Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium: A Green Mining Success

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 success of the inaugural Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium has cleared the path to make the workshop an annual event.  Close to 60 people representing a number of companies and organizations participated in this event, which was held in Kirkland Lake June 24 and 25.  This environmental event designed to share best practices and new technologies in mine reclamation was organized by the Ontario Mining Association in partnership with the Canadian Land Reclamation Association and Northgate Minerals. 

One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the inaugural Tom Peters Memorial Mine Reclamation Award, which was won by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines for its work on the Kam Kotia property in Timmins.   Though this honour was first presented at the OMA´s “Demographics, Global Markets and the Future Workforce” conference in Windsor, it was re-presented to Dick Cowan, who is retired from MNDM and who was heavily involved in mine rehabilitation in general and the Kam Kotia property in particular. 

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Housing Came with the Job in Northern Ontario Mining Communites – Michael Barnes

In earlier years in the teaching game in Ontario, school boards were able to secure teachers because they were offered accommodation at either free or a cheap rate as part of the deal.

One young teacher had a house in an isolated community in 1956 for $30 a month. Now mind you it was not worth that much because it was cold, leaned in the wind and had no amenities, but at least the place to live was an incentive to take the job.

Big mining companies like Falconbridge and Inco in Sudbury offered their educators most pleasant living quarters. Many of these were for single men and women and  were known as teacherages. Actually there were places for other employees as well but none had a job specific name like those for teachers.

The mines in the smaller camps provided homes for many workers.

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Copper Cliff Courier at Century Dawn Described Community Enthusiastically – Gary Peck

At the turn of the century, residents of Sudbury could turn to one newspaper for local news. The Sudbury Journal, under James A. Orr, had published continuously since 1891. Over the years competition had appeared in the form of The Star and the Sudbury News, yet neither was still operating by 1900. However, the monopoly was to be challenged in 1902 from afar – namely Copper Cliff.

On a Saturday in early March, 1902, the Copper Cliff Courier made its initial appearance. At the time it was described by the Journal as being “a seat five-column of quarto, well-printed”. It contained a “good list of advertisements” and proposed to be independent in politics. The Courier, published and edited by J.T. Pratt and sold for $1.00 a year, had its office on Main Street, Copper Cliff.

Few copies of the Courier appear to have been saved with a special 1903 issue being the one that appears most frequently. In that particular issue can be found community news with the new smelter of the Canadian Copper Company being a major feature.

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Hockey and Mining Rivalry Between Cobalt and Haileybury – Michael Barns

Every Canadian knows something of the NHL. The National Hockey League dominates Canadian sports culture. But few likely know of the National Hockey Association, the forerunner of the now famous league.

Teams in this genesis of the NHL included the Renfrew Millionaires, so called because after all their biggest sponsor, M.J.O’Brien, was a millionaire many times over, the Montreal Wanderers and a team that has made a comeback in recent years, the Ottawa Senators.

In the heyday of Cobalt when the town was rich and booming, all the mines had their own hockey teams. Both Haileybury and Cobalt had teams in the National Hockey Association and had no trouble finding corporate sponsors among the many big firms represented in both towns.

The silver town had a real Stanley Cup contender. This was the Cobalt Silver Kings. Although the players gave their all on the ice in association play, the fiercest battles were reserved for games with the Haileybury squad.

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Sudbury Soils Study 2008 – Commentary by Rick Grylls – President of Mine Mill 598/CAW

Rick Grylls - President of Mine Mill 598/CAWAs a citizen of the area since 1952 and an employee of mining since 1969, I have experienced the changes of time here in Sudbury.

The changes have come only by the blood, sweat and tears of a community that endured the most destructive carnage of lost lives in the mines, mills, smelters and refinery, all the while living surrounded by an environment of a dead and bleak landscape from years of hideous industrial pollution.

I have been on the front lines of representation of the employees since 1973, as a Steward, Health and Safety member, Executive Board member and the last seven years as the senior officer, the President of Mine Mill 598/CAW.

The changes within the workplace and within the community have always been opposed by the companies as too expensive or not needed. The re-greening of Sudbury, the safety standards within the industry, and the betterment of our community has always had an allied relationship with workers collective strength of their union.

I have a front seat within our community and in using material from the Sudbury Soil Study and other sources, I have prepared this statement.  It is not easy to put into a few words the context or my conclusion of the study, which can be found at www.sudburysoilstudy.com.

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Planning For the End of the Mine, Right From the Beginning by Paul Hollesen – AngloGold Ashanti

Paul Hollesen - AngloGold AshantiThe International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is a CEO-led industry group that addresses key priorities and emerging issues within the minerals sector. The following article came from the ICMM newsletter.

Planning for mine closure should be a core part of the business, involving local communities and other stakeholders. AngloGold Ashanti’s Paul Hollesen introduces a new ICMM guide on the topic and makes the case for a more integrated approach.

Paul Hollesen

ICMM’s soon-to-be published Planning for Integrated Mine Closure offers valuable guidance for a key challenge in the mining sector: closing a mine in a sustainable manner. After all, what happens at a site after it is closed is what ultimately defines its long-term environmental impact and a significant part of its contribution to an area’s social, economic and institutional development.

One catalyst for the new guide was the 2002 report of the Mining, Minerals and Sustainable Development Project. This noted that “the planning and development of any mining project needs to be aimed at creating durable benefits on a number of scales” and that the social and economic dimensions of closure planning frequently receive insufficient attention.

Further Improvement Required

In 2006 ICMM conducted a survey of the status of integrated mine closure planning within the industry. This study found numerous examples of leading practices but also a number of areas that required further improvement. It was clear that more consistent implementation of good practices is required throughout the mining sector and the guide is designed to support this goal.

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Cobalt: A Mine was Something to Fall Back On for MJ – Michael Barnes

Most people have never heard of M J O’Brien- not in the north anyway. He died in Renfrew in 1940 and was one of Canada’s richest men. But in 1903 he made a deal at the King Edward hotel in Toronto which made him more money and created much work in the silver town of Cobalt.

O’Brien was born in the Ottawa Valley in 1851. He started off as a water boy on big construction projects and ended up owning countless big companies. He made his money through careful research and driving hard bargains. His real money came from railways and lumbering.

In 1903 the heavy set, black bearded magnate from Renfrew heeded some advice from his friend, Robert Borden, then leader of the Opposition in Pariament. Borden put him onto a lawyer who who had some business ideas.

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Labour Shortages in the Mineral Sector According to Demographer David Foot

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.

Renowned demographer David Foot, author of the best selling book Boom, Bust & Echo, provided miners with some guidance in building their workforces of the future.  He made a lengthy interactive presentation on “Profiting from the Demographic Shift in the 21st Century” at the Ontario Mining Association conference “Demographics, Global Markets and the Future Workforce” held in Windsor last week.  On the national level, mining is looking for an estimated 92,000 new employees over the next decade.

Mr. Foot, who is a professor of economics at the University of Toronto, is a demographer who has gained celebrity status.  He has changed the way people think about population trends.  His presentation helped the mineral audience better understand the impact change and population growth will have on their industry, their company and their organizations. 

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Early Mining schools in Sudbury and Copper Cliff – Gary Peck

During the 1890s, there was considerable interest in the establishing of mining schools in Ontario. One of the early promoters was James Commee, MPP for Algoma. Offering support was James Orr, editor of the Sudbury Journal, who argued for the locating of a mining school in Sudbury. The town did not quite receive the school desired, but in 1894 this area hosted two summer schools.

In the session of the legislature in 1894, $2,000 was appropriated for the purpose of organizing Summer Mining Schools in the northern districts of Ontario. Work for this undertaking was assumed by the School of Practical Science, University of Toronto, with the pilot summer schools in 1894 located in the communities of Copper Cliff, Sudbury and Rat Portage, with the later established after the Copper Cliff and Sudbury schools.
 
When advertised locally, the caption read, “Summer School for Prospectors, Miners and Others interested in mining.” On Friday evening, July , at 8 o’clock, there was a meeting at the public school in Sudbury.

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Canada’s Federal Government Making a Mess of Aboriginal Land Claims and Mining Issues – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThere is a belief among mining people that the land disputes making news almost daily are best left to the two parties directly concerned – provincial governments and Aboriginal groups.

The truth is that two of Canada’s primary industries are threatened by the failure to tackle land claims in a meaningful way.

Mining and forestry have remained on the sidelines while negotiations become pension funds for lawyers and job protection insurance for civil servants.

There is a third party that not only should be at every negotiating table but should be actively involved. That is Canada’s federal government.

More and more native bands are saying they do not want trees cut or mineral exploration on their traditional lands until outstanding claims are settled.

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Making Sustainability part of Vale’s DNA by Renato Amorim – Vale Director of International Public Affairs

Vale employees working at the seedling nursery in its nature reserveThe International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is a CEO-led industry group that addresses key priorities and emerging issues within the minerals sector. The following article came from the ICMM newsletter.

Brazil-based mining giant Vale is building sustainability into its long-term success. Vale Director of International Public Affairs Renato Amorim offers a snapshot of recent developments.

Over the past few years Vale has undergone a major process of expansion and diversification to become the second largest company in the mining and metals sector. Its approach to sustainability is evolving in parallel with this expansion, guided by the company’s mission to ‘transform mineral resources into sustainable development and prosperity’.

Vale’s 2006 acquisition of Inco for US$18.9 billion represented the largest ever made by a Brazilian company. Expansion has continued apace, and the company is now responsible for almost one-fifth of Brazil’s trade balance, as well as being world number two in the mining and metals sector. Such rapid growth has brought growing awareness of social and environmental issues.

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International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) – An Introduction

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) is a CEO-led industry group that addresses key priorities and emerging issues within the minerals sector. It seeks to play a leading role by promoting good practice and improved performance internationally and across different commodities. ICMM provides a platform for industry and other key stakeholders to share …

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Rick Grylls – Local 598 President – Disputes Sudbury Soil Study 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

Rick Grylls - Local 598/CAW President“This study is in no way associated to the previous 100 years of health risks and exposures from the 100 million tons of pollutants our historical Sudbury citizens faced and the effects it might have caused, which citizens personally live with today.” Rick Grylls President, Local 598/CAW Sudbury Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union

The debate is not over. Comments regarding the Sudbury Soil Study are still coming in. Rick Grylls, Sudbury Mine, Mill and Smelter Workers Union, Local 598/CAW president, released a 13-page letter earlier this month disputing the study’s terms of reference.

“I was informed that the technical committee, the decision making body of the Sudbury Soil Study, discussed my letter at their last meeting on Thursday,” said Grylls.

According to Grylls, the real flaw in the Sudbury Soil Study is that the terms of reference for the research were already set before union representatives were able to participate in the study as observers.

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Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – Andrew Fisher (1862-1928)

Andrew Fisher, past prime minster of Australia, symbolised the powerful political influence exercised by the mining fields and miners on that country’s growth as a democratic nation.

Andrew Fisher was three times prime minister of Australia. He led the nation at the time of Gallipoli landing. He had also been a minister in the first Queensland Labor Government (1899) and the first federal Labor government (1904). By occupation he was a coal miner, then a gold miner and finally a mine engine driver. He symbolised the powerful political influence exercised by the mining fields and miners on Australia’s growth as a democratic nation. Significantly his government began the transcontinental railway, so vital to Western Australian and its eastern goldfields.

Andrew Fisher was Prime Minister of Australia in a period when a wide variety of national institutions and policies were being shaped. He was personally respected on all sides of politics.

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Australian Prospectors and Miners Hall of Fame Historical Profile – May Brown (1875-1939)

May Brown was a famous mining entrepreneur; the Northern Territory’s ‘wolfram queen’.

May Brown, mining entrepreneur, the Northern Territory’s “wolfram queen”, was born in Sydney on 24 May in 1875. She first visited the Northern Territory in 1890 when she joined her sister, Florence, who with her husband ran hotels in the ‘Top End’. May Brown continued to visit the Territory until 1901 when she settled in Sydney after marrying George Seale, a former amateur boxing champion. In 1902, they had a son, George, who later married Mary Fisher, a Territorian.

May’s first husband, George, died in 1906 and six months later she married James Burns, a Territory wolfram miner. The pair moved to Pine Creek a small township near Burns’ Wolfram Creek and Crest of the Wave mines. May started to work in the mines alongside her husband and their Chinese tributers.

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