Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Coal slump not impacting Navajo Mine, officials say – by Noel Lyn Smith (Farmington Daily Times – April 26, 2017)

NENAHNEZAD — Despite a nationwide slowdown in coal production and increased competition from inexpensive natural gas, the owners and the operators of Navajo Mine say they expect to continue doing business as usual.

Bisti Fuels Co., a subsidiary of the North American Coal Corp., has been operating the open-pit mine since Jan. 1, when it completed the transition in management from previous owners and operators, BHP Billiton.

The Navajo Transitional Energy Co., an enterprise of the Navajo Nation, purchased the mine and its equipment from BHP Billiton in 2013 and picked Bisti Fuels to run it. Among the plans to sustain coal mining operations, NTEC and Bisti Fuels are investing in new equipment and upgrading hardware. Continue Reading →

Towns on the clock: What comes after coal for B.C.’s mining towns? – by By Josh Pagé and Liam Britten (CBC News B.C. – April 22, 2017)

Coal has for decades been the way of life for miners in towns like Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie

Mining coal for steelmaking has been the way of life — a good life — for coal miners in towns like Elkford, Sparwood and Fernie for more than a century. But there’s also tension there, as coal truck driver Katie Bulger, who originally moved to the area for the snowboarding, explains.

“It is kind of a huge push and pull between … loving the mountains, being outdoors, and then going to a mine where it is just destroying mountains,” she said. Dean McKerracher, mayor of Elkford, feels tension too, but on a different matter.

While the major mines are expected to be in operation for several more decades, he worries what their inevitable closure will mean for the future of his community. The plan is to try to transition into tourism. Continue Reading →

Conservative leadership hopeful calls for federal support for Ring of Fire – by Matt Vis ( – April 20, 2017)

Federal leadership candidate Erin O’Toole visits Thunder Bay, calls on Ottawa to make development of Ring of Fire a priority.

THUNDER BAY – Erin O’Toole views the Ring of Fire as a project of national significance that needs to receive more attention from Ottawa.

Visiting Thunder Bay on Wednesday, the federal Conservative leadership candidate said developing the potentially lucrative Northern Ontario mineral deposits would be a priority if he were to lead the country. “Infrastructure should not just be subways in a couple of cities in the country,” O’Toole said.

“This is what the federal government should do with infrastructure funding. It’s not just about transit in a few parts of the country. If we can help access jobs, resources, opportunity, that’s where the federal government has a role in roads, access to resources and intertie of electricity transmission. There’s a whole range of things we can do to make this possible.” Continue Reading →

Ice Roads Ease Isolation in Canada’s North, but They’re Melting Too Soon – by Dan Levin (New York Times – April 19, 2017)

“These roads are the only way our people can survive,” said Alvin Fiddler,
grand chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 indigenous
communities in northern Ontario, including 32 that are isolated from Canada’s
highway network and electrical grid and depend on the winter road system to
replenish stocks of fuel, food and building materials. Some of those
communities nearly ran out of diesel fuel because an ice road opened
several weeks late, Mr. Fiddler said.

ON THE TLICHO WINTER ROAD, Northwest Territories — In Canada’s northern latitudes, the frigid winter means freedom. That is when lakes and rivers freeze into pavements of marbled blue ice. For a few months, trucks can haul fuel or lumber or diamonds or a moose carcass to the region’s remote communities and mines that are cut off by water and wilderness, reachable for most of the year only by barge or by air.

But Canada’s ice roads — more than 3,300 miles of them — have been freezing later and melting earlier, drastically reducing the precious window of time that isolated residents rely on to restock a year’s worth of vital supplies, or to simply take a road trip. Continue Reading →

Arbitration hearing on QIA-Baffinland royalties dispute starts April 18 (Nunatsiaq News – April 18, 2017)

Inuit org alleges mining company in breach of Mary River IIBA obligations

A long awaited arbitration hearing aimed at resolving a complex dispute between Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. and the Qikiqtani Inuit Association over advance royalty payments for the Mary River project got started April 18 in Vancouver before a three-person panel, the QIA has announced in a release.

In a statement of claim filed Aug. 26, 2016, the QIA alleged that Baffinland, under their Inuit Impact and Benefit Agreement for Mary River, owed them, at that time, at least $6.25 million in advance payments.

Under the Mary River IIBA, Baffinland has already made advance payments to QIA—against future royalties— worth a total of $20 million: $5 million on the date the IIBA was signed, $5 million after the water licence was received, and $10 million after making their final construction decision. Continue Reading →

Approval of Mount Polley mine waste dumping irks critics – by Yvette Brend (CBC News B.C. – April 18, 2017)

Mount Polley Mining Corporation has been granted permission to drain treated mining waste water into Quesnel Lake, a massive glacial lake that provides drinking water to residents of Likely B.C., northeast of Williams Lake.

Approval of the long-term waste water management plan came April 7, despite a disaster that put the water at risk in 2014 and a provincial investigation into the spill that is not yet complete. “The timing is absolutely surprising,” said Ugo Lapointe of Mining Watch Canada, who pointed out the news release came on a Friday afternoon before the launching of the B.C. election.

Quesnel Lake, famed for trophy-sized rainbow trout, is feared at risk by locals who describe it as the deepest fjord lake on earth, and who protest any dump of mining waste, treated or otherwise, which can carry toxic elements and heavy metals such as arsenic and lead or zinc. Continue Reading →

All season roads focus at Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Infrastructure Summit – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – March 11, 2017)

All-season roads were raised during the Nishnawbe Aski Nation Infrastructure Summit, held March 7-8 at the Victoria Inn in Thunder Bay.

“We all know that based on what we are seeing, based on what we have experienced over the last couple of years that we cannot continue to rely on the winter road system,” says Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “It’s getting too unpredictable; it’s becoming too short, the winter road season, and it’s becoming unsafe. So we need to look at alternatives, we need to look at other ways of transporting our goods in the long term and that may mean building an all-season road network right throughout the NAN territory.”

Weagamow has already started work on the construction of an all-season road to their community, which is located about 45 kilometres from the Windigo Road. “Last summer was the first time they were able to drive in and out all year around, but they had to park their vehicles across the lake from the community,” Fiddler says. “But the work to construct an all-season road around the lake is now starting.” Continue Reading →

Nunavut regulators ponder hovercraft proposal from Agnico Eagle (Nunatsiaq News – April 11, 2017)

“Best overall alternative for exploration from an environmental and economic perspective”

If you’ve ever seen a hovercraft in action, it was probably shown whipping through the Everglades in Florida. But Agnico Eagle Mining Ltd. would like to bring two hovercraft to Nunavut’s Kivalliq region this summer for use in a pilot project that is now awaiting an April 17 screening decision from the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

By design, hovercraft can be used on water and land, taking people or industrial loads over small and large rivers, lakes, swamps, snow, soil, packed ice bogs, tundra, and coastal seas throughout the year.

And hovercraft have resolved numerous logistical and transportation problems in Siberia and the Far East, Agnico Eagle said in its project proposal to the NIRB. “It is expected that they will also be applicable in Nunavut and may have future all-season benefits for Nunavummiut,” Agnico Eagle said. Continue Reading →

Praise for mining jobs dominates Nunavut symposium – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – April 7, 2017)

“Meadowbank has literally created a new middle class”

If you wonder about the impact of mining on people in Nunavut, two Inuit employees of Agnico-Eagle Mining Ltd. in central Nunavut can tell you the mining industry helped change their lives.

Travis Rusk, 44, a haul truck driver and auxiliary equipment operator at Agnico Eagle’s Meadowbank gold mine, started work at the mine in 2011 as a labourer hired by a contractor. After switching to Agnico Eagle and training for his present job, he’s now driving a variety of vehicles. Thanks to his job, he was able to buy a house in his home town of Rankin Inlet.

And then there’s Devon Killulark, 36, of Baker Laker, a certified mechanic at Meadowbank, who entered the mine as a mechanic’s helper: with on-site training, he’s now earned his Red Seal certification as a mechanic. Continue Reading →

‘We are very disappointed’: Loss of Northern Gateway devastating for many First Nations, chiefs say – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – April 10, 2017)

“They understand that it was a political decision, and not a decision acting in the best
interests of Canadians,” Swampy said. “They weren’t asked about the financial effect,
the lost employment. They are trying to get themselves out of poverty, the welfare system that they are stuck to, and every time they try to do something like that, it’s destroyed.
“This (was) a multi-generational opportunity to eliminate poverty in over two dozen of
our first nations and metis communities,” he said.

CALGARY — Most aboriginal communities in northern British Columbia impacted by the Northern Gateway pipeline supported the $7.9 billion project and are angry Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rejected it, say representatives of three of the bands.

Elmer Ghostkeeper of the Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement, Chief Elmer Derrick of the Gitxsan Nation, and Dale Swampy of the Samson Cree Nation said on the sidelines of a private meeting in Calgary on Friday with oilpatch leaders they are disappointed in the “political decision,” which they say was made without their input. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Noront Resources Appoints New Directors

TORONTO, ON–(Marketwired – April 10, 2017) – Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront”) (TSX VENTURE: NOT) today announced The Honourable Greg Rickford, former Canadian Minister of Natural Resources, Jean Paul (JP) Gladu, President and CEO of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) and Bo Liu, Senior Manager, Global Resource Development, Baosteel Resources International will join the company’s Board of Directors.

In addition to serving as Minister of Natural Resources, Greg Rickford was the Member of Parliament for Kenora, Ontario for seven years. During this time, he also served as Minister of State for Science & Technology, Minister of State for Federal Economic Development Northern Ontario Region (FedNor) and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs. A practicing lawyer and advisor, Mr. Rickford specializes in natural resources, Indigenous & health matters, and has lived and worked in Indigenous communities in northwestern Ontario and across Canada.

“I am honoured to join the Noront team as they seek to create economic opportunities for northern Ontario through responsible resource development. Continue Reading →

First Nations, gov’t sign Kemess mine deal – by Frank Peebles (Prince George Citizen – April 6, 2017)

A major hurdle to a major gold mine was cleared on Thursday – in fact three hurdles. The Tsay Keh Dene, Takla Lake and Kwadacha First Nations all announced their support for the Kemess Underground Mine and a revenue deal with the provincial government to prove it.

As municipalities collect annual income from industrial activities within their town borders, these three First Nations will receive regular income from this proposed mine. It was considered one of the final obstacles to getting the Kemess project to the starting line.

The three, who share the unceded traditional territory on which the mine would be built, worked together under the collective title of Tse Keh Nay during negotiations with the provincial government. Continue Reading →

Future of Nunavut’s mining sector looks ‘golden,’ symposium hears – by Sara Frizzell (CBC News North – April 6, 2017)

Fuelled by mining development, Nunavut is heading into the most prosperous period in its history, according to the territorial government’s senior economist Francois Picotte. Over the next four years, the territory will see Baffinland’s Mary River mine and the new Hope Bay mine — TMAC Resources’ project in the Kitikmeot region — ramp up production, as well as the opening of two new sites by mining company Agnico Eagle.

The 20th annual Nunavut Mining Symposium is being held in Iqaluit this week, and after three relatively flat years, players in the industry are celebrating a production boost this year. During his presentation, Picotte told attendees that Agnico Eagle’s Meliadine mine will be the “game changer.”

Meliadine will be the territory’s fourth mine and is slated to be operational in late 2019 — the same time as Agnico Eagle’s other new site, the satellite deposit from their Meadowbank mine. Continue Reading →

Ottawa plans overhaul of assessment process for resource projects – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – April 6, 2017)

TORONTO — The Liberal government is planning to overhaul its environmental-assessment regime for major development projects to give more decision-making power to Indigenous Canadians, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said.

At an event in Montreal Wednesday, the minister released a report from an federally appointed expert panel that was headed by former federal environment commissioner Johanne Gélinas, now a partner with Quebec accounting firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton.

The panel said public confidence in the resource-project-approval process can only be restored through reforms that emphasize “sustainability” and public engagement, including with Indigenous people. “We believe that public trust can lead to more efficient and timely reviews,” said the report, which the minister released on Wednesday. Continue Reading →

Taking a ‘seven generations’ view of sustainable mining – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – April 5, 2017)

Indigenous panelists share perspectives on legacy issues, relationship building

In arguing for Indigenous consultation prior to the start of mining development, Lorraine Rekmans looks to her home community as a cautionary tale. Serpent River First Nation was “left holding the bag” in the 1990s when tailings ponds from uranium mines in nearby Elliot Lake failed, spilling into the watershed that serves the area, she said.

The mines were decommissioned before current standards and regulations came into place, and mining companies were largely absolved of responsibility, decamping for the newest uranium camp in Saskatchewan.

“Fifty years ago, there was a mining company here — it’s gone,” said Rekmans, an environmental and social justice advocate and a member of the Serpent River First Nation. “That will be a flash in the pan in history. The stability, the economic surety of a corporation, how long a corporation lives: they do not live as long as the memories of the people who live in the same place forever.” Continue Reading →