Ottawa, Ontario Must Support Sudbury Basin’s Trillion Dollar Resource – Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez

Greater Sudbury Mayor - John RodriguezLast month, we celebrated Mining Week in Greater Sudbury, an annual event designed to promote the importance of the mining and processing industry to the community at large.  This event is useful and appropriate but we need to remind ourselves every week about the role that mining and processing plays in our local economy and the role that our city plays in this vital global industry.

The people of this community can take great pride in the successes of the economic diversification strategies that were launched a quarter century ago.  The dreams of the 1970s and 1980s are now reality and we are a significant government services centre, an award-winning tourism destination, a centre for education and health, and the leading service and retail centre in Northern Ontario.

At the same time, however, our mining, processing and mining supply and services sectors are driving the city’s economy to new heights and creating significant wealth for our province and for Canada as a whole.  As a city, it is critical that we understand and support this vital industry and that we develop strategies to ensure that we remain competitive on a global basis, well into the future.

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Ontario Mining Municipalities Want Fair Share of Tax Revenues – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThe fight by mining municipalities to win fair tax treatment from the Ontario government is entering a new phase. The drive is spearheaded by the two largest mining communities in Canada, Sudbury and Timmins. The two cities have accepted, finally, that in unity there is strength.

The second fact they have embraced is that there are too many voices attempting to get the ear of the politicians from the Golden Horseshoe.

There are just too many organizations that try to present the numerous problems facing Northern Ontario to Queen’s Park. This has enabled successive governments, and all three political parties are equally guilty when in power, to play the divide and conquer game.

Also part of the new reality accepted by northern representatives is that crying softly, or shouting loudly, doesn’t win friends or influence people. Hard facts, backed by statistics and logical arguments, are needed to achieve their goal of obtaining the financial help required to improve the quality of life in the region. Continue Reading →

Enormous Mining Potential for Northern Ontario Aboriginals – Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines

Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and MinesWe’ve all heard a great deal these past few weeks regarding the sentencing of Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (KI) First Nation members (now under appeal) resulting from a dispute between the community and the exploration company Platinex.

While I am personally very disappointed and indeed saddened to see First Nations community members in jail, it is important to say that this unfortunate situation does not in any way lessen our government’s resolve to work cooperatively with Ontario’s Aboriginal communities. 

Certainly, the Ontario government takes its duty to consult very seriously and we are committed to meeting that duty on an ongoing basis. 

Prior to recent efforts by my colleague, the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, to broker a solution, my ministry was actively working with KI and other First Nation communities in a number of ways including:

• visiting communities and attending community meetings to share information about exploration and mining;
• providing prospector training courses;
• inviting communities to participate in our government’s Far North Geological Mapping Initiative;
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Newmont President and Chief Executive Officier Robert T. O’Brien on Sustainable Gold Mining

Newmont President and CEO Robert T. O’Brien - Company PhotoThere is a New Day Dawning at Newmont and each day affords us the opportunity to renew our commitment and dedication to be an industry leader as we strive to achieve our vision of becoming The Gold Company of Choice through industry leading performance. We have reaffirmed the values that guide us as we seek the most effective ways to provide sustainable value for our employees, our communities and our shareholders by “acting with integrity, trust and respect.”

In 2007, we began to redirect the company and our business strategy. We established a new management team and implemented initiatives that will enable us to dedicate ourselves to Newmont’s core gold business, to expand our growth and exploration opportunities and to unlock the value embedded in our capital structure, as well as reduce operating costs.

Key highlights during the year included:
• Producing 5.3 million equity ounces of gold, in line with our original guidance and expectations;
• Investing significantly in our business, including more than $1 billion in new gold projects and operating efficiency initiatives;
• Eliminating our gold hedge book, which positioned Newmont as the premier un-hedged gold company, and improved our financial strength and flexibility;
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SAMSSA Hall of Fame – Fred Castron and Conrad C. Houle

The SAMSSA Hall of Fame recognizes management leaders who have developed and provided mining advancing technologies and/or products and services that  have improved the efficiencies of mining globally and domestically and have built or assisted in building companies in Northern Ontario that have proven to be successful.

The leaders in the mining supply and service industry have proven that mining is only as efficient and productive as the quality of products and services provided from mining supply companies.  Over 400 Northern Ontario mining supply and service companies can boast of their historical influence in mining camps worldwide and their significant employment opportunities for skilled personnel making this sector larger in number than all direct mining and refining jobs in Northern Ontario.

SAMSSA and the Mining World congratulate the following inductees into the SAMSSA Hall of Fame: Fred Castron, Cast Resource Equipment Limited and Conrad C. Houle, Chairman and CEO, Tracks and Wheels Equipment Brokers Inc.

Fred Castron

The son of a blue collar mine worker in Penticton, B.C., Fred grew up in the 30’s and 40’s with limited formal education but he developed a fondness for numbers and a willingness to learn which would later serve him well as a young partsman working in the warehouses of Blackwood Hodge Equipment Limited.

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Sudbury’s Mine Specialists (Part 4 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

The Northern Bermuda Triangle

Today CVRD Inco is still involved in product development, albeit in a different capacity. Most of the equipment in Sudbury leaves the factory fully assembled. If it’s going to be lowered in a cage, a few tricks must be performed. Depending on the size of the cage, this can mean tearing the machine down, lowering the pieces on the cage and rebuilding it underground. It’s an extra process that can cost the mine as much as $30,000.

CVRD Inco wanted to prove new machines above ground. It created a ramp with a 20% grade in an old open pit mine near Sudbury.
It’s been called the Bermuda Triangle of the North because things happen to vehicles on the ramp test that never occurred in the past. The vehicles are pounded repeatedly by worst-possible situations that replicate real-world conditions. The Canadian Standards Assoc. (CSA) and other groups spell out specifications like safe stopping distances. CVRD Inco’s test uses the standards, then cuts them by a third to make up for extended maintenance intervals.

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Sudbury’s Mine Specialists (Part 3 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

Adit Makes It Easier

NORCAT’s laboratory work is balanced by its mine training and testing facility in the former Fecunis Mine, located on Xstrata Nickel land in Onaping, an hour northwest of Sudbury.

Safety indoctrination is required for any person employed by a mine or working as a contractor underground in Ontario. CVRD Inco and Xstrata Nickel look to NORCAT for training.

The month-long course for the hard rock miner common core program begins in front of the computer and moves to safety training at NORCAT’s underground mine. This is followed by hands-on work where students go through the cycle of drilling, blasting, scaling, bolting and mucking. More than 2,000 students each year go through the program, which is taught by miners with decades of real-world experience.
While extracting paydirt isn’t the goal of NORCAT’s mine work, the mining is real. Students don headlamps to open drifts and ventilation passages following a plan. The mine gets deeper with each wave of students. The longest drift is 750 ft.

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Sudbury’s Mine Specialists (Part 2 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

Deep Impact

How Sudbury developed into a mining technology center can be linked to a number of factors. Common elements in every explanation are a direct hit from a meteorite (about 1.8 billion years ago) that created one of the highest concentrations of nickel-copper sulfides in the world, and the two oldest and largest mining com¬panies in the area.

They were for¬merly known as Inco (Creighton Mine started producing ore in 1901; today production areas are more than 8,000 ft. deep) and Falconbridge (80 years of history in Sudbury). Last year Inco was acquired by Brazilian mining giant Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) and became CVRD Inco, while Falconbridge attracted Switzerland’s Xstrata plc. The Sudbury division is now Xstrata Nickel.

Clusters of companies that work together to solve industry problems do not develop overnight. Mining activity throughout the basin increased after the 1940s. Mines required custom-built equip¬ment to meet unique applications and standards. Synergy between individual mines owned by the same company was rare. Between different companies it was worse. Still, improving production efficiencies — especially when nickel prices bottomed out — was always important. Local suppliers were busy sup¬porting activity in and around Sudbury and expanded along with their customers. Mine firms were in a position to support research in mineral extraction techniques and technology, and when something worked they became a customer. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Mine Specialists (Part 1 of 4)

OEM Off-Highway magazine Editor Chad Elmore has given Republic of permission to post an October 2007 article on Sudbury’s Mining Supply and Service sector.

OEM Off-Highway magazine provides an editorial mix of new technology, component information, engineering processes and industry news to help product development teams design and produce better off-highway vehicles and component systems. OEM Off-Highway

If mining expertise is what you need, the Sudbury Basin has it.

The deep hard rock mines lining Ontario’s Sudbury Basin feature some of the toughest working conditions in North America. There are more than 3,000 miles of mine tunnels under the region’s lakes and trees — some of those miles start at the bottom of a shaft more than 8,000 ft. below sea level. Down there, moisture-laden air mixes with ambient rock temperatures hovering around 100 F. Factor in long ramps with grades of more than 20%, narrow tunnels walled with unforgiving igneous rock and the occasional puddle holding enough sulfuric acid to consume a screw — Pebble Beach, this is not.

Equipment builders get no breaks, even in that environment. Whether using a production or support vehicle, mine operators expect maximum availability from their equipment. An equipment failure in a narrow tunnel 5,500 ft. down and two miles from the elevator, or cage, to the surface can be very expensive and downright inconvenient. Mines also want the machines to be safe and easy to maintain.

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Map Staking May Not Be The Answer – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThe Ontario government appears to be boxing itself in when it comes to the issue of map staking.

While large Canadian mining companies and some bureaucrats in the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) favour map staking over the traditional method of acquiring Crown land with the possibility of a mineral resource, prospectors and most small mining companies are opposed.

Actually going into the wilderness and physically walking the boundary of a mining claim, known as ground staking, generates a great deal of wealth for several sectors of the economy.

On the other hand, under map staking, a company or an individual can sit at a computer and pick out the land desired. Upon paying the ministry its fees, the company or the prospector has acquired temporary title to the land.

It must be noted under map staking, a company in Russia or a geologist in South Africa would be able to stake several hundred, or even several thousand, claims if the bill could be paid over the internet.

While the province is considering map staking for south of the French River and the debate over its value has raged over that point, there is another aspect to the situation. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Can Become a Global Centre for Mining Education – Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol - Executive Speech Writer and Mining ColumnistIn 2008, for the first time in human history, more than half of the global population will be living in cities. The planet is undergoing the largest wave of urban growth ever, spearheaded by the massive migration of Chinese farmers to their cities.

Access to mineral commodities is critical if this trend of urbanization and industrialization in China, India and much of the rest of the lesser developed nations are to continue. This is no ordinary boom-bust cycle. We have entered a “once-in-a-generation,” long-term commodity boom that will ensure that Sudbury remains prosperous for decades to come.

However, an explosive demand for skilled mining geologists and engineers to find and develop the future mineral deposits as well as keep the present ones running will be one of the most significant global challenges the mining industry faces. Especially since a large number of the current generation are close to retirement.

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Silvermans Linked to Sudbury’s Rich Jewish History – Gary Peck

The Atlantic has served as a favorite, well-travelled route for the pioneer who cast his eyes westward. For numerous reasons, some more obvious than others, Canada and the United States have attracted their share with Canada alone settling over three million newcomers in the years 1896-1914. In 1906, Lord Strathacona, formerly Donald Smith of the CPR, predicted a population of at least 80 million by the end of the twentieth century – the century Prime Minister Sir Wilfred Laurier boasted belonged to Canada. It was a time of optimism.

Prior to the wave of newcomers associated with the Laurier years, 1896-1911, the Silverman’s of Poland traversed the Atlantic, landing in New York. Three brothers – Aaron, Myer and Miram – soon would reach Algoma district and make Sudbury their home.
Aaron Silverman had been in his early teens when he arrived in New York. Employment in a clothing factory terminated when the factory closed. Soon he would be in Algoma district. Continue Reading →

Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Athol Stanley (Stan) Hilditch

Athol Stanley (Stan) Hilditche (1904-1992) was a prospector and discoverer of major iron ore deposits in the Pilbara region of Western Australia

Few Australians outside of the mining industry would readily associate Stan Hilditch with the vast iron ore mines of WA’s Pilbara; in the popular view of discovery and progress, other names tend to spring to mind. Yet, Stan Hilditch was central to the discovery and foundation of the Mt Newman mining operations. Upon his pioneering contribution has been built an outstanding legacy in the form of one of the largest iron ore mines in the world: at the time of his death in 1992, the mine had produced considerably more than half a billion tons of iron ore over a period of 23 years and the operators expected that more than this again would come from known reserves.

Aside from the extent of his investigation and discovery in the Pilbara, Stan Hilditch is also remembered for what one Chair of BHP noted as ‘his tenacity, vision and unassuming nature [that] represented the very best qualities of the people of Australia’s mining industry.’

Stan Hilditch was born in Newcastle, NSW, in 1904, and came with his family at a very early age to the Eastern Goldfields of WA. Continue Reading →

Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Henry James Evans

Henry James Evans (1912-1990) was a leading exploration geologist and the discoverer of the world-class Weipa bauxite deposits in Queensland, Australia.

Henry James Evans was born on 7 November 1912 in Greymouth, centre of a mining region on the south island of New Zealand. He was educated at the Reefton High School and Reefton School of Mines where he studied geology. Initially he gained experience evaluating gold dredging areas on the west coast and later worked for Austral Malay Tin, Alluvial Tin and Consolidated Goldfields. In 1938 he joined New Zealand Petroleum as a senior geologist and spent six years supervising oil drilling, logging and mapping. He spent most of 1945 with the NZ Geological Survey assessing the resources of the Greymouth Coal Basin.

Evans moved to Australia in 1946 to join the Zinc Corporation (now Rio Tinto) and was appointed Chief Geologist with Frome Broken Hill, looking for oil and gas in various parts of Australia, but also did some work on potash in UK and uranium at Rum Jungle.

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Gold Prices May Not Have Silver Lining – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThe long awaited – and predicted – push by the price of gold through the US$1000 an ounce barrier has occurred.

There is jubilation in the hearts of the gold bugs of the world, those faithful who attend conferences year-after-year to hear the word from on high: gold is the only asset to hold.

That the wait between gold’s previous record high in 1980 at US$850 an ounce to the March 13 break through was 27 years is being ignored.

The gold mining industry, especially in Canada, has reason to be happy but there is a need to look past the event and to ask why it happened.

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