Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Aboriginal job losses are worth a protest – by Chris Nelson (Calgary Herald – December 3, 2016)

But it’s not just the environmental lobby that fails to understand this
— our current provincial government has no clue either. In fact, they’re
actively going to make a bad situation even worse. What industry is the
largest employer of native people in Canada? Mining. And what industry
is the NDP hell bent on destroying in our province? Coal mining.

As though we don’t have enough homegrown protests over our own pipelines, it appears Alberta is now a prime venue on the Standing Rock world tour of indigenous indignation.

In the past week, so-called flash mobs have popped up in Calgary’s Chinook Centre and Edmonton’s West Edmonton Mall, merrily protesting the goings-on in North Dakota, where native groups and supporters are trying to halt construction of yet another pipeline, this one south of the 49th parallel. Continue Reading →

Why Land Use in Mining Is Key to Reconciliation – by Staff (The – December 2, 2016)

Every aspect of mining that involves First Nations has the potential to infringe upon their rights and title, according to the Fair Mining Collaborative (FMC).

The B.C.-based non-profit is working to make sure Indigenous communities have the skills and tools to ensure mining deals are done right, especially as Canada pursues truth and reconciliation. “The history of mining in B.C. is paired with the history of colonization in the province, legally and socially,” said Glenn Grande, the collaborative’s senior researcher and writer.

Grande is of Cree ancestry and a former teacher who taught at all grade levels in First Nations communities throughout B.C. He graduated with a juris doctorate from the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law in 2014. Continue Reading →

Tribes Call On Obama to Bar Uranium Mining in Grand Canyon Forever – by Tanya H. Lee (Indian Country Today Media Network – November 22, 2016)

The Havasupai, Hualapai, Navajo, and Hopi are among the tribes working with Rep. Raul Grijalva, D-Ariz., environmental groups and other lawmakers to designate 1.7 million acres bordering Grand Canyon National Park as the Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument.

The designation would make permanent the 20-year federal moratorium on new uranium mining in and around the canyon put in place in 2012. At stake are a fragile watershed, extensive wildlife habitat and sacred and archaeological sites important to the tribes’ religious and cultural survival.

With elections less than a month away and a lawsuit brought by mining companies seeking to end the federal moratorium set for a hearing in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit in December, time is short. Continue Reading →

Cullen promises duty-to-consult mining framework by May – by Jonathon Naylor (Flin Flon Reminder – November 24, 2016)

Manitoba Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Cliff Cullen has pledged a target of May 2017 or earlier to create a framework for the consultation process with indigenous people on mining and exploration projects. It’s a step many people within the mineral sector say is overdue and would help bolster an industry that has been shedding jobs in the province for years.

Cullen has long been critical of the previous NDP government’s policy toward the constitutionally required “duty to consult” with First Nations on resource projects that involve traditional indigenous territory.

He spoke of clarifying that process while in Flin Flon in September, but last week he went a step further by telling mineral sector leaders that a new framework would be complete within six months, according to the Winnipeg Free Press. Continue Reading →

Push to end energy poverty in indigenous communities underway – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – November 24, 2016)

For remote indigenous communities across Canada, the lack of clean, reliable energy is a major contributor to the grinding poverty that is a part of everyday life.

Some 200 communities in the country are not connected to an electricity grid and must rely on diesel generators for their power. They experience blackouts, fuel spills and a shortage of capacity that frustrates growth and development plans. While subsidized, the diesel is expensive – especially when warm winters melt ice roads and limit the ability of communities to truck in their fuel supply.

Governments at various levels are now working with indigenous leaders and energy companies to find new solutions to end that energy poverty. Federal, provincial and territorial ministers are due to meet in January with the various partners to come up with a joint plan to clear away institutional barriers to projects that would provide reliable electricity. Continue Reading →

Placer mining a bright spot in mining picture for the Yukon’s hardrock mining industry – by Chuck Tobin (Whitehorse Star – November 21, 2016)

For the Yukon’s hardrock mining industry, the decision earlier this year by Goldcorp to buy the Coffee gold project off Kaminak Gold sparked renewed interest in the territory.

In the placer mining industry, record levels of mining and production have been encouraged by the price of gold, lower fuel costs and a Canada-U.S. exchange rate that favours the mining industry in general.

The third day of the annual Yukon Geoscience Forum opened this morning with the summaries of the hardrock and placer industries provided by geologists with the Yukon Geological Survey. Talks over the first two days through the weekend were more general in nature, though thought-provoking and in some cases encouraging. Continue Reading →

It’s not time to sit and wait; First Nations should make most of mineral market lull – by Daniel Bland (Thunder Bay Chronicle-Journal – November 20, 2016)

Daniel Bland has spent the past four years living on the James Bay Cree reserve of Mistissini in northern Quebec, working as lead instructor for Cree Human Resources Development/Cree Nation Government on the design and delivery of basic skills and work-readiness training programs in Cree communities.

Mining and resource extraction companies across Canada continue to ride out a slump in commodity prices that market analysts suggest may continue throughout 2017 before showing signs of any extended recovery. But while that is bad news for mining companies, it could be a blessing in disguise for remote First Nations hoping to benefit from their proximity to potential mining operations.

Canadian policy institutes have paid considerable attention to determining the labour market demands of major mining projects, many on or near aboriginal land. Last fall, the Conference Board of Canada produced a forecast of employment opportunities over the next decade in resource development projects by occupation and region. Continue Reading →

After 25 years, the Ekati discovery still rocks the NWT, mining and the world of diamonds (Part 1 of 2) – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – November 2016)

“You know, there’s something fishy going on around Lac de Gras.” Tom Hoefer remembers hearing that from a local mining guy who dropped by his Yellowknife office one autumn day in 1991. “At the time nobody really cared about Lac de Gras because that was granite country,” Hoefer explains.

But a visit to the mining recorder’s office showed someone staked “a huge block of ground, abnormally large. Doubly suspicious, I think it was registered to Norm’s Manufacturing or Norm’s Mattress Company or something. It was so bizarre. Someone was hiding something.”

Hoefer’s friend offered an explanation. “The only thing I think this could be for is diamonds.” He had previous experience with Monopros, De Beers’ Canadian exploration company. He was also an habitué of the Miner’s Mess, a YK cafe where industry rumours circulated as thickly as the cigarette smoke. Continue Reading →

Lac de Gras glitter became the backbone of the NWT economy (Part 2 of 2) – by Greg Klein (Resource Clips – November 2016)

The greatest staking rush the world’s likely seen, a shakeup of the global diamond industry and a tremendous boost to Northwest Territories finances—all that started with the Ekati discovery announced by Chuck Fipke 25 years ago this week.

The effects on the NWT alone were momentous. The exploration sector boomed like never before, reaping four discoveries in six years that became working mines, while communities and individuals realized benefits both tangible and intangible.

Exploration fervour “certainly caused an injection into the economy,” notes Tom Hoefer, NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines executive director. “But where it really made a difference was when we had mines developed.” Continue Reading →

Diamond mines give economic sparkle to Canada’s North – by Deirdre Kelly (Globe and Mail – November 3, 2016)

Forevermark U.S. organized and paid for the writer’s trip. The company had no input on the content of the article.

JAMES BAY LOWLANDS, ONT. — The giant hole in the ground, visible several kilometres away from the vantage point of a jet-propelled plane, looks empty and cold, a desolate no-man’s land.

But as the tiny aircraft closes in, descending on a nearby airstrip, the lunar-like crater can be seen pulsing with life. People scurry below on foot or in trucks and behind forklifts. The Victor mine, located on a stretch of boggy muskeg in Northern Ontario, is a hive of activity. The open pit yields diamonds, among the best in the world. It also provides jobs.

Hundreds of the jobs have been taken up by Canadians as well as foreigners from as far away as South Africa, one outpost of London-based diamond giant De Beers SA, which has been operating Ontario’s first diamond mine in the James Bay Lowlands since 2008. Continue Reading →

When First Nations take control of their affairs, they succeed – by Tom Flanagan (Globe and Mail – November 2, 2016)

Tom Flanagan is professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and the author of the report Why First Nations Succeed, published by the Fraser Institute.

Although the living standard of most First Nations still lags behind the Canadian average, many are finding ways to improve conditions for their members. We can measure communities’ standard of living by using the Community Well-Being (CWB) Index, which combines data about incomes, employment, housing and education.

Standard statistical methods can identify factors associated with higher CWB scores. In other words, we now have objective evidence about what works and what doesn’t work to improve First Nations living standards.

Successful First Nations run a tight governmental ship. They balance their budgets and stay out of remedial third-party management. They pay their elected councillors less than average for First Nations, thus dampening political factionalism. And they reward visionary leadership with re-election and long terms in office. Continue Reading →

Fraser Institute News Release: Successful First Nations in Canada support economic development and are fiscally responsible

Click here for full report:

VANCOUVER, BC–(Marketwired – November 01, 2016) – First Nations with the highest living standards capitalize on, rather than oppose the economic opportunities available to them, and are governed by long-serving, fiscally prudent leaders, finds a new study released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.

“The evidence is clear-successful First Nations rely on self-determination and make the most out of their own assets rather than relying on Ottawa for their prosperity,” said Tom Flanagan, a Fraser Institute senior fellow, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary and author of Why First Nations Succeed.

Analyzing results from the department of Indigenous and Northern Affairs’ Community Well-Being Index (CWB) — which uses Statistics Canada data to measure income, employment, housing and education on First Nations — the study finds the most successful First Nations with the highest CWB scores have stable, fiscally prudent governments that are open to outside economic investment. Continue Reading →

Darnley Bay to buy Tamerlane’s Pine Point mine property – by Jimmy Thomson (CBC News North – October 26, 2016)

Company has signed a letter of intent with Tamerlane’s receiver

Darnley Bay Resources Ltd. has a deal in the works to buy the defunct Pine Point lead and zinc mine east of Hay River, N.W.T. The company signed a binding letter of intent to buy the claims from the receiver that took them over from Tamerlane Ventures for $8 million in cash and shares.

Tamerlane had tried to restart the mine in the 2000’s, but failed due in part to low global metal prices. Mineral prices have since rebounded, and with it, the fortunes of the mine.

“The economy for the base metal mining market at that time was very poor,” says Kerry Knoll, Darnley Bay’s director and chairman. “It’s much better now.” His company has been working on developing the Darnley Bay site near Paulatuk for years, but has not been able to raise the capital to fund it. Knoll says restarting Pine Point could be a “springboard” to getting that other project moving. Continue Reading →

How a $900-million lawsuit is shaping the future of Canada’s natural resource landscape – by Damon Van Linde (October 25, 2016)

SEPT-ÎLES, QUE. — Flying in a helicopter over the Bay of Sept-Îles, Alexandre Pinette points to the mouth of the Moisie River where it empties from the north into the St. Lawrence River. Members of his Innu community used to live by the river every summer to fish salmon and trap, but he said they were moved by the government in 1949 to the permanent Uashat and Maliotenam reservations.

“When the Innu came back in spring, their houses were destroyed. They had disappeared,” said Pinette, his voice crackling over the helicopter intercom. He adds that Innu were also displaced between 1948 and 1950 from what is now the Iron Ore Co. of Canada’s port, where huge mounds of the sparkling mineral are sorted and then loaded into waiting cargo ships.

A 578-kilometre railway stretches north from Sept-Îles’ deep-water port to where the mineral is dug from the ground. Here, the Innu claim the mines and other facilities have ruined the environment, displaced members from their territory and prevented them from practising their traditional way of life, while not giving much back to the community. Continue Reading →

[Australia] Native Title ruling a win for miners – by Esmarie Swanepoel ( – October 25, 2016)

PERTH ( – Global law firm Ashurst said a recent High Court ruling, which rejected a special leave application by the Ngadju People, meant that strategically important areas in Western Australia had been left undisturbed.

The Full Court of Australia in March this year overturned a Federal Court decision at first instance in November 2014, that incorrectly held that almost 300 mining leases had been renewed by Gold Fields’ St Ives, BHP Billiton’s Nickel West and other mining companies in a manner which was inconsistent with the provisions of the Native Title Act, and therefore potentially invalid.

The November decision in favour of the Ngadju People meant several hundred mining leases stretching throughout the Goldfields were found to be invalid, creating much uncertainty for the tenure of most of the state’s nickel industry and a number of the biggest gold mines in the region, said Ashurst global co-lead of corporate and native title specialist Geoff Gishubl. Continue Reading →