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)

© 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. hcarmichae[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.


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 →

Mining Marshall Plan for Northern Ontario – Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant and strategist who writes extensively on the mining sector. [email protected]

What a difference a decade makes! Ten years ago, according to many in the Toronto-media, mining was a sunset industry and any modern industrial country/province should not be in such a supposedly “low tech” sector. Some even thought we should let the industry die and allow lesser developed and some politically unstable countries be the primary suppliers of mineral commodities.

At that time, Ontario budgets were only a billion or two in the red, and its manufacturing sector was the cornerstone of a strong economy. Today, emerging markets like China, India are competing with the U.S., Japan, South Korea and other developed nations for access to mineral resources around the world, the basic building blocks of any modern industrialized society. The mining sector has become one of the most strategic sectors of the global economy. And Ontario is a “have-not” province.

Currently, Ontario faces a number of key economic problems including an aging workforce, crumbling infrastructure and provincial budget deficits that will not be able to sustain existing social programs. In addition, the south’s manufacturing might, which supported Ontario’s high standard of living since the 1950s, is under extreme stress due to globalization, a weak U.S. market – the destination of almost 90% of our manufactured goods – and high electricity costs. Continue Reading →

PwC Annual Review of Global Trends in Mining Sector – Mine 2011: The game has changed

07 Jun 2011 

PwC firms provide industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to enhance value for their clients. More than 161,000 people in 154 countries in firms across the PwC network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. See for more information.

For a copy of the report click here: Mine 2011: The game has changed

Excutive Summary

Welcome to PwC’s eighth annual review of global trends in the mining industry—Mine. These reviews provide a comprehensive analysis of the financial performance and position of the global mining industry as represented by the Top 40 mining companies by market capitalisation.

Last year we highlighted the growing optimism in the mining industry and demand fundamentals that were driving the industry back to boom times. The 2010 results have delivered on this expectation, but it is clear that the game has changed.

The mining industry has entered a new era. Demand continues to be stoked by strong growth in emerging markets. Supply is increasingly constrained, as development projects become more complex and are typically in more remote, unfamiliar territory. The cost base of the industry has permanently changed as lower grades and shortages of labour take effect.

To keep up with demand, the Top 40 have announced more than $300 billion of capital programs with over $120 billion planned for 2011, more than double the total 2010 spend. Continue Reading →

PwC NEWS RELEASE: Top 40 global mining companies’ total assets could exceed $1 trillion in 2011

For a copy of the report click here: Mine 2011: The game has changed

Largest Canadian-based miners increased revenues by 38% in 2010: PwC report

TORONTO, June 7, 2011—The top 40 global mining companies—including nine headquartered in Canada—increased their total assets to US$943 billion in 2010 and are poised to break through the US$1 trillion mark in 2011 driven by record levels of cash, and property and equipment on company balance sheets, according a new PwC report released today.

The financial results of the Top 40 in 2010 are spectacular. Total revenues increased 32% to US$435 billion, breaking the US$400 billion mark for the first time. Net profit rose 156% to US$110 billion and operating cash flows grew by 59%, leaving more than US$100 billion cash-on-hand at year end.

The report also found the Top 40’s total year-end market capitalization increased 26%, driving up the  market capitalization of the smallest company on the list to US$11 billion in 2010 from US$6.5 billion in 2009.

The top Canadian-based mining firms significantly contributed to the overall Top 40 financial totals. Together, the nine Canadian companies increased revenues by 38%. Net profit increased a staggering 1,536% to US$8.9 billion and operating cash flows grew 224%. However, the 2009 base for comparison is low as a result of Barrick Gold settling its gold sales contracts that year. Continue Reading →

Peruvian election strikes fear into global miners – by Brenda Bouw (Globe and Mail – June 7, 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.

The election of a left-wing nationalist as Peru’s next president has panicked investors, who fear the country will join a growing trend of governments squeezing more profits from the resource sector.

Ollanta Humala’s narrow victory Sunday over conservative Keiko Fujimori is expected to result in, at the very least, higher tax and royalty rates for mining companies operating in the mineral-rich nation.

Investors are also fretting that Mr. Humala’s past ties with Venezuela’s president Hugo Chavez will lead to suggestions about nationalizing operations based in Peru. The concerns caused Peru’s stock market to drop by a record 12.5 per cent on Monday, alongside steep selloffs of Canadian and international mining companies with operations in the country.

That’s despite Mr. Humala’s attempt to run a free-market friendly campaign this time around, a shift in stance from his unsuccessful 2006 run for the top job. Continue Reading →

Canada mines discontent among the poor of Africa – Linda McQuaig (Toronto Star – June 7, 2011)

The Toronto Star, which has the largest circulation in Canada, has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. [email protected]

While Canadians may think of ourselves as best known for owning the Olympic podium, among Africans we may actually be better known — and not particularly liked — for owning their natural resources.

Once beloved on the continent, Canada is no longer so fondly regarded in Africa.

The new, less enthusiastic view of Canada was vividly illustrated last month when more than 1,500 desperately poor Tanzanian villagers picked up machetes, rocks and hammers and stormed the mining compound of Canadian-owned African Barrick Gold.

The uprising — leading to the shooting deaths of seven of the villagers by police and security forces at the mine — is a startling reminder that theories widely held in the West about the benefits of foreign investment for the developing world are not always shared by people on the receiving end. Continue Reading →