regional, national and multinational organizations. For further information, visit www.BLG.com.

As we look ahead into 2011, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP’s commitment and drive to understand our clients and to achieve the best possible results for our clients is top of mind. We are dedicated to anticipating issues and sharing effective, timely solutions in a constantly changing regulatory and business environment. And this is what we forecast.

1. The Big Bang – collision of public companies and social media – has happened. Now what?

This year, we can expect to witness the continued explosive proliferation of social media use in Canada, and certainly, the investor relations world is not isolated from it. That creates challenges for organizations that don’t want to run afoul of proper disclosure regulations.

Several months before Twitter was even created, Bill 198 was passed in Canada giving investors a statutory right to act against public companies, for material misrepresentations made in public disclosure and for failure to disclose material changes in a timely manner. In a post-Twitter world, in which many companies actually use the 140-character tweets as a formal communication channel, managing public disclosure is exponentially more complex. The nature of social media is mostly quick, interactive and short, and it sometimes provides material out of context, creating a potential for reflexive, off-the-cuff responses. That’s a perfect recipe for a disclosure disaster.

Given that the social media genie is not going back in the bottle, what public companies need to do to protect themselves and to ensure they are treating their shareholders fairly when it comes to disclosure is going to be key this year. BLG lawyers can describe the issues, and prescribe the necessary behaviour, online and off. Continue Reading →

Whither Ontario? Reconsidering a Narrative of Economic Demise – by Dimitry Anastakis

Dimitry Anastakis teaches in the Department of History at Trent University (Peterborough). His first book “Auto Pact: Creating a Borderless North American Auto Industry, 1960-71,” won the 2007 J.J. Talman Prize as the best book in Ontario history. Prior to Trent, Dr. Anastakis was a Senior Advisor in the Governemnt of Ontario’s Automotive Office, and a Fulbright Chair in Canadian Studies at Michigan State University.

Let us, for a moment, pity poor Ontario. 

The litany of affronts, indignities and embarrassments over the last two decades is long and inglorious:  Free trade agreements hoisted upon it; careening business cycles and a roller-coaster dollar; wrenching and radical changes in government; ever-increasing taxes and an end of cheap power; never-ending sporting failure and Olympic disappointment (twice); separatist movements in the North, city-state rumblings from Toronto; mayors who provoked blizzards of national mockery; massive power failures to ice storms to G20 fiascos. 

All have ruthlessly descended upon the province and its capital like a series of Biblical plagues, not to mention a real plague—SARS—in 2003. 

In the last two years, Ontario hit rock bottom.  To add insult to injury, in 2008 it was announced that Ontario would qualify for equalization.  Then, in the summer of 2009, the auto industry, the province’s industrial cornerstone, went bankrupt.  When the smoke cleared from the economic meltdown, the province’s deficit was $25 billion.  Once Confederation’s frugal accountant, the province is now derisively referred to as “Ontari-owe.”  Economically, it’s a basket case. 

Pity, however, is not so charitably given in some quarters.  For all its woes, there exist longstanding resentments of Ontario’s prosperity, built into the very DNA of Confederation.  For quite a few Canadians, Big Bad Ontario, which long lorded its exalted economic status, is finally being knocked from its pedestal.  Continue Reading →

Ten Major American Mining Disasters- by Ron Delfs

This interesting list of major American mining disasters came from environmental scientist Ron Delfs’ blog on Environmental Science Degrees http://www.environmentalsciencedegrees.net/blog/

The recent attempts to rescue 33 trapped miners from the San Jose Mine in Copiapo, Chile have once again brought mining safety concerns to the forefront of our consciousness. Earlier this year, the United States experienced its worst mining disaster in 40 years when 29 miners were killed in Montcoal, West Virginia during the Upper Big Branch Mine explosion. Regardless of whether the site is located in a first world or developing country, mining has always been an extremely dangerous job in which the risk of death is ever-present. Since the beginning of the 20th century, thousands of Americans have been killed in mining accidents. Here are 10 major mining disasters that occurred in the states. The high death tolls are indicative of an era of carelessness and primitive technology.

1. Scofield – 1900
Utah’s first great mining disaster, the Scofield Mine disaster, became America’s worst at the time. At least 200 miners were killed as an accumulation of coal dust caused a massive explosion that was said to have thrown a miner standing near the opening of the mine 820 feet. The state cleared the mine operators of blame and the Pleasant Valley Coal Company continued operating for 23 more years.

2. Monongah – 1907
The Monongah explosion of West Virginia is the worst mining disaster in American history, resulting in the deaths of 362 miners. The sole survivor was Peter Urban, who suffered the death of his twin brother and died in a cave-in 19 years later. The disaster is said to have been caused by the ignition of methane, which led to the ignition of coal dust. It’s unknown how the methane was ignited, but it has been theorized that a dynamite blast or open lamp may have been to blame.

Continue Reading →

Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet - Susan IoannouTwo Excerpts from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

AQUAMARINE

To mollify sea deities,
ancient lapidaries prescribed
blue amulets carved from aquamarine
whose inner lapping soothed
and as seasoned sailors believed
wore away the dark coast of worry.

Others cast their woes inside the gem,
then soaked it in a little bowl
beneath the waning moon.
Perhaps within a day or two
where crystals cooled and brittled
a six-rayed star would fan and twinkle
love light toward a long marriage,
restore youth, hope, and friends,
or calm a throbbing tooth.

Today Brazilian pegmatites
host the clearest and the bluest,
named (her birthstone) Santa Marias.
A famous one, unearthed in 1910,
was heftier than a bongo drum:
110.5 kilograms
—an amulet with cleansing tears enough
for a thousand sailors
not to drown.

Continue Reading →

Nationalization Is Theft – by Thomas A. Bowden

Thomas A. Bowden is an analyst at the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights, focusing on legal issues. Mr. Bowden is a former lawyer and law school instructor who practiced for twenty years in Baltimore, Maryland. The Ayn Rand Center is a division of the Ayn Rand Institute and promotes the philosophy of Ayn Rand–author of Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead.

Venezuela, Russia, and other countries that nationalize natural resources are violating private property rights.

For years, the Canadian operator of a huge Venezuelan gold project known as Las Cristinas has been seeking an environmental permit to start digging. Well, Crystallex International Corporation can stop waiting–the mine is being nationalized as part of dictator Hugo Chavez’s long-running program of socialist takeovers. “This mine will be seized and managed by a state administration” with help from the Russians, said Mining Minister Rodolfo Sanz.

It’s not surprising that a brute like Chavez would want to grab the 16.9 million ounces of gold estimated to lie buried in the Las Cristinas reserve. But what’s more puzzling is why–when gold mines, oil rigs and refineries worth billions of dollars are nationalized by regimes such as Venezuela and Russia–the ousted companies can muster no moral indignation, only tight-lipped damage appraisal.

The reason, in a nutshell, is that resources like gold and petroleum in their natural state are universally regarded as public property that cannot be extracted by private companies except with government permission, revocable at will. “Venezuela will not accept that foreign organizations tell them what to do with their own resources,” said a local journalist recently.

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Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet Susan IoannouExcerpt from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

METAMORPHIC

The Earth is never still.
Even as it crumbles
it is building,
great plates pushing
sediments up from the oceans
or sliding them under the continents.

There massive heat and stress
flatten minerals into bands
or leaf them into layers
or squeeze their particles so tight
atomic patterns rearrange
and recrystallize
limestone roughness into marble, 
sandstone into quartzite,
shale to slate.

Deepest and hottest,
diamonds are hardened.
Higher, beryls and topaz cool.
Like sulphur,
without any air some form
as minerals and bacteria mingle
or, with oxygen, are reborn
like a brassy chalcopyrite
deepened to azurite blue.

Even the oldest,
like a foliated gneiss,
after remelting into magma,
hiss back up volcanic vents
and overflow as mountains
—repeating Earth’s cycle.

Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet Susan IoannouExcerpt from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

SEDIMENTARY ROCK

Near Earth’s surface
whatever the sun
heats and cools,
swells, softens, and shrinks,
is dried out, weakened,
and splits off.

Whatever water and ice pick at
and winds have dropped
weathers into layers,
loose compost, clay, and sand
that grain by grain dissolve
and seep down

and melting into groundwater, form
minerals lustrous as copper
in enrichment zones,
as myriad
as there are organisms
and oxygen in ample supply,
or carbonic acid
for microbes to decay,
as motley as calcium swirled in shells
or skeletons pressed into silica
before sinking back to stone
—lithified.

Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet Susan IoannouExcerpt from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

IGNEOUS ROCK

Five kilometres under the ocean floor
deep in the upper mantle,
red, writhing magma
pushes high through denser rock
and over many thousands of years
cools into feldspar, mica, and quartz.

Or through neighbouring strata
fluids flood scalding chemistries
that over millennia mingle and harden
into more flickering minerals—
chloride, fluoride, sulphur,
silver and gold—

until, in an earthly cycle of desire,
magma rushes upward—again
to be transformed,
for no matter how solid, how old,
igneous means to set on fire,
to burn.

Looking Through Stone: Poems about the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet Susan IoannouExcerpt from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

WORKING THE MINES:ENGINEERS

How far mining has come,
from a Stone Age cobblestoned stick
to the drill rig’s 40-kilogram tricone bit,
its bullet-shaped tungsten carbide teeth
ripping straight down through rock
100 rotations per minute;
how far, from bonfires lit overnight
to explosives remotely controlled
blasting whole walls of ore,
too massive for piling into slave’s baskets
but not for a 10-tonne Load-Haul-Dump
12-metre-long steel mucker.

Gold is explored no longer solely
by a lone man scouring a stream
and tilting a simple pan,
nor more subtly by Geiger counter
or a bush plane low overhead
swinging a magnetometer aft.

Even farther above,*
a satellite now probes Earth,
imaging hectares of lonely terrain
and beeping data to a computer
to e-mail prospectors on the ground
co-ordinates where to mallet in stakes.

Far below,
in near darkness,
through GPS-gizmos on shovels and dozers
to surface computers
a satellite diagrams every move,
every hazard throughout the mine,
and fixes precision crosshairs
on where next to trigger
a blast in a seam.
Even the drill bit houses a delicate sensor
tracking each rock, stratum, and ore
it chews a hole through.

Once every drift is emptied,
and all the miners have gone,
a satellite plans and scans through time
the angles, cuts, cleaning, and seeding
for hills, valleys, wetlands, and bush
reclaimed, again to be green.

* The Mining Automation Program in Canada

Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – by Susan Ioannou

Poet Susan IoannouExcerpt from Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth. If you would like to order Susan Ioannou’s book of poetry, go to Your Scrivener Press

GEOLOGIST

He bids on the obscure: a speck
inching across kilometres of scrub  
to map and pick samples out of sediments,  
or cragged above evergreens, unseen
balancing a magnetometer
to listen to rocks.

He is a gambler:
under snake bellies,
between goat hooves
he trusts silver and zinc are waiting
and surfaces like scooped cream
sprout opals,
or powdered from sunshine are sulphur,
or gritty with Mediterranean blue
hold copper.

Also, he is wary: what glitters
may be the dream
—of fools.
Grade must be tested.
What grams to the tonne?
Where too angled, too deep?

A gambler bets
against absolutes.
How much should he dare
to open the Earth
to pick at her secrets
hundreds of metres down?

Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – By Susan Ioannou

Looking Through Stone - Poems About the EarthSusan Ioannou of Toronto first became interested in geology as a theme while her son was completing a PhD. Exploring the science of rocks and minerals from a poet’s perspective was a fascinating and refreshing change from writing personal lyrics. Ioannou’s fiction, articles, and poetry have appeared across Canada. Winner of the 1997 Okanagan Short Story Award and twice a finalist in the CBC Literary Awards, in 2002/2003 she received an Ontario Arts Council Works in Progress grant to complete Looking Through Stone.

 The following book review was done by Adge Covell.

“Enough iron to make a nail, potassium for….” well, you probably know most of the rest. It’s one of the favourite quotes to be found in those “Did you Know?” lists which are everywhere these days, and which describes the cocktail of elements which make up the human body.

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