Boom bust cycle normal in mining industry [Jason Turnbull interviews mining analyst Stan Sudol] – CBC Radio Sudbury (November 1, 2012) Slumping nickel prices and a bit of slowdown on base metal prices have caused speculation that Vale is not interested in maintaining full operations in Sudbury. Points North’s Jason Turnbull interviews Toronto-base mining analyst Stan Sudol about the recent cutbacks by Vale at their Sudbury operations. Click here for the interview:

Financing in place for Broken Hammer [Sudbury] project, says miner – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – November 21, 2012)

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

Lively-based Wallbridge Mining Company Limited announced Tuesday it has secured financing to help develop its promising Broken Hammer Project, located north of Capreol.

The company said Callinan Royalties has agreed to provide Wallbridge with a line of credit for $2 million. In addition, Callinan will purchase 8,333,333 units of Wallbridge, at a price of $0.18 per unit, for gross proceeds of $1.5 million, subject to the approval of the Toronto Stock Exchange.

“We are pleased to have entered into this transaction with Callinan, a reputable royalty firm, for two reasons,” Marz Kord, president and CEO of Wallbridge, said in a release. “First, this new capital injection allows Wallbridge to accelerate the development plans for the Broken Hammer Project without significant equity dilution.

“Secondly, Callinan’s interest in financing the corporation at a premium to the current market in return for the option to purchase royalties on our 100%-owned Sudbury properties underscores the inherent value in these exploration assets, as well as broadening our already strong shareholder base.

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[Sudbury] Local likes [Glencore-Xstrata] mine deal – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – November 21, 2012)

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

The takeover of mining giant Xstrata Nickel by trader Glencore could be a good thing for Sudbury, says the president of the union representing 855 production and maintenance workers at Xstrata’s Sudbury operations.

The $31-billion takeover approved by Xstrata shareholders Tuesday could result in more investment in exploration and mine development, said Richard Paquin, president of Mine Mill Local 598/CAW.

The deal isn’t final, said Paquin, as it requires regulatory approval by several countries, including the European Union. But it is one step closer to a merger almost one year in the making.

Xstrata shareholders were expected to approve the takeover offer Tuesday and they did, but they surprised observers by failing to endorse a plan that would pay top Xstrata executives big money to remain with the merged company.

Those key executives won’t get that protection with this approval, said Paquin, adding that is not his and his union’s issue. Nor are Paquin and his union worried about being taken over by another foreign company.

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Planning should determine Vale’s request – by Brian MacLeod (Sudbury Star – November 17, 2012)

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

It is the city’s planning committee, not the labour board, that is considering whether to allow Vale to temporarily house workers on its properties, so committee members should consider the request with sound planning principles in mind.

And while the request is obviously not good planning, temporary exemptions to planning regulations are not uncommon. If the city’s planners feel this can be done safely, and it’s a necessary requirement, councillors should consider placing restrictions on how the housing is used, such as a time limit that would require the company to reapply for an exemption.

In June, Vale began work on a historic $2-billion Clean ARE project to retrofit and upgrade its smelter. The largest environmental project of its kind in Sudbury’s history is expected to reduce sulphur dioxide emissions at the Copper Cliff smelter by 70%, bringing emissions down to 45 kilotonnes per year, well below the regulatory limit of 66 kilotonnes per year.

It’s a project that’s of enormous benefit to the city, not just for the obvious environmental advantages, but that amount of money spent on materials and labour is a major boost to the economy. Up to 70% of the money may be spent locally. But since the city has, for years, had a low vacancy rate, Vale says it needs to be ready to house an influx of workers that could hit 1,300 at peak construction in 2014/15.

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No racism in mining firm’s actions with native band – by Peter Best (Opinion Letters) (Sudbury Star – November 24, 2012) Wednesday, November 14, 2012

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

Re: Miners racist, natives charge — Nov. 8.

This article was shockingly unfair and inaccurate towards Solid Gold Resources. Wahgoshig Chief Dave Babin says his band is taking a legal and principled position to defend their rights. That’s fine. But when Solid Gold takes a legal and principled position to defend their rights, he disgracefully accuses it of waging a “racist media campaign” against them, the better to shut down free speech on this important issue and avoid any critical inquiry of his and his band’s behaviour.

And Chief Babin’s assertion that the Ontario government is somehow supporting Solid Gold in this is false. The Ontario government allied itself with Wahgoshig in the original injunction proceeding, where it was Wahgoshig and the Ontario government on the one side, and little Solid Gold on the other (its shares are now trading at under three cents thanks to Wahgoshig and Ontario).

Solid Gold sought and was granted leave to appeal the injunction ruling. In its court filings, the Ontario government again supported Wahgoshig, arguing that it, and therefore its de facto delegatee, Solid Gold, had a duty to consult Wahgoshig, which Solid Gold failed to meet. Solid Gold argued, as was its right, that it didn’t have a duty to consult — that the 2004 Supreme Court judgment referred to in the article, (called Haida Nation), did not extend through the Crown to exploration companies like Solid Gold with already-existing rights under previously and validly staked claims.

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Union wary of Vale move – by Sebastien Perth (Sudbury Star – November 7, 2012)

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

Union leaders say they are suspicious of a move by Vale to house temporary workers dur ing construction of the company’s $2-billion pollution reduction project in Sudbury.

“I think its 90-10,90% towards the labour issue, 10% towards housing contract workers,” said Dennis Theriault, vice-president of Steelworkers Local 6500. “I think our community of 160,000 can handle an influx of 1,3001,800 workers, particularly when a great deal of those workers are supposed to be from our local community.”

Vale has applied to the city’s planning committee to amend a zoning bylaw to allow the company to house temporary workers working on its massive Clean AER project. Theriault, however, said the application is a charade to hide Vale’s real plans of housing replacement workers during a future labour dispute.

“I’m very disappointed and very concerned about this. The timing of the application reeks of an opportunity to house workers around the date of our contract ending. That would definitely have a huge impact on our bargaining position,” Theriault said.

The collective bargaining agreement between the USW and Vale expires May 31, 2015.

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[Sudbury] Vale exec [John Pollesel] ousted – – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – Novemeber 1, 2012)

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

Vale’s corporate spokesman denied 10 days ago that John Pollesel’s head was on the chopping block. But then, on Wednesday, the company confirmed the role of the Sudbury-born director of Vale’s Base Metals North Atlantic Operations was “no longer required.”

Vale spokesman Cory McPhee told The Star on Oct. 21 there was no truth to a widely circulating rumour that Pollesel was being cut by the company.

Wednesday, Vale’s Sudbury spokeswoman, Angie Robson, said base metals at Vale “is in the process of a business-wide review to address some significant short-term challenges.

“Part of that effort involves reshaping and restructuring the business to position ourselves for long-term success and sustainability,” she said.

Vale’s parent company, Vale SA, has said of late, it is determined to ensure all operations are self-sustaining, prompting decisions such as winding down production at the 100-year-old Frood Mine.

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‘Rail-veyors’ and robots [mining innovation] – by Julie Gordon (Reuters/Sudbury Star – October 29, 2012)

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

In an office trailer parked outside a mine shaft in a Copper Cliff Mine, operator Carolyn St-Jean leans back in her chair and monitors a machine loading nickel-rich ore into rail cars deep underground.

Once filled, the automated train will snake through a series of narrow tunnels, emerge from a rocky outcropping, then loop past St-Jean’s window and dump its payload for sorting.

Vale SA, the Brazilian company that owns the mine near this nickel-rich area, has spent nearly $50 million in two years to install and test the “ra i lveyor.” The company believes the transport system will revolutionize how it builds and extracts new mineral deposits.

The equipment is made locally by Rail-Veyor Technologies Global Inc. It is one of many mining technologies developers hope will allow future production to be run almost entirely by people safely above ground.

Such advances may prove crucial as easy-to-exploit deposits run dry and miners drill deeper in more remote places to supply China, India and other emerging economies. The technology could make mining cheaper and safer, avoiding the need to dig wide tunnels and hire large numbers of expensive, skilled workers.

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Cliffs holds open house to discuss [Sudbury] chromite smelter – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – October 26, 2012)

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

Interested residents who attended an open house Thursd ay in Capreol on had an opportunity to have their comments and complaints considered by Cliffs Natural Resources as it undertakes the environmental assessment for its chromite smelter project.

Cleveland-based Cliffs is about two years into collecting baseline data for its combined federal and provincial environmental assessment for development of its Black Thor deposit near McFaulds Lake in the Ring of Fire.

Jason Aagenes, director of environmental affairs for Cliffs’ ferroalloys division, briefed reporters on the environmental assessment of the four components of its Ring of Fire. Cliffs is looking to develop an open-pit mine in the James Bay lowlands, which will include a concentrator to crush chromite ore and a lined tailings pond.

It is also developing an integrated transportation corridor to move concentrated ore from the Ring of Fire to a ferrochrome processing plant it plans to build at the former Moose Mountain Mine site, north of Capreol.

Aagenes said the project is in the feasibility and environmental assessment stages, and said Cliffs is working on an aggressive deadline to begin mining and processing by 2016. Cliffs originally intended to be in production by 2015.

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Sudbury nickel mine stops operations at year’s end due to falling prices – by Andrew Livingstone (Toronto Star – October 20, 2012)

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.

Operations at the Sudbury mine site where 40 per cent of the nickel used to make allied artillery during the First World War came from will be suspended at the end of the year.

The Frood site, which has been in operation for over a century, will be closed because of recent decline in the price of nickel and market volatility.

Since 2011, the price of nickel has dropped 30 per cent, 17 per cent this year alone. The closure will not lead to any job losses, said McPhee. 85 workers are currently employed at the site and when it closes, will be reassigned to other jobs within the Sudbury operation.

The Frood site has been mined for more than 100 years, but the ore now has low value and the company had been mining at a loss.

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[Sudbury Wahnapitae] Natives work with Cliffs – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – October 25, 2012)

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

Members of Wahnapitae First Nation regard plans by Cliffs Natural Resources to build a chromite smelter just 20 kilo-metres from their border as an opportunity.

But the president of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, a Wahnapitae First Nation member, says they also view the plant as a threat. That’s why the First Nation, and the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association, are working with Cliffs on a baseline environmental review of the project, getting involved on the ground floor.

Hans Matthews has been a member of his First Nation’s Mining Industry Working Group for a decade and president since the beginning of the association, which will mark its 20th anniversary with a conference in Toronto next month.

Headquartered in Wahnapitae First Nation, Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association drew a handful of guests to its first annual convention. Eight hundred delegates are expected to attend this year’s event, cochaired by Matthews and Bill Boor, Cliffs’ senior vice-president of global ferroalloys.

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Vale profits to drop 61%: Analysts – by Jeb Blount and Sabrina Lorenzi (Reuters/Sudbury Star – October 23, 2012)

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

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – Vale SA (VALE5.SA: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) the world’s No. 2 mining company, is expected to report that third-quarter profit tumbled 61 percent from a year earlier as output slipped and the price of iron ore and other metals dropped to three-year lows.

Profit is also likely to be hurt by the company’s decision to set aside about $540 million for the possible payment of back royalties in a dispute with Brazil’s government.

Net income likely fell to $1.92 billion in the three months ending September 30 from $4.93 billion the year before, according to the average estimate of 19 analysts in a Reuters poll.

If results expected late on Wednesday confirm the estimate, it will mark the company’s worst quarterly profit in 33 months. Falling prices and weak demand in China, Vale’s largest market, have led the Rio de Janeiro-based company to delay spending, close operations and consider cuts to investments and dividends.

“Third quarter results are likely to suffer from a steep drop in prices,” BTG Pactual Group analysts Edmo Chagas, Antonio Heluany and Gregory Goldfinger wrote in a Monday report.

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Study finds [Sudbury’s Wallbridge Mining] Broken Hammer has potential to be viable – by Star Staff (Sudbury Star – October 23, 2012)

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

Wallbridge Mining Company Ltd. has released what it’s calling positive results on studies conducted on its Broken Hammer copper and platinum group metal project in Sudbury.

“We are very encouraged by the positive results of the pre-feasibility study,” Marz Kord, president and CEO of Wall-bridge Mining, said in a release.

“The pre-feasibility suggests that the Broken Hammer project has the potential to become economically viable and generate positive cash flow. What’s more encouraging is that the deposit remains open for expansion to the west and to depth.

“The footwall-style Broken Hammer project is in a large land package on the northern rim of the Sudbury basin within a 9 km strike length of very similar geology with extremely strong prospects.”

The Broken Hammer project, located north of Capreol, is planned to be an open pit operation used for the extraction of about 196,000 tonnes of copper, nickel and platinum group metals.

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Time to stand ‘on our own feet,’ Vale CEO says – by Mark Gentili (Sudbury Northern Life – October 18, 2012)

Prices, market prompt belt-tightening at company

Although it is confident base metal prices will rebound in the medium- to long term, Vale Canada’s CEO has issued a statement to its Base Metals employees worldwide that it is taking steps to keep the company profitable in the short term.

Peter Poppinga’s letter sets what Cory McPhee, the company’s vice-president of corporate affairs, describes as a “broad direction” for Vale’s base metals division. This direction focuses on ensuring the continued safety of workers, prioritizing value over volume and pursuing a directive Poppinga terms “standing on our own two feet.”

“Basically, we want all of our divisions to be self-sustaining,” McPhee explained to Northern Life Oct. 18. The letter issued this week precedes more discussions, both face-to-face and by letter, with the company’s base metal employees to keep them in the loop of Vale’s plans.

The first step was announced today when the company revealed it will be suspending operations at its Frood site of the Stobie Mine as of the end of the year. Although 85 jobs will be affected by the decision, no layoffs are in the works, said Angie Robson, manager of corporate affairs for Vale’s Ontario operations, in a statement today.

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[Sudbury mine] Closure part of global trend: Analyst – by Harold Carmichael (Sudbury Star – October 19, 2012)

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

Nickel analyst Stefan Ioannu of Haywood Securities in Toronto is not surprised by Vale’s decision Thursday to close the 100- year-old Frood Mine in Sudbury.

” You have deposits and greater depths right now,” he said. “The deeper you go, the more expensive it is to get to stuff. Maybe ( Vale) can squeeze a little more out if it sells at $10 (a pound), a little less at $7.”

Ioannu said the Frood decision is one of many being made across the globe right now by the mining industry. “One of the big things we have been seeing coming out of the majors is a focus,” he said. “They will be shutting some of their big projects and focusing on regular operations to cut costs. It’s an interesting shift.

“It’s very difficult for the big companies to justify developing things with the (nickel) price now.” Ioannu said while he sees nickel prices rising to US$10 a pound, they could bottom out at $6. The reason they will rebound, said the mining analyst, is that high-grade nickel pig iron deposits in Indonesia — which could be turned on and off quickly and flood the nickel markets — are mostly gone and only low grade ones remain.

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