The Northern Miner’s 2007 “Mining Persons of the Year” – Agnico-Eagle’s Sean Boyd and Eberhard Scherkus

Since 1915, the Northern Miner weekly newspaper has chronicled Canada’s globally significant mining sector.

No company better embodies the spirit of Canada’s plucky gold mining sector today than Toronto-based Agnico-Eagle Mines, with its technical competence, unshakeable faith in gold, independent streak, and proven ability to execute truly visionary growth.

While Agnico-Eagle’s astonishing success over the past decade is the result of a team effort, the pair who have been leading the company in the boardroom and at the mine site during this exceptional period are the co-winners of our Mining Person of the Year award for 2007: Agnico-Eagle’s vice-chairman and CEO Sean Boyd, and president and chief operating officer Eberhard (Ebe) Scherkus.

Unlike the peripatetic career paths of many in the business, both Boyd and Scherkus have spent most of their working lives at Agnico-Eagle, and have maintained an admirable humility about their lofty positions and seven-figure take-home pay packages, perhaps having been tempered by living through several gold price cycles and seeing fate dish out equal amounts of heartache and glory.

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The Northern Miner’s 2008 “Mining Persons of the Year” – Aurelian Resourses’ Patrick Anderson, Keith Barron, Sephen Leary – by John Cumming

 John Cumming MSc (Geology) is the editor of the Northern Miner, Canada’s global mining newspaper.

Our “Mining Person of the Year” award for 2008 goes to the trio of Patrick Anderson, Keith Barron and Stephen Leary for their leading roles in the discovery, swift development and sale of Aurelian Resources’ spectacular, 13.7-million-oz. Fruta del Norte gold deposit, part of the Condor project in remote, southeastern Ecuador.

All three men are exploration geologists who brought varied backgrounds and plenty of passion to the task at hand at Fruta del Norte (FDN).

Anderson graduated from the University of Toronto’s geology program and, since then, has racked up over 14 years of experience as a geologist, entrepreneur and business executive. He’s worked for a variety of mining and exploration companies and consulting firms on gold, base metals and diamond projects in South America, North America and Europe.

Anderson was co-founder, president, CEO and a director of Toronto-based Aurelian Resources, prior to its takeover by Kinross Gold — a $1.2-billion offer launched in July and completed in September. Anderson now sits on the boards of Noront Resources, Colossus Minerals and U3O8 Corp.

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Mining Association of Canada – Pre-Budget Submission – President and CEO Gordon R. Peeling

December 18, 2008
The Honourable James Flaherty
Minister of Finance
Finance Canada
L’Esplanade Laurier
140 O’Connor Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G5

Dear Minister Flaherty:

I would like to take this opportunity to provide you with the views of the Canadian mining industry in light of the significant turbulence that has affected our sector and the broader global economy in recent months. This follows from our earlier letter, sent to you on August 15th.

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) is the national organization of the Canadian mining industry, comprising companies engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. As detailed in our earlier letter, the industry contributed $42 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2007, employed 363,000 workers in the four phases and paid approximately $10 billion in taxes and royalties. While important in remote and northern communities, the industry also generates prosperity in our cities – for example, Toronto features a hub of expertise in mining finance, Vancouver in exploration, Montreal in aluminium and iron ore, Edmonton in oil sands and Saskatoon in uranium and potash. Over 3000 suppliers draw benefit from the industry, including engineering and environmental firms, railroads, ports, and equipment companies.

The mining industry has been severely impacted by the major dislocations seen in the global economy since September. The global nickel price has fallen from over $16 per pound in 2007 to less than $5 at present. Uranium has fallen from $99 to $55, aluminum from $1.20 to $0.80, and copper from $3.20 to $1.70 per pound. US market demand has plummeted and Chinese market demand shows negative signals. Canadian operating mines have been closed, planned mine expansions have been deferred or cancelled, and investment in processing facilities has been postponed. Many important companies have seen stock price declines exceeding 50% and in some cases over 90% – all firms are engaged in serious cost-control measures.

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The Mining Association of Canada The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) is a national organization of the Canadian mining industry.  The organization comprises companies engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication.  Member companies account for the vast majority of Canada’s output of metals and major industrial minerals.   Based in Ottawa, the Mining Association of Canada was …

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Canada Makes a Significant Investment in Geoscience – by Paul Stothart

 Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues.

During the past five years of strong growth in mineral prices, the mineral exploration community in Canada has been facing an increasingly difficult challenge — namely, how to find resources in promising northern regions where underlying mineral data is either weak or non-existent.

The federal government has been under-investing in its geological mapping responsibilities for some 20 years, with annual spending declining from $98 million in 1988 to $50 million in 2007. This decline has been equally dramatic at the provincial and territorial government levels. One interesting consequence of this neglect is that some 73 per cent of Nunavut, for example, is unmapped or poorly mapped and, at present investment levels, the first full mapping of the territory would not be finished for 80 years.

Given such a weak foundation of data, private companies are less able to undertake effective exploration programs. While exploring for minerals is, to some extent, akin to “searching for a needle in a haystack,” it is the public policy investment in basic geological survey work that allows those accessing the data to at least find where the haystacks are. In view of the high level of interest in diamonds, uranium, base metals and other northern resources, one must question the public good served by this pattern.

Questions of national sovereignty in the North are also raised by this under-investment.

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Good News Gold, Bad News Base Metals – 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.

Let’s start with the really good news. Agnico-Eagle Mines of Toronto has declared its 27th consecutive annual cash dividend. The payment of US$0.18 per common share will be made on March 27, 2009, to shareholders of record as of March 13, 2009. 

Hearing from an optimistic miner in these times is very good news, indeed.

“Agnico-Eagle enters 2009 with a strengthened balance sheet and the expectation that over the next 15 months we will complete the construction of three more gold mines. We also anticipate further increases in gold reserves and resources in 2009 as we continue with an extensive exploration program on our large gold deposits”, said Sean Boyd, vice-chairman and CEO. “We also look forward to providing the results of our ongoing studies on four internal production growth opportunities that give the potential to enhance our superior growth beyond 2010,” he added.

Agnico is in the enviable position of doubling its gold output next year and doubling it again to 1.2 million oz in 2010. Cash costs are expected to be less than US$300/oz in 2010, and only US$320/oz from 2010 to 2018. 

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Caterpillar Funds Sustainable Mining Movie at Science North -by Nick Stewart

This article was first published in Northern Ontario Business, a newspaper that has been providing northerners with relevant and insightful editorial content, business news and information for over 25 years.

Students around the world may soon be viewing and discussing Ground Rules, an educational film detailing the positive side of mining, crafted by Science North and commissioned by equipment giant Caterpillar.

Dan Hellige, manager of safety and sustainable development with Caterpillar’s global mining group, says the movie was necessary so as to highlight the more positive elements of the sector. “I have a niece, who in the Fifth Grade, read
Al Gore’s book, An Inconvenient Truth, in the classroom so they’re really only getting the one side of the story a lot of the time about what’s going on with industry and business,” says Hellige.

“We felt like it was a good time to tell the other side of the story, especially for the mining industry’s efforts and what they put in.”

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Euphoria and the Mining Law of Gravity – by Norm Tollinsky

Norm Tollinsky is editor of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal, a magazine that showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury. This column was originally published in December, 2008 edition.

Euphoria pretty well summarizes the state of the mining industry in 2008 and the mood in the Ontario mining cluster of Sudbury, Timmins and North Bay. Our cover story this issue provides an overview of the capital investments, the spending on exploration and the impact of all this activity on the region’s mining suppliers. It’s a head-spinning story, but anyone who has ever been on a roller coaster ride or has been in the mining industry for more than five years knows that life and commodity prices don’t always follow an upward trajectory.

The last time the world’s mining community gathered at MINExpo in 2004, nickel was selling for a little more than $5 a pound. It peaked at more than $20 in early 2007 and remained above $12 until May, when it started to slide. At press time, it was holding steady at a still respectable $8.

Storm clouds caused by the sub-prime mortgage crisis, rising oil prices and the woes in the auto industry notwithstanding, commodity prices are holding their own and the mining industry continues to invest.

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The Sky Hasn’t Fallen in the Mining Sector – by Norm Tollinsky

Norm Tollinsky is editor of Sudbury Mining Solutions Journal, a magazine that showcases the mining expertise of North Bay, Timmins and Sudbury. This column was originally published in December, 2008 edition.

Writing headlines for a quarterly mining journal can be a risky proposition. Such was the case with the headline, “Ontario firing on all cylinders,” emblazoned across the front page of our September 2008 issue. The story accompanying it trumpeted an exhaustive list of mine development projects and record-breaking spending on exploration. It went on to illustrate the effects of all of this activity on mining suppliers, the housing market and the wear and tear of the region’s roads.

“The general consensus,” the story noted, “is that the current supercycle, fuelled by the ascendance of China and several other rapidly developing economies, will endure for decades, with a few ups and downs along the way.”

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Ontario Mining Association Pre-Budget Submission – President Chris Hodgson

To: The Honourable Dwight Duncan
Minister of Finance
c/o Budget Secretariat
Frost Building North, 3rd floor
95 Grosvenor Street
Toronto, Ontario, M7A 1Z1

Dear Minister Duncan

The Ontario mining industry has enjoyed — until recently — one of the most prosperous and lengthiest periods of its history of making contributions to the society and economy of this province.   However, the current economic circumstances which are dominating the news are providing challenges for individuals, companies, entire industries and governments alike. 

Mining operates in the real world of global markets.  When commodity prices fall, companies must reduce spending to be in line with existing market realities.  That is why we have seen companies trimming budgets and capital expenditures and in some cases shutting down production.  Junior mining exploration companies are finding it difficult – if not impossible – to raise capital as are mineral producers.

The mining industry in Ontario has gone from full speed ahead to produce and sell mineral products around the world to a moving forward by navigating more cautiously through changing economics and shifting markets.  The precipitous fall in the prices of Ontario’s main mineral products illustrates this point.

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Ontario Mining Association Pre-Budget Letter Advocates Strategic Government Investments

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 Ontario Mining Association´s pre-budget submission encourages the government at Queen´s Park to make strategic investments in the mineral sector to promote future economic development.  “The Ontario mining industry has enjoyed — until recently — one of the most prosperous and lengthiest periods of its history of making contributions to the society and economy of the province,” said OMA President Chris Hodgson in a letter to Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan.  “However, the current economic circumstances which are dominating the news are providing challenges for individuals, companies, entire industries and governments alike.”

The letter outlined massive decreases in the market prices of Ontario´s key mineral commodities — nickel, gold, copper, zinc, silver and palladium — of between 50% and 80% over the past year.  Companies have reacted to slides in the prices of their products with production cutbacks, temporary mine closures, workforce reductions and revised business plans.  “Mining benefits all regions of Ontario and given this outlook of difficult economic times and harsh business climates, it is increasingly important for the industry to work with government to ensure that programs, regulation and legislation sustain mining investment and employment in the province,” said Mr. Hodgson.

“At this time, the OMA would like to encourage the government to make strategic investments in the mining sector to promote future economic development and take action to improve the competitive position of the industry in the world,” he said.  The type of strategic investments the OMA is recommending include geological mapping, advancing human resource development and education, skills enhancement and training for Aboriginals, incentives for Research & Development, smarter regulatory systems, enhanced infrastructure development including the electricity system and exploration incentives.

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A Short History of Sudbury Labour – by Mick Lowe

Mick Lowe - Sudbury Journalist and Former Northern Life ColumnistSudbury’s labour movement had its official birth on March 10, 1944, with the certification of Mine Mill Local 598, after a tumultuous gestation that was not without bloodshed. According to local labour lore, the triumph of union organizers after decades of failure stemmed directly from an equally historic and bitter defeat only a few years earlier: the crushing of the Mine Mill certification strike in the Kirkland Lake gold camp during the winter of 1941-42.

Several of the union’s key organizers headed south to Sudbury following the failure of the four month strike at the fabled Golden Mile in the hopes of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat, and, in the event, they succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

The 11,000 hardrock miners, mill, smelter and refinery workers who became trade unionists that March were the newest members of a union with a long and storied history in the hardrock mining camps of North America. Founded originally as the Western Federation of miners in 1893, the union was renamed the International Union of Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers (IUMMSW) in 1916, but it was known to friend and foe alike as simply “The Mine Mill”.

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Women Into Mining Jobs at Inco: Challenging the Gender Division of Labour – Jennifer Keck and Mary Powell (Part 5 of 5)

Submitted to the Inord Working Paper Series, June 30, 2000

Jennifer Keck, Ph.D. Associate Professor – School of Social Work

Mary Powell, Ph.D. Associate Professor – Department of Political Science

Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario

Getting Active in the Local ‘we were part of a generation that stood up for our rights’

Like most of the men they worked with, the majority of the women were not radical. They were prepared to challenge conventional gender prescriptions to earn a man’s wage but few of them considered themselves feminists or were interested in broader political struggles. Still, few of the women remained untouched by the militancy of mining work culture and the impact of women’s movement in the 1970s. It was not long before a small number of women emerged who were willing to hold the company and the union- to the original promise that they would be treated the ‘same as men’ and receive ‘equal treatment and opportunities.’

Women became active with the union under much the same conditions as new male workers. They were recruited early, often after complaining about conditions on the shop floor, and put on health and safety committees at the various plants. The first two women union stewards took office in 1975; women were also elected as delegates to the Ontario Federation of Labour convention the following year. While the union gave early support for the women to become active, there was generally more support for the women working on traditional union issues than there was for their attempt to challenge differences based on gender. This was probably not surprising given the large number of male workers and the union’s traditional support for the family wage.

A women’s committee was established in 1977 to address this problem. One of the organizers challenged the company and the union in an article that appeared in the union’s newsletter, The Searcher: “Over the last three years women have had to prove themselves to the company and the union. As women workers we share and support the concerns and struggles of our brothers… Now we want to be active so we can have a voice in our local… that is not our privilege, it is our right.’(22)

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Women Into Mining Jobs at Inco: Challenging the Gender Division of Labour – Jennifer Keck and Mary Powell (Part 4 of 5)

Submitted to the Inord Working Paper Series, June 30, 2000

Jennifer Keck, Ph.D. Associate Professor – School of Social Work

Mary Powell, Ph.D. Associate Professor – Department of Political Science

Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario

While there was little publicity about the issue, sexual harassment was another reminder that the women were ‘different’ workers. Sexual harassment demonstrates the complex relationship between sexuality and the paid workplace and is one of the ways men used sexuality to maintain masculine dominance in the workplace. Harassment took many forms. Sometimes it involved foremen or shift bosses. One woman was assigned extra work shovelling asphalt after she refused the invitation to go to her foreman’s camp after work.

Another woman described a more threatening situation that involved a shift supervisor: “he would say to me, okay come with me and he would take another guy and bring us to this god forsaken place where no-one’s ever going to work there because it’s full of dust and muck and he’d say, oh, I forgot to get the tools and he’d send the guy down, then he’s left alone with me and he’d try rubbing his private area against my knee and I told him, if he appreciates talking in a deep tone he wouldn’t do it ever again. But then he tried calling me at home and asking me if I would meet him and I told him I’m not desperate for company and that I don’t sleep with a pig.”

While sexual harassment by supervisors was serious because management had more control over the women’s working conditions, women often found it difficult to deal with harassment by co-workers. This was a contentious issue with both men and women. Part of the problem was that masculine work culture was already highly sexualized before the women entered the workplace.

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Women Into Mining Jobs at Inco: Challenging the Gender Division of Labour – Jennifer Keck and Mary Powell (Part 3 of 5)

Submitted to the  The Institute of Northern Ontario Research and Development (INORD) Working Paper Series, June 30, 2000

Jennifer Keck, Ph.D. Associate Professor – School of Social Work

Mary Powell, Ph.D. Associate Professor – Department of Political Science

Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario
Getting Started: ‘You got dirty and tired but you showered… and the pay was good’

Like their male co-workers the women began as process labourers. The work involved shoveling, sweeping, hosing down dirty areas and in some cases painting and unloading supplies. The women responded to the first day with more than the usual apprehension.

“You have no idea what to expect… when we first walked in we saw these flotation cells and they’re all bubbling and its seems like it’s really hot, it was very scary… walking over the grating and looking down three floors…I had never seen this kind of machinery in my life.”

It took awhile to get used to the heavy machinery and the noise, dirt and smell of an industrial work environment.

“In the mill it was really dirty, from the time you walked in you were dirty. Like I got dirty just looking at it. There was a smell of lime, varsol and sometimes when the gas was coming in you’d have to sit in the lunch room. Lots of noise. It’s like nothing in your experience… it’s not like walking into an office cause everybody knows what an office looks like.”

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