Tag Archives | Ontario Mining Association

Ontario’s Green Miners Handle Broad Palate of Environmental Issues

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 Environment Committee has representatives from most member companies, who possess a wide spectrum of specialties and tackle a broad palate of issues and concerns.  Under the leadership of Committee Chair Nancy Duquet-Harvey of Northgate Minerals, about 30 of the green miners met recently in Timmins.  The group had an extremely full agenda in the session, which followed the second Ontario Mine Reclamation Symposium and Field Trip.

The OMA Environment Committee regularly deals with the Ministry of Environment and handles both analysis of proposed legislation and regulations and proactively develops programs, protocols and, in some cases, computer software to improve environmental performance and reporting of member companies.  The group makes it a habit of sharing best practices, communicating well and working co-operatively.  The collective expertise that members bring to the Committee makes it possible to effectively address issues that are highly complex and technical. 

Major items on the agenda for the recent Timmins meeting included responses to the Toxics Reduction Act and the air standards setting process under Regulation 419.  The Committee has made two submissions on the toxics reduction initiative, expressing support for the government´s intent, but concern about provisions for very broad regulation-making powers and the lack of any defined test setting out how “toxic substances” will be identified and designated. 

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Ontario Mining Association Presents Mineral Sector’s Contributions at International Forum

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 highlighted many of the contributions of mining in a web-based seminar of the Lake Superior Binational program.  “Ontario Mining: A Partner in Prosperity Building” was the title of the OMA presentation in a workshop on the Socio-Economic Aspects of Mining in the Lake Superior Basin.

“There are lots of statistics with dollar signs that could be used to illustrate the positive economic impact of mining,” said Peter McBride, OMA Manager of Communications.  “However, the real impact of mining is its role in developing people and communities.  Mining provides a broad scope of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, community building and infrastructure enhancement.”

Ontario´s place as the number one mining jurisdiction in Canada both in terms of mineral production and mineral exploration was emphasized.  Mining provides Ontario with a trade surplus of about $3.3 billion, corporate tax revenues of more than $600 million and an industry payroll of about $1.2 billion, annually.  The sector invests about $2.7 billion annually in R&D, exploration, construction and equipment.

Other presentations at the webinar of the Lake Superior Binational Program´s Mining Sub-Committee, which was chaired by Mike Ripley of the Sault Ste. Marie based Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, included Peter Homenuck who is a consultant and professor emeritus in environmental studies at York University.  Continue Reading →

Support for Ontario Mining at Queen´s Park is Unanimous

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 Premier Dalton McGuinty joined representatives of all three political parties at Queen´s Park to show their support for the contributions of the mineral industry at the Ontario Mining Association´s Meet the Miners Day event in the Legislature.   In speaking to the audience of approximately 200 people, Premier McGuinty thanked those in the mining industry for working hard to build the quality of life we enjoy in this province.  Meet the Miners is an OMA event at Queen´s Park involving member companies and their employees, which helps shine the spotlight on the industry in provincial governmental circles. 

“While many things have changed in the world since last year, the contributions to the society and economy of Ontario of mining, especially given current global economic circumstances, are more important than ever to communities and the province,” said OMA President Chris Hodgson.  “On behalf of our members, we want to be — and are — a part of the solution to help draw Ontario out of this recession.”

“In this age, we may be drowning in information but we are thirsting for wisdom,” said Premier McGuinty.  “I want to thank miners for their work ethic and for pulling together in tough times.  Keep doing what you are doing and we can meet our shared responsibility of building a better Ontario for our children.”

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Agreement Strengthens Ontario Mining and First Nations Links

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 Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and the Assembly of First Nations strengthens the existing links between these two groups.  Through this MOU, the mining industry will boost its engagement with First Nations economies creating employment and business opportunities.  The MOU was signed by National Chief Phil Fontaine and Jim Gowans, President of Ontario Mining Association member De Beers Canada and Chair of the MAC.  This historic initiative got underway when MAC and the Assembly of First Nations signed a letter of intent in November 2007.

“In resource development, First Nations and the mining community are natural partners,” said National Chief Fontaine.  “Developing a new partnership between the AFN and MAC will complement and enhance the growing relationships between First Nations and Canada´s major mining companies.  The resource sector will come back stronger than ever in the very near future.  With a growing land base and growing populations, First Nations are poised to be key players in the years and decades to come,” he added.  “We want to work together towards greater certainty and sustainable mining developments that will contribute significantly to the economic, social and environmental well-being of First Nations.”

“Canada´s mining industry is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people,” said Mr. Gowans. Continue Reading →

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.”

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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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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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Blog for Ontario Mining Association Video Contest Welcomes Traffic

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.

High school students — and others — are demonstrating their interest in the Ontario Mining Association´s high school video competition through participation in the “So You Think You Know Mining” blog.  The competition, which offers students the opportunity to place their two to three minute videos on the benefits of mining in the running for substantial cash prizes, is supported by comprehensive web-based resources, including a blog that is meant to encourage an open exchange of ideas and information.  The blog appears to be serving its intended purpose, adding a “wiki” dimension to the contest by enabling anyone to ask questions and contribute information.

Some bloggers have asked if there were previous contests that are similar in nature to “SYTYKM,” so they could see some footage before starting their own projects.  The OMA responded by saying “As far as we know, we are in uncharted territory.  This contest is a first for us and we´re really looking forward to seeing some unexpected entries!  As the videos come in, we´ll be posting some of them under the “Inspiration” tab on the website, so you´ll be able to check out some of the competition with your project.”

The level of the awards seems to be an attraction for some — “I don´t know much about mining — yet — but I like the prize money.”  Others seem to be attracted to gold and want to do a video on that precious metal and jewellery.  Some students who aren´t quite in high school have asked if there is a similar contest for younger kids. 

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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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OMA President Addresses North Bay CIM Members

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 President Chris Hodgson encouraged members of the Canadian Institute of Mining´s Northern Gateway Branch in North Bay to help the public gain a broader appreciation of what mining does for society and the economy.  In speaking to about 120 members of the CIM Branch at a luncheon meeting on December 3, he saluted many of the innovative communications initiatives carried out in North Bay including activities during the city´s Mining Week and reminded them of the many tools the OMA has developed to support these efforts.

“We need to encourage more people to recognize the value of mining to support the industry´s social license to operate,” said Mr. Hodgson.  “Mining benefits all regions of the province and people need to see mining as a benefit to their communities. The outdated image of mining is not something one person, or one company, can change.”  He provided a brief history of the OMA and its origins in 1920. 

In striving to promote our industry, Mr. Hodgson provided the audience with a catalogue of communications tools developed by the OMA — most of which are available on the OMA website www.oma.on.ca.  He mentioned the representative mine study conducted by economists at the University of Toronto “Ontario Mining: A Partner in Prosperity Building” which illustrates the local benefits in employment, Gross Domestic Product and tax revenues from one mine.  This study follows through with the direct, indirect and tertiary level benefits.  One representative mine can generate more than 2,200 well paying jobs on different levels, contribute $278 million to the GDP and provide $84 million in taxes annually.

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Mining Sector Human Resource Needs Remain Strong Despite Downturn

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 mining industry´s need for a large infusion of skilled workers over the next decade may be curbed by current economic circumstances but it will not be eliminated.  In a presentation for the Mining Association of Canada, Ryan Montpellier, Executive Director of the Mining Industry Human Resource Council (MiHR), laid out several scenarios on the sector´s workforce needs looking out to 2016. 

Local, provincial, national and international forces all impact projections of mining´s human resource needs in Canada.  When you look at the massive alterations which have been occurring in global financial systems and the downturn in commodity markets, it is all too apparent that the impact of changing macro economic variables influence the human resource requirements of the industry.  In earlier studies, MiHR projected that the industry in Canada needed 80,000 new workers over the next 10 years.  As the world demand for Canada´s mineral products grew, the number of new employees needed in Canada´s mining sector from 2007 to 2016 was increased to 92,000.  That level still may be required.

However, in offering alternatives, MiHR presented a no-growth scenario for the future.  In this case, the need for retirement and non-retirement replacement requirements still showed a need for more than 62,000 new mining employees out to 2016 — or more than 6,200 per year.   In a more negative projection of industry contraction over a four year period, there still was a demand for more than 46,000 new mining employees out to 2016 — or more than 4,600 per year.  Continue Reading →

De Beers Shares its Diamond Passion Through Toronto’s Royal Ontario Museum Exhibit

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 member De Beers Canada is sharing its passion for diamonds through its sponsorship of an exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum.  “The Nature of Diamonds” exhibit is scheduled to be on display for all until March 22, 2009.  “For thousands of years, diamonds have held a special place in many cultures around the world,” said Jim Gowans, President and CEO of De Beers Canada.  “We are proud to be associated with the ROM to showcase the origins, history and allure of one of the rarest materials on earth.”

At a special event to mark the opening of the exhibit, recordings of Shirley Bassey singing the theme song from the James Bond movie “Diamonds Are Forever,” the presence of Canadian triathlon Olympian and medal winner Simon Whitfield and the opening of the vault to show the world´s third largest cut diamond and other spectacular gems and jewelry enhanced the celebrations.

The first diamond mine in Canada is celebrating its 10th anniversary of production this month.  Mr. Gowans pointed out that in that short time, Canada has advanced to become the third largest diamond producer in the world.  “Canada is now a diamond superpower,” said William Thorsell, Chief Executive Officer of the ROM.  “We are enjoying our relationship with De Beers Canada and (he suggested) I think we need to invent a single line of diamonds for men.”

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Ontario’s Mining Sector Leads the Way in First Nation Development Partnerships

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 mining industry in Ontario is leading the way with innovative ideas and agreements which promote sustainable development in Aboriginal communities.  A document produced by Natural Resources Canada titled “Agreements Between Mining Companies and Aboriginal Communities or Governments” shows that 105 agreements have been signed between mining enterprises and Aboriginals.  The document shows that 29 of those agreements are in this province.  Ontario Mining Association member companies have a strong track record for building bridges and working in collaborative partnerships with Aboriginal communities.  

These contracts documented by Natural Resources Canada have been identified and validated by the Intergovernmental Working Group on the Mineral Industry and do not represent an exhaustive list of existing agreements in Canada.  The types of agreements identified range from joint-ventures to impact-benefit agreements to exploration agreements and socio-economic agreements.  At the recent Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association conference in Saskatoon, its President Hans Matthews said there are now more than 120 of these agreements in Canada.

Several examples of mutual benefit and cooperation among OMA members and Aboriginal communities can be found.  The Musselwhite gold mine, in Northwestern Ontario, which opened in 1997, established a creative agreement with a number of First Nations that provides for education, training, employment and business related opportunities in local communities.  Xstrata Nickel and the Wanapitei First Nation reached a mutual benefit agreement concerning the development of the Nickel Rim project in the Sudbury area. 

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Ontario is a Strategic, World Class, Mining Superpower

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 fortuitous blessing of rich geology has provided this province with a mineral endowment that has supported human development for generations.  Over the decades, there has been a steady evolution of the legislative framework that governs mineral development in the province.  Currently, the Mining Act is going through another review and consultations on proposed changes in the legislation are taking place across the province. 

While some changes in the Mining Act may be welcome and necessary to reflect shifts in societal expectations, at the Ontario Mining Association, we hope they are completed reasonably quickly so the new rules are clarified and communicated to provide certainty to investors and companies developing mining projects.  This is crucial because it can take years, or even decades, to develop a mineral deposit into a producing mine and investment decisions are often made years in advance.  As a result, any period of uncertainty in the regulatory system can disrupt the investment cycle and have far-reaching consequences on our future prosperity. 

Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle has said the purpose of the Mining Act review at this time is to strike the right balance.  The balance between responsible and sustainable mineral development for the benefit of all Ontarians while updating the mineral tenure system and the security of investments, Aboriginal rights related to mining, exploration activity on Crown land, land use planning in the Far North and surface rights/mineral rights issues.   Continue Reading →

Xstrata Copper Announces $121 Million New Investment in the Timmins Kidd Mine

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 member Xstrata Copper has announced a new $121 million investment to deepen and extend the projected operating life of the Kidd Mine in Timmins.  This investment will not only have a positive impact on the company´s future but also on the fortunes of its employees, suppliers and contactors, Timmins, Northern Ontario and the economy of the entire province. 

The Kidd Mine is the deepest base metal mine in the world.  This new project will expand the copper-zinc orebody´s mining zone from 9,100 feet below surface to 9,500 feet and extend the mine life to 2017.  This zone is estimated to contain 3.4 million tonnes of ore with a grade of 1.48% copper, 6.22% zinc and 80 grams of silver per tonne.

“The investment approval reflects Xstrata Copper´s commitment to the sustainability of Kidd Mine and the Timmins community and its business strategy to continually implement improvements to enhance the value of its operations,” said Claude Ferron, Chief Operating Officer for Xstrata Copper Canada.  Continue Reading →