29th July 2014

Changes afoot for aboriginal treaty talks and resource development – by Bill Curry and Kathryn Blaze Carlson (Globe and Mail – July 29, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government is launching more flexible options for aboriginal treaty talks after setbacks to its ambitious resource development plans.

The announcement signals Ottawa’s desire to give its stagnant British Columbia treaty process a boost by negotiating smaller, incremental treaties where possible and signing deals with aboriginal groups outside the formal treaty process.

It is also promising to improve its nation-wide approach to aboriginal consultation, which has been at the heart of a string of court defeats for the federal government as it attempts to speed up resource projects like mining and new pipelines, particularly in Western Canada.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt made the announcement on Monday in Vancouver via a news release and was not available to answer questions.

The plans are in response to recommendations in a November, 2013, report from Douglas Eyford, who was appointed last year by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as Canada’s special federal representative on West Coast energy infrastructure. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th July 2014

Airport/port authority possible for Ring of Fire – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – July 25, 2014)


A former deputy minister of Transport Canada recently recommended an airport/port transportation authority model for the Ring of Fire mineral development area.

“It would be at arms length from the government, it would have its own fiduciary financial responsibilities and management responsibilities,” said Nick Mulder, author of the Northern Policy Institute commentary: The Airport/Port Transportation Authority Model Is It Applicable for Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Development. “It would decide on the chair and the management team, it would finalize the plans for the road and railroad or whatever else is needed. It would finalize all the funding with the mining companies and transportation companies and private sector interests, pension funds, whatever.”

Mulder described his recommendation during his July 8 Northern Policy Institute speaker’s breakfast at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay, where he indicated the Ring of Fire infrastructure authority would not be involved in the social and economic infrastructure needs of the First Nation communities in northern Ontario.

“Those 40 or whatever number of communities there are have their own special needs,” Mulder said. “It isn’t up to a business-driven or market-driven kind of entity that I am recommending — they should decide on what kind of water or sewer or other kind of systems they need or local roads in the community or so on.”

Mulder said some of the monies required to finance the Ring of Fire road or railroad could come from the provincial government, but the majority should be raised in the marketplace or through the mining companies. Read the rest of this entry »

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25th July 2014

Red Dog lead, zinc mine marks 25 years, $1B in royalties – by Tim Bradner (Alaska Journal of Commerce – July 24, 2014)


The Red Dog Mine in Northwest Alaska turned 25 years old July 17 after producing since 1989 and paying about $1 billion in royalties to NANA Regional Corp., the landowner.

NANA paid $608 million of that to other Alaska Native corporations under revenue-sharing provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and $199 million in dividends to its own shareholders.

The remaining $103 million was retained by NANA to help pay operations and for investments in other business, which has now helped NANA grow a diversified portfolio of assets that earned the corporation $1.7 billion in revenues last year.

To celebrate the July 17 anniversary, NANA invited guests to the mine including including former Gov. Bill Sheffield and Willie Hensley, NANA leaders and former legislators who played key roles in the original mine development.

Teck president and CEO Don Lindsay also attended. The mine is operated by Teck Alaska Inc. Teck Alaska’s parent, Canada-based Teck Resources, purchased Cominco, the Canadian company that developed Red Dog with NANA in the mid-1980s.

Red Dog is a surface mine that is one of the world’s largest zinc mines, producing 551,300 tonnes of zinc concentrates in 2013 (a tonne is approximately 2,200 pounds). The mine earned $874 million in total revenues that year, according to Teck. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, International Media Resource Articles, United States Mining and History, Zinc and Lead | 0 Comments

25th July 2014

Feeling the Ring of Fire’s Burn – by Jason Unrau (Unpublished – January 2014)

This unpublished article was originally written for Canadian Business Magazine in January 2014.

Black Thor, Big Daddy and Thunderbird, unearthed between 2007 and 2008, put a place called Ring of Fire on the mining map. Sounding more like comic book gods than incredible mineral discoveries – chromite their dominant feature and crucial for stainless steel manufacture – by the end of 2013 they had roused nearly one billion dollars to the exploration altar.

Frank Smeenk was among the group of six mining execs and geologists who discovered the Ring. Located deep inside Ontario’s north, its riches are vast enough for a century of mining, yet dispersed in a 5000 square km crescent of muskeg so remote, the place might as well be celestial.

“It’s inaccessible for all practical purposes, except by air, and to sell chrome you’ve got to get it to market and its steel mills of the world,” says Smeenk, CEO of KWG Resources, the plucky junior with a 30 per cent stake in Big Daddy, one of the biggest deposits of them all.

It was DeBeers’ quest for new diamond sources after the Second World War that eventually ushered the first mine into this corner of the James Bay Lowlands. But it was Asia’s insatiable economy, emerging fast and furious in the last decade, that turned sights toward the region’s metal potential.

While Ring of Fire is just 90 kilometres west of DeBeers’ Victor Mine, producing diamonds and mining metal are not analogous, says Smeenk, because “… you can put diamonds in your pocket and walk on the plane.” Read the rest of this entry »

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25th July 2014

What’s Behind Canada’s Troubled Relationship With Its Aboriginal Peoples –by Jake Flanagin (New York Times – July 24, 2014)




They call it “Murderpeg.” With 6,222 instances of violent crime reported in 2012, the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba consistently ranks among the most violent cities in Canada.

It’s also host to one of the highest concentrations of Aboriginal peoples (indigenous North Americans) in the country – 11.7 percent and growing faster than any other area in Canada, according to the Canadian National Household Survey.

Aboriginal Canadians – First Nations, Inuits, and the Métis (descended from mixed marriages between Europeans and indigenous peoples) – are arguably the most underserved segment of Canadian society. “One in five Aboriginal Canadians live in dilapidated and often overcrowded homes,” reports Nilo Tabrizy for Vice News. Those in Winnipeg are no exception.

Ms. Tabrizy traveled to Winnipeg to shoot a documentary for Vice, highlighting the plight of the city’s Aboriginal population, and unpacking the seedy history of Canada’s relationship with its indigenous communities. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Aboriginal and Inuit Non-Mining Issues, International Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

23rd July 2014

Gibraltar a rock in stormy waters for Taseko – by James Kwantes (Vancouver Sun – July 22, 2014)


With New Prosperity on hold, central Interior mine could fund acquisitions

VANCOUVER — The battle over Taseko’s New Prosperity copper-gold project has played out in the media, corridors of political power and now, in court.

Out of the limelight, Taseko has sunk about $300 million into equipment that will increase production and reserves at its 75-per-cent owned Gibraltar copper-molybdenum mine in the central Interior, and the strategy appears to be paying off.

For the three months ended June 30, Gibraltar produced 38.5 million pounds of copper and 667,000 pounds of molybdenum — increases of 37 per cent and 100 per cent, respectively. Gibraltar is Canada’s second-largest open-pit copper mine and one of the largest employers in the Cariboo, with 700 workers.

“We’re in the early stages of really starting to make it purr like a fine-tuned machine,” Taseko CEO Russ Hallbauer said during a recent interview. “It’s a big accomplishment for everybody involved, from the employees at the site to the corporate folks that worked on it.”

Gibraltar’s site costs — “what we can control” — are down to about $2 per pound of copper, putting the company on solid footing in case of a downturn in metals prices, according to Hallbauer. Copper now sells for about $3.16 a pound.

“We can withstand all the bottoms of the cycle, unless it becomes very, very extraordinary,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Copper | 0 Comments

23rd July 2014

Much longer version of “This Magazine” article on Ring of Fire “Our home and golden land” – by Andrew Reeves (This Magazine – May/June 2014)


This is a much longer and more detailed version of Andrew Reeves’ article on the Ring of Fire which was originally published in the May/June 2014 issue of This Magazine. http://this.org/magazine/2014/06/09/our-home-and-golden-land/?utm_source=thismag&utm_medium=header&utm_campaign=skybar

The on-line version is roughly 6400 words versus the original 3500 words in the print edition of the magazine. This detailed account will be of interest to many and special thanks to journalist Andrew Reeves and This Magazine for giving RepublicOfMining.com permission to post the extended version.

Please note, “Our home and golden land” was written between February and March 2014 and would not reflect the many new issues that affect the continiously evolving story about the Ring of Fire.


“The North is not a quiet place.” Linda Kamerman, Ontario’s Mining and Lands Commissioner Linda Kamerman used that statement to open her September 2013 report on a turf war between rival companies over access rights to a remote crescent of minerals, tucked in the province’s far north where few but local Aboriginals could say they knew where they were. The report sparked yet another round of sabre-rattling and political hand-wringing, the latest in what a labyrinth of competing claims, high-level negotiations and First Nations assurances the project would move forward on their timetable or it wouldn’t.

This is Ontario’s Ring of Fire, an as-yet undeveloped cluster of mining stakes held by 25 combinations of claim holders independently or in partnership. At its best, the Ring is a $60 billion, multi-generational opportunity for provincial, federal and First Nations governments to reap mineral riches from Ontario’s far north, spurring investment in well-paying jobs to replace those lost after the 2008-09 recession. Read the rest of this entry »

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22nd July 2014

[Canadian federal minister] Leona Aglukkaq targets Greenpeace in ICC speech – (CBC News – July 22, 2014)



Leona Aglukkaq, Nunavut’s MP and Canada’s Minister of Environment, had strong words against Greenpeace in her keynote address at the Inuit Circumpolar Council’s general assembly in Inuvik, N.W.T.

“Inuit were victims of misinformation and lies spread by a group that had no regard for their impact on our way of life,” she said of Greenpeace’s campaign against the seal hunt.

She did not specifically mention the issue of seismic testing to look for oil and gas reserves in Nunavut. Greenpeace opposes seismic testing and has been working with Inuit groups in Nunavut who are fighting federally-approved seismic testing off Baffin Island over concerns of the effects the tests would have on marine mammals.

Aglukkaq said Inuit need to stick together and not be manipulated. “Other people who are not our friends will try to use Inuit as weapons in their own battles,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image | 0 Comments

21st July 2014

Land rulings a clear message to Ottawa, provinces: It’s time to govern – by Thomas Isaac (Globe and Mail – July 21, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Thomas Isaac is leader of the Aboriginal Law Group at Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt.

The Supreme Court of Canada has delivered two significant decisions this summer regarding aboriginal title and treaty rights. In June, the Tsilqhot’in decision affirmed aboriginal title over a discrete area of central British Columbia. In early July, the Keewatin decision confirmed Ontario’s authority to legislate regarding Treaty 3, including over areas such as forestry and mining.

At first the decisions look quite different. They deal with different provinces, different facts and appear to have differing outcomes. However, both decisions are actually consistent with each other and their outcomes similar. Both decisions affirm that governments bear the burden of balancing aboriginal and non-aboriginal interests fairly and reasonably and confirm that governments have the tools to govern.

In Tsilqhot’in, the Supreme Court confirmed the six Tsilqhot’in Bands hold aboriginal title to approximately 1,700 sq. km of remote and sparsely populated land in central British Columbia. As a result, these bands now hold the land and, with a few important restrictions, can use and derive benefits from it. Importantly, the decision confirms that both governments can legislate regarding aboriginal title lands and can infringe aboriginal title, where justified.

While Tsilqhot’in is the first decision affirming aboriginal title in Canada, there is actually little new law in it, except that it is now clear that provincial laws can apply to aboriginal title lands and that provinces and the federal government can infringe aboriginal title. Read the rest of this entry »

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21st July 2014

NEWS RELEASE: Northern Superior: 2ND Year Recognition for Its Commitment to Progressive Aboriginal Relations


SUDBURY, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – July 21, 2014) - Northern Superior Resources Inc. (“Northern Superior” or the “Company”) (TSX VENTURE:SUP) is pleased to announce that it has re-committed to the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (“PAR”) “Committed” status (“PAR Committed”) of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) for the second year in a row. The CCAB is a national non- profit organization whose primary mission is to foster sustainable business relations between First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and Canadian business.

PAR is a certification program that confirms corporate performance in Aboriginal relations. Northern Superior`s recognition as a PAR committed company for the second year in a row confirms: a) the Company`s commitment to continual improvement in Aboriginal relations; and b) the Company`s intention to undergo additional external verification of its performance in the future to eventually obtain full PAR certification.

”Northern Superior is very proud to be recognized by the CCAB as a “PAR Committed” company for the second year in a row. For over 13 years Northern Superior has understood the importance and advantages of working closely with Aboriginal Communities within whose traditional territories Northern Superior conducts its mineral exploration programs. As Northern Superior stated last year, the CCAB is a staunch advocate for Aboriginal businesses and the improvement of Aboriginal livelihoods from coast, to coast, to coast, and it is an honor to be involved with them.” states Tom Morris, President and CEO of Northern Superior Resources.

“PAR is the only CSR program with an exclusive focus on Aboriginal relations. We are pleased to recognize Northern Superior’s ongoing commitment to building meaningful relationships with Aboriginal communities and businesses.” said J.P. Gladu, President and CEO of the CCAB. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th July 2014

Program trains Aboriginal women in mining – by Lindsay Kelly (Northern Ontario Business – July 16, 2014)

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. 

Her official title is job coach, but in her role with the Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group, Kelly Lamontagne can, on any given day, also serve as a social worker, mover, relationship guru, personal shopper, addictions counsellor, cheerleader and headhunter.

It’s all done in the name of helping Aboriginal women in Temiskaming and Timmins train for work in the mining industry through the two-year program Aboriginal Women in Mining.

“The group’s purpose is to help as many women as we can,” Lamontagne said. “If you’re making strong women who can make strong decisions and have a good career and have good self-esteem, you’re then making stronger children, stronger families, better men.”

Any woman with First Nations, Métis or Inuit heritage within the catchment area is eligible to apply to the program, although it’s targeted primarily to women who have faced serious life challenges such as trauma, poverty or addictions.

Participants start by developing life skills and move into job training, which includes job interview techniques, resume writing and setting up partnerships with employers. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media, Ontario Mining | 0 Comments

17th July 2014

Commentary: What does Aboriginal title mean for mining in BC? – by Robin Junger and Brent Ryan (Northern Miner – July 15, 2014)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

Based in Vancouver, Robin M. Junger is co-chair of McMillan LLP’s aborginal and environmental practices, and co-chair of its oil and gas practice in B.C. Brent Ryan is a student-at-law at McMillan.

The recent decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in Tsilhqot’in v. B.C. has received a great deal of attention and has caused people to ask some important questions. Nowhere has this been more so than in the mining sector. We will address some of those questions.

Does aboriginal title include mineral rights? The law is not completely settled on this point.

In Delgamuukw v B.C. in 1997, then Chief Justice Lamer, when explaining that the content of aboriginal title is not restricted to practices, customs and traditions which are integral to distinctive aboriginal cultures, stated:

122 The [Indian Oil and Gas Act] presumes that the aboriginal interest in reserve land includes mineral rights, a point which this Court unanimously accepted with respect to the Indian Act in Apsassin v. Canada (Department of Indian Affairs & Northern Development) in 1995. On the basis of Guerin, aboriginal title also encompass mineral rights, and lands held pursuant to aboriginal title should be capable of exploitation in the same way, which is certainly not a traditional use for those lands.

This was cited in a decision by the Yukon Court of Appeal in Ross River Dena Council v Yukon in 2012 (a duty to consult case, not a title case) where the court stated: Read the rest of this entry »

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14th July 2014

Ontario’s ‘win’ in Grassy Narrows comes at a high cost – by Bruce McIvor (Troy Media – July 13, 2014)


Bruce McIvor is Principal of First Peoples Law Corporation .

VANCOUVER, BC, Jul 13, 2014/ Troy Media/ – The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent Grassy Narrows (Keewatin) decision places a heavy legal burden on provincial governments when they seek to exploit Indigenous lands covered by the historical treaties of Canada. The challenge now is for First Nations to hold the provinces to account.

What the case was about?

Between 1871 and 1923, Canada negotiated 11 numbered treaties with First Nations across the country, including the Anishinaabe of Treaty 3 in northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba. With slight variations, each treaty allowed for the ‘taking up’ of lands for non-Indigenous settlement, mining, lumbering and other purposes. The primary issue inGrassy Narrowsis what limits exist on Ontario’s ability to exercise the taking up clause in Treaty 3.

After one of the longest and most thorough treaty interpretation trials in Canadian history, Justice Mary Anne Sanderson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice confirmed the Anishinaabe understanding that Treaty 3 was made with Canada, not Ontario. This, coupled with Canada’s exclusive responsibility for “Indians, and lands reserved for the Indians” under the Constitution, meant that only Canada can issue forestry authorizations that significantly affect the exercise of treaty rights. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario Mining | 0 Comments

14th July 2014

Court’s land claims ruling harms Canada’s business environment – by Gwyn Morgan (Globe and Mail – July 14, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

On June 26, the Supreme Court of Canada awarded title to a piece of the B.C. Interior roughly the size of Prince Edward Island to the 3,000-member T’silhqot’in First Nation. Initial government and business reaction characterized the decision as merely a clarification of previous lower-court judgments.

That was before it became clear that the land-claim entitlement criteria set out in the 37-page decision, written by Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, exceeded the worst-case scenario of both governments and industry.

Under previous legal rulings, the “basis of occupation” to be used in establishing aboriginal title was limited to the immediate environs around settlements. The Supreme Court has vastly expanded that, saying: “[A]boriginal title … extends to tracts of land that were regularly used for hunting, fishing or otherwise exploiting resources and over which the group exercised effective control at the time of assertion of European sovereignty” (that is, the mid-1800s).

The court justifies this extreme interpretation by stating “… what is required is a culturally sensitive approach to sufficiency of occupation based on the dual perspectives of the Aboriginal group in question … and the common-law notion of possession as a basis for title.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

14th July 2014

Supreme Court of Canada upholds Ontario’s right to issue development permits on aboriginal treaty land – by Drew Hasselback and Peter Koven (National Post – July 12, 2014)

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

Ontario’s natural resource companies welcomed a ruling Friday by the Supreme Court of Canada that confirms provinces have the authority to issue logging, mining and other development permits on aboriginal treaty lands.

In doing so, the high court rejected a claim from Grassy Narrows First Nation, which argued that Ontario needed the federal government’s approval before issuing a logging permit.

Had the Supreme Court ruled in favour of Grassy Narrows in the so-called Keewatin case, many permits issued in Ontario that did not involve the federal government could have been subject to challenge by First Nations.

“If the decision had gone the other way, and in light of [last month’s] Roger William case, there would have been great uncertainty with respect to aboriginal title, aboriginal treaties and aboriginal law in Ontario,” said Neal Smitheman, a partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP, referring to the Supreme Court judgment in British Columbia that changed the way governments must deal with First Nations over land where aboriginal title is claimed.

Friday’s top court ruling involved the interpretation of Treaty 3, a 141-year-old agreement that covers about 142,000 square kilometres in what is now northwestern Ontario and eastern Manitoba. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario Mining | 0 Comments

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