Mining Layoffs Affecting Smaller Sudbury Companies – by Bill Bradley

Date Published – Mar. 9, 2009

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Bill Bradley’s article.

The mining layoffs at Vale Inco and Xstrata are making the headlines.

But the pain is also being felt by employees in smaller companies, said one laid off worker at Mansour Mining Inc.

Jeff Marsolais, a laid off worker at Mansour Mining, said he knew of up to 70 fellow employees that have been laid off.

“Vale Inco and Xstrata layoffs get all the headlines. But the smaller companies are cutting jobs too. We are getting cut. We have families and bills to pay too,” said Marsolais.

Laurentian University economist David Robinson said smaller companies are always at risk.

“There is no guarantee for anyone these days. But there are wonderful companies here that have survived the up and down cycles in the past. We certainly are on a roller coaster now though,” said Robinson.

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The Northern Miner’s 2000 “Mining Man of the Year” Keith Minty – by Vivian Danielson

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

Price spike and exploration success aid turnaround at Lac des Iles

Few mines have endured a rockier road to production than Lac des Iles, Canada’s only primary platinum group metals (PGMs) mine. It is no understatement to say that many viewed its construction as the epitome of industry folly. It is no secret that many thought the maverick mine would never meet expectations. And given the track record since operations began, in the fall of 1994, it is no surprise that, until recently, skeptics mostly had it right.

Lac des Iles had more problems and produced more red ink than most mines, but it also had unrealized potential, and believers who saw the opportunity to prove the skeptics wrong. One of them was Keith Minty, president of North American Palladium (PDL-T), who launched a major exploration effort aimed at expanding the operation, situated near Thunder Bay, Ont. Corporate house-cleaning also took place under his guidance, which better-positioned the company to take advantage of the recent spike in PGM prices. Another major priority was a technical review aimed at improving mining and processing operations.

Lac des Iles is now firmly out of red and into the black, but that is only one of several reasons why The Northern Miner has chosen Keith Minty as its “Mining Man of the Year” for 2000. If mines are made rather than found, he deserves credit for helping Lac des Iles take its rightful place in Canadian mining history.

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Sudbury’s Copper Cliff South Mine Suspending Production – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Bill Bradley’s article.

Greater Sudbury’s economy will now be further affected by the growing world economic crisis.

In early November, Xstrata Nickel announced it will cease operations at Craig and Thayer-Lindsay nickel mines, affecting 250 employees. Early retirement options are being pursued by the company and union.

Now the city’s largest employer, Vale Inco, with over 5,000 employees, is stopping production at one mine and mothballing a development project due to slumping prices and demand, said Vale Inco spokespersons Thursday.

Vale Inco announced production cutbacks at its Greater Sudbury operations Thursday morning.

However, for now, the shutdown of the Copper Cliff South Mine and the one year postponement of the Copper Cliff Deep project will not involve layoffs of any Vale Inco employees, said Cory McPhee, director, Vale Inco communications and public affairs.

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Sudbury Basin Mining Cluster Still Awash With Opportunities – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Bill Bradley’s article.

Times may not be as bad as they may seem for the mining cluster, said participants at a mining cluster meeting Wednesday morning at the Howard Johnson Hotel on Brady Street.

The Sudbury Area Mining Supply and Service Association (SAMSSA) was holding its annual general meeting. Association members employ an estimated 15,000 workers locally.

Though executive director Dick DeStefano has admitted several hundred layoffs have occurred, in general, the mining cluster remains healthy.

Access to financing, a key component of business health, still remains viable so far.

Denis Goupil, associate director of northern Ontario operations of Roynat Capital, said while the chartered banks may be tightening up their lending practices in the short term, other long term finance companies like his organization and the Business Development Bank, have a longer outlook.

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Mineral Resource Sharing Needs to be Addressed in the Canadian Federal Election – by Bill Bradley

Northern Life, Greater Sudbury’s community newspaper, gave Republic of permission to post Bill Bradley’s article.

Campaigning federal politicians are getting an earful from city residents.

As they canvas door-to-door, they are hearing similar complaints from the electorate — poor roads, lack
of health care facilities and services for themselves and their loved ones, lack of affordable housing, and high gas prices.

City councillors hear the same concerns every day.

Behind all these complaints lies an unfortunate truth — northern Ontario is not getting its fair share of resource revenues. Northern Life in this election has been alerting candidates to a report entitled A Refined Argument: Report of the Advisory Panel On Municipal Mining Revenue presented to and adopted by city council February 27.

Prepared by a citizens committee, chaired by retired former Inco vice-president Jose Bianco, the report presents some stark facts. On page 29, in a graph entitled Growth in Tax Revenue Generated By The Ontario Mining Industry in Ontario (2001 to 2005), is shown the following: federal revenues from the mining sector increased 77.6 per cent, and provincial revenues from the mining sector increased 109.8 per cent.

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Ontario Mining Act Public Consultations are Flawed – by Don McKinnon

The world-class Hemlo deposit was the major gold discovery in Canada during the 1980s. The three individuals who were responsible for discovering one of the country’s richest gold camps were Don McKinnon, John Larche and David Bell. Don McKinnon is still an active Timmins-based prospector.

It was a farce.

That is the only way to describe the so-called public consultation session on changes to the Ontario Mining Act (OMA) held in Timmins Aug.11.

The 70 people who turned out were told they could not:

1-ask questions;

2-make any statements to the room;

3-have any other material other than a government handout; and

4-question Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle as he broke his promise to attend.

Any changes to the OMA will have an important bearing, either a negative or positive impact, on a $10.7 billion Ontario industry.

Premier Dalton McGuinty wants “focused discussions” with municipalities, the mineral industry, Aboriginals, prospectors and the public. He certainly went about it in a strange way.

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Honourable Michael Gravelle – Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines – Welcome Speech at Public Consultation – Toronto, Ontario

Honourable Michael Gravelle - Ontario Minister of Northern Development and MinesMODERNIZING ONTARIO’S MINING ACT

September 8, 2008


Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and thank you.

Thank you for taking the time to participate in this consultation.

And thank you for your interest in helping my ministry undertake this next important, indeed historic stage in our government’s commitment to modernize Ontario’s Mining Act.

Historic because together we have the opportunity to ensure this legislation promotes sustainable development that benefits all Ontarians.

As Canada’s largest producer of minerals, Ontario accounted for 28 per cent of the national total in 2007, at an approximate value of $10.7 billion. 

The fact is our mineral sector is a powerhouse that employs tens of thousands of people and pumps millions into the economy.

Our government understands this and we’re proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the world’s leading mining jurisdictions.
We also believe that mining holds tremendous potential, especially for the province’s northern, rural and Aboriginal communities. 

We want the industry to be competitive, vibrant and prosperous.

But we want to ensure this potential and this prosperity is developed in a way that respects communities.

In short, our task is to find a balance – and this is where we need your help.

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Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act – Minister Michael Gravelle’s Message (1 of 6)

Honourable Michael Gravelle - Ontario Minister of Northern Development and MinesOntario, the largest mineral producer in Canada, is modernizing its Mining Act. The following six postings are from a provincial policy document – titled “Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act – Finding A Balance” produced by the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

Ontarians share a fundamental value – a deep and profound love for the natural wonders of this province.

The natural world of trees and rocks and water and wildlife has built our economy into one of the strongest in the world. Since earliest times, it has inspired our art and shaped our character as a people. It sustains us and lies at the core of our self-image.

Whether we are urbanites who relish our annual canoe trips with the kids; Cree hunters awaiting the return of the geese to Hanna Bay; lone prospectors plying their craft in the winter wilderness; cottagers enjoying the sunset at the lake; or small-towners sneaking out at lunch to dip a line in a local stream – whoever we are and whatever we do, we all love this place.

In a sense, we Ontarians are all people of the land. It is natural, then, that the land – and the uses we put it to – should spark strong feelings. Sometimes we find ourselves at odds with each other. Occasionally, these differences lead to conflicts.

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Miners Need to be Wary of Ontario Premier McGuinty – By John Cumming

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

The week ended July 19, the 29th trading week of 2008, kicked off with a surprise announcement by the Ontario government that it would “protect” at least 225,000 sq. km, or roughly half of the province’s boreal forest.

The scope of the proposal is broad. It includes: banning economic activity within at least half the province’s boreal forest; holding meetings across the province with every conceivable stakeholder to come up with new land-use plans; giving local aboriginal communities veto power over proposed economic activities; revamping the way resource businesses are taxed, including more taxes going to local aboriginal communities; and building up bureaucracies to create and implement land-use plans.

The government also restated its intention to rewrite the province’s mining act before 2010, including changing the process for staking and exploration. It starts reviewing the act this August.

Given that you can’t trust anything Premier “I-won’t-cut-your-taxes-but- I-won’t-raise-them-either” McGuinty says, and that his professed environmentalism is driven by pure political expediency, figuring out what this latest proposal means for miners in Ontario is tricky.

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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. 

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More Thoughts on Protecting Ontario’s Boreal Forests – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

The decision by the Ontario government to protect its boreal forests north of the 51st parallel continues to be discussed by CMJ readers and environmentalists.

Predictably, leading North American academics support the plan. They praised protection of a “vital ecosystem”. They figuratively patted the Premier on the back for his “long-term vision, recognizing that storing carbon, protecting biodiversity, and traditional lifestyles and maintaining freshwater supplies are more important than immediate profits.” These people don’t depend on the mineral industry for their income, but I’m sure they all enjoy the myriad of consumer goods made possible by it.

Some CMJ readers were understandably upset at the provincial announcement. “Another North American jurisdiction that would rather have trees and swamps than jobs and wealth generated at a time when the manufacturing industry in Ontario is tanking,” wrote Vancouver’s Darin Wagner, president and CEO of West Timmins Mining . “This kind of announcement shows a complete and total lack of understanding of the minimal impact that exploration and mining have on the local environment. Yet another example of a politician jumping on the ‘global warming’ bandwagon to collect a few votes from the ‘urban greens’ at the expense of the resource communities which have been the backbone of his/her economy.

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Half of Northern Ontario Now Off-Limits to Mineral Industry – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

On July 14, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced plans to protect at least 225,000 km² of the boreal forest in Northern Ontario. “Protect” will mean permanently removing the declared area from mineral exploration, mining and forestry.

The Northern Boreal forest covers 43% of Ontario’s land mass, an area 1.5 times the size of the Maritime provinces. The forest is home to only 24,000 people in 36 communities. (No mention has been made as to whether or not these people had a say in the decision). The forest supports more than 200 species of animals, including polar bears, wolverines and caribou, some of which are threatened or endangered.

McGuinty is touting the plan as a means of reducing climate change. The government claims that the boreal region absorbs 12.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually from the atmosphere. Therefore, the trees must be protected or global warming will accelerate. By waving the holy grail of global warming, the premier has ensured that every non-governmental environmental group will follow vociferously in his wake.

The decision is a blow to northern communities. Reports in the “Timmins Daily Press” indicate that citizens of that community were not consulted prior to the announcement. The local mayor and mining industry executives interviewed for the article expressed grave concerns that this is disastrous for the provincial economy.

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Northern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” Mineral Discovery Sets off Staking Rush – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins Columnist

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The results of a single diamond drill hole announced in August of 2007 set off a massive staking rush into the muskeg swamps of Northern Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands.Someone, after looking at a satellite picture of the area, came up with a name for it – the Ring of Fire.

The name quickly became a part of Canadian mining lore and today over 100 companies have holdings inside the ring.

It will take several hundred million dollars to determine whether a new Sudbury Basin type base metal mining camp is being born but the promoters’ hype is that it is so.

That original hole was pulled by a junior company that, as did so many other small exploration ventures, survived ups and downs over the years.Still, Noront Resources Ltd. persevered and it appears Lady Luck has finally asked it to the dance.

What is interesting about the Noront discovery, known as the McFaulds Lake area Double Eagle Project, is that the Aug. 28, 2007 announcement merely hinted at a big find.

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Honourable Michael Gravelle – Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines – OMA Conference Speech – Ontario Mining – The Best is Yet to Come

Honourable Michael Gravelle - Ontario Minister of Northern Development and MinesThe Honourable Michael Gravelle, Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, gave this speech at the Ontario Mining Association (OMA) conference in Windsor, Ontario on June 10, 2008.

It is great to be back in beautiful Windsor, Ontario –The City of Roses.  My Cabinet colleagues Dwight Duncan and Sandra Pupatello, who represent local ridings, never tire of singing the praises of this community – and I can see why.

I know that my colleague, Sandra Pupatello had a chance to speak to you last night regarding initiatives that are being undertaken by her Ministry to help boost the competitiveness of both the mining industry in Ontario as well as the Ontario economy as a whole – initiatives that are important to ensuring future prosperity in our province.

Windsor is acclaimed as Canada’s automotive capital. It is also is home to the Hiram Walkers Canadian Club whisky plant.

And while great automobiles and fine beverages may have a special place in our collective hearts, I, as Minister of Northern Development and Mines, also like to think of Windsor as one of the premier salt producing regions in the country — home to the Canadian Salt Company’s nearby Ojibway mine.

The Canadian Salt Company is a source of pride not only for the local community but also Ontario’s mining community. It is a leader in modern salt processing methods and it is our nation’s largest salt manufacturer.

Ontario is recognized as a major producer of metallic minerals. Perhaps we don’t mention often enough that we also produce almost a quarter of Canada’s non-metallic minerals.  In that context, southern Ontario is an important and active contributor to our province’s mining industry.

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Map Staking May Not Be The Answer – Gregory Reynolds

Gregory Reynolds - Timmins ColumnistThe Ontario government appears to be boxing itself in when it comes to the issue of map staking.

While large Canadian mining companies and some bureaucrats in the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) favour map staking over the traditional method of acquiring Crown land with the possibility of a mineral resource, prospectors and most small mining companies are opposed.

Actually going into the wilderness and physically walking the boundary of a mining claim, known as ground staking, generates a great deal of wealth for several sectors of the economy.

On the other hand, under map staking, a company or an individual can sit at a computer and pick out the land desired. Upon paying the ministry its fees, the company or the prospector has acquired temporary title to the land.

It must be noted under map staking, a company in Russia or a geologist in South Africa would be able to stake several hundred, or even several thousand, claims if the bill could be paid over the internet.

While the province is considering map staking for south of the French River and the debate over its value has raged over that point, there is another aspect to the situation.

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