Don’t blame NDP [for northern alienation]: Horwath – by Ron Grech (The Timmins Daily Press – July 30, 2011)

 The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at news@thedailypress.ca.

Leader says fault of unsympathetic government lies with ruling parties

If Northerners feel alienated by Queen’s Park, don’t blame the New Democrats, says Ontario NDP leader Andrea Horwath.

“The reality is that we have had a majority Liberal government for two terms now that has really done nothing to make Northern communities strong again and to make sure Northerners have more control over their future,” said Horwath, during a brief stopover at the Timmins airport while on her way to Kirkland Lake Friday morning.

The message coming out of local Progressive Conservative and Liberal camps this week was that the concerns of Timmins-James Bay are being ignored by the provincial government because voters here keep re-electing an NDP representative, not a member of the ruling government.

“I don’t think that is the case at all,” Horwath replied when The Daily Press presented those views to the NDP leader. “As a matter of fact, it is up to government to make sure we have a strong Northern part of the province and the Liberals have not done that, notwithstanding how many MPPs they have that are Liberal from Northern Ontario.”

Read more

[Northern Ontario Heritage Party] NOHP learning candidates don’t grow on trees – by Wayne Snider (The Timmins Daily Press – July 26, 2011)

Wayne Snider is the city editor for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at news@thedailypress.ca.

About a year ago, the Northern Ontario Heritage Party was building momentum. NOHP president Ed Deibel was in the midst of getting the party officially registered. Support was growing. Plans were in the works to run NOHP candidates in all 11 Northern Ontario ridings during the provincial election.

Today, however, Deibel is struggling to get candidates. While he says there are three people on the verge of being confirmed as candidates in several ridings — including Cochrane-Temiskaming — as of this writing the Northern Ontario Heritage Party has nobody running.

Zero. Nada. Bupkis. Needless to say, Deibel is disappointed.

“We’re having problems getting candidates. I thought they would be lined up,” he said. “There is no question, by the support and comments we’ve been getting from Northerners, that the people of Northern Ontario are fed up.

Read more

[Goldcorp mine restoration] ‘Liquid gold’ a big hit in Shania’s hometown – by Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – July 23, 2011)

Lisa Wright is a business reporter with the Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion.

After decades in the mining game, Goldcorp Inc. has finally figured out a way for its worker bees to make “liquid gold.” The enterprising environmental team at the Canadian company’s subsidiary in Timmins has transformed an old mine tailings property into a real hive of activity, where bees make honey amid the tall grass and flowering vegetation that until recently was a barren wasteland.

The Vancouver-based mining giant inherited the mined-out land as part of its purchase of a massive property known as Porcupine Gold Mines (PGM) in the northern Ontario city back in 2006.

The 58 hectares called the Coniaurum (which is Latin for constant gold) was mined for nearly 50 years and then abruptly abandoned in 1961 following a serious storm that breached tailings containment dams and caused discharge problems. Back then the industry was an unregulated wild west where miners would dig in and then just duck out when they were done.

Enter Goldcorp and modern day mining. Coniaurum is one of 20 burnt out mines amid its PGM operations and the first to be renewed as a wildlife habitat and rolling green field — and also an experimental ground on how to resurrect the rest of these eyesores.

Read more

Timmins still in the race for Ring of Fire facility – (Timmins Daily Press – July 21, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins

By The Daily Press

Timmins is still in the running to be the homebase for processing ore from Ontario’s biggest mineral discovery in the past century. Representatives of Cliffs Natural Resources recently visited the city. Cliffs is looking for a community to host its ferrochrome production facility — a key component in developing the Ring of Fire.

Massive deposits of chromite, copper, nickel, platinum, diamonds, palladium, gold and silver have been discovered in the Ring of Fire, west of James Bay. Officials with the Timmins Economic Development Corporation and the city recently met with representatives from Cliffs.

“We have been working with Cliffs Natural Resources for quite some time now,” said Dave McGirr, chairman of the TEDC. “We prepared a detailed background document describing why Timmins would be the logical choice for Cliffs’ ferrochrome facility.

Read more

[Timmins] Miners dig deal – by Kristine MacDougall (Timmins Daily Press – July 20, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins

Goldcorp, Xstrata Copper finalize partnership agreement

A new partnership agreement between Xstrata Copper and Goldcorp is providing a sustainable future for both operations in Timmins. “We’ve been working on this agreement for over a year, and to finally see it be signed is a great accomplishment,” said David Yaschyshyn, Xstrata Copper’s superintendent of environment and industrial Hygiene.

“It truly is a win-win for both operations.” The announcement came Tuesday morning at Goldcorp’s Hoyle Pond Mine Site, just east of the met site property in Hoyle Township.

“We’ve secured a long-term supply of tailings for the paste filling operations at the Kidd Mine for its life. As well as being able to secure a supply of rock for our construction activities at the Kidd Concentrator site,” said Yaschyshyn.

Read more

Movie looks at Timmins’ first 100 years Movie looks at Timmins’ first 100 years – by Kristine MacDougall (Timmins Daily Press – July 20, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins.

The history of Timmins is coming to the big screen.

Timmins: The first 100 is an independently produced film about the city’s rich history. “It struck me about three or four months ago that we’re having the 100th year celebrations and there was no film,” said producer Kevin Vincent.

The 90-minute movie provides a look at life in the Porcupine Camp, the men and women who fought their way into the camp in search of gold, and the devastating 1911 fire. It also chronicles the bitter labour battles, the folklore of hotel life, Timmins rich multicultural heritage, and Timmins highgrading industry, and related crime, as a result of gold mining in the area.

Work and research for the movie was compiled over the last two and a half decades.

Read more

[Tim Hudak’s] Changebook North must be more than wish list – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – July 19, 2011)

Wayne Snider is the city editor for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at news@thedailypress.ca.

OPINION: Conservatives must be committed to following through

The Progressive Conservatives won’t have a problem selling their platform in Northern Ontario this provincial election. The big question mark for the Tories is whether or not most Northerners will believe the sales pitch. As the saying goes: If an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is.

Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak revealed the platform, changebook North, last week. It reads like a political wish list for Northern Ontario.

It includes promises things such as the cancellation of the Far North Act, giving all municipalities a share of the gas tax, letting Northern communities decide how they should grow, and ensuring First Nations are real partners and will benefit from the wealth creation in the North. From reduced hydro bills to cutting HST on home heating, a promise is in there.

“The people calling for change the loudest are from the North, and with good reason,” the document’s intro states. “If Ontario is the engine of Confederation, then Northern Ontario is the fuel — the lumber, the minerals and the minds that power us forward. But for too long, the needs of the North have been ignored.

“The Southern Ontario special interests, with their fantasy view of what Northern living really is, have far too much say of the decisions that affect actual Northern families. The North needs change.”

Read more

Hudak promises change for the North – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – July 15, 2011)

Wayne Snider is the city editor for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at news@thedailypress.ca.

“I understand why people would be cynical. For years the government has put
the wish list of Southern Ontario special interest groups ahead of Northern
Ontario….We need to demonstrate to all Ontarians the vital need to develop
the Ring of Fire….This is a once in a century opportunity.”
(PC Leader Tim Hudak – July 15, 2011)

www.changebook.ca/north

Tory leader says Kidd Creek smelter shutdown was avoidable

Tim Hudak says the closure of the smelter at the Kidd Creek Metallurgical Site was completely avoidable. It was a matter of government priorities.

The provincial Progressive Conservative Leader unveiled his election platform for Northern Ontario this week. Dubbed changebook North, Hudak claims his party will create an environment that will allow the region to prosper.

High hydro costs and taxation, he said, are two of the reasons that companies like Xstrata Copper take jobs out of province. “(Premier Dalton) McGuinty failed to provide the leadership necessary to keep those jobs,” Hudak said in an interview with The Daily Press on Friday. “This was a catastrophic loss for not only Timmins, but for all of Ontario.

“We want to make Northern Ontario attractive for investment. High taxes and hydro rates have moved Ontario to the bottom of the list for investment.”

Read more

Along the Blacktop of Riches: The Abitibi-Greenstone Belt – by Charlie Angus (1999)

Excerpt from Industrial Cathedrals of the North written by Charlie Angus and photographed by Louie Palu (1999)

To order a copy of Industrial Cathedrals of the North, please go to Between the Lines press.

Take a drive along the blacktop as Highway 66 turns into 117 and you’ll be taking a drive over one of the richest geological treasures in the world. The highway forms the lower part of a belt of riches known as the Abitibi-Greenstone belt. Over 140 million ounces of gold have been mined from the belt, a feat unparalleled anywhere except in the gold fields of South Africa. The belt is made up of two parallel fault lines running east-west from Ontario into Quebec. The northern edge of the belt – the Porcupine-Destor Fault – runs from the Porcupine along Highway 101 to Destor, Quebec, while the lower fault – the Larder-Cadillac Break – runs from Matachewan, Ontario along 66 towards Val d’Or, Quebec. The fault lines have been the source of some of Canada’s biggest gold mines. The ground between the faults is host to numerous base metal deposits.

The Larder-Cadillac Break is as much a social line as it is a geological formation. The fault runs straight through the heart of many historic gold camps: Matachewan, Kirkland Lake, Larder Lake, V-Town, Rouyn-Noranda, McWatters, Cadillac, Malarctic and Val d’Or. The Abitibi-Greenstone belt has created a natural east-west link across the two provinces. Communities along the fault lines share common links of history, work and identity. Indeed the whole opening up of Northwestern Quebec to mining is a direct result of the movement of prospectors and miners along the lines of the Abitibi-Greenstone belt.

Prospector Ed Horne played a pivotal role in this early development. Before the first World War he was prospecting in Gowganda, Kirkland Lake and the Porcupine. He then moved along the westerly axis from the Kirkland-Larder camps into the Lake Osisko region of Rouyn Township, Quebec.

Read more

[Great Porcupine Fire] Timmins Pioneers share deadly 1911 fire tales – by Karen Bachmann (Timmins Daily Press – July 9, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins. Karen Bachmann is the director/curator of the Timmins Museum and a local author.

Ceremony at Deadman’s Point on Monday will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Great Porcupine Fire

I could recount the history of the Porcupine Fire for you today, but I have chosen not to do so. Why hear it from me, when you can hear what it was like from the people who actually survived that fateful day.

Thanks to the early work of the Porcupine Camp Historical Society, we have wonderful recordings of our early pioneers, and their memories of what life was like in the Porcupine.

So, today, I keep my ideas to myself, and I’ll let those in the know tell you about the Great Porcupine Fire of 1911. Elizabeth Pearl Heath was a survivor that day. She was a young married woman in July 1911.

“The fire did bear down on us speedily and with fury. I made sure that my billfold was in my patchpocket of my skirt, threw my knapsack and a light blanket over my shoulder and struck out for the lake.

Read more

Goldcorp creating a good buzz [Timmins tailings restoration] – by Ron Grech (The Timmins Daily Press – July 7, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins.

Six years ago, the Coniaurum mining tailings property was a barren site, resembling the surface of another planet. Today, the same are is covered with tall grasses and flowering vegetation. In the midst of this reclamation site, is an enclosed area of hives set up for honeybees.

For its efforts, Goldcorp Porcupine Gold Mines has earned an award for a reclamation project which went above and beyond the usual requirements for re-greening tailing sites. The Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Award was presented to Goldcorp at a provincial reclamation held in Sudbury last week.

The award was in recognition of improvements made to the Coniaurum reclamation property on Carium Rd. in Schumacher.

Read more

Master Plan To Destroy Northern Ontario – by Gregory Reynolds (Highgrader Magazine – Summer 2011)

This column was originally published in the Late Summer, 2011 issue of Highgrader Magazine which is committed to serve the interests of northerners by bringing the issues, concerns and culture of the north to the world through the writings and art of award-winning journalists as well as talented freelance artists, writers and photographers.

The recent annual meeting of Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) heard a great deal of comment, and concern, expressed about the Ontario government’s love affair with Greater Sudbury and Thunder Bay. Speakers claimed these two cities appear to be favoured when the Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty doles out assistance to the North.

That the two largest centres are special, even privileged, should not have been a surprise to those in attendance.

Members of Timmins city council should have been least surprised since famous prospector, and equally famous outspoken advocate for Northern Ontario, Don McKinnon presented each of them with two documents in 2004: The Master Plan to Destroy Northern Ontario; and Addendum to The Master Plan to Destroy Northern Ontario.

Read more

Goldcorp wins reclamation award for transforming Timmins old mine tailings into honey

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province. 

Ontario Mining Association member Goldcorp has won the Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Award for its work on the Coniaurum property in Timmins.  The company earned this prestigious honour for cleaning up and transforming an old mine site and tailings area into flourishing habitat for the bears and the bees.  The award was presented last week at the  fourth annual CLRA-OMA Mine Reclamation Symposium, which is incorporated into the “Mining and Environment Conference” in Sudbury.

The Coniaurum site is located just east of downtown Timmins.  Mining operations took place from 1913 to 1961.  The Coniaurum mine produced 1.1 million ounces of gold from 4.5 million tonnes of ore and its mill operated from 1928 to 1960.  The site was virtually abandoned in 1961 following a serious storm, which breached tailings containment dams and caused discharge problems.

In 2002, Goldcorp’s Porcupine Gold Mines took possession of the property and began rehabilitation planning.  Reclamation activities began on the Coniaurum tailings management area, which was a 58 hectare impound with varying tailings depths from 6.1 to 13.3 metres, in 2005. Work was carried out to stabilize existing erosion channels, depression areas were filled in and biosolids were applied and topped with wild seed mix to promote vegetation growth.  Erosion gullies were graded to uniform slopes, dams were upgraded along with the sedimentation pond and the discharge channel was improved.  

Read more

Where is our share? [Mining Taxes] – by Kate McLaren (Timmins Daily Press – July 6, 2011)

The Daily Press is the newspaper of record for the city of Timmins.

Northern leaders seek mining tax revenue

Communities in Northern Ontario are looking for a piece of the pie when it comes to taxes generated from the mining industry.

“When you look at the resource-based industry, it’s important we are able to build some sort of a legacy from our mining resources,” explained Timmins mayor and Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM) vice-president Tom Laughren.

“We are struggling for infrastructure and capital dollars, when the provincial and federal governments are benefiting from this mining tax.” FONOM is calling for an equitable share of the rich mining tax revenue currently collected by the provincial government, which have totalled more than half a billion dollars over the past five years.

Read more

Predictions come true [McGuinty policies detrimental to North] – by Wayne Snider (Timmins Daily Press – July 4, 2011)

Wayne Snider is the city editor for The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at news@thedailypress.ca.

“That’s why southern-based environmental groups have more say in legislation that
shapes  the North’s future than Northerners. That’s why the voices of our Northern
leaders are ignored when we are outraged by the decisions being made in Queen’s
Park. That’s why we are not overly surprised when a contract to refurbish GO trains
in the GTA is given to an out-of-province firm when the job can be done in the North.”
(Wayne Snider – Timmins Daily Press)

Northern Ontario is becoming a living paradox. While there are great amounts of wealth being created, or waiting to be created, the full potential of the benefits are not being realized by the region.

We have areas — such as Attawapiskat — where local residents have been waiting for the basic need of a decent school for more than 20 years. Yet a stone’s throw away, some of the world’s best quality diamonds are being mined.

We have entire communities which are in the process of dying slow painful deaths, where a key industry such as a sawmill or a pulp and paper mill has shut down, while the raw resources continue to be taken from the area for processing out of province.

We have seen legislation out of southern Ontario designed to “protect” the North — such as the Endangered Species Act and the Far North Act — actually tear away at the socio-economic fabric of Northern society.

Read more