Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Nunavut, mining company, link arms to improve Kivalliq quality of life – by Beth Brown (Nunatsiaq News – September 21, 2017)

GN and AEM name 10 priority areas, but mention no budget to pay for it

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. wants to do more than just dig for gold in Nunavut. The multinational corporation, which operates mine sites in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Nunavut Sept. 20, pledging to collaborate with the territory on 10 high-profile “priority areas.”

Those areas are: health, education, training, economic development, infrastructure, housing, heritage resources, wildlife, public safety, and climate change. “None of those are directly mining related,” Agnico Eagle president Ammar Al-Joundi said during a media event at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit.

But, they are areas that are “absolutely essential” to good mining in the long run, he said, calling the MOU and investment in Nunavummiut all part of the company’s business strategy. The MOU came with no budget or specific funding source. But a spokesperson for the mining company, Dale Coffin, said later that a working group will be struck to further the memorandum’s goals and that any related costs would be borne by Agnico Eagle or the GN. Continue Reading →

Ajax mine: too close for comfort in Kamloops? – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – September 19, 2017)

Copper-gold mine is just two kilometres from the city limits

“I’m not against mining, but…” That line from a recent letter to the editor in Kamloops This Week pretty much sums up the tone of discussion around the Ajax copper-gold mine – a discussion that has been going on in Kamloops since 2011.

It’s a discussion that promises to get more heated in the coming weeks, now that the mine project is in the public comment period of a joint provincial-federal environmental review.

According to KGHM International Ltd., the Polish company that would develop the mine, Ajax would cost $1 billion to build, create 1,800 short-term jobs over a two-and-a-half-year construction period and 500 permanent jobs once the mine is in operation, and generate an annual payroll of $60 million. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond investors OK $1.2B US sale to Washington Companies (CBC News North – September 19, 2017)

Shareholders expected to receive $14.25 US per share in cash when acquisition closes

The Canadian Press: The Canadian head office of Dominion Diamond is to remain in Calgary after its shareholders voted on Tuesday to approve its $1.2-billion US sale to Washington Companies.

Larry Simkins, president of the Montana-based acquirer, attended Dominion’s special meeting. He said afterwards it wouldn’t make sense to relocate the 100 employees of Dominion in Calgary after the head office was moved from Yellowknife earlier this year.

“It just moved here and the last thing we would do is uproot families and move them back to Yellowknife or some other place,” he said. Investors in the Northwest Territories diamond producer voted more than 99 per cent in favour of the deal announced in July. Continue Reading →

Northwest Territories Mining – The Drive Beyond Diamonds: Whati Road Could Deliver Polymetallic NICO Mine and More – by John Curran (Aboriginal Business Quarterly – Summer 2017)

For the entire issue:

There’s no denying the importance of the mining sector for the NWT’s economy, but at the same time this key industry has become completely dependent on a single commodity in recent times: Diamonds. Over the years, gold, lead, zinc, silver, tungsten, radium and many other minerals have been mined around the territory, but those days are currently in the rearview mirror. As the recent downturn has shown us, economic dependence on a single item plucked from the ground is never good – even something as lucrative as diamonds.

When prices for rough gems dropped a couple of years back and NWT mines were forced to trim operating costs, the territory has been suffering through the miners’ belt-tightening ever since. Despite the decline, diamond mining remains the dominant industry in the NWT.

“Resource projects, such as the diamond mines, provide the GNWT with a significant portion of corporate income tax, fuel tax, and property tax revenues and the projects’ employees provide payroll tax and personal income tax revenues,” said Andrew Livingstone, Senior GNWT Cabinet Communications Advisor. “Over the past three years, diamond mines contributed 41 per cent of the GNWT’s corporate income, fuel, property and payroll tax revenue.” Continue Reading →

AUDIO: Ontario’s far north one step closer to building all-season road (CBC News Sudbury – September 17, 2017)

Project becoming more urgent as winter road season becomes shorter every year

Plans to build an all-season road to the James Bay Coast in northern Ontario are moving forward with a feasibility study. It will examine information gathered from community consultations, environmental data and refine cost estimates, which have been pegged between $500 to $700 million.

“We’re no longer going to be isolated,” Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon said. “You’re going to see forestry. You’re going to see resource development. Companies coming into your territory.” Solomon adds that he hopes a permanent road will ease the cost of living.

“For instance, back home I was in my own community of Kashechewan this week and my wife went to the store to pick up a slab of bacon,” Solomon said. “She paid $17 for that … where they’re selling $3 or $4 in Timmins.” Continue Reading →

Mining millions to lift traditional Aboriginal landowners out of ‘poverty’, says Ngadju elder – by Jarrod Lucas (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – September 17, 2017)

Twenty-five years since the High Court’s landmark Mabo decision, traditional landowners in one of Western Australia’s biggest mining regions are finally starting to see the benefits of native title.

The resources wealth of WA’s Goldfields, which generates a gross regional product of more than $6 billion for the state, has not stemmed the ongoing social issues that prompted a widespread trial of the Federal Government’s cashless welfare card.

But Aboriginal leaders are optimistic the start-up of two major mining operations will improve the lives of Indigenous Australians living in poverty while creating life-changing education and job opportunities for young people. The $456 million Nova nickel-copper mine, which was officially opened this month by WA Mines Minister Bill Johnston, is expected to deliver more than $20 million in native title royalties for the Ngadju people over the next decade. Continue Reading →

Underground expansion could extend Ekati mine life by 7 years, says new report – by Melinda Trochu (CBC News North – September 8, 2017)

First diamond mine in the Northwest Territories could stay open until 2042

Further expansion of underground mining operations at the Ekati diamond mine could keep the mine in business until 2042, according to a preliminary economic assessment released by Dominion Diamond Corporation on Wednesday. Dominion operates the mine, and owns a controlling interest.

The Fox Deep project would expand the mine by developing an underground operation below the mined-out Fox open pit. It follows on the recently-approved Misery Deep project, which is already expected to expand the life of the mine from 2033 to 2035.

Tom Hoefer, executive director of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, says Yellowknifers should be doing a happy dance. “A year ago we thought that Ekati had a life to 2021,” says Hoefer. “And so with their work on other pipes and now adding Fox in they’ve created a very exciting future for the N.W.T.’s mining industry.” Continue Reading →

Lost resource opportunities mean higher taxes – by Colin Craig (Toronto Sun – September 7, 2017)

But it’s not just the oil and gas sector that is constantly being obstructed.
Ontario’s “ring of fire” – an immense mining opportunity in northern Ontario
– has yet to ignite and the massive Site C hydro dam in B.C. is facing
opposition from the province’s new government. In 2016, the Financial Post
identified “35 projects worth $129 billion, that have been stalled or cancelled
due to opposition from environmental, aboriginal and/or community groups.”

Every Canadian should reflect on four words Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin recently shared at a conference in Banff. After describing how she had heard about several oil and gas companies cancelling their multi-billion dollar projects in Canada, Fallin quipped – “opportunity here, opportunity there.”

The inference was that she could approach those companies and try to convince them to invest in her flourishing oil and gas state. Fallin of course wants the thousands of jobs those companies would bring, the billions in tax revenues they would pay and all the other positive spinoff effects.

So why is Canada letting all those jobs, and the billions of tax dollars they would contribute, slip between our fingers? Continue Reading →

Aroland anxious for ‘gateway’ role in Ring of Fire – by Carl Clutchey (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – September 7, 2017)

As efforts continue to obtain unanimous indigenous consent for two major access roads into Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire mining belt, at least one First Nation is sounding reassured that its interests are being met.

Aroland First Nation Chief Dorothy Towedo said Wednesday the province has agreed to work with the band and fulfil its goal of becoming the Ring of Fire’s “gateway.” “Ontario is now clear,” Towedo said in a news release. “It is committed to working with Aroland and other First Nations for planning potential mining and related infrastructure developments.”

She added: “This commitment is a necessary part of obtaining consent.” Towedo said her community, located adjacent to an existing provincial highway near Nakina, felt assured after receiving a supportive letter from Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle. Continue Reading →

[Canada First Nations – Historic Pollution] The Monster Underground – by Hilary Beaumont (Vice News Canada – September 6, 2017)

There are more than a thousand cases of industrial pollution affecting 335 First Nations in Canada. Some of them have serious health effects. But the governments responsible have dragged their feet for decades.

Johanne Black wants to start a legend to tell future generations about the deadly arsenic in the soil and water in N’dilo, a Dene community of 200 people in the Northwest Territories. She calls it: “The Monster Underground.”

When the Giant Gold Mine opened across Great Slave Lake in 1948, nobody warned the locals that the mine was using an especially deadly form of arsenic that dissolved easily in water. Not long after the mine opened, it emitted arsenic into the air and it settled into the snow that the children played in.

English newspapers warned of contamination, but most Dene people couldn’t read these warnings. People became sick, and according to oral evidence from elder Therese Sangris, in the spring of 1951 four children died. The details of the event are recounted in a report to the federal government, based on evidence given by local elders. Continue Reading →

Fast is slow: Will Ontario really build a road to the Ring of Fire? – by Jon Thompson (TV Ontario Northwestern – August 31, 2017)

ANALYSIS: Kathleen Wynne said she’d take her time to get the road right. Jon Thompson asks what took her off course

Kathleen Wynne’s government says it likes to get relationships right: It pledged to get things right with the feds in the 2016 Ontario budget. In a 2015 address to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Wynne herself committed to “getting it right” when it comes to Queen’s Park’s relationship with cities.

Wynne often uses the phrase when discussing Ontario’s relationship with the Matawa tribal council, whose lands and lifestyles the proposed Ring of Fire mining development — consisting of huge chromite and nickel deposits nearly 600 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay — could alter considerably.

When critics allege progress on that file has stagnated, Wynne again stresses the importance of “getting it right.”

However, in recent months the premier has tried to speed up the Ring of Fire’s development and events from last week suggest “getting it right” may have been a sound approach after all. Continue Reading →

Should Ontario Northland be the railroader for the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 6, 2017)

Regional railway says it has the smarts, capability to serve James Bay mining camp

The Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) is ready to be a logistical player in the Ring of Fire, if and when an ore haul railroad is required.

Now that Queen’s Park has unveiled a road-building timetable to reach the Far North mineral deposits, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission president-CEO Corina Moore said the North Bay-headquartered Crown railroader has the ability to do the job.

“Ontario Northland remains interested in providing input on how we can provide rail support in the future with regards to the Ring of Fire,” said Moore in an email. She was responding to comments made by Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts, who hinted that the ONR could serve as the exclusive railroader to the Ring.

“When the Ring of Fire chromite market grows to a level requiring rail, Ontario Northland has the experience, technology, and capabilities to safely operate and maintain the rail infrastructure,” replied Moore. Continue Reading →

Heading into public hearing, Nunavut, Agnico Eagle disagree over caribou – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – September 5, 2017)

Final NIRB hearing into Whale Tail gold mine project starts Sept. 19 in Baker Lake

Parties planning to attend the upcoming public session on Agnico Eagle Ltd.‘s Whale Tail gold mine project near Baker Lake have plenty to read and think about between now and the public hearing set for between Sept. 19 and Sept. 22 in Baker Lake before the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

That’s because the mining company submitted a 208-page document to the NIRB Aug. 28, responding to multiple opinions expressed by stakeholders. This document contains detailed responses to comments that the NIRB received from such groups as the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, Inuit organizations and the Government of Nunavut about Agnico Eagle’s Whale Tail project.

Despite the heavy use of acronyms and diplomatic jargon like “values” and “appreciates” in the document, it’s likely that big, unresolved issues around caribou will be among topics discussed in Baker Lake. Much of the discussion on caribou in Agnico Eagle’s response is heavily technical. Continue Reading →

North-south road offers way out of poverty, isolation for Martin Falls First Nation – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – September 1, 2017)

Marten Falls will collaborate with province on first stage of Ring of Fire road

One isolated First Nation community near the Ring of Fire declares that a year-round access road will bring a “prosperous, sustainable, and more inclusive future for its elders, youth and families.” In an Aug. 31 news release, Marten Falls said the time has come to finally be connected to the provincial highway system after “years of negotiating and planning” for a community access road.

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s two-corridor Ring of Fire road proposal unveiled in Thunder Bay on Aug. 21 was initially being celebrated as a breakthrough in finally making progress on development in the stalled Far North mineral camp.

Within days, the chiefs of four of the five communities closest to the Ring of Fire either backtracked on their support for a east-west shared community/industrial road, or vowed to stop its planned construction in early 2019. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Marten Falls First Nation’s North-South Road Goes to the Community and Eventually to Ring of Fire

THUNDER BAY, Ontario, Aug. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Marten Falls First Nation was pleased to participate in the August 21st media announcement of the government of Ontario. What is most important for Marten Falls and has been overlooked in the announcement is the reality that the First Nation will finally, after years of negotiating and planning, get a community access road. The road to the community will follow a north-south alignment from around Aroland/Nakina and construction of the road is planned to start in 2019.

Marten Falls views the access road as a means to food security and to improving housing, education and economic opportunities. The First Nation experiences poverty, drug addiction, and social and economic challenges and has also been denied development and employment opportunities due to remoteness.

Marten Falls has been looking for options to connect the community to the provincial highway for a while and although four other remote regional First Nations received $785,000 in March 2015 from the federal and provincial governments for studying an all-weather road, Marten Falls only started work on road options with the province late last year. Continue Reading →