27th April 2015

Ring of Fire Press Release: University of Toronto Instructors Launch Kickstarter Campaign for Ring of Fire Academic Research Project

In early April, Shadi Ramos and Fionn Byrne, two Landscape Architecture Instructors from the University of Toronto, launched their 40 day Kickstarter campaign, Ring of Fire.

The Ring of Fire is set to be the largest infrastructural project in Canada second only to the oil sands of Alberta. Situated in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario, the potential development area is 540 kilometers north of Thunder Bay and another 1,400 kilometers north of Toronto. This 5,000‐squarekilometer crescent shape deposit of chromite, nickel, and other platinum group metals is thought to be worth as much as $50‐billion and will require massive investment in infrastructure and housing to make the mining project operational. The area’s economy and ecology will be drastically changed in the coming years. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

METALS-Nickel hits one-month high on supply concerns – by Liisa Tuhkanen (Reuters Africa – April 27, 2015)


LONDON, April 27 (Reuters) – Nickel prices surged to a one-month high on Monday on prospects for reduced supply, but analysts said the rally could be difficult to sustain.

Overall, base metals were boosted by higher Chinese equity prices and hopes for further stimulus in the world’s largest consumer of industrial metals.

Three-month nickel on the London Metal Exchange rose more than 3 percent to a session high of $13,690 a tonne. The steel ingredient ended at $13,550 a tonne – up from $13,195 on Friday, when it rose nearly 4 percent.

Expectations of a more balanced nickel market rose last week after the International Nickel Study Group said the global surplus would shrink to about 20,000 tonnes this year as an export ban on nickel ore by top producer Indonesia further crimps production in China.

Also on the radar are production problems at BHP Billiton’s Colombian ferronickel operations. However, Robin Bhar, metals analyst at Societe Generale, said the nickel rally could peter out as prices seemed to have returned to an equilibrium after falling to $12,205 in mid-April, the lowest level since May 2009. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

China plans new commodity superhighway, altering energy trade flow – by Ilan Solomons (MiningWeekly.com – April 24, 2015)


JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – China’s Go West strategy of encouraging coastal to inland flow of capital and people will result in the formation of a new commodity superhighway, says advisory firm Wood Mackenzie (Woodmac).

This new superhighway will impact the energy trade flows within China and externally, through the new Silk Road routes, and will link the country from east to west, onwards to Central Asia and beyond.

“This represents a significant business and investment opportunity for China’s western region,” states Woodmac. Woodmac principal Asia economist Cynthia Lim explains China’s Go West policy is already under way and is often touted as the country’s “silver bullet” to ensure long-term gross domestic product (GDP) growth, as China’s economically dominant coastal regions approach maturity.

“The coastal provinces will have to upgrade their industries to higher value-add sectors, such as services, while industries will relocate inland, westwards. This is shifting the regional distribution of demand centres and power generation; and the impact will become more apparent over the next two decades. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

China is burning through its natural resources – by Vladimir Basov (Mining.com – April 26, 2015)


China is the world’s top mining country, but lack of local reserves of main mineral commodities forces local companies to hunt for mining deals globally.

Since nearly all essential production data has became available to the public, this is a good time to determine the biggest mining countries throughout the world in terms of their domestic mines output.

Due to lack of a common methodology, a simple principle of appreciated mining points credited to countries comprising the top 10 was used in this preliminary estimation.

For example, the leader in copper production was awarded 10 points, whereas a country sitting on tenth place earned one point. If a country placed out of the top 10 producers for a particular commodity, it earned zero mining points.

To simplify calculations, no weights reflecting the importance of each commodity, and other modifying factors, were taken into account. Only those most important for the world economy and most popular among investable mineral commodities, have been considered. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

RPT-For hard-hit silver miners, gold is the silver lining – by Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – April 27, 2015)


(Reuters) – Pure-play silver miners, a niche investment market popular with retail investors, are moving up the endangered list.

Buffeted by a 68 percent plunge in the price of silver since 2011, miners who traditionally made most of their money from silver are increasingly diversifying into gold, buying mines that have been put up for sale and looking to acquire more.

In addition to spurring deals in the precious metals space, the trend is reducing investment avenues for those wanting to take a bet on a commodity that often outperforms gold when bullion is rising.

“The real silver nuts such as myself like pure silver companies. The more leveraged to silver the better… but you have to be able to tolerate the risk,” said David Morgan, founder of the Silver-Investor.com website.

According to BMO Capital Markets, large primary silver miners have increased their gold output on average by 19.4 percent a year since 2009 to 2 million ounces. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

Barrick Gold faces shareholder wrath over pay hikes at annual meeting Tuesday – by Lisa Wright (Toronto Star – April 27, 2015)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Toronto-based mining giant’s board of directors in hot water over ‘exorbitant’ executive compensation plan.

Barrick Gold Corp. is in for a showdown Tuesday at its annual meeting in Toronto amid investor blowback over its controversial executive pay scheme that includes a 35 per cent salary hike for its board chairman.

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, the country’s largest pension fund manager, joined three other big pension funds Friday in saying it too will vote against the Toronto mining giant’s executive compensation plan awarding John Thornton $12.9 million.

The CPP Investment Board also said it plans to withhold support from Brett Harvey, one of Barrick’s board members and the chair of its compensation committee, which approved the 2014 pay hikes for Barrick’s top brass in a year when shares plunged 33 per cent and the miner lost $2.91 billion.

“We continue to be concerned with the company’s practice of granting outsized awards on a largely discretionary basis, which we believe is inconsistent with the governance principle of pay-for-performance,” said the CPPIB in a statement. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015


THUNDER BAY – April 27, 2015 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is highlighting Thunder Bay & Northwestern Ontario as the first region of its new ‘Canada’s Resource Cities’ series. These short reports will help Canadians living in urban areas understand how much the prosperity of their communities depends on our natural resource industries.

Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce President Charla Robinson comments, “Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario are proud of our heritage as one of Canada’s resource cities. We are honoured to partner with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to highlight the success stories of our region with businesses across the country.”

Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce says, “Canada’s cities are the places where rocks, plants and hydrocarbons are transformed into the engines of our economy. They are the places that create the knowledge and technology to extract, harvest, transport and process natural resources in an efficient and environmentally responsible manner.”

Our Canada’s Resource Cities infographic is online at: www.tbchamber.ca/resource-cities . Printed copies of the infographic booklet are available at the Chamber of Commerce office. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015


SUDBURY, April 27 2015 – Vale and United Steelworkers (USW) Local 6500 and Local 6200 are pleased to announce that an early tentative agreement has been reached on a new five-year contract for Production & Maintenance employees in Sudbury and Port Colborne. The new 5-year Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will come into effect on June 1, 2015.

Details of the tentative agreement will remain confidential until the USW holds ratification meetings with its members on Wednesday April 29 and Thursday April 30.

“The negotiations process has been productive and respectful, and we are encouraged that we have been able to reach an early tentative agreement that is unanimously recommended by both bargaining committees for our members to consider,” said Rick Bertrand, President of USW Local 6500. “We endorse this deal and look forward to presenting the details to our membership as it paves the road for the next 5 years.”

“We believe we have reached a tentative agreement that appropriately meets the needs of both the company and our USW Local 6500 and 6200 employees,” said Mitch Medina, Manager, HR, Health, Safety & Environment and lead negotiator for Vale. “Both teams have worked very hard and in a spirit of cooperation to achieve the positive result we were all hoping for.” Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

Philippine mining regulator cautious on nickel prices – by Erik dela Cruz (Reuters U.S. – April 27, 2015)


MANILA – (Reuters) – The Philippines’ mining industry regulator said on Monday two new nickel mines would help boost production of the country’s top metal export this year, but prices may remain weak amid tepid demand from top consumer China.

The Southeast Asian country was last year’s biggest nickel ore supplier to China’s producers of nickel pig iron, used in stainless steel production, after previous top supplier Indonesia banned exports of unprocessed metallic minerals.

Leo Jasareno, director of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB), said nickel output this year should rise with the entry of the Libjo and Agata mines in the south.

“These new nickel mining projects are expected to boost the 2015 nickel production of the country, with the expected mine output of Libjo and Agata about 714,000 dry metric tons and 1,360,000 dry metric tons respectively,” he said in a statement.

Average nickel prices rose 11.6 percent last year to $7.56 per pound, boosting the value of the country’s overall metallic output to a record high 137.53 billion pesos ($3.1 billion), MGB data released on Monday showed. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

Vale loses fight to skip daily cage inspections – by Darren MacDonald (Sudbury Northern Life – April 24, 2015)


Company argued checking safety backups daily was a waste of time

Vale Canada Ltd. has lost an appeal of a Ministry of Labour order to do daily checks of a safety mechanism on mining shaft elevators that prevent them from free-falling in case of a malfunction.

In an Ontario Labour Board decision released April 10, Vice-Chair Matthew R. Wilson sided with United Steelworkers Local 6500, ruling that inspections of the safety catches – known as “dogs” – must be done daily.

The process is known as “chairing the cage,” and it’s a procedure that mimics what happens when the elevator (cage) that carries miners underground fails and the claw-like dogs on top begin spinning, biting into the wooden timbers in the shaft and stopping the free-fall.

The danger is that the dogs can become eroded or be compromised by falling debris, meaning they wouldn’t spin and attach themselves to the wooden timbers. In their arguments, Vale said their cages have a protective “boot” on top of the cage that prevents debris from falling into the dogs. Therefore, the company argued, the weekly inspections they conduct were sufficient.

Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

Telfer, Giustra deny they tried to influence Russian uranium deal with donations to Clinton Foundation – by Peter Koven National Post – April 25, 2015)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

A pair of Canadian mining magnates are denying suggestions that they donated to the charitable foundation of former President Bill Clinton and his family to help win U.S. approval to sell a uranium company to Russia.

Frank Giustra said the allegations have nothing to do with him, and are merely an attempt to “tear down” presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her election campaign. Ian Telfer, meanwhile, said he committed the funds before he ever realized he would do the deal with the Russians.

The New York Times reported on the donations in an explosive article this week. The story involves a former Canadian mining company called Uranium One Inc., in which Giustra and Telfer were two of the key principals.

In 2010, Uranium One began a process to sell itself to Rosatom, a state-controlled nuclear giant in Russia. Uranium One had assets in Kazakhstan and the United States, and multiple U.S. government departments had to sign off on the deal. One of them is the State Department, which was led at the time by Hillary Clinton. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th April 2015

Federal help in Ring of Fire linked to community benefits (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – April 25, 2015)

Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal is the daily newspaper of Northwestern Ontario.

The federal government needs to see the potential for community benefits before investing in the Ring of Fire development.

That’s the message Aime Dimatteo, director general for FedNor, gave during his presentation at the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association conference, which was held this week in Thunder Bay.
Dimatteo argued the project is moving forward and pointed to the joint funded study with the province that’s looking at an east-west road corridor.

He said he was referring to the direction the federal government has taken in terms of building the infrastructure for the Ring of Fire. But the government wants to make it clear that those investments have to have community benefits, he said.

“If it is just about putting a road from a highway into a mining site that’s not going to have any community benefit, the federal government’s programs won’t come to bear,” he said. “In the case of the east-west road study that was announced jointly by the federal and provincial governments, it will connect four remote communities. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Northern Ontario Politics, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

27th April 2015

NEWS RELEASE: First Nation Chiefs seek fair, inclusive and transparent bidding process for Cliffs Chromite assets

MARTEN FALLS FIRST NATION, ON, April 25, 2015 /CNW/ – The leaders of Marten Falls First Nation and Aroland First Nation are expressing disappointment that the bidding process for the Cliffs Chromite project assets, as currently managed, has not been inclusive and transparent, leading to a potential unfair and biased outcome. The leaders assert there is a bidder who not only has First Nation support, but has a superior bid that will benefit Cliffs’ creditors and help advance the Chromite project for Ontario.

“We are united in opposing the proposed Noront and Franco-Nevada deal and we will do everything in our capacity to make sure that no ore will ever leave our backyards without the meaningful involvement and participation of all Matawa First Nations,” said Interim Chief Bruce Achneepineskum of Marten Falls First Nation. “It is incomprehensible that the interest and ability of our communities to participate in the transaction has been so discounted that we were never even approached for any commercial discussion. Contrary to statements made in the Court, that the Matawa First Nations should be indifferent to who ultimately buys the Chromite assets, our communities will be directly, economically and forever impacted by the outcome.”

Under the proposed Noront transaction, Franco-Nevada will purchase a 3% Net Smelter Royalty (“NSR”) on the chromite mining claims as part of their agreements to finance the deal. This will bring the total NSR to 5% on these claims, a very high royalty load that will significantly impair the ability to justify and finance the ultimate construction of the Chromite project. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

27th April 2015

Sudbury inquest: Stobie conditions ‘very, very wet’ – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – April 25, 2015)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

If he had seen conditions like those he witnessed after a run-of-muck incident at Vale’s Stobie Mine in 2011, he would have issued a stop-work order to cease production, said a Ministry of Labour mining inspector.

Will Thomson testified at Day 5 of a coroner’s inquest into the June 8, 2011, deaths of two men at Stobie that he had never seen water conditions as bad as those since beginning in the mining industry as a student in 1989.

Thomson testified before a two-man, three woman jury Friday, saying water and muck was five feet deep on one level, and sand, slimes and water mixed with broken ore covered levels of the century-old mine.

Thomson had only been “badged” as a Labour ministry inspector since March of the year Jason Chenier and Jordan Fram were killed in a run of tons of muck while working at the 3000-foot level of Stobie, near the No. 7 ore pass.

Thomson had worked for Vale for 15 years, eight of them at Stobie, in logistics on the muck circuit in the mine’s A division. He was the on-call mining inspector June 9, 2011, at 12:15 a.m., when he was contacted about the incident in Stobie Mine’s B division. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Mining Labour Issues and History - Sudbury and Global, Mining Tragedies, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Vale | 0 Comments

26th April 2015

King Solomon’s Mines (American Themed Mining Movie – 1950)



King Solomon’s Mines is a 1950 adventure film, the second of five film adaptations of the 1885 novel by the same name by Henry Rider Haggard. It stars Deborah Kerr, Stewart Granger and Richard Carlson. It was adapted by Helen Deutsch, directed by Compton Bennett and Andrew Marton and released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.


Allan Quatermain (Stewart Granger), an experienced hunter and guide, reluctantly agrees to help Elizabeth Curtis (Deborah Kerr) and her brother John Goode (Richard Carlson) search for her husband, who disappeared in the unexplored African interior while searching for the legendary mines. They have a copy of the map he used. A tall, mysterious native, Umbopa (Siriaque), joins the safari. Quartermain has no use for women on a safari, but during the long and grueling journey, they begin falling in love. Read the rest of this entry »

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