Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

Mikisew Cree and Fort McKay First Nations close $503M deal on oilsands project – by Hilary Bird (CBC News North – November 23, 2017)

Two northern Alberta First Nations have closed the deal on the purchase of a 49 per cent interest in a Suncor Energy oilsands storage facility for $503 million.

The acquisition by the Mikisew Cree and Fort McKay First Nations was first announced a year ago but was conditional on the First Nations securing funding.

The project, known as the East Tank Farm Development, is located about 30 kilometres north of Fort McMurray, Alta. According to a Suncor news release, the facility is a bitumen storage, blending and cooling operation handling production from the Fort Hills oilsands mining project. Continue Reading →

This $16B Alberta-B.C. oil pipeline has First Nations backing — but it may still never get built – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – November 23, 2017)

As proposed Canadian crude oil export pipelines struggle to get built, one project is gaining momentum — the First Nations-led, $16 billion Eagle Spirit Energy Holding Ltd. pipeline and energy corridor between Alberta and the northern British Columbia coast.

The project is twice the size of the Northern Gateway project rejected by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and has secured support from First Nations from Bruderheim, Alta., through Northern B.C., to Grassy Point, B.C.

Major Canadian oil producers including Suncor Energy Inc., Cenovus Energy Inc. and Meg Energy Corp. also want it to go ahead, while investment broker AltaCorp Capital Inc. has been lined up to organize financing. The pipeline’s right of way would be on an energy corridor that would be pre-approved by First Nations to also house gas pipelines, hydro lines and fiber optic cable. The Aquilini Group of Vancouver is also a backer. Continue Reading →

Opinion: Ensuring remote First Nations are fully ready for mining jobs – by Daniel Bland (Montreal Gazette – November 21, 2017)

Daniel Bland works with Cree Human Resources Development on the design and delivery of workforce development training programs. He is based in Mistissini.

Resource extraction companies across Canada continue to ride out a worldwide slump in commodity prices that market analysts suggest may continue into 2018 before showing signs of any extended recovery.

While that is certainly bad news for mining companies, it could be a blessing in disguise for many remote First Nations hoping to benefit from their proximity to potential mining operations.

In recent years, Canadian policy institutes and think tanks have paid considerable attention to determining the labour market demands of major mining projects, many of them planned on or near aboriginal land. Continue Reading →

‘Secret side deals’ hurt Ring of Fire progress, says First Nation chief – Staff (Northern Ontario Business – November 16, 2017)

Neskantaga urges province to work with all Matawa chiefs, not a select few

The “politics of division” won’t advance progress on a contentious Ring of Fire road corridor, contends the chief of a remote First Nation community.

Neskantaga’s Wayne Moonias is offended by remarks made by Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation Minister David Zimmer in the Ontario legislature after a trip made last month to an exploration camp in the James Bay lowlands, hosted by Noront Resources and the chiefs of Webequie and Marten Falls.

In a Nov. 14 letter written to Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle, and obtained by Northern Ontario Business, Moonias reminds the province that his community still has not consented to a provincial plan to begin construction on an east-west road into the Far North mineral belt by 2019. Continue Reading →

Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk road finally connects Canada from sea to sea to sea – by Jim Coyle (Toronto Star – November 18, 2017)

When Eddie Gruben got into the transportation business in the 1950s in the Northwest Territories, his means of locomotion for hauling supplies between Arctic communities was dogsled.

The corporate logo for E. Gruben’s Transport Ltd. is still a man with a pack on his back and a dog team. But the company — now grown into a successful contracting and project management firm with offices in Inuvik and Edmonton and headquarters in Tuktoyaktuk — has changed dramatically.

This week, so did the region, with the official opening on Wednesday of the Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, a road Eddie’s grandson helped build. “It’s a lot of years coming,” said Merven Gruben, a former mayor of the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and current vice-president of the firm his late grandfather founded. “It’s something that we’ve been dreaming about for so many years.” Continue Reading →

Diamonds aren’t forever at Victor Mine – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 15, 2017)

Despite 2019 mine closure, De Beers still believes James Bay lowlands hold promise

De Beers Canada is razing and remediating the Victor Mine site beginning in 2019, but it’s not completely abandoning the James Bay region. If there more rich diamond deposits to be unearthed, a company spokesman said they’ll come at it with a different approach.

Tom Ormsby, the company’s head of corporate affairs, said the diamond-bearing ground, 90 kilometres east of Attawapiskat, still remains very prospective but it doesn’t support keeping the current infrastructure intact.

“It all has to go. The minute the process plant has the last ore pushed through then the decommissioning and demolition will begin.” The company announced Nov. 1 that production at the remote fly-in/fly-out mine would finish during the first quarter of 2019, at which time the deposit will be depleted. Continue Reading →

Canada’s first permanent road to Arctic coast set to open this week – by Bob Weber (Globe and Mail – November 13, 2017)

At 6 a.m. on Wednesday, in the arctic cold and darkness of the Mackenzie Delta, Darrel Nasogaluak will fire up his vehicle and head out on Canada’s newest and most exotic road trip.

Nasogaluak, mayor of the Northwest Territories hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, will drive down 120 kilometres of brand-new, two-lane, all-weather gravel to Inuvik. Replacing a seasonal ice road, the new highway is the country’s first permanent link to its Arctic coast.

With apologies to Stan Rogers, travellers will now be able to grasp the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea from the heated comfort of their drivers’ seats. Continue Reading →

Nunavut mining company takes icebreaking off the table – by Lisa Gregoire (Nunatsiaq News – November 6, 2017)

Baffinland Iron Mines, which operates the Mary River mine in North Baffin, has scrapped its plans for winter icebreaking in Eclipse Sound.

The mining company had been seeking an amendment to the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan to permit limited icebreaking so they could bring in a maximum of two winter sea lifts of freight from December to February.

“Baffinland has reviewed the comments submitted by the parties and has considered the concerns expressed by the community of Pond Inlet,” wrote Todd Burlingame, vice-president sustainable development for Baffinland, in a letter to the Nunavut Planning Commission.

“Baffinland has reconsidered the need for seeking an amendment to the [land use plan] to allow for annual winter sea lifts and is formally withdrawing the proposed winter sea lift from the proposed amendment application.” Continue Reading →

Dream of Ontario diamond industry ‘never really took off’ says NDP MPP – by Erik White (CBC News Sudbury – November 06, 2017)

Polishing operation had 45 employees at point, most brought in from Vietnam.

It’s still unclear how the closure of the DeBeers mine near Attawapiskat will affect a diamond polishing operation in downtown Sudbury. There are also questions about whether requiring the company to process 10 per cent of its diamonds in the province had much of an impact.

“DeBeers and Crossworks and the Ontario government working together have created a real success story here,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said in 2013, when touring Crossworks Manufacturing in Sudbury.

The secret location was a popular stop for politicians, showing off the new value-added industry and talking about big plans for college programs to train polishers. There were also hopes that the first few dozen workers brought in from Vietnam would give way to locals. Continue Reading →

Victor’s closing sad, but inevitable: Mayor Black – by Len Gillis(Timmins Daily Press – November 3, 2017)

ATTAWAPISKAT – Feeling disappointed but not completely surprised is the reaction from Timmins Mayor Steve Black on the announcement that De Beers Canada is shutting down its Victor diamond mine near Attawapiskat.

De Beers chief executive officer Kim Truter made the announcement at a news conference in Timmins Wednesday afternoon. He said the economics of the mine would soon be no longer sustainable and the plan is to cease operations in the first quarter of 2019.

“The Victor shutdown news didn’t necessarily catch us off guard,” said Black. “It’s something we have been discussing with the mine for the last couple of years with their timelines and whatnot.” Continue Reading →

Victor Mine to shut down early 2019 – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – November 2, 2017)

ATTAWAPISKAT – De Beers Canada announced Wednesday that the Victor diamond mine, the first and only commercial diamond mining operation in Ontario, is shutting down in less than a year and a half.

Kim Truter, the company’s chief executive officer made the announcement in Timmins, which for the past 10 years has been the main jumping-off point for access to the mine, located in the James Bay lowlands, roughly 100 kilometres west of the First Nation community of Attawapiskat.

The mine can only be accessed by air year round, or by a winter road, for five or six weeks in January and February. Truter said the mine has performed according to the original mine plan and now that the diamonds within the Victor property are gradually being depleted, the time is right for closing. Continue Reading →

After Oct. 30 election, Inuit org will lobby for Nunavut-Manitoba link – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – October 25, 2017)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—A road to bring cheap, clean power and internet northwards—and, at the same time boost the economy in central Nunavut: that’s what the Kivalliq Inuit Association wants for the future.

On those goals, the KivIA sounds a lot like the Kitikmeot Inuit Association on its western Nunavut Grays Bay port and road project, which has received $2 million from the Government of Nunavut to pay for the permitting process for the project.

After the territorial election Oct. 30, and a new premier and cabinet are chosen, the KivIA plans to head to Iqaluit “to move our priorities forward.” “What’s holding us up right now is the elections,” said KivIA President David Ningeongan, after he delivered his organization’s report to the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay. Continue Reading →

Romano plans to pen private member’s bill designed to better educate Ontarians – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – October 20, 2017)

Sault MPP Ross Romano said he got a hard life lesson during his two-week trip to First Nation communities in Ontario’s far north.

So much so, he said, that he’s already drafting a private member’s bill that he hopes will enlighten Ontarians and provide future generations with a better understanding of how some First Nation communities live. That education also needs to include a better understanding of treaties and how they work and teach youth, at a younger age, to better appreciate relationships with Indigenous people.

“The prejudices and discrimination that exist are very obvious and something that I really learned a lot about by spending time in these communities,” Romano told The Sault Star. “I was told I may be the only politician that has ever spent a night in these communities.” Continue Reading →

[Manitoba Mining] Look North economic strategy battles difficult future north of 53rd parallel – by Sean Kavanagh (CBC News Manitoba – October 20, 2017)

A mix of optimism, a fresh start and a healthy dose of reality pervade the Look North report on the economy of northern Manitoba.

“What we’re suggesting is this is a starting point so we can capitalize on the opportunities that exist in the north,” said Look North task force co-chair Chuck Davidson, president of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce.

The Look North report and action plan for northern Manitoba economic development was produced by a provincially appointed task force that held its first meeting in December 2016. The task force is co-chaired by Davidson and Christian Sinclair, an independent business adviser and member of the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Continue Reading →

Group of 29 tribes oppose Pebble Mine, B.C.’s ‘transboundary’ projects – by Kevin Gullufsen (Juneau Empire – October 20, 2017)

Southeast and Bristol Bay tribal mining opposition now has a unified front. Two Alaska Native tribal consortiums announced a “historic” partnership Wednesday at the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage.

Tribal groups representing a majority of the indigenous peoples in Southeast and Bristol Bay will work together to oppose mining projects in both regions. The Juneau-based Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska (CCTHITA) and Douglas Indian Association (DIA) are part of the agreement.

The United Tribes of Bristol Bay (UTBB), which represents 80 percent of the 14 Yup’ik, Denai’na, and Alutiq indigenous communities in Bristol Bay, signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Southeast Alaska Indigenous Transboundary Commission (SEITC), which represents 15 of the region’s 19 tribal organizations. Continue Reading →