Diamond Industry Grinds to a Halt – 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. The global diamond industry is suffering the same economic downturn as the rest of the world. Consumers who may be out of work or watching their investments shrink are in no …

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Mining, Sustainable Development and First Nations, Our New Frontier – by Pierre Gratton, President & CEO, Mining Association of British Columbia

Pierre Gratton, President & CEO, Mining Association of British ColumbiaThis speech was given to the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIM) – North Central Branch, Prince George, British Columbia on June 26, 2008 by Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia.

Thank you for that kind introduction. It is a pleasure to be here to give what is, in fact, my maiden speech as President and CEO of The Mining Association of British Columbia. Actually, it’s a pre-maiden speech, because I don’t officially take the helm until next Monday.

I am also pleased that Prince George has reconstituted its CIM branch after a few years of dormancy – congratulations on this initiative. This is a trend we are seeing across the country and it reflects the strong period of growth we are in. But your resurgence is not just a good indicator of our good times. CIM and its many branches have a unique role to play across our country in getting the message out about our industry. You help to demonstrate to society that ours is a safe, dynamic, progressive sector committed to excellence, the sharing of best practices, technology and innovation.

I urge you to reach out and grow this branch and to look to play an active role in this community. One clear example of this is the leadership that our sector demonstrates in health and safety, with mining now the safest heavy industry in British Columbia – a tremendous accomplishment built on strong and respectful relationships between mine management, labour and government that we can all be very proud of.

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Mine Games – The Current State of Mining in British Columbia

BCBusiness, is British Columbia’s foremost business authority and the most widely read business publication in the province. This article was originally published January 01, 2009.

BCBusiness interviewed the following three key players about the current state of mining in British Columbia:

Terry Lyons-Chair Northgate Mineral Corp.

“In Canada there is no urgency to move projects to a “yes” or a “no.” And I will tell you over and over again, the industry doesn’t mind “no.” Say “no” and let us move on with our lives and our shareholders’ capital. But to waste five, six, seven, eight years because the bureaucrats in the government cannot make a decision or don’t want to make a decision doesn’t do anybody any good.”

Ken Boggio-PricewaterhousCooper LLP

“You look at China, for example: almost 7,000 privately held coal mines and reports that 250 or more people die each week in these coal mines. Do you want your steel being made from coal mined in China or would you prefer to have it come from the Fording properties in southeastern B.C.?”

Byng Giraud-Vice-President of Policy and Communications Mining Association of British Columbia

“We estimate between 25 and 30 projects in this province that could become mines are somewhere in the environmental testing or permitting process. And when I talk about political will or societal will to open a few extra mines in this province, that could mean the difference between recession and not. It’s that significant. We’re talking billions of dollars of capital investment and construction. Thousands of jobs. Building communities. The upside is huge.”

Mine Games

Sitting in a room with a group of high-profile insiders in the B.C. mining industry, the one thing that stands out is a sense of rejection, of an industry that built cities and towns across the province asking, “Do you want us here or not?”

Vancouver is a centre for mining in the world, with hundreds of companies engaged in raising money and spending it on far-flung geological studies, exploration missions, mine developments and extraction efforts. But when it comes to digging mines in B.C. itself, the picture is bleak. Mines across the province are reaching retirement age, and no promising young mines have come on scene to take their place since the mid-’90s.

Not that the province’s many miners aren’t trying. But the hurdles standing in the way of digging a new hole in B.C. are enormous, be they economic, social, environmental, logistic or simply bureaucratic. It’s enough to make miners wonder if they’re really welcome here at all.

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Canadian Federal Budget Extends Exploration Tax Credit – 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. Canadians listened hopefully as federal Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty stood in his new, steel-toed shoes to deliver the Conservative’s budget on Jan. 27. It contained a wide range of spending …

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Ontario Mining Sector Safety Performance Improves in 2008

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.

Ontario´s mining industry improved its safety performance in 2008 from 2007, according to provisional numbers, which have been released by the Mines and Aggregates Safety and Health Association (MASHA).  This keeps mining on track as one of the safest industries in the province.  Mining´s safety record outpaces sectors such as manufacturing, services, forestry, construction, health care, municipal workers, agriculture and transportation.

The mining industry´s lost time injury rate for 2008 was 0.6 per 200,000 hours worked, which is a 25% improvement compared with the lost time injury rate of 0.8 per 200,000 for 2007.  While this moves the sector closer to zero, there was some slippage in another safety benchmark.  The total medical injury frequency rose to 7.5 per 200,000 hours worked in 2008, compared with 7.1 per 200,0000 hours worked in 2007 — a 6% increase.   However, the severity of those incidents showed a marked improvement of 60%.  In 2008, the severity of injuries was reduced to 54 days from 136 days in 2007. 

Ontario mining´s sector has been steadily becoming safer for decades.  The 2008 lost time injury rate of 0.6 per 200,000 hours is an 87% improvement compared with the lost time injury rate of 4.7 per 200,000 hours in 1985.  Credit for these stronger safety performances reside on the shoulders of every individual who works in the industry.  The 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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Rating Mining for Ethical Performance – 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. Last week a Geneva-based group called Covalence SA released its ethical rankings of multinational corporations. The methodology used is convoluted, and the results could be questioned. Points were added and subtracted …

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A Ten Point Northern Ontario Stimulus Package – by Dr. David Robinson

Dr. David Robinson - Laurentian University Economist

 Dr. David Robinson is an economist at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Canada. His column was originally published in Northern Ontario Business.

Harper has adopted the coalition budget. He will spend up to $30 billion to moderate the recession that he recently discovered. That is $895.66 for each man, woman and child in Canada. Northern Ontario has 678,900 of Canada’s 33,495,032 citizens. Our share of the stimulus package is $563 million. We should make sure it is well spent.

Economic stimulus is not about bailing out companies by giving them money. It is about helping businesses survive by stimulating demand. That’s why there is so much emphasis on  infrastructure projects. Infrastructure usually means roads, and other public works. Infrastructure projects put the construction industry to work. The construction industry hires unemployed workers. Since supplies are generally bought locally, infrastructure projects boost the local economy.

Tax cuts, on the other hand, are a very poor way to help Northern Ontario. If you give every Northerner $895, a lot of it would be spent on consumer goods. Canada imports consumer goods, so a tax cut goes almost directly to foreign producers. The Harper-Flaherty GST cut was terrific for our trading partners.

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2009 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame – A Rough Year But There is Hope – by Stan Sudol

David Harquail, President & CEO, Franco-Nevada and Ed Thompson, Mining Consultant

There was a somewhat subdued feeling by many in the mining sector at the 21st annual Canadian Mining Hall of Fame dinner, last Thursday, at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in Toronto.

As Master of Ceremonies, David Harquail, President and CEO of Franco-Nevada said, “…base metals are in the tank, good projects can’t get financing and Hy’s steakhouse is now serving crying towels with those martinis!”

However, the four inductees for 2009 – two entrepreneurial engineers, Grenville Thomas, Bernard Michel, a geologist, Roman Shklanka, and a mineralogist professor, Donald Gorman, – seemed to symbolize the industry’s amazing ability to create enormous wealth and employment as well as the importance of training the next generation of skilled technicians that have made this country a mining superpower.

Mr. Harquail added, “…if there’s one thing a miner knows, it’s a commodity cycle. And when times are bad, opportunity knocks. Many of those at our head table tonight got here by not only surviving many downturns but by capitalizing on them.”

That head table included individuals such as Ian Pearce, CEO Xstrata Nickel, Jim Gowans, President and CEO De Beers Canada, Terry Bowles, President and CEO Iron Ore Company of Canada, and Jack McOuat, Director of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, just to name a few.Terry Bowles, President & CEO, Iron Ore Company of Canada, Marilyn Scales, Field Editor, Canadian Mining Journal, Ian Pearce, CEO Xstrata Nickel

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Jack McOuat – Director of the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame – 2009 Speech About the Teck Suite of Earth Sciences Gallery at the Royal Ontario Museum

Doug Donnelly, Northern Miner Publisher, Jack McOuat, Director, Canadian Mining Hall of FameCheck Against Delivery

Ladies and Gentlemen, and Head Table Guests.

I’m sure I’m not the only person in the room happy to see the back end of 2008.

However in spite of that generally miserable year, there was at least one bright spot for the Canadian Mining Industry.

One month ago, the Teck Suite of Earth Science Galleries was opened at the Royal Ontario Museum.  There are three galleries within the Suite; the Vale Inco Gallery of Minerals, the Gold and Gem Gallery and especially for us here tonight, the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Gallery.

These are all remarkable, and I’m sure, there is not a person in the room who would not learn something new during a visit – either about minerals, gems or people.

WAMIC (The Women’s Association of the Mining Industry of Canada - Toronto) CMHF Committee Backrow (Left to Right) Nancy Wahlroth, Nean Allman (CMHF Coordinator), Lillian Vincze, Joan Scott, Pat Leigh (Chair, WAMIC/CMHF Committee) and Florence Mannard Front Row (Left to Right) Peggy Wahl, Eve Brummer, Pat Crombie and Patty Mannard (Chair, WAMIC Foundation)I recommend a visit to the ROM to everyone in the room, including your families, not only to visit the Teck Galleries but also to visit the other wonderful new Galleries now open.

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D. Grenville Thomas (Born 1941) – 2009 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

D. Grenville ThomasThe Canadian Mining Hall of Fame honours the mine finders and developers who helped develop our northern and rural regions and created enormous wealth for the country. For more exciting profiles on the individual who made Canada a global mining powerhouse, go to: http://www.halloffame.mining.ca/halloffame/

Grenville Thomas left the Old World as a young mining engineer to become a pioneering prospector and company-builder in the New World, where he made a series of important mineral discoveries and contributed to the advancement of Canada’s fledgling diamond industry. He began his career as a 16-year-old coal miner in his native Wales, moving to Canada after graduating from University College, Cardiff, in 1964. He found his calling in remote northern Canada. 

Inspired by its vast untapped mineral potential, he rose to the challenge of working in unforgiving terrain under extreme conditions. He honed his prospecting skills and over several decades built up a multifaceted track record of discovery, culminating with the early 1990s discovery of diamond deposits ultimately developed into the world-class Diavik mine in the Northwest Territories (NWT).
Grenville Thomas and his daughter Eira

Gren Thomas began his Canadian career with Falconbridge, taking posts in the Sudbury nickel camp of Ontario, and at the Giant gold mine in Yellowknife, NWT.

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Roman Shklanka (Born 1932) – 2009 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Roman ShklankaThe Canadian Mining Hall of Fame honours the mine finders and developers who helped develop our northern and rural regions and created enormous wealth for the country. For more exciting profiles on the individual who made Canada a global mining powerhouse, go to: http://www.halloffame.mining.ca/halloffame/

Roman Shklanka has strengthened the prestige of Canada’s mining industry through his geological expertise and willingness to consider potential growth opportunities in diverse settings around the world. While educated and trained in Canada, he is known best for identifying quality projects in far-flung foreign lands and transforming them into world-class mines and deposits. He is one of only a handful of Canadian mining greats who have helped create immense mineral wealth on several continents, most notably for the benefit of developing nations.

Shklanka entered the University of Saskatchewan in his home province at the age of 15 and was awarded a BA degree in 1951, followed by a BCom degree in 1953. A summer job with the Saskatchewan Department of Mineral Resources inspired him to switch direction, and by 1956, he had earned an MA degree in geology. He went on to Stanford University and obtained his doctorate in 1963.

Roman Shklanka and his wife PatAfter gaining field and mapping experience with the Ontario Department of Mines, Shklanka joined Placer Development and managed exploration programs in eastern Canada.

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Bernard M. Michel (Born 1938) – 2009 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Bernard M. MichelThe Canadian Mining Hall of Fame honours the mine finders and developers who helped develop our northern and rural regions and created enormous wealth for the country. For more exciting profiles on the individual who made Canada a global mining powerhouse, go to: http://www.halloffame.mining.ca/halloffame/

Bernard Michel has made profound and enduring contributions to Canada’s mining industry during his transformative 15-year tenure with Cameco Corporation, the world’s largest publicly traded uranium company. Since 1988, he has steered the Saskatchewan-based company through a merger, a restructuring, privatization, global expansion and diversification into gold. He positioned Cameco as one of the world’s few integrated nuclear energy companies, encouraged the entry of First Nations peoples into its workforce, and enhanced its global stature by participating in the most significant nuclear disarmament agreement in history. 
Born and educated in Paris, France, and a graduate of the prestigious École Polytechnique, Michel was sent to Canada as a young mining engineer in 1967 to contribute to the design, construction and start-up of a large potash mine in Lanigan, Saskatchewan. He moved next to Amok, also a French-owned mining company then developing the very high grade Cluff Lake uranium mine in the province’s Athabasca Basin. His leadership and technical skills attracted the attention of the Canadian Energy and Mining Company (later renamed Cameco), which offered him the post of senior vice-president of operations in 1988. 

(l to r) Gerald Grandey, President and CEO Cameco Corporation, Suzy Michel, Bernard MichelTwo years later he became chief operating officer, president and a board member. In 1991, he was appointed chief executive officer, and in 1993 was elevated to chair of the board.

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Donald H. Gorman (Born 1922) – 2009 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Donald H. GormanThe Canadian Mining Hall of Fame honours the mine finders and developers who helped develop our northern and rural regions and created enormous wealth for the country. For more exciting profiles on the individual who made Canada a global mining powerhouse, go to: http://www.halloffame.mining.ca/halloffame/

Professor Donald Gorman has served the Canadian mining industry with distinction for more than half a century as a renowned mineralogist and superbly talented educator. Born in Fredericton, he completed a BSc degree in his native New Brunswick in 1947, after his studies were interrupted by wartime service in the Canadian Navy. After spending 1948-1949 studying economic geology as a graduate student at the Royal School of Mines in London, England, he earned a PhD degree at the University of Toronto in 1957 and launched his teaching career.

“Digger” Gorman taught mineralogy with unflagging enthusiasm for the next 41 years, inspiring hundreds of geology and engineering students to pursue careers in mining and mineral exploration. He commanded respect in the classroom by exemplifying the two sides of science: on the one side the rigorous analysis of minerals and their composition and significance; and on the other the pleasure that comes from solving geological puzzles and discovering mineral treasure.

Reta and Donald Gorman

To those he taught, minerals were not chemical formulae and crystal structures, but living things that tell a timeless story, shape history and spur human progress.

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Ontario Mining Association Says Climate Change Issue Caught in Web of Complexities

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.

Participants in the Ontario Mining Association´s Climate Change Workshop came to grips with the web of complexities surrounding this environmental issue.  The goal of the workshop was to provide some information on the current political and regulatory realities surrounding climate change and how they could impact mining operations in the province.  Mining companies in Ontario spend more than $500 million on energy annually and 95% of the greenhouse gas emissions from the mining sector are derived from energy use. 

Speakers at the workshop included David Clarry from the consulting engineering firm Hatch, who provided a “Climate Change 101” course and Steve Quigley, a principal with Conestoga-Rovers & Associates, who spoke about the global regulatory context and implications for Ontario´s membership in the Western Climate Initiative.  Paul Stothart, Vice president Economic Affairs at the Mining Association of Canada, provided information on the “Towards Sustainable Mining” program, while Bruce Dudley with the Delphi Group provided insights into developing corporate sustainability strategies and led a facilitated discussion on next steps for the OMA.

Over the past decade, the Mining Association of Canada has worked with the Canadian federal government on more than half a dozen greenhouse gas emission reduction plans, including “Turning the Corner.”  Although the future of the latest federal plan is uncertain, there are policy developments in Ontario that clearly need to be considered by OMA members. Along with membership in the Western Climate Initiative, Ontario has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Quebec and released five discussion papers in December regarding Cap and Trade. Participants at the session were encouraged to assist the OMA in responding to these papers and in engaging in a dialogue with the Ministry of Environment.

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Vale’s PT Inco in Indonesia is a Leader in Land Reclamation

PT Inco’s 2.5 hectare nursery is the largest facility of its kind in IndonesiaThe following excerpt on green mining practices is from the 2007 Vale Inco sustainability report. The full report is available at: Vale Inco – Sustainability Report 2007.

In 2007, Indonesia’s Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources honoured PT Inco with a Gold Award (Aditama Award) for its success in post-mining land reclamation. The company also received the Aditama Award from the Department of Energy and Mineral Resources as the best performer, among 40 mining companies evaluated, for its commitment to and success in post-mining land reclamation.

“We are very proud to have received this recognition,” says Dwayne Kroll, Manager of Mine Technology at PT Inco. “We are passionate about environmental responsibility at PTI. Particularly, we are committed to doing all that we can to rehabilitate the land that we have mined.”

PT Inco’s 2.5 hectare nursery – the largest in Indonesia’s mining industry – is living proof of that commitment. Located in the town of Sorowako, it has the capacity to grow one million seedling trees annually. In 2007, the nursery enabled the company to revegetate 150 hectares of post-mining land and restore 37 types of vegetation to 100 hectares of rehabilitated post-mining land. “Our revegetation program involves a two-step process,” explains Kroll. “After we re-contour the mined land and restore topsoil, we plant grasses, legumes and canopy trees to foster a microclimate suitable for native species restoration. The introduction of indigenous plants takes place after approximately two years.”

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