Archive | Aboriginal and Inuit Mining

[Australia] Indigenous people and miners need each others’ help – by Nyunggai Warren Mundine (Australian Financial Review – January 10, 2017)

The minerals industry isn’t going anywhere. It will only get bigger. The human appetite for resources shows no signs of abating. Technology and innovation, population and economic growth will only make that appetite stronger.

Indigenous people aren’t going anywhere either and our population is also getting bigger. Minerals extraction means engaging with Indigenous people. Indigenous Australians have ownership or other rights over 20 per cent of the continent, including most areas where mining occurs. And there’s still native title claims to be concluded and compensatory funds to be invested.

Socio-economically, there’s a big gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Demographically, Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia are like two different countries – the demographics of Australia are typical of developed economies; the demographics of Indigenous Australia resemble developing economies. Continue Reading →

Encanto Potash Corp. one step closer to financing $3B mine on Sask. First Nation – by Alex MacPherson (Saskatoon StarPhoenix – January 6, 2017)

A junior mining company with plans to build a potash mine on a reserve northeast of Regina says two new 20-year agreements to sell a total of seven million tonnes of potash annually bring it one step closer to financing and building the massive facility.

The agreements, known as offtakes, with “bankable” India-based firms should help Encanto Potash Corp. secure the $3 billion it needs to build the mine on Muskowekwan First Nation, said the Vancouver-based company’s director of corporate development.

“We think that with this offtake, we can get our corporate financing,” Gary Deathe said, adding that while no junior mining company has successfully financed a potash operation into production, that is “100 per cent” Encanto’s plan. Continue Reading →

Bye, bye BIPR: Nunavut port-road scheme still frozen – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – January 9, 2017)

Two Kitikmeot road projects remain stuck in the ditch

The two mining companies that own the Bathurst Inlet Port Road project will keep their once highly-touted proposal in the deep freeze for at least one more year, if not longer, the proponents told regulators Jan. 4.

First conceived in the late 1990s under different proponents, the BIPR has long been touted as a way to supply mines in the interior of the western Kitikimeot and ship base metal ore to market.

But the current BIPR proponents, Sabina Gold and Silver Corp. and Glencore Corp., say they have no plans this year to submit a draft environmental impact statement to the Nunavut Impact Review Board. Continue Reading →

Industry and indigenous communities let the sun in on the shared problem of diesel – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – January 7, 2017)

One of Chris Angeconeb’s first jobs was documenting diesel spills near schools, health clinics and airports on northwestern Ontario reserves for his Lac Seul First Nation.

Today, 25 years later, as vice-president of junior miner AurCrest Gold Inc., he’s trying to forge bonds between his company and nearby indigenous communities over a shared goal: ending their reliance on diesel.

Using diesel energy means companies and residents alike are susceptible to blackouts due to shortages as well as hazardous leaks and spills. The lack of reliability, volatile pricing and cost of hauling the fuel, often via ice roads or planes, in addition to the increasing viability of alternatives, has made getting off diesel a priority for both miners and remote communities. Continue Reading →

Ottawa cools to Ring of Fire’s potential – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – December 21, 2016)

Ottawa has been throwing cold water on the Ring of Fire, a mineral deposit in Northern Ontario that was once thought to be worth more than $60-billion.

Since the federal Liberal Party came to power last year, the government has stonewalled requests to pay for infrastructure, lowered expectations for development and slashed its valuation for the deposit, according to internal Department of Natural Resources documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The skepticism among federal ranks has proven to be another barrier to mining the 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of mostly chromite in the boggy James Bay lowlands and boreal forest. Development of the Ring was already facing significant challenges: No permanent road access, no power, environmental concerns, a prolonged commodities slump and scores of unresolved issues with the nine First Nations groups that live in the region. Continue Reading →

[Lithium Boom] TOSSED ASIDE IN THE ‘WHITE GOLD’ RUSH – by Todd C. Frankel and Peter Whoriskey (Washington Post – December 19, 2016)

Indigenous people are left poor as tech world takes lithium from under their feet

In the thin air of the salt flats here, nearly 13,000 feet above sea level, the indigenous Atacamas people face a constant struggle. They herd llamas and goats on arid land, knit Andean hats for extra money and chew coca leaves to fight off the altitude’s dizzying effects. They live in mud-brick homes with roofs made of sheets of corrugated metal weighed down with rocks against the stiff winds.

Yet beneath their ancestral land lies a modern-day Silicon Valley treasure: lithium.

The silvery-white metal is essential for the lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles, and the popularity of these products has prompted a land rush here. Mining companies have for years been extracting billions of dollars of lithium from the Atacama region in Chile, and now firms are flocking to the neighboring Atacama lands in Argentina to hunt for the mineral known as “white gold.”

But the impoverished Atacamas have seen little of the riches. Continue Reading →

A “New” Gold Camp in the Making? – by Christopher Ecclestone ( – December 14, 2016)

One seldom gets to name a planet or star, a new species of plant or animal, a street or a town. In the mining world new mining camps are relatively rare phenomena too so getting to name a “new” mining camp is something of an honour.

Indeed it could be like a staking rush if anyone was actually noticing that an area with great potential is developing and remains unnamed as yet. However, that begs the question as to at what point a couple of disparate prospects and projects start to crystallise into a new district.

If Signature Resources Ltd.’s (TSXV: SGU | OTCQB: SGGTF) Lingman Lake project was alone out there in the Ontario/Manitoba borderlands or if it was solely greenfield then naming the area the “Red Sucker Lake Camp” would be jumping the gun but in fact its property was mined in the 1940s, made a false start at resumed production in the 1990s, and now the sizeable Monument Bay project in the hands of Yamana is making the area almost crowded (we jest) in comparison to recent decades. Continue Reading →

Couillard uses Arctic Circle forum to tout Quebec’s northern ambitions – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – December 15, 2016)

“To make sure Quebec is recognized as a Nordic nation”

QUEBEC CITY—At the Arctic Circle forum held in Quebec City earlier this week, Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard put on his salesman act, using the event to brag about his government’s renewed Plan Nord and to pitch the potential of Quebec’s northern regions to global investors.

With his “good friend,” Iceland’s ex-premier, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, sitting just a few feet away, Couillard promised he’ll use Plan Nord to promote Quebec wherever he goes. “We will take advantage of all forums to make sure Quebec is recognized as a Nordic nation,” Couillard said in a speech that opened the day’s plenary session Dec. 12.

In it, Couillard bragged that his government’s re-worked version of Plan Nord, introduced in April 2015, offers a good balance between environmental protection, social wellbeing and economic development. Continue Reading →

Arrested Development: How a high school student helped block Quebec’s uranium industry – by Damon van der Linde (Financial Post – December 15, 2016)

MISTISSINI, Que. — Hunting grouse on a snowy road that cuts through the forest north of his home in the Cree community of Mistissini, Justice Debassige reflects on why, as a 17-year-old high school student in 2012, he started a petition against a uranium exploration project 215 kilometres away.

“I read research on how it damages the land and the water, so that was what drew me in,” he said, while searching for birds down the road towards the now-shuttered site owned by Boucherville, Que.-based Strateco Resources Inc. “It’s something to really think about when we’re out here.”

Debassige said he couldn’t have imagined at the time that his petition would be the catalyst for a complete moratorium against exploration of the radioactive mineral across Quebec, result in a $200-million lawsuit by Strateco Resources against the government and pit the federal nuclear safety agency against a provincial environmental commission. Continue Reading →

[TMAC’s high-grade Nunacut gold mine] Hope for the future – by Correy Baldwin (CIM Magazine – November 2016)

TMAC’s high-grade Hope Bay gold project in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut is nearing start up. Beyond the focus on getting the processing plant running and reaching commercial production in the first quarter of 2017, the company has its sights set on an even more ambitious goal: making the region Canada’s next gold-mining district.

In many ways Hope Bay is evidence of new market confidence. When TMAC went public in July 2015, it was the first mining IPO on the TSX since 2012. When Hope Bay’s previous owner, Newmont, approached Terry MacGibbon (now TMAC’s executive chairman) with the project in late August 2012, MacGibbon was immediately interested – the site came with three known deposits, plenty of previous exploratory drilling, and a huge amount of infrastructure already in place.

MacGibbon recruited Catharine Farrow (TMAC’s CEO) and Gord Morrison (president and chief technology officer) – former team members from FNX, the Sudbury-based mining company MacGibbon started in 1997. “We sort of put the old band back together,” he said. By December, Newmont and the newly formed TMAC had an agreement in principal, and a final agreement in January 2013. Continue Reading →

Arrested Development: Down, down, down? Ring of Fire still a burning question – by Sunny Freeman (Financial Post – December 13, 2016)

The nine chiefs of the Matawa First Nations closest to Ontario’s Ring of Fire gathered around a conference table in July 2013 at what seemed like a historic crossroads to debate the merits of development in a region that had never before experienced it.

Promises of jobs, revenue sharing and infrastructure improvements, some said, could bring prosperity to the struggling communities. On the other hand, development could come too rapidly and at too high a cost to their land and traditional way of life. They needn’t have worried. Three years later, development of the 5,000-square-kilometre area of the James Bay Lowlands is still stuck in neutral.

The Ring of Fire is a deposit of minerals — including nickel, copper, gold, zinc and the extremely rare chromite — some 540 kilometres north of Thunder Bay that is said to be worth up to $60 billion. Dubbed “Canada’s next oilsands,” it could be the biggest resource development Ontario has seen in more than a century. Continue Reading →

Nunavut mine compromise not good enough, says wildlife group – by Steve Ducharme (Nunatsiaq News – December 12, 2016)

“Baffinland has done well to consult with communities… but there is more work to be done”

The World Wildlife Fund-Canada says contradictory statements made by Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. on possible winter extensions to its marine shipping season for the Mary River mine should lead to a full environmental review from the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

“Baffinland Iron Mines Corp.’s new plan to extend its Arctic shipping period to Dec. 31 and its expectation to ship during winter months ‘when necessary’ should not be permitted without a full review and public hearings,” WWF Canada said in a Dec. 8 news release.

In November, Baffinland revised its “Phase II” plans for the Mary River mine, dropping a proposal to ship ore by ice breakers through the winter months, replacing it with a railroad that follows roughly the same path as the current tote road used to transports or by truck from the mine to Milne Inlet. Continue Reading →

Arrested Development: How a new breed of activist is damaging economic growth, one project at a time – by Claudia Cattaneo, Geoffrey Morgan and Jesse Snyder (Financial Post – December 9, 2016)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had barely finished delivering his statement approving the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines, and rejecting Northern Gateway on Nov. 29 when anti-pipeline activists erupted on Twitter.

“@justintrudeau just approved the #Kindermorgan pipeline. Vancouver: Join us at the CBC building at 5 pm,” tweeted, along with a photo with protesters and the headline: IT’S TIME TO ESCALATE AGAINST KINDER MORGAN.

Greenpeace Canada took direct aim at Trudeau: “BREAKING: @JustinTrudeau approves #KinderMorgan and #Line3 pipelines, rejects #NorthernGateway,” illustrating it with indigenous protesters and the warning: “If Prime Minister Trudeau wanted to bring Standing Rock to Canada he succeeded.” Continue Reading →


GATINEAU, QC (December 7, 2016): Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Ignace Gull and Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler have issued the following statements following legal action by an environmental group over monitoring at the De Beers diamond mine near the remote First Nation community.

“The issues facing our community with respect to our relationship with De Beers, the operation of the Victor Diamond Mine and its impacts in our territory are complex and challenging. I was surprised to learn that this legal action has been taken, and I am concerned that issues of great importance to our community are being addressed in the courts and media without our knowledge, consent or participation.

I must clarify that the Wildlands League, their lawyers and spokespeople, do not speak or act on behalf of Attawapiskat First Nation. The protection and stewardship of our traditional territory is our sacred responsibility. Continue Reading →

Navajo Nation Seeks More Than $160 Million From EPA in Colorado Mine Disaster – by Sara Randazzo (Wall Street Journal – December 5, 2016)

Nation seeking to recover costs from spill, ongoing environmental monitoring

The Navajo Nation filed a claim Monday seeking more than $160 million from the federal government for damages tied to last year’s Gold King Mine disaster in Colorado, which sent three million gallons of toxic sludge into nearby waterways and triggered environmental concerns in several states.

In a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Navajo Nation requested $3.2 million to cover costs already incurred as a result of the spill, and another $159 million to pay for ongoing environmental monitoring and an alternative water supply. The Navajo Nation says the spill has shattered its longstanding reliance on the San Juan River, which it calls “the lifeblood of the Navajo people.”

The claim, sent to the EPA’s office of general counsel on Monday, follows a lawsuit filed by the Nation in August against the agency and several mining companies seeking recovery for response costs under federal and state laws. Continue Reading →