Ontario Mining Industry Safety Performance Update

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.

For the first half of 2008, the Ontario mining industry´s safety performance was holding steady keeping the sector among the three safest industries in Ontario.  For the first six months of 2008, the mining industry had a lost time injury rate of 0.6 per 200,000 hours worked, which is the same as the first six months of 2007.  The total medical injury frequency for the first six months of 2008, at 7.4 per 200,000 hours worked, is up slightly from the rate of 6.7 for the January to June 2007 period.  The severity of injuries remains virtually the same at 16 days for the first half of 2008, compared with 15 days for the first half of 2007.

According to numbers from the Mines and Aggregates Safety and Health Association (MASHA), the mining sector´s safety prevention organization, and similar organizations representing other industries, mining´s safety record would not quite match, but be in line with, the top performing electrical and education sectors.  Mining´s safety performance, however, would rank ahead of sectors such as manufacturing, services, forestry, construction, health care, municipal workers, farming and transportation.   

The Ontario mining industry´s lost time injury rate for 2007 was 0.8 per 200,000 hours worked.  The industry has been steadily improving over the decades on this incident frequency, which stood at 4.7 in 1985.  Credit for these stronger safety performances resides on the shoulders of every individual who works in the industry.  These statistics are moving in the right direction because of the personal diligence on the safety front and concern for oneself and his and her colleagues.  There are a number of initiatives and institutions supporting these gains.

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Canada Reduced to “Branch Office” Status – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. Has Canada been reduced to the level of a mere “branch office” in the global mining industry? That’s what Don Argus, chairman of BHP BILLITON, called this country at a recent business gathering in Brisbane, Australia. He was talking about …

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SAMSSA Welcomes Global Mining Partners – by Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano - Executive Director of SAMSSADick DeStefano is the Executive Director of Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA). Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury. (This column was orginally published June/2007)

Sudbury has become a global shopping destination for mining visitors in the past few months, especially from South Africa, Brazil and Chile.

“The attraction to our SAMSSA members is overwhelming and exciting to see and augers well for the future of Sudbury and all of Northern Ontario,” said Jeff Fuller, Treasurer of the SAMSSA Board and President of Fuller Industrial.

More than 50 business and government visitors from South Africa’s North West Province, Brazil and Chile have visited SAMSSA members and Sudbury academic institutions in one of the most active months in the history of the Sudbury Area Mining Supply & Service Association’s four-year existence.

Sudbury has become a destination point for mining industry people looking for equipment, technology and talent, and SAMSSA members are one of the main attractions for these global visitors.

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Social Capital, Clusters and Connections in Sudbury’s Global Mining Sector – by Dr. David Robinson

Dr. David Robinson - Laurentian University Economics ProfessorDr. David Robinson is an economist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury.

Scott Tiffin is a Canadian who lives in Chile. For the last five years he has been Director of Research and International Relations at the Universidad Alfonso Ibanez in Santiago, one of the best business schools in Latin America. Scott is an expert on entrepreneurship. He wants to help Chileans develop a dynamic mining supply sector, so last week Scott came to Sudbury to steal our ideas.

Scott especially wants to know how universities help resource sector businesses grow. He will look at Chilean, Canadian and Finnish or Australian examples to identify “best practices’’ that can be used to promote Chilean development.

The visit uncovered a few surprises: one Laurentian University Economics professor just back from Chile where he talked about how the supply and service sector developed, a team from the Faculty of Management collaborating with Chilean researchers to study small firms in the mining sector, and a couple of engineers just back from giving a course in Antofagasta. They didn’t know about each other’s work.

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Over Forty Died in the 1910 Spanish River Train Tragedy – Gary Peck

What was termed at the time the worst accident in the history of the CPR took place about 1 p.m. on Friday, January 21, 1910. The disaster occurred about 37 miles west of Sudbury on the Soo line of the CPR at the bridge crossing the Spanish River.
Coroner Howey, on instructions from Attorney – General Boy through Crown Attorney J.H. Clary, had a jury summoned for 10 a.m. January 26. The jury consisted of John McLeod (foreman), J.R. Bissett, R. Martin, F.M. Stafford, D. Blue, John Higgins, C. Carmichael, D.L. Burns, S. Jessop, H.S. Young, W. Chalmers, L. Laforest, O Tuvor and D. McDonald.
Upon being sworn in, the jury viewed the body of one of the victims. Subsequently, they were taken by a special train to the scene of the wreck.  

After several days deliberation, the jury in February reported their verdict and recommendations. They concluded that the derailment was “…caused by the forward truck of the first-class car leaving the track, and plunging over the embankment, followed by the dining and sleeping car; also causing derailment of the second-class car.” However, they were unable to determine the cause of the derailment.

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The Ghost from Haileybury – by Michael Barnes

The most popular series of books sold in Canada was the Hardy Boys. Most people recall Franklin W. Dixon as the author. But that was just a pen name given to ghost writer Leslie McFarlane from Haileybury.

Leslie McFarlane was 23 in 1926 when he answered an ad for a fiction writer.The young cub reporter, formerly of the Sudbury Star and Cobalt Daily Nugget, felt he had it in him to become a book writer but somehow could not get started.

The ad for a fiction writer was placed by an American, Edward Stratemeyer who operated a stable of writers who churned out pulp novels along certain lines and themes.

There have been several such outfits before and since but Strateymeyer was longer lived than most and covered all the bases. Writers like Leslie McFarlane were given an outline of the characters in a series and then a plot for one book.

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Ontario’s First Diamond Mine Officially Opened by De Beers Near Attawapiskat

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

The De Beers Canada Victor diamond mine is not only officially open but the process plant is officially operating 12% above its nameplate capacity at about 8,200 tonnes of kimberlite daily.   At the opening ceremony held on July 26, 2008 at the mine site, which is located about 1,070 kilometres north of Toronto, General Manager Peter Mah told participants “today, we have officially reached full production at the Victor Mine.”  He said about 330,000 carats of diamonds have been produced from the one million tonnes of ore processed to date.

“To mark this historic achievement of bringing the Victor Mine into production, Cree drummers and dancers will perform,” said Mr. Mah.  “We are Ontario´s first diamond mine and we should celebrate the hard work and dedication that everyone has put into this diamond dream.  I especially want to thank the Elders (16 Elders from the Attawapiskat First Nation were at the event) for their wisdom, guidance, experience they share and knowledge.”

A combination of De Beers corporate officials, suppliers, politicians, including Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle, First Nations representatives, other dignitaries and media arrived at the remote site 90 kilometres west of Attawapiskat on nine different flights to celebrate the opening of the Victor Mine with employees.  While building the $1 billion mine was a tremendous engineering feat, organizing and coordinating the opening must be viewed as an outstanding logistical achievement. 

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Mining Suppliers are the Engine for Innovation – by Dr. David Robinson

Dr. David Robinson - Laurentian University Economics ProfessorDr. David Robinson is an economist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury.

Knowing how things work used to be the key to industrial success. Today, you have to know how things change. At the national level and in industry, innovation is the secret ingredient for success. Countries that innovate will grow wealthy. Companies with the best methods and the best technologies will grow. That’s the new gospel.

That’s why governments are looking for the magic policy to accelerate innovation and commercialization of new technologies. That’s why the mining supply and service sector is the key to the future of mining.

 There has been a flood of research on innovation systems. Researchers have focused on the ends of the supply chain – on research institutions and final users. Acting on that research, policy makers created a Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) at Laurentian University to bring mining companies and university researchers together.

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More Thoughts on Protecting Ontario’s Boreal Forests – by Marilyn Scales

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

The decision by the Ontario government to protect its boreal forests north of the 51st parallel continues to be discussed by CMJ readers and environmentalists.

Predictably, leading North American academics support the plan. They praised protection of a “vital ecosystem”. They figuratively patted the Premier on the back for his “long-term vision, recognizing that storing carbon, protecting biodiversity, and traditional lifestyles and maintaining freshwater supplies are more important than immediate profits.” These people don’t depend on the mineral industry for their income, but I’m sure they all enjoy the myriad of consumer goods made possible by it.

Some CMJ readers were understandably upset at the provincial announcement. “Another North American jurisdiction that would rather have trees and swamps than jobs and wealth generated at a time when the manufacturing industry in Ontario is tanking,” wrote Vancouver’s Darin Wagner, president and CEO of West Timmins Mining . “This kind of announcement shows a complete and total lack of understanding of the minimal impact that exploration and mining have on the local environment. Yet another example of a politician jumping on the ‘global warming’ bandwagon to collect a few votes from the ‘urban greens’ at the expense of the resource communities which have been the backbone of his/her economy.

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Half of Northern Ontario Now Off-Limits to Mineral Industry – by Marilyn Scales

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

On July 14, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced plans to protect at least 225,000 km² of the boreal forest in Northern Ontario. “Protect” will mean permanently removing the declared area from mineral exploration, mining and forestry.

The Northern Boreal forest covers 43% of Ontario’s land mass, an area 1.5 times the size of the Maritime provinces. The forest is home to only 24,000 people in 36 communities. (No mention has been made as to whether or not these people had a say in the decision). The forest supports more than 200 species of animals, including polar bears, wolverines and caribou, some of which are threatened or endangered.

McGuinty is touting the plan as a means of reducing climate change. The government claims that the boreal region absorbs 12.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere. Therefore, the trees must be protected or global warming will accelerate. By waving the holy grail of global warming, the premier has ensured that every non-governmental environmental group will follow vociferously in his wake.

The decision is a blow to northern communities. Reports in the “Timmins Daily Press” indicate that citizens of that community were not consulted prior to the announcement. The local mayor and mining industry executives interviewed for the article expressed grave concerns that this is disastrous for the provincial economy.

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Speech by Norman B. Keevil, Chairman, Teck Cominco Limited at the Mineral Exploration Roundup 2008 in Vancouver, January 29, 2008

It’s an honour to be asked to address Roundup on its 25th anniversary. Roundup has evolved a lot in those 25 years, from a relatively small conference with 350 attendees to its current status as one of the most important mining exploration conferences in the world, with over 6,000 participants this year.

And the world industry has changed a lot too. In fact, it has changed a lot in just the last 5 years.

It was just five years ago when I was asked to address Roundup on the subject of “Mining In The Next 20 Years”, — an attempt at predicting the future which I had to admit is a mug’s game at the best of times. Even the best professional economists can’t always get it right. They say economists have successfully predicted ten of the last five recessions.

I think we geologists balance them out. As natural optimists, we’ve less successfully predicted ten of the last five recoveries.

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Vale School Programs Pass With Honors – by Sergio France

CVRD School Program Almost Ten Years OldThe following article was first published in Engagement, Vale’s magazine for socially responsible and sustainable mining.

CVRD school program approaches its tenth anniversary and celebrates its positive results

 “I now enjoy studying more.  Before the program, I felt embarrassed and had difficulty with some reading.  Now I’m not embarrassed about anything and can read without a problem. “Testimonies like this one by Layla Leite Soares, who is ten and a pupil at the Henrique Rodrigues de Barros Hall School, in the district of Penha the Capim, in Aimorés (MG), represent significant pedagogical advances.  And they reflect a host of similar reports in the 24 Brazilian municipal districts covered by the school that Vale (EQV), or “CVRD School program(1), set up in 1999 by the CVRD Foundation (FVRD), in partnership with the Municipal Departments of Education and the Center for Education and Documentation for Community Action (Cedac) (2).

The program was set up to improve public education sector by qualifying and training teachers and pupils.  Today the program covers 450 schools, reaching more than 90 thousand people.  Nearing the end of its tenth year in existence, the program has had significant results, such as in the case of Curionópolis, in Pará  “One of the effects of the project has been the drop in the numbers of students failing their exams in our local schools.  In 2001, around 43% failed – by 2006, this had dropped to 19.5%,” says Maria do Amparo Costa e Silva, the Secretary of Education for the district.

 Although the statistics speak for themselves, the real merits of the Vale School program that go beyond the rise in the numbers of pupils in the public system passing their exams.  The program’s methodology is geared towards the exercise of citizenship and encouragement.  The idea is that to be a citizen in school is to learn about local and universal matters, to be treated with dignity, to have access to up-to-date, quality materials and equipment; to have the opportunities to develop one’s capacities, and to share experiences and opinions. 

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Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – James “Philosopher” Smith (1827-1897)

The legendary Tasmanian prospector and discoverer of tin at Mt Bischoff in 1871

James Smith was born in 1827, the second of three children to John Smith and Ann Grant, who married after coming to Tasmania as convicts. James had an unsettled family life and in 1836, at the age of 9, he became the ward of John Guillan, a Launceston miller and merchant.
Smith wrote little about his early life, though it appears he had a rudimentary education in Launceston. At an early age he started working at Guillan’s flourmill at the Supply River, where he also began to take an interest in exploration and minerals. Smith’s fellow apprentice Charles Monds probably introduced him to Congregationalism (also known as Independent), which would provide much of his moral framework.

Smith’s zest for self-education was already evident in his adolescence. He bought books on many topics, possibly doing so as a result of the influence of the popular Scottish geologist Hugh Miller, who encouraged ‘self-culture’ – the idea that workingmen could improve themselves by achievement and study, particularly of the Bible. Smith and the journeymen he lived with attended the Independent Church where, according to Monds, Smith’s developing faith set him on his successful life’s course. It is also likely that membership of the church community shaped Smith’s lifelong friendships and business associations, perhaps even where he subsequently lived, for James Fenton, the pioneer Forth settler and Smith’s neighbour, was a Congregationalist and Charles Monds’s brother-in-law.

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Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Jupiter Mosman (1861-1945)

The Aboriginal horseboy who discovered the Charters Towers goldfield in Queensland

Jupiter Mosman, whose tribal name is unknown, was born in north-western Queensland and, as a small boy, ‘came in’ to Kynuna Station. There he was ‘acquired’ as George Clarke later wrote, by Hugh Mosman who gave him his non-indigenous name. Soon afterwards the Mosman brothers and John Frazer sold Tarbrax to the McIntyres of Dalgonally and set off for the Cape River diggings. They visited Ravenswood where they became friendly with the prospector George Clarke and decided to look for gold around the Seventy Mile Pinnacle (Mount Leyshon).

Clarke described Jupiter riding behind Mosman, strapped to him and never allowed out of his sight. The party rode through the gap on the western side of what is now called Towers Hill and camped on a creek where, in December 1871, Jupiter discovered the gold-bearing quartz of the North Australian reef: the first mine of the Charters Towers goldfield, the field that ensured the survival of north Queensland as a European settlement.

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Northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” Mineral Discovery Sets off Staking Rush – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins Columnist

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The results of a single diamond drill hole announced in August of 2007 set off a massive staking rush into the muskeg swamps of Northern Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands.Someone, after looking at a satellite picture of the area, came up with a name for it – the Ring of Fire.

The name quickly became a part of Canadian mining lore and today over 100 companies have holdings inside the ring.

It will take several hundred million dollars to determine whether a new Sudbury Basin type base metal mining camp is being born but the promoters’ hype is that it is so.

That original hole was pulled by a junior company that, as did so many other small exploration ventures, survived ups and downs over the years.Still, Noront Resources Ltd. persevered and it appears Lady Luck has finally asked it to the dance.

What is interesting about the Noront discovery, known as the McFaulds Lake area Double Eagle Project, is that the Aug. 28, 2007 announcement merely hinted at a big find.

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