Nine orders issued to Vale [Sudbury mining deaths] – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – June 11, 2011)

The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper. [email protected]

McPhee said the emphasis is not on production, but on taking a “compassionate
approach” in dealing with employees who worked with and knew Fram and Chenier,
and are traumatized by their deaths. …  “The emphasis is on employees.”
(Cory McPhee – Vale VP Corporate Affairs)

The Ministry of Labour has issued nine orders — three of them stop-work orders — at Vale Ltd.’s Stobie Mine where two miners were killed Wednesday evening after a run of muck — or broken rock — descended on them.

The ministry, Vale, United Steelworkers and Greater Sudbury Police Service are all involved in the investigation into how the accident that killed Jason Chenier, 35, and Jordan Fram, 26, occurred.

Vale spokesman Cory McPhee said the company is complying with all orders and co-operating with the Labour ministry any way it can. The accident site is frozen, but production could resume soon in the rest of the mine where about 400 people work.

McPhee said the emphasis is not on production, but on taking a “compassionate approach” in dealing with employees who worked with and knew Fram and Chenier, and are traumatized by their deaths. Continue Reading →

Stolen beer and other tales from Timmins pioneer times – by Karen Bachmann (The Daily Press – June 10, 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.

HISTORY: Jack Andrews shares stories from working at well-known stopping place along the famous Porcupine Trail

Jack Andrews was an early pioneer in the Porcupine Camp whose story was collected by Magne Stortroen and the Porcupine Camp Historical Society.

Andrews was born in Renfrew County in 1885 and came to work firstly in Englehart in 1907. He ventured north to Cochrane in 1910 but, seeing “nothing to suit me,” he went back to Kelso and worked for J.B. Crawford and Alfred Reamsbottom. In our third and final installment of oral histories, Jack Andrews recounts what it was like to work at a “stopping place” along the famous Porcupine Trail.

“We were in a favourable spot because we were just half-way between Kelso and Porcupine. And we got a lot of trade on that account. The train used to stop at Kelso in the evening and the stages would load up and start to Porcupine. Continue Reading →

Making Change: A Northern Ontario Declaration – by Livio Di Matteo (Jun 10, 2011)

Livio Di Matteo is Professor of Economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Visit his new Economics Blog “Northern Economist” at http://ldimatte.shawwebspace.ca/  

Next week’s summits in Thunder Bay and Sudbury still seem to be suffering from divergent points of opinion as to what their purpose is.  On the one hand, the province has billed it as a Think North II Summit which implies yet another consultation.  Northwestern leaders as embodied by the Joint Task Force (JTF) see it as a Regional Economic Planning Zone Pilot Project Summit and some of their background reports suggest they are looking for more devolution of decision making authority.  Perhaps the JTF is not making its point strongly enough because it is not being very assertive in its language. 

At the risk of coming across as yet another academic postulating from their ivory tower, let me suggest that perhaps at next week’s Think North II Summit in Thunder Bay there needs to be a change in thinking on the part of the region’s leaders.  Rather than enjoy a couple of days off from their day jobs savoring snacks and participating in yet another facilitated consultation that generates more reports as an input into yet another consultation, it is time for our political leaders to make a difference.   Rather than sit through yet another workshop whose questions have been designed by Queen’s Park, the participants to this conference should take a page out of history, find a tennis court to gather on, and make a Northern Declaration that:

The peoples of Northern Ontario, making common cause to ensure a better future for our children in this land we call home, have come together in partnership to speak and act with one voice.  We assert that Northern Ontario constitutes a distinct economic, social and geographic space within Ontario as embodied by its historic development.  Continue Reading →

New Vision for Northern Ontario – by Livio Di Matteo (Jun 8, 2011)

Livio Di Matteo is Professor of Economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Visit his new Economics Blog “Northern Economist” at http://ldimatte.shawwebspace.ca/

Next week is the Think North II Summit designed to bring together decision makers and opinion leaders in yet another consultation emanating from the one Northern Growth plan to rule them all that was forged and tempered in the fires of Queen’s Park by the Ontario government.  According to the recent update from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, The Think North II Summit is “an opportunity for northerners to be actively engaged in shaping the framework for regional economic planning areas in Northern Ontario” and will feature hands-on workshops on “crafting a vision for regional economic development planning in Northern Ontario” as well as create “strategies for collaboration.” 

There will even be the obligatory S.W.O.T. analysis to identify the strategies, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the “change” represented by regional economic planning.  The “threat” of change is a particularly amusing concept given that this entire process continues a process of consultation that has been ongoing for decades with not much change.  To date, the major obstacles to change in the North have been the policies of the provincial government itself which have hampered the ability of the region to take charge of its own development. Never mind regional economic planning, a regional government for the North with power over economic and resource matters is decades overdue.  Continue Reading →

Our world needs more Peter Munks – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – June 11, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media. [email protected]

Some parts of the world are nastier than Canada. Peter Munk should know. He came from one.

Mr. Munk is the founder and chairman of Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s largest gold miner. From the day he landed in Toronto from war-torn Europe, he has loved this country with a passion. “I arrived in this place not speaking the language, not knowing a dog,” he says. He was 18 – an alien, a foreigner, a Jew in a funny-looking suit. In Europe, people were living in the ruins, like rats.

The young refugee presented himself at Lawrence Park Collegiate, where nobody had seen a foreigner before. He expected to be shunned. Instead, the principal took him to a sun-filled classroom, where, unbelievably, boys and girls studied together. At lunchtime, everybody streamed into the cafeteria, where a trestle table groaned with meat, bread and milk. “The amount of food in that place could have fed any city in Europe for a whole day,” he recalls. Kids began asking him home, where their parents invited him to raid the fridge.

For Mr. Munk, this generosity became a metaphor for Canada. “People here don’t ask about your origins,” he says, “only about your destiny.”

Today, the company that he founded is embroiled in controversy, and Mr. Munk himself has come under vicious attack. Billionaires and mining giants will never be exempt from criticism, nor should they be. But these attacks are so toxic, they demand a response. Continue Reading →

An Ontario gold rush – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun – June 10, 2011)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.  [email protected]

Remember a couple of years ago, Premier Dalton McGuinty said this province
 could no longer count on “pulling stuff out of the ground” for jobs? All goes to
show just how wrong he was. And how out of touch, not just with northern Ontario,
but with the economy. (Christina Blizzard – June 10, 2011)

Mining companies spending billions here in search of riches. So why did Dalton McGuinty blow them off?

Skyrocketing world gold prices are providing a boost to this province’s northern economy, as mining companies look to old mines in search of the precious metal.

Detour Lake gold mine, near Cochrane, will be the largest gold mine in Canada when it starts production in 2013. Based on today’s spot gold price, it will generate more than $1 billion a year for 21 years, says Detour Gold President and CEO Gerald Panneton.

And while the price of gold, like all resources, fluctuates, he says gold’s been around for 6,000 years and it’s here to stay. “People have tried to push it away and then get rid of it, but it always came back,” Panneton said in an interview.

Gold is tough to replace and is the most versatile, malleable element you can find. “If you try to accumulate value in silver or copper or zinc, you’ll need a huge warehouse,” he said. Continue Reading →

Canadian mine safety in a global context – (Global Regina News – June 9, 2011)

http://www.globalregina.com/

© Copyright (c) Shaw Media Inc.

Mining is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world, accounting for around 12,000 deaths annually.

Canada is not immune to such accidents – two miners were killed in Sudbury, Ont., on Thursday – but it is on the low end of the scale of annual fatality rates.

An average of 80 workers died annually over a three-year period ending in 2009 in Canada’s mining, quarrying and petroleum industries.

The U.S. had only 51 mining deaths in 2008, the lowest annual number in its history until 2009, when the number dropped to 34. Continue Reading →

Tragedy at [Sudbury] Stobie Mine a reminder of our spirit – Brian MacLeod (Sudbury Star – June 10, 2011)

The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper. Brian MacLeod is the managing editor.

The tragic deaths of two miners at Stobie Mine on Wednesday night is a painful reminder to us that those who work underground are still the soul of this community.

Jordan Fram, 26, and Jason Chenier, 35, died when they were struck by broken rock at an ore pass 3,000 feet underground at Vale’s Stobie Mine. The cause of the accident is under investigation.

Jason had been a miner for 11 years, and Jordan for six.

Vale’s general manager of Ontario operations, John Treen, called the deaths a devastating loss. Many members of the community have expressed their condolences online.

Virtually everyone in the community knows someone who works in one of the city’s mines. The willingness of thousands of workers to go underground each day is still the city’s raison d’etre. Continue Reading →

Statement from Vale’s Jon Steen about death of two miners – (June 9, 2011)

To all Ontario Operations Employees:

It is with deep regret that I must inform everyone today that two of our employees were fatally injured last night while working around an ore pass at the 3000-level of Stobie Mine. Mine rescue was dispatched, however both individuals were pronounced dead at the scene. All other employees were brought to surface and accounted for.

The immediate families of the two employees have been notified, and our full support is being offered to them as they begin to cope with their loss. The names of the individuals are being withheld out of respect for the families so that they can notify relatives and close friends.

Our Critical Incident Stress Management Team is on site at Stobie Mine to offer personal support to friends and co-workers of the two individuals. The scheduled day shift and night shift at Stobie Mine have been cancelled. Continue Reading →

Run of muck killed 2 miners at [Vale] Stobie [mine in Sudbury] – Harald Carmichael (Sudbury Star – June 10, 2011)

The Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper. [email protected]

“It takes eight to 10 years to really train a miner under-ground and that
is if he is with an experienced miner,” said one miner, who declined to
give his name. … “You develop instincts. … You have to be able to ‘read’
the ground … “What is the ground doing? Why is it (rock) so crumbly? “

‘A devasting loss’

Vale management and workers in Sudbury are reeling from the deaths of two young miners, killed late Wednesday on the 3,000-foot level of Stobie Mine.

“This is a devastating loss and our thoughts and prayers go out to the families, friends and coworkers of these employees,” Jon Treen, general manager of Vale’s Ontario operations, said Thursday in Copper Cliff.

“We are all feeling this loss very deeply and we will be concentrating our efforts on understanding exactly what happened and how to prevent it in the future.”

The two men — identified by Greater Sudbury Police as Jordan Fram, 26, and Jason Chenier, 35 — were working in the No. 7 ore pass area when a run of muck — broken ore pieces — struck them, said Treen. Continue Reading →

Macho, risk-taking miners make industry less safe, consultant warns – by Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – June 9, 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.

There’s been a lot of debate lately about the Toronto couple trying to raise a so-called “genderless” baby by not revealing the child’s sex. But what about genderless miners?

Mines would be safer places to work if men weren’t constantly pressured to be one of the boys, says Dean Laplonge, an offbeat mining industry consultant who advises companies on how masculinity affects the gritty business of mineral extraction.

Laplonge, who has his PhD in cultural studies and lives in Australia — which, like Canada, is heavy on resources — argues that the safety goals of mining companies are fundamentally at odds with the cultural demands faced by men to be “macho risk takers.”

“Peer pressure (on men at mine sites) ensures safety is only for sissies,” says Laplonge, 41, a director of the international communications consultancy Factive who is visiting Toronto. Continue Reading →

A Tale of Two Norths [Ontario and Quebec] – by David Robinson (Northern Ontario Business – June 2011)

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 posted in June, 2011.

“Ontario produced the least imaginative, worst-researched plan and worst-written of all
the boreal shield provinces. … Quebec promises that the tax spinoff stemming from new
mining projects, new hydro projects and new infrastructure projects will be paid into a
Northern fund. Quebec has a vision for real Northern development.” (Dr. David Robinson)

Planning for the provincial North is suddenly very popular. Ontario delivered its plan March 4. Quebec presented Plan Nord May 9. Saskatchewan is working on a northern plan. Manitoba’s is redoing its 2000 Northern Development Strategy. So how do we compare?

We are conservative. Fluffy. Different. Ontario produced the least imaginative, worst-researched plan and worst-written of all the boreal shield provinces. Quebec’s plan Nord claims to be “one of the biggest economic, social and environmental projects of our time.”

It is all happening in what used to be Rupert’s Land, a vast forest-on-a-rock where the boreal forest crosses the Canadian Shield. It is the provincial North of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. It is a great ring around the inland sea called Hudson’s Bay. Rupert’s Land would have been a separate country if Europe had discoveed North America after the Arctic melts. In the real world, pieces of Rupert’s Land went to each of the new provinces to the south. Continue Reading →

Tanzania weighs ‘super-profit’ tax on miners – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – June 9, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media. Brenda Bouw is the Globe’s mining reporter.

Tanzania is eyeing a “super-profit tax” on miners to help pay for a development program in the East African country, the latest in a growing list of governments trying to grab more money from the resource sector amid rising commodity prices.

While the Tanzanian government hasn’t confirmed that it is weighing such a plan, reports say the new tax could be similar to one proposed last year in Australia.

“Considering the increasing trend in mineral prices, it is optimal to introduce a super-profit tax on the windfall earnings from the mineral sector,” state government documents viewed by Reuters.

Bloomberg reported the comments come from the country’s planning commission, which the Tanzanian government website describes as a think-tank under the President’s office that advises on economic issues. Continue Reading →

In an African mine, the lust for gold sparks a deadly clash – Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – June 8, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

NORTH MARA, TANZANIA

The morning of May 16 began like many others. Carrying hammers and rucksacks, hundreds of Tanzanian villagers trudged to the mountain of waste rock at dawn expecting to make another illicit deal with the heavily armed police who protect it.

Two hours later, at least five villagers were dead and many others wounded – gunned down by police at the gold mine owned by a subsidiary of Barrick Gold Corporation of Toronto.
The shooting, the latest in a series of deadly incidents at the mine over the past several years, raises troubling questions about Barrick’s security agreement with a notoriously corrupt police force that routinely extracts bribes from the villagers who enter the North Mara mine to scavenge for traces of gold.

It also provokes questions about Barrick’s decision to keep operating in the anarchic conditions around its mining site, where violent confrontations are common, allegations of police abuses are frequent and deaths are inevitable.

During a five-day visit to the North Mara Mine and the surrounding villages, The Globe and Mail witnessed an atmosphere of conflict and intimidation. Interviews with injured survivors of the May 16 shootings and other witnesses suggest that most of the villagers were unarmed or carrying only stones when they were shot. The witnesses, along with the local police commander, have contradicted the company’s assertion that hundreds of people attacked the police with machetes, hammers and rocks. Continue Reading →

Canadian miners abroad learn wider responsibility – Globe and Mail Editorial (June 6, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

The Canadian mining industry is no longer just about extraction. The 1,800 companies operating around the globe must also live up to public expectations that they protect human rights and the environment in their overseas operations. Failure to do so invites public-relations disaster, as Barrick Gold Corp.’s recent experiences in Tanzania and Papua New Guinea show.

Last week, Barrick announced it was investigating allegations that its own private security guards, as well as Tanzanian police, had sexually assaulted 10 women over the past several years at their North Mara mine. This comes just two weeks after seven people were killed at the site, following an incursion of locals scavenging for gold-laced rocks. \

At another Barrick property, in Papua New Guinea, a Human Rights Watch report released this year said the mine’s private security force was implicated in a “pattern of violent abuses, including horrifying acts of gang rape.” Continue Reading →