Mining the Northwest: MineConnect makes inroads in northwestern Ontario – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – February 14, 2024)

A 2020 rebranding and a pan-Northern approach has improved the visibility and diversity of mining supplier association

A regional mining supply industry association is making inroads into northwestern Ontario, an area that’s been gaining attention and investment for its gold and high-tech mineral potential.

Marla Tremblay, executive director of MineConnect, said in the past year they’ve tripled their membership from Thunder Bay and the northwest, and are working with the city’s economic development office to better promote the region and its suppliers to the world.

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Lab-grown diamonds come with sparkling price tags, but many have cloudy sustainability claims – by Isabella O’Malley (Associated Press – February 13, 2024)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — The muted sounds of hammering and sanding drift down to the first floor of Bario Neal, a jewelry store in Philadelphia, where rustic artwork that mimics nature hangs on warmly-lit walls.

Waiting for one of those rings is Haley Farlow, a 28-year-old second grade teacher who has been designing her three-stone engagement ring with her boyfriend. They care about price and also don’t want jewelry that takes a toll on the Earth, or exploits people in mining. So they’re planning on buying diamonds grown in a laboratory.

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Barrick Gold executive shuffle sees John Thornton moved to chair – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – February 15, 2024)

The power structure at the upper tiers of the world’s second biggest gold company is shifting with the diminution in the role played by long-term Barrick Gold Corp. executive chairman John Thornton. Toronto-based Barrick on Wednesday announced that Mr. Thornton has moved from the role of executive chairman to chairman, a position that carries fewer responsibilities, lower pay, and much more clearly-defined parameters.

Barrick said the change in Mr. Thornton’s role was driven in part by governance considerations. In a regulatory disclosure alongside its latest quarterly earnings, Barrick said that considering Mr. Thornton had achieved key objectives following the company’s 2019 acquisition of Randgold Resources Ltd., this was both the right time for him to transition to chairman, and for the company to do away with the executive chairman role.

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Heather Exner-Pirot: Why critical minerals are key to Canada’s global influence – by Heather Exner-Pirot (The Hub – February 12, 2024)


It’s time to establish strategic reserves for critical minerals

From the acquisition of a rare earths stockpile from a mine in the Northwest Territories to the purchasing of stakes in Canadian miners Solaris Resources and First Quantum, a recent spate of Chinese investment in Canadian mining projects has rightly sparked concerns. In the past three years, many Western nations including Canada have put out critical minerals strategies to promote friendly sources of supply and mitigate Chinese dominance in the sector. Yet we are still falling behind.

At the same time, one empathizes with Canadian miners looking to China for investment; they are not finding it anywhere else. Junior and mid-sized miners are starved for capital even as Western politicians are proclaiming their commitment to the sector. Thankfully, there is a solution to the challenge of both reducing dependence on Chinese-controlled exports and boosting Western investment in our own supply. It is time to establish strategic reserves for critical minerals.

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Indonesia Has Grand Ambitions for Its Nickel Industry – by Christina Lu (Foreign Policy – February 13, 2024)


As the country heads to the polls this week, the future of Jakarta’s bid is set to come into sharper focus.

Long before the energy transition gained momentum around the world, nickel powerhouse Indonesia dreamed of harnessing its mineral riches to transform its economy and wield greater leverage in the international marketplace.

The global shift away from fossil fuels and the growing demand for the critical minerals powering green technology have turbocharged Jakarta’s ambitions. Nickel is a key component in electric vehicle batteries, yet few countries can claim as big of a stake over the global nickel sector as Indonesia, which is home to some of the world’s biggest nickel reserves and mined half of the global supply in 2022.

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Quebec opposition attacks the CAQ on copper smelting plant’s future (Canadian Press/CTV News Montreal – February 14, 2024)

Opposition parties in Quebec City are urging the government to react to reports that Glencore is considering closing the Horne smelter if investments to meet air quality targets are too high.

Horne smelter issue in Rouyn-Noranda is once again taking a political turn after Radio-Canada revealed that Glencore’s board of directors was due to meet shortly to decide on the smelter’s future, despite the fact that the estimated cost of reducing arsenic emissions has risen by 50 per cent.

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US wildlife service considering endangered status for tiny snail near Nevada lithium mine – by Scott Sonner (Associated Press – February 8, 2024)

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Federal wildlife officials have agreed to conduct a full, year-long review to determine whether a tiny snail found only in high-desert springs near a huge lithium mine being built along the Nevada-Oregon line should be listed as a threatened or endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said in a finding published Thursday in the Federal Register that enough scientific exists to warrant the review sought by environmentalists who say that groundwater pumping required for the operation of the Thacker Pass mine could push the Kings River pyrg to the brink of extinction.

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How China Built BYD, Its Tesla Killer – by Keith Bradsher (New York Times – February 12, 2024)

The leading Chinese electric vehicle company, with origins as a battery maker, has posted two years of million-car growth in sales.

China’s BYD was a battery manufacturer trying its hand at building cars when it showed off its newest model in 2007. American executives at the Guangzhou auto show gaped at the car’s uneven purple paint job and the poor fit of its doors. “They were the laughingstock of the industry,” said Michael Dunne, a China auto industry analyst. Nobody is laughing at BYD now.

The company passed Tesla in worldwide sales of fully electric cars late last year. BYD is building assembly lines in Brazil, Hungary, Thailand and Uzbekistan and preparing to do so in Indonesia and Mexico. It is rapidly expanding exports to Europe. And the company is on the cusp of passing Volkswagen Group, which includes Audi, as the market leader in China.

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Federal Court allows judicial review of southern Alberta coal mine denied by panel – by Bob Weber (Canadian Press/CBC Calgary – February 14, 2024)

Company lost earlier attempt to seek review from Alberta Court of Appeal

A Federal Court ruling Tuesday has thrown out a decision from federal Environmental Minister Steven Guilbeault denying a permit for an open-pit coal mine in the Alberta Rockies. The ruling, which comes in response to two Alberta First Nations, will force Guilbeault to revisit the issue after consulting with the bands on the economic benefits of the proposed mine.

The company hoping to develop the mine, Benga Mining, also requested the decision be reviewed. It was denied. The court ruled that the Piikani and Stoney First Nations never received a consultation opportunity they had been promised by the federal-provincial panel that reviewed Benga’s application.

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Poland, France and Germany vow to make Europe stronger as fears grow over Russia and Trump – by SYLVIE CORBET, VANESSA GERA and GEIR MOULSON (Associated Press – February 12, 2024)

PARIS (AP) — The governments of Poland, France and Germany vowed Monday to make Europe a security and defense power with a greater ability to back Ukraine, amid concerns that former U.S. President Donald Trump might return to the White House and allow Russia to expand its aggression on the continent.

The foreign ministers of the three countries met in the Paris suburb of La Celle-Saint-Cloud to have talks about Ukraine, amid other issues. They discussed reviving the so-called Weimar Triangle, a long dormant regional grouping that was designed to promote cooperation between France, Germany and Poland.

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Impossible for Panama’s next government to ignore mining, says First Quantum CEO – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – February 13, 2024)

Canadian miner holds out hope May elections will bring change in fortune for its besieged Cobre Panama mine

The Panamanian government’s order to shut down Toronto-based First Quantum Minerals Ltd.‘s lucrative copper mine in December seemed like the final straw for the company, which has faced several issues in the Central American country in recent years.

Panama and First Quantum initially tussled over the terms of a new contract to run the mine. Although a deal was reached, thousands of protestors demonstrated against it on environmental grounds. The nation’s Supreme Court then intervened and annulled the deal, which led to the order to close the Cobre Panama mine, about 120 kilometres west of Panama City.

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Home Two

According to the wedding website, February 14th is actually not the most popular day to get engaged; that day is December 25th, Christmas Day. However, Valentine’s day is up there in the top 5 for the ultimate romantic gesture.

Valentine, the 3rd Century Roman Christian who tied the knot for piles of young couples in spite of emperor Claudius’s commands forbidding marriage, would be pleased you feel. Not recently though. Weddings for the first half of the year in 2020 were at about 2% of the previous year. Not even old Claudius had such a wedding-killing hit rate.

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Canada grasping at straws with sweeping ban on plastics – by David Olive (Toronto Star – February 14, 2024)

The ban creates more rather than less waste. It gives Canadian consumers the false impression that they are helping save the oceans. And it imposes additional financial costs on Canadians, David Olive writes.

The federal government’s sweeping ban on plastics is shaping up as misguided, if not a fiasco. Ottawa’s Zero Plastic Waste 2023 initiative bans a wide range of plastic items including single-use plastic cutlery and disposable checkout bags and went into effect in 2021.

A federal court decision in November overturning the ban as unconstitutional drew attention to problems with this policy. Ottawa says it will appeal that ruling. “The body of scientific evidence showing the impacts on human health, on the environment, of plastic pollution is undebatable,” Steven Guilbeault, the federal environment minister, said in response to the court decision.

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Human-rights groups decry rising trend of corporate SLAPP lawsuits – by Geoffrey York and Tavia Grant (Globe and Mail – February 13, 2024)

When a Canadian mining company filed a lawsuit against a small African human-rights group, the company said it was merely seeking to get errors corrected. The African group disagreed, calling the suit an attempt to bully and silence it.

They settled out of court last year, but two United Nations experts took notice. Last month, the UN rapporteurs released a letter they had sent to the company, First Quantum Minerals Ltd. FM-T, asking it to explain its actions.

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Plans to build mineral processing plants in Timmins by 2027 ‘a bit of a stretch,’ says expert – by Aya Dufour (CBC News Sudbury – February 9, 2024)

Canada Nickel announced plans Thursday to build ‘biggest nickel processing facility in America’

Laurentian University professor Jean-Charles Cachon isn’t convinced Canada Nickel will succeed in its plans to build two new processing facilities and begin production by 2027.

“The company has yet to produce any profits,” he said. “At this point in time it is a small company that has expenses related to exploration.” Canada Nickel is currently advancing the Crawford nickel project, a proposed open-pit nickel-cobalt mine located some 43 kilometres north of Timmins, Ont.

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