Falconbridge’s Nickel Laterite Koniambo Project in New Caledonia – 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.This article was originally published – April/2006

Another major Canadian player in New Caledonian nickel is Toronto’s Falconbridge Ltd. (soon to be swallowed by Inco Ltd.). Falconbridge and its 51% joint venture partner Société Minière du Sud Pacifique S.A. (SMSP), are developing the Koniambo Project in the northern part of the island for start up, perhaps as early as 2009.

Last month, Falconbridge and SMSP (which is owned primarily by the North Province) created an operating company, Koniambo Nickel S.A.S. under the leadership of president Brian Kenny. Koniambo Nickel will hold title to the Koniambo deposit. On March 1, the French minister of overseas territories François Baroin laid the ceremonial first stone for the Koniambo project.

The following day the Koniambo Nickel board met to approve this year’s work program. Preparing the earthworks and advancing the project engineering are the top priorities for 2006. Dredging of a port will begin early in 2007, and the main construction period will be 2008-09. Production will begin very late in 2009 or early in 2010.

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Better Returns Expected From Revised Goro Nickel Laterite Project in New Caledonia – 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.This article was originally published – April/2006

New Caledonia, a French island territory 1,600 km off the northeast coast of Australia, is home to an estimated 25% of the world’s known nickel reserves. With rich laterite and saprolite deposits, it is no wonder this island nation is the scene of increased mining activity. A subsidiary of Paris-based Eramet currently owns five mines and a smelter scattered across the island. The other producer is Société Minière du Sud Pacifique S.A. It, too, has several mines supplying an Australian smelter.

The Goro Nickel Deposit, tucked away on the southern tip of New Caledonia, is one of the world’s largest undeveloped laterite deposits. But not for long. Construction of the mine, mineral processing plant, and extensive infrastructure is moving ahead quickly toward a start-up date of late 2007.

As of the end of February 2006, engineering is over 70% done, with about 1,600 workers on the site. Earthworks for the process plant were completed in March 2006, and will continue at the residue storage facility and on road realignment. The test mine extends to the saprolite horizon and exposed bedrock. The first of almost 2,000 skilled Filipino workers will soon arrive to start on construction.

The first berth of the port will be completed in time to receive the first module of the processing plant in May. The next milestone will be completion of the first half of the coal-fired power plant in September. The second berth of the port and the raw water pipeline will be finished in time for that event.

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Money Flowing Again for Best Mining Projects – 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.

There is light at the end of the ramp. There have been several financings in the hundreds-of-million-dollar range since the beginning of the year, and that leaves me hoping the worst is over for the mining community.

In early February, Osisko Mining of Montreal closed a bought deal worth C$350 million. That money is earmarked for completion of the Malartic gold project in Quebec.

Then Kinross Gold of Toronto completed a US$415-million public equity offering. The money will be used to pay down debt incurred with recent acquisitions.

Uranium producer Cameco of Saskatoon completed a bought deal that raised C$460 million. The money will strengthen the company treasury as Cameco looks for opportunities in today’s economic environment.

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Mining Layoffs Affecting Smaller Sudbury Companies – by Bill Bradley

Date Published – Mar. 9, 2009

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

The mining layoffs at Vale Inco and Xstrata are making the headlines.

But the pain is also being felt by employees in smaller companies, said one laid off worker at Mansour Mining Inc.

Jeff Marsolais, a laid off worker at Mansour Mining, said he knew of up to 70 fellow employees that have been laid off.

“Vale Inco and Xstrata layoffs get all the headlines. But the smaller companies are cutting jobs too. We are getting cut. We have families and bills to pay too,” said Marsolais.

Laurentian University economist David Robinson said smaller companies are always at risk.

“There is no guarantee for anyone these days. But there are wonderful companies here that have survived the up and down cycles in the past. We certainly are on a roller coaster now though,” said Robinson.

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Agreement Strengthens Ontario Mining and First Nations Links

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and the Assembly of First Nations strengthens the existing links between these two groups.  Through this MOU, the mining industry will boost its engagement with First Nations economies creating employment and business opportunities.  The MOU was signed by National Chief Phil Fontaine and Jim Gowans, President of Ontario Mining Association member De Beers Canada and Chair of the MAC.  This historic initiative got underway when MAC and the Assembly of First Nations signed a letter of intent in November 2007.

“In resource development, First Nations and the mining community are natural partners,” said National Chief Fontaine.  “Developing a new partnership between the AFN and MAC will complement and enhance the growing relationships between First Nations and Canada´s major mining companies.  The resource sector will come back stronger than ever in the very near future.  With a growing land base and growing populations, First Nations are poised to be key players in the years and decades to come,” he added.  “We want to work together towards greater certainty and sustainable mining developments that will contribute significantly to the economic, social and environmental well-being of First Nations.”

“Canada´s mining industry is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people,” said Mr. Gowans.

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Hidden Opportunity in Mining Sector Hard Times – 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.

Unless you are recently returned from a remote, primitive tropical island, you are inundated daily by doom and gloom reports, not only for the mining industry but for a broad range of banking, retail, real estate, automobile and more sectors.

“Dismal” is what the latest PricewaterhouseCoopers study calls last year for juniors.

The numbers tell a “sobering tale”, Ernst & Young said of the toll the global credit crisis is taking on the market capitalization of TSX-listed companies.

The Fraser Institute called the outlook “gloomy”, expecting at least 30% of exploration companies to fail.

“The mining industry, generally, is gripped by panic and the vast majority of firms are in lock-down mode,” says Jon Wylie, managing director of Proudfoot Consulting in Canada. “They have reacted to sharply lower commodity prices by scaling back and closing older, higher-cost mines.”

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PDAC 2009 Convention – the Mining Bust of a Generation? – by Stan Sudol

(L to R) Ontario Deputy Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Kevin Costante; Timmins Mayor, Tom Laughren; Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Honourable Michael Gravelle; Ontario Mining Association President, Chris Hodgson; Ontario Prospector Association Executive Director, Garry Clark

What a difference a year makes at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) annual convention, the largest on the planet. The PDAC is where the world’s mining analysts, investors, prospectors, exploration managers, government representatives and anyone else connected to this industry come to meet, do business, attend lectures and of course party. There is also a large Investor’s Exchange that the general public can attend to find out about the newest exploration plays or interrogate company presidents about their stock performance.

Needless to say, the mood was somewhat somber as everyone is trying to cope with commodity prices and metal demand that over the past six months have fallen off the proverbial cliff. The rapidness of the crash, along side with the unprecedented turmoil in credit and capital markets that has dried up funding for most exploration and development work has sent a legitimate fear throughout the entire junior mining sector.

A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that the market capitalization of the top 100 TSX-V junior mining companies plummeted from $20.2 billion on June 30, 2007 to $4.1 billion by November 2008. Investors are shunning higher risk exploration companies like the plague.

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Vale Inco Adds to Sudbury Jobless Woes – 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.

March 3, 2009, is another black day in the employment history of the mining industry in Sudbury, ON. That was the day Vale Inco announced it was cutting 261 local jobs as part of its worldwide restructuring that will result in 900 terminations. At its Thompson, MB, operations, the company let 24 non-union supervisors go.

“Unfortunately the tough decisions announced today are necessary in these exceptional times” said Tito Martins, Vale Inco CEO and president, said in a news release. “The declining nickel price and reduced demand for nickel make it clear that continuing to operate in our current fashion is simply not sustainable. The measures we’re announcing today are intended to address the immediate health of the business and help reshape the organization for a long-term, successful and sustainable future.”

The announcement comes three weeks after the second largest miner in the area, Xstrata Nickel, announced the layoff of 686 workers. The combined cutbacks are a huge blow to the Sudbury community.

To its credit, Vale Inco released background information about its employment practices in Sudbury and Thompson, MB, since it took over operations in October 2006. The figures are an attempt to put the cuts in perspective in several areas.

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Sudbury on Edge After Vale Job Cuts – 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

Mining giant slashes 900 jobs globally, 261 locally

Greater Sudbury is having to face the realities of the global economic maelstrom full force, say Vale Inco officials, unionists, city councillors and members of the community.

First it was Xstrata laying off 682 employees. This week Vale Inco announced 261 non-production job cuts. The Vale Inco workforce reductions are mostly focused on corporate, management and business support operations, according to a Vale Inco press release. The company employs 14,000 people worldwide.

“We are cutting jobs across the board, but none in our production operations in Greater Sudbury,” said Cory McPhee, manager of corporate communications for Vale Inco.

Sixty-five members of Steelworkers 2020 office and technical workers are affected by the cuts, said McPhee. Local 6500 members are not impacted by the announcement, he said.

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The Honourable Lisa Raitt – Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources – 2009 PDAC Speech

Toronto, Ontario
March 2, 2009

Check Against Delivery

Introducation

Thank you for that introduction.

I am pleased to be here, and extend a warm welcome to everyone – especially those of you visiting Canada for the first time.

The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is one of the premier mining associations in this country. It hosts the largest conference on mining exploration and development in the world.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to comment not only on the challenges your industry currently faces but also on the action that our Government is taking with industry and with mining communities to weather the current economic recession.

This collaborative approach will see us emerge from the current downturn to take advantage of the rebound.

Major Assets

As you know, mining is a mainstay of the Canadian economy and is vital to some 150 rural northern and Aboriginal communities across the country.

The industry directly employed over 363,000 people in 2007, and contributed $42 billion to Canada’s GDP from mining to downstream processing.

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Women In Mining Meet the Mining Mogul Contest Winners Announced at PDAC Convention

TORONTO, CANADA
March 4, 2009

The three winners were announced yesterday in the Meet the Mining Mogul contest, a first of its kind, put on by the Women in Mining (WiM) networks in Toronto and Vancouver. Each has won a one-hour private meeting with one of the three mining financiers who agreed to be the “prizes” in the contest, which is part of a fund-raising effort by the Women in Mining for The Townships Project.

A one-hour meeting with Frank Giustra of Fiore Financial will be the prize claimed by Guy Saucier. U.S. Gold’s Rob McEwen will meet with Karen Sutherland for an hour’s chat. And Eric Sprott of Sprott Asset Management will meet with Virginia Heffernan.

The Meet the Mining Mogul contest was part of an ambitious fund-raising effort by the Canadian WiM branches to support microloans for impoverished people in the township areas of South Africa. Their goal is to raise $250,000 this winter for the Toronto-based registered charity. Every donation in the campaign up to the time of yesterday’s draw was an entry in the contest. The amount of money raised for the charity at press time was $75,035, but that amount was expected to rise with the publicity that has been generated for the campaign during the Prospectors and Developers of Canada annual convention in Toronto this week, with an attendance of 18,000.

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Donald Coxe Speech for the 2009 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention

With 35 years of institutional investing and money management experience in the United States and Canada, Donald Coxe has a unique background in North American and global capital markets. www.donaldcoxe.com

Due to illness, Mr. Coxe could not give this keynote address at the PDAC convention. PDAC and Mr. Coxe have graciously allowed Republic of Mining.com to post the speech. www.pdac.ca

“WHEN YOU COME TO A FORK IN THE ROAD—TAKE IT”
Don Coxe,
Chairman, Coxe Advisors LLC.

Hello Toronto—I truly wish I were with you. This is a desire that goes back a long way.

Nearly 6 decades ago, when I started reading The Northern Miner, I concluded that the Prospectors and Developers Association convention must be the neatest convention in the world, and the biggest thrill would be to be giving the keynote address to that convention. I could never aspire, then, to that happening. I had to live a long time, and then I proceeded to get sick.

In that sense, it’s an abbreviation of what has happened to us all, which is that, as of a year ago, it seemed that we’d got what we wanted. It was all coming true—and all of a sudden, a financial collapse hit Wall Street. As you know, for the last 6 years, I’ve been telling people that “We are living through the greatest simultaneous efflorescence of personal economic liberty in human history.”

By that, I mean people who for the first time, (after having led lives of privation and poverty) are moving into dwellings with indoor plumbing, electricity, basic appliances, and acquiring access to private motorized transportation. The people who have those things have more personal economic freedom than 99% of the people whom have ever lived.

What’s happened in this decade is simply that a whole section of the world began to catch up to where we in the industrial world had long been, thereby transforming the outlook for the mining industry.

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261 Vale Inco Sudbury Jobs Cut Locally, 900 Worldwide – 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

Two hundred sixty one of the 900 job cuts announced at Vale Inco Mar. 3 are in Sudbury. The rest are at the company’s operations worldwide.

The workforce reductions are mostly focused on corporate, management and business support operations, according to a Vale Inco press release. Vale Inco employs 14,000 people worldwide.

“We are cutting jobs across the board, but none in our production operations in Greater Sudbury,” said Cory McPhee, manager of corporate communications for Vale Inco.

Sixty-five members of Steelworkers 2020 office and technical workers are affected by the cuts, said McPhee. Local 6500 members are not impacted by the announcement, he said.

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AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine 2009 PDAC Speech – Toronto

(left to right) Chief Glenn Nolan, AFN National Chief Phil Fontaine, Don Bubar-PDACMetro Toronto Convention Centre

March 3, 2009

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

I want to thank the PDAC – in particular Chief Glenn Nolan and Don Bubar – for inviting me here to provide an update on the Corporate Challenge and our work with the mineral industry.

It was exactly one year ago tomorrow – March 4th, 2008 – that I attended this convention for the first time and signed an MOU with then President Patricia Dillon resulting in PDAC joining the AFN Corporate Challenge.

As I look back to that signing, I wonder who could have foreseen then that the global economy was in for the transformative change we are witnessing today?

As we gather today on this anniversary, I come in the spirit of friendship on behalf of the AFN.  Amongst my peoples these bonds are strongest when times are difficult when times are difficult for our friends.

Although, economic forecasters differ on the pace and timing of the rebound in the global economy, there is no uncertainty that prices and demand will recover and grow.

With this in mind, let us discuss our common purpose in fostering relationships of strength and common prosperity as between First Nations and the mining industry, now and for tomorrow.

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Teck Digs in to Prosper – 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.

Teck Cominco incurred huge loans ($10 billion) at the worst possible time (October 2008) for the acquisition of Fording Coal. Hit with the double whammy of plummeting commodity prices and a huge debt load, management in Vancouver is digging in to ensure that the company not only survives, but prospers.

Teck told investors at the recent BMO Capital Markets that it will cut sustaining capital needs by $330 million and capital projects by $400 million this year from 2008 levels. It has slowed the development of the Fort Hills oil sands project and withdrawn from the Petaquilla copper project. Zinc production at the Trail metallurgical complex has been reduced by 20%, and the Pend Oreille zinc mine has been temporarily closed.

Teck is selling its 50% share in the Williams and David Bell gold mines at Hemlo, Ont., to Barrick Gold, its joint venture partner. The deal is worth $US65 million.

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