20th October 2014

Rise of ‘social licence’: Claiming they speak for their community, protest groups are undermining the law – by Jen Gerson (National Post – October 18, 2014)

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

It started with the War in the Woods, mass protests that quashed plans for clear-cutting in Clayoquot Sound.

Then came decisive demonstrations over airports, cellphone towers, wind farms, biotechnology — and one gas plant so hated by Ontario residents that the Liberals under former premier Dalton McGuinty allegedly spent $1-billion to cancel it.

Now it’s pipelines versus the people: protests over Alberta’s oil sands, and the metal tubes meant to carry its bitumen to market.

The outcome is uncertain. But dozens of recent developments have been overturned by the rise of “social licence” — the idea that community buy-in is as important, or more, than regulators’ approvals.

Or is it just NIMBYism by another name? Who speaks for “the people”? Who decides whether social licence is granted or not?

“You want people to feel heard in their concerns,” says Brian Lee Crowley, the managing director of the Macdonald-Laurier Institute for Public Policy in Ottawa. “But I believe there’s a whole group of people who have become free riders on this concept of social licence, people who are dyed-in-the-wool opponents — whatever it is … They say, ‘Oh, you must not be allowed to do this unless you have social licence. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th October 2014

NEWS RELEASE: New Polling shows Northern Ontario First Nation residents’ perceptions on energy and mining

(October 16, 2014, Toronto, ON) New polling of Northern Ontario First Nation community residents that explores their attitudes towards renewable energy and resource develop was presented today by Oraclepoll Research President Dr. Paul Seccaspina at the Renewables & Mining Summit and Exhibition.

Issues surveyed in Northern Ontario First Nation Residents’ Perceptions on Energy and Mining, included:

• First Nation community residents’ attitude towards new energy generation sources (including renewable, nuclear and natural gas).
• Willingness to pay for new energy generation sources.
• Attitude towards provincial government renewable energy and conservation initiatives.
• Acceptability scenarios involving incentives and energy sources associated with a hypothetical mine development.

The research was conducted between September 26 and October 2, 2014 utilizing live person-to-person telephone calling to a random selected audience of First Nation community residents. Of the 200 respondents, a minimum of eight percent lived in communities not connected to the Ontario electricity grid and rely on diesel generation for electricity. The poll was commissioned by Environmental Communication Options, a firm actively engaged in a range of renewable, resource-focused and First Nation matters. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th October 2014

Renewable energy a tough sell for prospective RoF developers – by Henry Lazenby (MiningWeekly.com – October 16, 2014)


RONTO (miningweekly.com) – Among the many challenges facing as many as 20 mining companies holding claims in the Ring of Fire (RoF) mineral region of Northern Ontario, the most significant might be the limited infrastructure.

However, besides having to deal with exploration, project planning, First Nations negotiations and local capacity building, project proponents were under mounting pressure from stricter legislation, environmental lobby groups and locals to include renewable-energy sources in their future project plans.

Ontario government RoF Secretariat senior policy adviser Blaine Bouchard on Thursday told delegates at the Renewables and Mining Summit and Exhibition, in Toronto, that the nine-member group of Matawa group First Nations, who inhabit the province’s Far North, had made it clear in multilateral discussions that current diesel-based electricity generation was prohibitive of economic development and posed serious environmental impacts.

The First Nations living in the remote region were completely dependent on diesel electricity generation for their energy needs, owing to the province’s energy grid only reaching as far north as the Dryden region. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th October 2014

Matawa First Nations building an Aboriginal workforce – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – October 15, 2014)


Matawa First Nations is building an Aboriginal workforce through the Kiikenomaga Kikenjigewen Employment and Training Services (KKETS) Ring of Fire Aboriginal Training Alliance (RoFATA) training programs.

“(The trainees are aiming for) full-time employment within the mining sector,” said Mary Meshake, RoFATA career development officer. “There’s a lot of future potential developments that are taking place outside our communities and most of the trainees that are in (the KKETS) programs are really excited to be a part of what is going to be happening.”

Eight RoFATA trainees recently completed the 15-week Welding Level 1 program at Grand River Employment and Training in Six Nations while another 10 trainees completed the 10-week Heavy Equipment Operators program at the Operating Engineers Training Institute in Morrisburg in early July.

“We’re currently running our Security program, which started on Aug. 25,” Meshake said, noting there are 13 trainees in the Security program. “We utilized the new (regional) training facility in Neskantaga.”

The four-week theory portion of the Security program was completed on Sept. 19, with the practical portion scheduled for Sept. 22-Oct. 10 in Ginoogaming. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th October 2014

Three big ‘whoppers’ told about the Ring of Fire – by Jody Porter (CBC News Thunder Bay – October 15, 2014)


‘Ridiculous’ to compare northern Ontario mineral find to the Alberta oil sands, expert says

Once called Canada’s ‘next oil sands’, the Ring of Fire mining development area in northern Ontario has yet to live up to its promise.

Federal Treasury Board Chair Tony Clement called the Ring of Fire “a game-changer for Canada” with “potential impact…akin to what the oil sands did for Alberta and Canada” just last year.

But that was before Cliffs Natural Resources halted its plans for a chromite mine in November 2013. Now the future of the Ring of Fire is far less certain, and even less likely to live up to what some say were always overinflated claims of its potential.

Here are three big ‘whoppers’ told about the Ring of Fire.

1. Chromium is a rare and valuable mineral.

From the Ontario Chamber of Commerce 2014 report ‘Uncovering the economic potenital of Ontario’s Ring of Fire : “The most promising discovery [in the Ring of Fire] is the first commercial quantities of chromite in North America. Based on current projections, the deposit is significant enough to sustain activity for a century.” Read the rest of this entry »

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14th October 2014

Uncertainty clouds the investment outlook of Quebec’s mining industry – by Bertrand Marotte (Globe and Mail – October 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.

MONTREAL — Quebec’s attempts to put an end to years of image-corroding uncertainty and lack of clarity for the mining industry are getting mixed reviews.

The Liberal government of Premier Philippe Couillard has revived plans to accelerate natural resource extraction in the vast northern reaches of the province. And the new Mining Act has helped bring greater predictability and transparency to a political environment many critics said was damaging Quebec’s reputation as an attractive jurisdiction for mining investment.

But problems and unresolved issues remain, even factoring in the current global commodities downturn, say some industry players and observers.

Take the case of Strateco Resources Inc., which recently shut down its uranium mining project in the Otish Mountains of northern Quebec after years of what its chief executive says have been frustrating dealings with provincial authorities. “This has been extremely difficult,” Strateco president and chief executive officer Guy Hébert said.

For years, the government declined to grant Strateco the right to start underground exploration at the site, known as Matoush, despite the company jumping through hoops to get 22 permits from Quebec at different phases of the project, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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9th October 2014

Make no little plans, my son [Economic planning northern Ontario] – by David Robinson (Northern Ontario Business – October 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.  

Dave Robinson is an economist with the Institute for Northern Ontario Research and Development at Laurentian University.drobinson@laurentian.ca 

As an economist, I often get calls from the media about national and provincial issues. As an economist who studies economic development in Northern Ontario, I don’t get many calls. Most of those are asking for a speaker and almost none want my advice on economic development. I have only had a few calls from First Nation communities. I’d like to think I know something about development, so why am I left sitting in a corner sad and lonely?

It could be because everyone knows that academics, including me, are pretty useless. I’d hate to think so, but it could be. It could be the economic development people in Northern Ontario are so good they don’t need academic advice. It could be that the province is doing such a good job that that no one needs independent research and advice from the ivory tower.

My guess is that that because Northern universities have never focused on economic development issues for the North, media people and economic development officers simply don’t think about heading to the campus for help. The exception is the Community Economic and Social Development program at Algoma University. More recently, Laurentian University has established a new School of Northern Development that will do research and provide courses on Northern Ontario development. Things are getting better, however slowly. Read the rest of this entry »

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7th October 2014



On Friday, Imperial Metals, the company responsible for Canada’s largest-ever mining waste spill, served an injunction application to indigenous protesters blocking roads to its Red Chris copper and gold mine near Iskut, British Columbia.

A group of Tahltan First Nation elders known as the Klabona Keepers have blocked access to the mine for the second time in two months over concerns that Red Chris is too similar to Mount Polley, a sister mine that spewed 24 million cubic meters of toxic sludge and wastewater into one of the province’s biggest salmon spawning lakes on August 4.

“As a result of the blockades and the conduct of the blockaders, no person and no vehicle are able to access the project site along the access roads,” reads Imperial Metals’ injunction application, which was delivered yesterday morning. “Red Chris has been forced to severely limit its construction activities at the project site, and if the blockade continues, will be forced to halt them altogether.”

Resource companies often use injunctions to break up protests. For example, on October 3, 2013, a company called SWN Resources was granted an injunction to remove Elsipogtog First Nation protesters from a shale gas exploration site north of Moncton, New Brunswick. Two weeks later, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) enforced the injunction with an over-the-top display of force that included beanbag guns, police dogs, snipers, and plenty of pepper spray. Needless to say, shit escalated quickly. Read the rest of this entry »

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6th October 2014

NEWS RELEASE: NWT Government Releases Plan to Implement Mineral Development Strategy

(Yellowknife, NT – October 6, 2014) In a powerful statement to show that the NWT is “open for business”, the government of the NWT (GNWT) has unveiled NWT Mineral Development Strategy – GNWT Implementation Plan 2014-2015, its first annual plan to support the NWT Mineral Development Strategy with appropriate actions to ensure the continued growth of the NWT minerals industry.

According to Brooke Clements, President of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, “This implementation plan lays out the first tangible actions that are designed to improve the investment climate for mining and exploration companies in the NWT. We are hopeful that these actions will help support the continued growth of the NWT mineral resource industry. A healthy and growing mineral industry will help ensure that sustainable and long-term benefits continue to accrue to all residents of the NWT.”

In his Minister’s Message, NWT Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay stated, “Through a partnership effort with the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines, we were proud to release the NWT Mineral Development Strategy in the fall of 2013.

This Implementation Plan puts that Strategy into action by establishing concrete goals, objectives, and timelines. Putting these initiatives in place will set the wheels in motion to restore a positive investment climate, which is important if we are to discover new deposits and establish new mines to sustain and grow our economy.”

Some highlights of the implementation plan include: Read the rest of this entry »

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6th October 2014

First Nations chiefs seek to develop new tribal park in B.C. – by Mark Hume (Globe and Mail – October 6, 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.

VANCOUVER — The concept of what a park is and how it functions to protect the landscape is being redefined in British Columbia by First Nations in ways that some might find surprising.

At a totem pole-raising ceremony on the weekend, the Tsilhqot’in First Nation announced plans to create Dasiqox Tribal Park, the latest in a series of declarations by native organizations aimed at protecting massive swaths of territory.

Dasiqox covers about 300,000 hectares of some of the most spectacular landscapes in Canada. The Valhalla Wilderness Society, which has long advocated protecting the area, describes it as “a vast mountain enclave for grizzlies” and other wildlife.

Unlike federally designated national parks and provincial enclaves, the First Nations concept in B.C. aims to create protected areas under the jurisdiction of native people, with potential room for resource extraction. While not new, these parks allow First Nations to control logging, mining and other activities in a particular region, which might otherwise be open to unfettered use by business.

In a series of interviews, Tsilhqot’in chiefs made it clear that their idea of what a park is, is very different from what most Canadians might think. Read the rest of this entry »

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6th October 2014

NDP critic knocks Liberals over Ring of Fire – Michael Mantha Letter to the Editor (Sudbury Star – October 4, 2014)

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

Michael Mantha is the MPP for Algoma-Manitoulin and the NDP Critic for Northern Development and Mines.

Re: Minister defends record on Ring of Fire

Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle’s letter to the editor criticizing NDP Leader Andrea Horwath on the Ring of Fire demonstrates the Liberal government’s failure to develop the project and Premier Wynne’s lack of leadership for Northern Ontario.

The minister claims his government is leading the way to drive development in the Ring of Fire and that significant progress has been made despite his government’s widely reported failures on the project. Ask Northerners what they think about the Liberal record on Ring of Fire.

After lack of action on the Ring of Fire over the last seven years and a vague announcement of creating a development corporation, the Wynne government gave itself a deadline of 60 days to create that corporation that was to include partners in industry and First Nations. What the Wynne government produced, in order to meet its self-imposed deadline, was a board comprised of four government bureaucrats sitting at the table by themselves.

The Wynne government failed to bring industry together. Premier Wynne and Minister Gravelle failed to bring First Nations together. Read the rest of this entry »

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6th October 2014

Ontario Premier Wynne Mandates Environmental And Energy [and Ring of Fire] Priorities – by Marc McAree and Julie Abouchar (Mondaq.com – October 6, 2014)


Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne released mandate letters to her cabinet ministers on September 25, 2014, outlining key priorities for each ministry. Premier Wynne’s marching orders include many environmental and energy priorities. Key environmental priorities relate to climate change, waste diversion and reduction, pollution prevention, drinking water quality for First Nations and invasive species. Notable among the Premier’s energy priorities are protecting Ontario’s interests in pipelines and advancing renewable energy policies.

Environmental Priorities

Climate Change the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) will lead the development of a new long-term climate change strategy for the province in 2015 that will look forward to 2050 and contain an action plan to achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets for 2020. MOECC will work with other key ministries such as the Energy, Transportation and Natural Resources and Forestry, amongst others to implement the strategy and achieve targets. Other climate change efforts identified in the mandate letter include public and stakeholder engagement on climate change, developing a Canadian Energy Strategy that includes coordinated GHG emission reduction efforts, and developing new alternative fuel rules later this year to help energy-intensive industries reduce GHG emissions.

Pollution Prevention and Responsibility – the MOECC will place greater emphasis on pollution prevention and the “polluter pays” principle, focusing first on contaminated sites. Premier Wynne also encourages the MOECC to review the legislative framework to ensure a comprehensive approach to hold polluters responsible for decisions affecting the environment. Read the rest of this entry »

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6th October 2014

Noront distributes hundreds of t-shirts designed by youth – by Rick Garrick (Wawatay News – October 3, 2014)


Noront Resources has printed and distributed hundreds of prize-winning t-shirts designed by two students from Long Lake #58 and Webequie.

“We had a t-shirt contest last year where we sent out to all the Ring of Fire communities the option for their students to create logos for our new t-shirts,” said Kaitlyn Ferris, Noront’s manager, corporate responsibility. “And we ended up with a tie between two designs. They won their design on the t-shirt for the next year. And then we also sent t-shirts to their schools so that their whole class would get their t-shirt.”

The t-shirts are also handed out “everywhere we go” by Ferris and the Noront staff. Noront is one of the mining companies working on developing mining operations in the Ring of Fire mineral exploration area in the James Bay Lowlands.

“If you look around the room, you will see hundreds of people are now wearing their designs,” Ferris said at the Working Together for Student Success student orientation, held Sept. 5 at the Victoria Inn in Thunder Bay. “We are really proud of them.”

Ferris said students at the orientation were “really impressed” with the winning t-shirt designs. The winning t-shirt design from Webequie was designed by a Grade 8 student. “We’ve had a lot of high school students say they are shocked that a young kid like that has such talent,” Ferris said. “And they are proud to be wearing designs by youth.” Read the rest of this entry »

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3rd October 2014

The North is the Future of Ontario – Dave Canfield (Netnewsledger.com – September 26, 2014)


Northern Ontario is Ontario’s Future

THUNDER BAY – “We are the future of Ontario,” stated Northern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA) President Dave Canfield. Speaking to the Northwestern Ontario Regional Conference, Friday morning Canfield updated the delegates,

“Getting our communities up and running is critical,” added Canfield, sharing with the delegates that at the recent AMO meetings, that the provincial government is listening. “Premier Wynne was present for the entire hour,” added Canfield, explaining that was the first time that had happened”.

Energy remains a focus for NOMA. Canfield explained that in talks with OPA, most of the time the elected officials, and communities are right. Getting the needed power in the region, not just for mining, but for forestry is important.

Infrastructure funding is a success for the north. There was $100 million announced in the budget. Canfield explained that it might take a bit of time to get it going, but the groundwork has been done.

Forging a New Path – NAN Grand Chief Yesno

Nishnawbe-Aski Nation Grand Chief Harvey Yesno addressed the delegates. One of the goals is building permanant infrastructure into our communities. The Grand Chief spoke on how high costs for transportation and food is impacting the region. Read the rest of this entry »

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2nd October 2014

NEWS RELEASE: “Stones of Shame” returned to IOC/Rio Tinto: Innu First Nations demand that IOC/Rio Tinto pay its rent

MONTREAL, Oct. 1, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ – In a historically symbolic gesture, the Innu First Nations of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and Matimekush-Lac John returned two enormous iron ore stones from the mining pits of the Iron Ore Company of Canada (IOC), majority owned by the mining giant Rio Tinto, to IOC/Rio Tinto’s head office (1000, Sherbrooke Street West in Montreal, Quebec). The stones were erected in the Innu communities of Uashat and Mani-utenam in September 1970 to mark 100 years since the discovery of the rich deposits of iron ore in the Schefferville area, which deposits were mined by IOC as of 1954. This act, intended both to heal and to send a message, kicks off a campaign themed “IOC/Rio Tinto must pay its rent” which aims to denounce the violation of the Innu’s rights by IOC/Rio Tinto, particularly its refusal to negotiate a fair economic agreement.

“These stones represent the only thing we have ever received from all of IOC/Rio Tinto’s mining developments on our lands. Our peoples have yet to receive any revenue, compensation, indemnity or royalties whatsoever from IOC/Rio Tinto. We have already reached agreements with all of the other iron ore mining companies, four in total, in our territory, yet the one that was the first to move into our territory and the one which caused us the most harm, IOC/Rio Tinto, is the last one without an agreement with us – the true owners of the land. As a result, we wish to return to IOC/Rio Tinto these “stones of shame” to send a message that the era when companies like IOC/Rio Tinto could profit from our resources all the while ignoring us is over”, stated Mike McKenzie, Chief of Uashat mak Mani-utenam.

It is worth remembering, that as of 1954, IOC/Rio Tinto operated twenty mines in the Schefferville area before abandoning them (while savagely destroying the city of Schefferville) in 1982 and that the company continues to operate nearly ten iron ore mines on the territory of the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-utenam and of Matimekush-Lac John in the area of Labrador City. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Iron Ore, Quebec Mining | 0 Comments

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