Xstrata Nickel Announces Restructuring of Sudbury Operations (Company Press Release)

Toronto, 9 February 2009

Xstrata Nickel today announces plans to restructure its Sudbury operations in response to ongoing challenging market conditions.  The restructuring follows the announcement in November 2008 of the accelerated closure of the end-of-life Craig and Thayer-Lindsley operations at Sudbury, both of which will cease operations with immediate effect.

As a result of the restructuring, the Fraser Mine Complex will be placed on care and maintenance and associated support and administrative functions will be reorganized. The Strathcona Mill, with annual capacity of 2.7 million tonnes of ore, will be reduced to two work shifts from four as a result of reduced feed. In addition, the Fraser Morgan development project will be deferred. This project will be evaluated on an ongoing basis and may be re-initiated when economic conditions allow.

Today’s announcement does not impact the world-class Nickel Rim South project in the Sudbury basin.  The project remains on schedule to ramp up to 60% of its ultimate 1.25 million tonne per annum production capacity in 2009, equivalent to approximately 7,400 tonnes of nickel.  Nickel Rim South will become a low-cost, cornerstone operation in Sudbury, generating annual production of approximately 18,000 tonnes of recoverable nickel by early 2010. 

Read more

Xstrata Says Demand Collapsing, 686 Jobs Lost – 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

The global economic meltdown is now biting Greater Sudbury. Gone for good are 686 full-time jobs at Xstrata Nickel, after the company announced a major restructuring of its Sudbury operations.

“Demand for our product has collapsed,” said Marc Boissonneault, vice-president Xstrata Nickel, Sudbury on CBC Radio One, Monday morning.
“We can’t carry on business as usual.”

As a result, the following will occur:
– 686 permanent employee positions will be made redundant, affecting both union (600) and salaried (86) employees;
– three-day shutdown will take place immediately to implement restructuring and talk to employees;
– 300 employees will be moved to the higher-value Nickel Rim project, displacing some contractors;
– Fraser Mine will be placed on care and maintenance for now;
– accelerated closure of Craig and Thayer-Lindsley operations;
– Strathcona Mill will be reduced from four shifts to two;
– Fraser Morgan development project will be deferred to be evaluated and possibly re-initiated.

Read more

OMA Chairman George Flumerfelt Headlines Canadian Mining Magazine

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 Mining Association Chairman George Flumerfelt is featured in the January 2009 issue of the Canadian Mining Journal.  “Keeping Pace With Reality” is the headline on his article in the magazine.  Mr. Flumerfelt, who is President of JS Redpath, took over as Chairman of the OMA in June 2008.

In the article, he catalogues some of the initiatives being carried out by the OMA to help its members get through the current rough patch and lay the groundwork for the foundations of future growth and development.  “There is no doubt the current downturn in prices has come upon us more suddenly that those of years past,” he said “Also, when coupled with the world credit crunch and all the talk of global recession, government bailouts of banks and formerly stable household name companies, the situation seems to be more serious this time.”

“Hopefully, with all the stimuli being applied by countries around the globe, the mining industry will start to recover before too long,” Mr. Flumerfelt added.  “One thing we do know for sure is that recovery will come as companies and individuals adjust to the current market realities.”  And on an optimistic note, he said “We need to remember that demand for mineral commodities will return and inevitably better pricing will  follow.  It is hard to believe that 2009 is going to be a great year but there is some hope for price recovery in 2010.”

Read more

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 …

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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 …

Read more

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.

Read more

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 …

Read more

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.

Read more

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

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more

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.

Read more