Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act (2 of 6)

Ontario, the largest mineral producer in Canada, is modernizing its Mining Act. These six postings are from a provincial policy document – titled “Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act – Finding A Balance” produced by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

Overview of Ontario’s Mining Industry

The mineral sector is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal workers in Canada.

Ontario is Canada’s largest producer of minerals, accounting for 28 per cent of the national total in 2007, at an approximate value of $10.7 billion. Exploration spending in Ontario has risen fourfold from $120 million in 2002 to $500 million in 2007. In 2008 that figure is expected to exceed $625 million.

Ontario is a leading producer in a number of base and precious metals. The province ranks among the top 10 global producers of platinum, nickel and cobalt and among the top 20 global producers of gold, silver, copper and zinc. Currently, there are 43 producing mines across Ontario: 28 metal mines; 14 major industrial mineral operations and Ontario’s first diamond mine.

The mining sector employs 100,000 Ontarians directly and indirectly. The average weekly earnings of the mining sector are 50 per cent higher than any of Ontario’s other industrial sectors. Mining companies inject approximately $1 billion annually into the Ontario economy and support over 1,000 local businesses.

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Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act – Minister Michael Gravelle’s Message (1 of 6)

Honourable Michael Gravelle - Ontario Minister of Northern Development and MinesOntario, the largest mineral producer in Canada, is modernizing its Mining Act. The following six postings are from a provincial policy document – titled “Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act – Finding A Balance” produced by the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

Ontarians share a fundamental value – a deep and profound love for the natural wonders of this province.

The natural world of trees and rocks and water and wildlife has built our economy into one of the strongest in the world. Since earliest times, it has inspired our art and shaped our character as a people. It sustains us and lies at the core of our self-image.

Whether we are urbanites who relish our annual canoe trips with the kids; Cree hunters awaiting the return of the geese to Hanna Bay; lone prospectors plying their craft in the winter wilderness; cottagers enjoying the sunset at the lake; or small-towners sneaking out at lunch to dip a line in a local stream – whoever we are and whatever we do, we all love this place.

In a sense, we Ontarians are all people of the land. It is natural, then, that the land – and the uses we put it to – should spark strong feelings. Sometimes we find ourselves at odds with each other. Occasionally, these differences lead to conflicts.

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Alaska Votes for Gold, Not Fishing – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

This week the voters of Alaska were asked to decide whether or not they favour prohibitive clean water regulations for new mines in that state. Ballot Measure 4 was aimed specifically at stopping Vancouver’s NORTHERN DYNASTY MINERALS (50%) and South Africa’s ANGLO AMERICAN from completing the Pebble gold mine.

The potential of the Pebble deposit is huge. The property is believed to contain 91.6 billion lb of copper, 84.6 million oz of gold and 5.5 billion lb of molybdenum in the inferred resource category. What concerns opponents is that the deposit is located near the headwaters of Bristol Bay, one of the world’s greatest salmon runs. The sport and commercial fisheries would be crippled if the salmon habitat were damaged.

The initiative was brought by a Washington, D.C.-based lobbying group. Alaska allows legislature to be initiated by voters as well as the state legislature. While Measure 4 did not mention Pebble by name, the target was obvious. Passing it would have effectively delayed or stopped other mine developments, for example, the Donlin Creek gold project belonging to BARRICK GOLD and NOVAGOLD RESOURCES. TECK COMINCO’s planned expansion of its Red Dog zinc mine might have been delayed.

In case the reader has not quite guessed yet, the measure was defeated on Aug. 26. The outcome was not as close as predicted. Almost 57% of voters were opposed and only 34% in favour. That is a result we applaud because we know the mining industry is mindful of local flora and fauna and does all it can to mitigate potential harmful effects. The Hope Brook gold mine that operated from 1987 to 1997 on the southwest coast of Newfoundland was located in a salmon habitat. The fish survived nicely, in fact mine workers were forbidden from fishing or even bringing fishing gear to the site.

Canada does not allow its voters to initiate legislation, and perhaps that is a good thing. Imagine heavily populated Toronto swaying a vote against expansion at XSTRATA COPPER’s Kidd mine or against development of DE BEERS CANADA’s Victor diamond mine. Suppose the residents of Canada’s southern cities said “no” to AGNICO-EAGLE’s Meadowbank gold mine in Nunavut. On the other hand, if voters in Indonesia had stepped in to stop exploration at the Busang project, the entire BRE-X fiasco might have been prevented.

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


He bids on the obscure: a speck
inching across kilometres of scrub  
to map and pick samples out of sediments,  
or cragged above evergreens, unseen
balancing a magnetometer
to listen to rocks.

He is a gambler:
under snake bellies,
between goat hooves
he trusts silver and zinc are waiting
and surfaces like scooped cream
sprout opals,
or powdered from sunshine are sulphur,
or gritty with Mediterranean blue
hold copper.

Also, he is wary: what glitters
may be the dream
—of fools.
Grade must be tested.
What grams to the tonne?
Where too angled, too deep?

A gambler bets
against absolutes.
How much should he dare
to open the Earth
to pick at her secrets
hundreds of metres down?

Timmins – the Legendary Porcupine – has a Golden Prosperous Future – by Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThe world-wide boom in commodities has seen profits for Canadian mining companies soar and shareholders are loving it.

Buried in the good news is an interesting development that may prove beneficial to mining companies and the communities dependent upon them even after base and precious metal prices hit the bottom of the present cycle.

Flush with profits, mining companies are taking intense and expensive looks at former producers in Ontario’s historic mineral camps. What this is doing in the short term is putting pressure on the exploration sector as companies turn back to Red Lake, Kirkland Lake, Sudbury and Timmins while coping with a shortage of workers.

Still, it is good for the local economies and contains the promise of a bright future if mineable ore can be found in closed workings.

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Building a New Globalized and Diversified Labour Movement for the 21st Century – Leo W. Gerard, International President – United Steelworkers

Union representation in the 21st century is evolving and changing. And the United Steelworkers union is at the forefront of a ‘New Labour Movement.’

The last century was characterized by large-scale industrial organizing in industries that employed thousands of people in a single workplace. There are few of these concentrations of workers left in today’s decentralized, yet global, economy. Those that are left are mostly already unionized.

In Sudbury, there are still two such large groups of workers. For them, the biggest change in the nickel-mining industry has been the takeover of Canadian companies by large foreign-based corporations.

The new Brazilian-owned Vale-Inco has yet to be tested in collective bargaining with our union — in Sudbury, at least. But, at the time of writing this, members of USW Local 6166 in Thompson, MB, were in negotiations with Vale-Inco over familiar issues, such as pensions, wages, control over contracting out and health and safety. They are also working to protect the nickel price bonus, negotiated by the union in both Thompson and Sudbury, more than a decade ago and protected in every set of negotiations since.

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Sudbury was Created by Hardworking Men and Women – The Mayor’s Labour Day Message – Greater Sudbury Mayor John Rodriguez

Greater Sudbury Mayor - John RodriguezAs we celebrate our community’s 125th anniversary, it is an appropriate time to recognize the enormous contributions of working people to the success of Greater Sudbury.

From the first rough-necked navvies who laid down the tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railway around Ramsey Lake … to the Franco-Ontarien lumberjacks who wintered along the Spanish, the Vermilion and the Wahnapitae rivers and lakes … to the hardworking miners who came from all points of the globe to pull the nickel and copper from beneath our feet, this city has been built on the wealth created by hardworking men and women who were proud to call Sudbury home.

As these workers organized, their unions became active in addressing conditions, both in the workplace and across the community.

Greater Sudbury is seen as a world leader in industrial health and safety and in environmental restoration and organized labour has played a role in both of these important areas.

Joint health and safety committees have become a standard part of operations in local companies and we have seen dramatic declines in the rate and the severity of industrial injuries and diseases in this city.

The success in this area has made us a model for industrial health and creating a centre of excellence in occupational health and safety.

Working men and women continue to play a major role in enhancing our community. Support for the United Way, the Food Bank and dozens of other worthy community initiatives demonstrates the labour community’s commitment to helping those in need.

Contributions to education and health institutions ensure these facilities continue to provide the best opportunities and care for our citizens.

This Labour Day, take a moment to think of those whose sweat has provided us with the life we have today.

Take a moment also to think of how much working people contribute to our city each and every day.

British Columbia Continues to Attract Gold Hunters – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

Gold has been prized throughout history and remains one of the most sought-after metals today. In British Columbia gold was found along the Fraser River (1858), along the Peace River (1861) and in the interior (1865). Dawson Creek became the jumping off point for the great Klondike gold rush of 1898.

The modern gold prospector, spurred by high gold prices and with the help of sophisticated technology, is again scouring the map of British Columbia in hopes of striking it rich. News of bonanza grades is as welcome today as it was in the 19th Century.

For example, Pinnacle Mines (51%) and Mountain Boy Minerals (49%) recently reported grades as high as 81.57 g/t over 1.52 metres at their Silver Coin project near Stewart. A quick run through the metric calculator, and that is equivalent to over 2.4 oz/ton. Such grades bring a smile to most gold lovers I know. Plus the Silver Coin property appears to have recoverable amounts of silver, copper, zinc and lead.

Also in the Stewart area, drill core from Toronto’s Seabridge Gold’s Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) project is not assaying high grades (it is generally less than 1.0 g/t Ag plus copper), but it is mineralized over exceptional lengths: 745 metres, 109 metres, 498 metres, 921 metres, 500 metres and so on. The company has circulated estimates of over 19.7 million oz of gold in indicated resources and 14.3 million oz in the inferred portion. If the gold grades don’t set a heart to fluttering, the millions of contained ounces should. (For readers of the base metal persuasion, the property may also host more than 8.0 billion lb of copper.)

The deposits described here may differ, but there is no doubt that the rush for the yellow metal in British Columbia never goes out of style.

Potash Corporation Courts Sudbury Mining Businesses – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Bill Bradley’s article.

There is a lot of money to be made in potash. India, Brazil and China, which are expanding their agricultural production to feed their growing populations, do not have what Canada is blessed with in abundance, said Potash Corporation officials Wednesday at the Howard Johnson Hotel.

The $64 billion Saskatchewan company mining the fertilizer, sought out by the world’s farmers, was in the city courting the local mining supply and services cluster of companies (SAMSSA) for their expertise. Production for the company is rising from 10 million tonnes this year to 18 million tonnes in 2012.

“We are here because of the high quality of mining expertise that is in this city,” said Ralph Sanders, manager, corporate procurement, PotashCorp.

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The Greening of a Convention Centre with Nickel – by Carroll McCormick

The following article was first published in Nickel, the magazine devoted to nickel and its applications.

Sustainable Benefits of Austenitic Stainless Steel Roof Includes Energy Savings

The roof over your head does more than keep the elements out. Properly insulated, it also keeps heat in during the winter months and out in summer. Nickel-containing  S30400 stainless steel is a poor conductor of heat and therefore can help to insulate a roof and make a building more energy-efficient. Architects who choose it as a roofing material may soon be able to take advantage of this and other properties of stainless steel in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system.

When the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, opened in 2003, it was the largest building in the United States to earn a Gold Certification under the LEED system. The Gold LEED status recognizes the centre’s brownfield redevelopment, accommodation of alternative transportation, reduced water use, efficient energy performance, use of materials that emit no or low amounts of toxins, and innovative design. Had the sustainable attributes of nickel-containing stainless steel been fully accounted for under LEED, the certification could very well have been platinum, says Catherine Houska, senior market development manager with Pittsburgh-based TMR Architectural Metals Consulting and a consultant to the Nickel Institute.

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Nickel Plays an Enormous Part Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Around the World – Patrick Whiteway

Patrick Whiteway is the editor of Nickel, the magazine devoted to nickel and its applications.

Primary nickel production is energy intensive but, put in perspective, it accounts for less than one-tenth of one percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. That makes us a small part of the problem.

By comparison, nickel is used in a multitude of innovative applications that are reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

As a sponsor of Climate Action, a joint project launched by Sustainable Development International in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme, the Nickel Institute is engaged in constructive dialogue with both government and the private sector. The goal is to find ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions even further.

The Institute’s president, Stephen Barnett, recently spoke on camera with a reporter for Climate Action and outlined how the nickel industry is contributing to a more sustainable society. Continue Reading →

Danger Lurks Despite Modern Technology – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

The mining industry has made great strides toward establishing workplaces that are safe and healthy for employees. We almost take for granted our computer-assisted, automated and equipment-enabled jobs. For many in the mining and exploration sectors, helicopters are the only transportation that can reach remote locations. For some a trip on a “chopper” is as routine as tying on their boots.

But sometimes technology lets us down. The technology that allows modern helicopter to fly so that drill crews can reach remote sites failed last week, and people died.

One crash happened near Alice Arm about 150 km north of Prince Rupert, B.C. Four passengers lost their lives. Dead are the pilot David Jeffrey Reid of Sidney, B.C., two employees of Bodnar Drilling, Walter Bodnar and his nephew Nicholas Bodnar (both of Rose du Lac, Manitoba). Also killed was a prospector, Frank Moehling of Calgary. They were headed to the Homestake Ridge property belonging to Bravo Ventures.

The Hughes MB500 helicopter that went down on Aug. 6 belonged to Prism Helicopters of Pitt Meadows, B.C. It was chartered by Vancouver’s Bravo Venture Group that is testing its Homestake Ridge copper-gold property.

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Sault Ste. Marie’s Chicora Incident – An American/Canadian Border Incident– by Michael Barnes

Most  people know all about  the locks between the Canadian and American twin cities of Sault Ste. Marie. The waterways are good for trade.

But at one time the Soo locks were all on the American side. This ended with the opening of a lock to the north in 1895. Although not openly discussed, one the most important reasons for building a Canadian lock had its roots in an event which took place a quarter century before.

As Canada became a country with Confederation in 1867, a giant firm had to change its way of doing business.The Hudson’s Bay Company could no longer operate as if it were almost a feudal entity within Canada.

As the Bay gave up its huge land holdings in 1869, the action troubled the Metis people of the Red River in Manitoba. They feared their land would be taken up by new settlers.When they banded together under Louis Riel to establish a new government, a clash with Ottawa was inevitable.

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Ontario Gold is Where You Find It – by Michael Barnes

Famed prospector Don McKinnon, co-disoverer of the Hemlo gold fields north of Lake Superior is fond of an old axiom in the mining business.

He says simply that you look for gold where gold is said to be. This sounds like double talk to the uninitiated but actually the seemingly obvious statement makes a lot of sense.

Short of expensive diamond drilling, the location of gold in commercial quantity is anyone’s guess. So the best places to look for the elusive yellow metal are where it has been found before.

A few years ago, an up and coming Junior mining company with a Scots name, Pentland Firth, announced that it was taking another look at the Munro Croesus property off highway 101 east of Matheson.

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Ontario Mineral Industry can be First Nation Friendly – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Bill Bradley’s article.

Canadian Arrow Mines Given Award by Chief

Though some prospectors fumed about consulting with First Nations at the provincial Mining Act consultations last week in
Greater Sudbury, one upstart junior company has already shown it can be done.

Kim Tyler, president of Sudbury-based Canadian Arrow Mines, with over a dozen properties in northwestern Ontario, is comfortable
with a new emphasis by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines on dealing properly with First Nations and environmental concerns.

The province is hosting meetings across Ontario as part of an effort to modernize the Mining Act.

“Dealing with First Nations is easy. Try knocking on their door first. Inform them who you are, what you are doing and what
opportunities there are for their members in terms of future jobs,” Tyler said at the sessions.

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