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.

Inco’s Sudbury Nickel Mines were Critical During World War Two (Part 3 of 7) – by Stan Sudol

Inco World War Two PosterCKSO Radio Propaganda (Part 3 of 7)

The enormous war time demands for the metal ensured that the men working underground would be pushed to their very limits. For the ones who stayed at the mines, absenteeism was becoming a major issue. In the fall of 1942, the International Nickel Company of Canada sponsored a local CKSO radio program called “The Victory Parade.”

The following three radio spots were written by W.J. Woodill. The radio ads were used to encourage the general public to buy Victory Bonds as well as attempt to combat miner burnout with guilt.

“Mrs. Housewife! Are you one of those women who does her part by encouraging her husband to do his part in this war? Or are you “A Worry bird”, one of those girl friends of Hitler and Company? You know, even if that husband of yours doesn’t bring home a full war kit and rifle, he’s still doing his part if he’s doing his full eight hours of work every day. That Nickel or copper he’s turning out is mighty important these days.”

“Yes this is a critical time! Your husband is working not for so many cents an hour, but working for Victory. Working to put the metal into the hands of industry so there may be tools of war available. It’s vital that he does his job with his full heart in it. That husband of yours needs a clear head and his full attention to his job. Do your part, look after his health and his peace of mind. Remember he is needed on the job every minute of his shift.”

Continue Reading →

Canadian Mining Facts from the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

The MINING ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (MAC) released its latest “Facts and Figures 2008” publication at the recent Mines Ministers Conference in Saskatoon. In it are details about the production, reserves, exploration, trade and investment, innovation, tax and human resource aspects of our industry. That’s a lot of ground to cover in 65 pages, but MAC is once again the most comprehensive source of such numbers.

Here are a few of them:

VALUE: The contribution that the metals and minerals industry makes to Canada’s economy by value is relatively stable at 3.5% to 4.5%. Meanwhile, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew to $1.2 trillion in 2007. Of that amount, mineral extraction contributed $9.68 billion and mineral manufacturing $32.22 billion.

TOP TEN: Canada’s top ten minerals by value in 2007 were nickel ($9.90 billion), copper ($4.53 billion), potash ($3.14 billion), coal ($3.14 billion), uranium ($2.76 billion), iron ore ($2.51 billion), gold ($2.38 billion), zinc ($2.09 billion), cement ($1.80 billion) and diamonds ($1.45 billion). The biggest money is to be had in the oil sands. The value of synthetic crude oil last year was $14.80 billion.

RESERVES: Canadian reserves continue to decline as they have for the past 25 years. Years of rising commodity prices led to a “modest” increase in 2006 and 2007, but without exploration spending in this country, production will also decline.

Continue Reading →

Mineral Resource Sharing Needs to be Addressed in the Canadian Federal Election – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of Mining.com permission to post Bill Bradley’s article. www.northernlife.ca

Campaigning federal politicians are getting an earful from city residents.

As they canvas door-to-door, they are hearing similar complaints from the electorate — poor roads, lack
of health care facilities and services for themselves and their loved ones, lack of affordable housing, and high gas prices.

City councillors hear the same concerns every day.

Behind all these complaints lies an unfortunate truth — northern Ontario is not getting its fair share of resource revenues. Northern Life in this election has been alerting candidates to a report entitled A Refined Argument: Report of the Advisory Panel On Municipal Mining Revenue presented to and adopted by city council February 27.

Prepared by a citizens committee, chaired by retired former Inco vice-president Jose Bianco, the report presents some stark facts. On page 29, in a graph entitled Growth in Tax Revenue Generated By The Ontario Mining Industry in Ontario (2001 to 2005), is shown the following: federal revenues from the mining sector increased 77.6 per cent, and provincial revenues from the mining sector increased 109.8 per cent.

Continue Reading →

Canadian Election Overshadows Successful Mines Ministers’ Meeting – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s call for a federal election on Oct. 14 was hardly a surprise. His Conservative party began running election-style ads at the beginning of September. Now, with the nation’s eyes and ears alert to campaign promises and mud-slinging, the recent meeting of Canada’s mines ministers has been largely overlooked.

Energy and mine ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments met in Saskatoon Sept. 7-9. On the agenda were issues related to the industry’s social licence.

“Key to our discussions was the recognition that the mining and industry sectors along with governments need to encourage and engage Aboriginal peoples and communities in a manner that is inclusive, transparent and characterized by mutual respect,” host and Saskatchewan Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd said in the warp-up press release.

The ministers recognized that the long-term prosperity of the mining and
energy sectors depends on addressing labour shortages and working with industry and other partners to address these issues on a priority and ongoing basis.

The ministers underscored the importance of continued collaboration between regulatory agencies to ensure high-quality and timely environmental assessments to promote sustainability. They also noted the importance of increasing collaboration on research and innovation with industry, governments and academic institutions to support industry competitiveness.

Finally, ministers discussed the importance of Canadian companies working to secure a social license for mineral development, at home and abroad, by building their capacity to meet the social, economic and environmental expectations of their host communities.

Seems the press release is using all the right words when it comes to creating a responsible and growing mining industry. But they are only words.

In the excitement of the coming federal election, watch for candidates to promise cash and policy support for mining. I’ll bet you won’t find much. If you do, drop me a line, [email protected].

Inco’s Sudbury Nickel Mines were Critical During World War Two (Part 2 of 7) – by Stan Sudol

Inco World War Two PosterIncreased Nickel Production

In 1941 the Allied governments asked the company to increase production. International Nickel complied by committing $35 million to expand nickel output by 50 million pounds above 1940 production levels, reaching this goal by 1943 without any government subsidies. However, the Canadian government did allow the company to amortize within a five-year period, instead of ten or twenty years, $25 million worth of expansion expenditures.

That enormous task fell to American-born Ralph Parker, who at the time was the general superintendent of the mining and smelting division at Sudbury. It was one of Mr. Parker’s greatest achievements to organize the enormous program of enlarging the Sudbury mining and plant facilities without any loss of production.

To increase production of extraordinary war-time demands, Mr. Parker had to resort to “high-grading” which entails using above average ore grades and leaving behind lower grades that would have normally contributed to a longer, more profitable mine life. There was a real fear that the company would use up most of its reserves and have little to mine after the war.

Continue Reading →

Inco’s Sudbury Nickel Mines were Critical During World War Two (Part 1 of 7) – by Stan Sudol

Inco World War Two PosterNickel Was the Most Strategic Metal

By anyone’s estimation, the highlight of Sudbury’s social calendar in 1939 was the visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth on June 5th, accompanied by Prime Minister Mackenzie King and a host of local dignitaries. This was the first time a reigning British monarch had ever visited Canada, let alone Sudbury, a testimony to the growing importance of the region’s vital nickel mines. The nickel operations in the Sudbury Basin were booming due to growing global tensions and increased spending on military budgets. Sudbury and the northeastern Ontario gold mining centres of Timmins and Kirkland Lake were among the few economic bright spots in a country devastated by the Great Depression.

In an April 15, 1938 article, Maclean’s Magazine journalist Leslie McFarlane described the three mining communities as, “Northern Ontario’s glittering triangle….No communities in all of Canada are busier, none more prosperous. The same golden light shines on each.”

During the royal visit, precedence was broken by allowing Queen Elizabeth the first female ever to go underground at the Frood Mine. Traditionally miners thought women would bring bad luck if they were permitted underground. There were probably many who thought the beginning of the Second World War on September 1, 1939 was the result of her subterranean visit.

The German invasion of Poland was to have dramatic effects on Sudbury. Many communities across Canada, Britain and the United States played exceptional roles in producing certain commodities and munitions for the war effort. However, it would be no exaggeration to say that in North America, Sudbury was among the top few communities that were absolutely critical to the war effort. Continue Reading →

Canada’s Mineral Reserves Crisis – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart - Mining Association of CanadaPaul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

The mining industry’s fundamental importance to the Canadian economy actually predates Confederation. The fact that the Geological Survey of Canada was founded in 1842, a full quarter century before Confederation, speaks volumes about the role that mining has played throughout Canadian history. To this day, the industry remains the backbone of over 100 communities, including larger communities such as Sudbury, Flin Flon, Thompson, Timmins, and Trail.

The industry’s presence also extends well beyond the mine site to include smelters, refineries, and semi-fabrication operations – defined broadly the industry employs almost 400,000 Canadians. In the larger urban setting, the industry is important to the financial and legal community in Toronto, and features an exploration cluster in Vancouver, and research and headoffice activity in Montreal, among other examples. Beyond this, several thousand supplier firms provide engineering, environmental, transportation, and other expertise to the industry. Internationally, companies funded on the Toronto Stock Exchange have over 4,000 mining projects in play in foreign countries, and Canadian mining firms have some $50 billion in direct investment abroad.

Continue Reading →

Diamonds, Diamonds Everywhere – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Imagine finding an exceptional, gem-quality white diamond weighing 189.6 carats. ROCKWELL DIAMONDS of Vancouver has done exactly that at its Klipdam mine near Kimberley, South Africa. The company reports that the stone is “oval in shape, somewhat flattened and strongly resorbed, and shows features typical of top colour high-value Type-2 gemstones.”

That description is sure to get everyone’s attention. So will the pictures of diamonds as large as 212-ct in the Diamond Gallery at www.RockwellDiamonds.com.

No less worthy of attention are recent exploration efforts for Canadian diamonds. Teams are finding diamonds and kimberlites at an astonishing rate this summer. Here are a few of them.

Vancouver’s COMMITTEE BAY RESOURCES and INDICATOR MINERALS reported the discovery of kimberlite boulders at the Borden project in Nunavut. Indicator minerals were visually identified in the float, and samples of the boulders have been sent for analysis.

Continue Reading →

The Mighty Sudbury Basin – Politically Secure, Enormously Pro-Mining and Geologically Rich – is on a Mine Building Boom – by Nick Stewart (Part B)

This article was first published in Northern Ontario Business, a newspaper that has been providing northerners with relevant and insightful editorial content, business news and information for over 25 years.

FNX Mining

The first half of 2008 has been a busy one for the mid-tier miner with a new shaft in operation and a change at the top.

President John Lill resigned from the company in early August, indicating a desire to pursue other interests. Lill had taken up the mantle of president and CEO in September 2007, replacing Terry MacGibbon, who has since been appointed to his prior roles.

The company’s Podolsky mine went into production earlier this year and has shown greater results than exploration potential had indicated.

With expectations for copper grades of 3 per cent, production has shown 12 per cent in the first quarter, and more than 5 per cent in the second. It’s expected to average out between 6 and 7 per cent over the rest of the year.

“Historically, in the Sudbury basin, these types of deposits have mined about 20 to 40 per cent better than they drilled off,” says MacGibbon.

Having cost $150 million to put into production, Podolsky has been a 300-tonne per day producer since January. That number will rise to 1,000 tonnes by year’s end, representing 400,000 tonnes annually at full production.

Continue Reading →

The Mighty Sudbury Basin – Politically Secure, Enormously Pro-Mining and Geologically Rich – is on a Mine Building Boom – by Nick Stewart (Part A)

This article was first published in Northern Ontario Business, a newspaper that has been providing northerners with relevant and insightful editorial content, business news and information for over 25 years.

While much of southern Ontario’s manufacturing economy is taking a beating, Sudbury and its mineral industry is riding high with record capital investments in mining. Here’s a round-up of what’s going on with the big and small producers.

Xstrata Nickel

The world’s fourth-largest nickel miner has a series of major local investments on the go and recently received approval from head offices in Switzerland for $455 million to move them forward.

Of that total, $280 million will be spent on developing the new Fraser Morgan mine, which goes into operation in 2010, producing 7,000 tonnes of nickel per year. Up to $70 million has been spent on the project to date.
 
The remaining $175 million will go towards the local Strathcona Mill, which currently handles 2.4 million tonnes of ore. The investment will expanded that to 3.4 million.

These are just a small part of Xstrata’s local growth plan, which includes bringing its flagship Nickel Rim South mine into production in 2009, having first hit upon its value in 2001. Once fully operational, it will annually produce between 12,000 and 15,000 tonnes of nickel, 50,000 tonnes of copper and several hundred ounces of precious metals.

Continue Reading →

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.

Is China Buying Africa? – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart - Mining Association of CanadaPaul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

In a recent column, I noted that China remains the prime driver of world mineral prices. In building a domestic infrastructure for 1.3 billion people, while expanding its role as the world’s factory, China simply cannot meet its burgeoning demand for copper, zinc, nickel, and other raw materials. In response to this growing gap, China now imports $100 billion worth of base metals annually, buying 25 per cent of the world’s supply today versus a 5 per cent share in the 1980s. As a specific example, China’s share of world consumption of zinc has tripled from 10 to 28 per cent in a mere decade, while the US share has fallen from 16 to 10 per cent.

This dramatic growth in raw material demand is one of the central factors leading to a second, equally significant development; namely that China is becoming an important catalyst to the growth of Africa—a continent that offers untapped raw material supply and market demand potential. In decades past, few observers of global economic development would have envisioned the emergence of such a linkage. Few thought beyond the traditional model, where aid flows from the west would supposedly some day pull Africa to a more advanced state of development.

Continue Reading →

Junior Miner Canadian Arrow on Solid Ground with First Nation – by Ian Ross

This article was first published in Northern Ontario Business, a newspaper that has been providing northerners with relevant and insightful editorial content, business news and information for over 25 years.

First Nation approval was key in Canadian Arrow Mine’s gradual development of its highly-prospective Kenbridge nickel deposit in northwestern Ontario.

At a spring awards gala of the northwestern Ontario mining fraternity, a speaker at the podium described the rugged (and somewhat shadowy) individual freedom of the prospector.

“It happens in the bush, where no one knows what you’re doing, and you move from place to place.”
Secrecy, deception and pipe dreams have all been part of mining lore.

Yet Canadian Arrow Mines president Kim Tyler never could quite fathom over his 27-year mining career why the industry chooses to keep matters close to the vest.

“There’s more to be gained in sharing information than in being secretive.” says the former geologist for Inco, Teck-Cominco, Royal Oak Mines and Rio Tinto.

Continue Reading →

Sudbury Region Logging at Wahnapitae in the Late 1800s – by Gary Peck

Often ignored when our past is discussed, logging was a very significant part of our economy during the area’s formative years. Today, we’ll examine one logger’s account of what camp life was like in the Wahnapitae area before the dawn of this century.

The story begins with our logger leaving Toronto Union Station, bound for the North. From North bay, he traveled 87 miles to Wahnapitae on the CPR. Twelve miles northeast of Wahnapitae was his bush or camp and the site of his narration.

In the camp was to be found 75 men – all “jolly good -natured fellows, with well-filled ‘turkeys’ (bags containing their belongings).” Of the 75, about 30 were in charge of teams while the rest, with the exception of three waiters and one cook, were loaders.

Three main buildings constituted the camp – a long one-room log house, a cook house and a stable. A large wood stove heated the log house that was about 50 feet wide and 60 feet long. Down the centre of the room were two tables where everyone had his own place during meals. These places could not be changed without the permission of the “push” or foreman.

Continue Reading →