Archive | British Columbia Mining

Four warning signs that Teck’s spectacular gains are over – by David Berman (Globe and Mail – August 18, 2017)

Teck Resources Ltd. rewards nimble investors who can move against the current, selling the stock when times are good and buying it when the outlook is dismal. Today, conditions are excellent for the Vancouver-based miner, and that suggests shareholders should consider departing from this roller coaster of an investment.

On the surface, this might not sound like a great idea, given Teck’s stellar second-quarter results, released late last month. Teck, which produces copper, zinc and steelmaking coal from mines in Canada, the United States, Chile and Peru, topped analysts’ estimates with a profit of $577-million or $1 a share – way up from a profit of just 3 cents a share a year ago.

Analysts had been expecting a profit of 90 cents a share, according to Reuters. The company’s debt levels are also falling, which is good. Net debt per share declined to $9.59, according to a report from Canaccord Genuity, down from $13.42 a share last year, which is a steeper drop than analysts had been expecting. Continue Reading →

B.C. environmental group urges stop to Ajax Mine project over water-safety concerns – by Mike Hager (Globe and Mail – August 14, 2017)

VANCOUVER – An environmental group is asking the local bureaucrat in charge of Kamloops’ drinking water to stop a controversial billion-dollar mining project that could soon be approved by the provincial government.

The University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre mailed a letter to the local drinking-water officer Monday alleging previous environmental studies done on the Ajax Mine proposal, owned by the Polish firm KGHM, did not take into account how toxic chemicals from the open-pit copper and gold mine could contaminate surface water to leach into a nearby creek and two aquifers that provide drinking water to more than 100 residents. A Vancouver-based representative of the company was unavailable for comment on Friday.

The province is expected to issue its environmental assessment certificate as early as this fall, but this independent bureaucrat has the power to order the company to stop the project until it properly addresses the risks posed to the local water supply, according to Calvin Sandborn, the legal director of the UVic centre leading the campaign to stop the mine. Continue Reading →

[Alaska] Tribes hire coordinator to battle B.C. mines – by Kevin Gullufsen (Juneau Empire – August 7, 2017)

Banding together, 16 Southeast tribes will push for a seat at the table in talks with Canada about mining issues on shared waters. The United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group hired its first full-time employee, they announced in an Aug. 1 press release.

One of her first tasks will be to secure the tribes a stronger voice in inter-governmental talks about a series of large Canadian mining projects upriver from salmon habitat on the Stikine, Unuk and Taku River watersheds.

Based out of Wrangell, coordinator Tis Peterman will head up efforts to raise the tribes’ voice in ongoing discussions over the mines. Peterman is working on a Memorandum of Understanding, which would give the tribes a position alongside the state of Alaska and British Columbia in meetings about the controversial mining projects. Continue Reading →

Alaska, Canada must safeguard fisheries from B.C. mining operations – by Dale Kelley and Louise Stutes (Alaska Dispatch News – August 3, 2017)

Rep. Louise Stutes serves Alaska House District 32, which includes Kodiak, Cordova and Yakutat. Dale Kelley has been executive director of the Alaska Trollers Association for nearly 30 years. She serves on the boards of several state and national fisheries organizations and federal advisory groups.

Legislators and fishing representatives may appear to have very different jobs, but the reality is that we are both charged with looking out for the best interests of the hard-working people we represent.

One issue of mutual concern is making sure Alaska communities do not suffer harm from Canadian mines under development in our shared watersheds. And, should the unthinkable occur, we want the responsible parties to clean up the mess and reimburse any losses. Currently, Alaska has no binding agreement with Canada to ensure that happens. Continue Reading →

No provincial charges for Mount Polley mining disaster, but possibility of federal charges remain – by Gordon Hoekstra (August 3, 2017)

The disclosure Wednesday that there will be no charges laid under B.C.’s environmental laws for Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley tailings dam failure in 2014 has environmentalists questioning whether the province’s laws are strong enough.

There remains the possibility of federal charges under the Fisheries Act, but the B.C. Conservation Officer Service has said a B.C.-federal investigation will not be complete by Friday — when the three-year time limit to lay charges under B.C.’s Environmental Management Act ends.

The B.C. conservation service-led investigation — involving a dedicated team of officers and several federal investigators — started almost immediately after the Aug. 4, 2014, failure of the earth-and-rock dam at the gold-and-copper mine northeast of Williams Lake. Continue Reading →

Canada so ripe with green activism old-fashioned employment has gone out of fashion – by Rex Murphy (National Post – August 4, 2017)

Has there ever been a single energy project — just one — in British Columbia that has not faced protest and demonization?

It’s more than a touch odd or distressing how a project with an overall budget of some $36 billion — billion! — can get cancelled these days, and not kick up as much interest or internet play as, say, Justin Trudeau showing up on the cover of (the much diminished of late) Rolling Stone.

Yet this appears the case with the Pacific Northwest liquified natural gas (LNG) plant in British Columbia, undertaken by the Malaysian company Petronas some years back, and now, despite early expenditures of some billions, cancelled for good.

I don’t suppose there’s any need to point out that all the jobs, technical resources, local development and industry that would naturally follow from an expenditure of this magnitude are good things. Or that Canada hasn’t become so new-age, so ripe with green virtue-signalling as a surrogate for policy, so prideful of its climate change sanctimoniousness, that jobs, employment, old fashioned working for a living has gone utterly out of fashion. Continue Reading →

No provincial charges in 2014 Mount Polley dam collapse in B.C. – by Camille Bains (Globe and Mail – August 2, 2017)

VANCOUVER — Canadian Press – There will be no provincial charges for a tailings dam collapse in British Columbia but the province’s new environment minister says a mining company may still be held responsible through federal laws.

George Heyman said Wednesday the August 2014 disaster has had tremendous economic and environmental consequences and British Columbians deserve to know what went wrong at the Mount Polley mine located in the province’s Interior.

“A disaster like this should never have happened in B.C., and it must never happen again,” Heyman said in a statement, adding that charges under the federal Fisheries Act“ remain very much in play and, in fact, potential penalties are more significant.” Continue Reading →

B.C. First Nation to battle Taseko Mines in court – by Wendy Stueck (Globe and Mail – July 31, 2017)

VANCOUVER – The Tsilhqot’in National Government and Taseko Mines Ltd. are scheduled to face off in a Victoria court Monday, marking the latest stage in a long-running battle over a proposed open-pit mine the company wants to build near Fish Lake, also known as Teztan Biny.

The Tsilhqot’in National Government (TNG) will ask the B.C. Supreme Court for an injunction to stop exploration work Taseko wants to do at the site, about 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake, B.C. The site lies just outside an area to which the TNG have aboriginal title – as confirmed in a landmark 2014 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada – and within a broader area subject to aboriginal claim.

The standoff between TNG and Taseko sets up a conflict between the provincial and federal governments and a potential headache for the B.C.’s NDP-Green alliance. A permit for exploration work, including drilling test pits and buildings roads, was issued July 14, while B.C.’s former Liberal government was still in office and several Tsilhqot’in communities were under evacuation orders because of raging wildfires. Continue Reading →

How to smother a resource economy to death, starting with LNG – by Joe Oliver (Financial Post – August 2, 2017)

Joe Oliver, chairman of investment dealer Echelon Wealth Partners, is the former minister of natural resources and minister of finance.

Last week, Canada received more bad news in its prolonged failure to export energy resources abroad. Petronas decided not to proceed with its $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG project, dealing a body blow to B.C. employment, economic growth, funding for social programs and revenue to First Nations. Understandably, the federal and provincial governments sounded defensive, characterizing it as a business decision based entirely on the decline in liquified natural gas prices.

However, Petronas had previously emphasized it considers the industry’s long-term prospects, including costs, not just the current market. Furthermore, LNG projects are moving forward south of the border and in Australia. An initial project description was filed with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) in February 2013, raising the question why it could not have been approved sooner when prices were higher and costs potentially lower. Continue Reading →

B.C. Energy and Mines Minister takes on tough portfolio – by Gordon Hoekstra (Vancouver Sun – August 1, 2017)

Michelle Mungall is a rural MLA from the Kootenays who has experience in social issues. She now takes on a ministry that encompasses economic, First Nation and environmental issues across a vast land base in B.C.

Mungall, a three-term MLA from Nelson-Creston and former Nelson city councillor, takes on a tough portfolio as major industrial projects involved in mining and energy are high-profile and often controversial. In her first week in office, Pacific NorthWest LNG cancelled its $11.4-billion project, citing poor global markets.

The project was one of several leading proposed liquefied natural gas projects — none of which have been built — promoted by the former B.C. Liberal government. The Pacific NorthWest LNG project was opposed by environmentalists and some First Nations and scientists. Another potential controversy is brewing over Taseko’s proposed $1.1-billion Prosperity gold and copper mine in the Interior, twice rejected by the federal government and opposed by the Tsilhqot’in Nation. The company was granted an extensive drilling permit in early July, in the dying days of the B.C. Liberal government. Continue Reading →

First Nations in Victoria court to stop mining permit – by Sarah Petrescu (Victoria Times Colonist – August 1, 2017)

First Nations leaders, elders and community groups gathered on the Victoria courthouse steps Monday morning in support of Tsilhqot’in First Nations chiefs hoping to overturn a drilling permit issued to Taseko Mines in the last days of the B.C. Liberal government.

“We’re here to stop this permit and I think we will,” said Chief Russell Myers Ross from the Yunesit’in First Nation, who was joined by Chief Roger William from the Xeni Gwet’in First Nation.

The Tsilhqot’in are petitioning the Supreme Court for an interlocutory injunction to stop exploratory drilling around Teztan Biny (Fish) Lake, a traditional hunting, fishing, medicine gathering and spiritual region. Continue Reading →

‘A tragedy for Canada’: Petronas cancels $36B LNG project as B.C. jacks up demands – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – July 26, 2017)

British Columbia’s new NDP/Green coalition government was in damage control mode after the most ambitious of the province’s proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, the $36-billion Pacific NorthWest LNG, was cancelled Tuesday.

Both the province and the Malaysian company that proposed it blamed poor global LNG market conditions. The truth is that what should have been a magnificent new Canadian industry, building middle-class jobs from exporting Western Canada’s world-class Montney shale gas to reduce carbon pollution in Asia, has unraveled due in large part to government mishandling — plus fears it would have only accelerated under the new, anti-development provincial government.

The proof is that the LNG export industry is thriving in the United States under the same global market conditions, while B.C. has yet to see the construction of a single project out of 20 or so proposed since 2011. Dennis McConaghy, a former senior executive at energy company TransCanada Corp., called the decision “a tragedy for Canada … a real condemnation of this country and the utterly unproductive entities in it that simply make any development virtually impossible.” Continue Reading →

Five-year junior mining drought is over – by Nelson Bennett (Business Vancouver – July 18, 2017)

But investment flowing back into junior exploration mining sector might bypass B.C. because of new government

Initial public offerings, mergers and acquisitions, major financing deals – the signs are abundant that a five-year drought for the junior mining sector might be truly over. And while B.C. hosts the majority of Canada’s junior exploration companies – not to mention commodities, like copper and gold, that they are prospecting for – at least one mining consultant fears that little of the investment now flowing will be spent on exploration in B.C.

The turnaround for the mining sector started about a year ago with a rebound in metal prices. Mining majors are typically the first to benefit from higher metal and mineral prices and renewed investor confidence. Investment in the higher-risk early-stage exploration sector always lags.

But money is again flowing to juniors with projects at the late-exploration or early-development stage, according to several reports and indicators.According to PwC, there were five junior mining IPOs on the TSX Venture Exchange in 2017’s first half compared with none in 2016’s first half. PwC estimates that $39.2 million was raised on the venture exchange in the first half of this year. Continue Reading →

Kamloops city council votes against controversial Ajax copper-gold mine – by Wendy Stueck (Globe and Mail – July 18, 2017)

VANCOUVER — Local politicians in Kamloops, B.C., voted on Monday to oppose a controversial copper-gold mine that would operate just outside of the city limits.

The city doesn’t have the authority to stop the Ajax mine, owned by Poland-based KGHM, but hopes federal and provincial governments will take Kamloops’s position into account, the city’s acting mayor, Arjun Singh, said. “We’d like, certainly, to be heard in what we are saying,” Mr. Singh said.

“We realize we are not the final decision makers – but I think the work that we have all done to assess [the project] leads at least the majority of us to think it’s not a good idea for the community.” The proposed mine, which is also opposed by First Nations in the region, has been a divisive issue for the city. Continue Reading →

Canada wildfires disrupt industry, force 14,000 from homes – by Ethan Lou (Reuters U.S. – July 11, 2017)

CALGARY, ALBERTA – Rapidly spreading wildfires in Western Canada’s British Columbia on Monday disrupted timber and mining operations, damaged equipment at a regional electric utility and forced thousands from homes in the interior of the province.

Authorities said at least 10 of more than 200 fires burning across the province were close to residential communities. Some 38,000 hectares (93,900 acres) had been ravaged as of midday on Monday. No deaths or serious injuries have been reported, but some 14,000 people have been forced from their homes.

West Fraser Timber Co said it had temporarily suspended operations at 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Chasm. It said the sites have total annual production capacity of 800 million board feet of lumber and 270 million square feet of plywood. Continue Reading →