Archive | Canada Mining – North of 60

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 →

Regulators need more clarity on ordering safeguards for mining projects, lawyers say (CBC News North – November 14, 2017)

Two lawyers are calling on the Northwest Territories to set clearer rules for how regulators can compel companies to include environmental safeguards in development projects.

John Donihee and Charles Birchall are presenting at the Yellowknife Geoscience Forum this week on a concept they hope is included in any new changes to the territory’s environmental legislation.

It’s called the precautionary principle. The legal concept suggests regulators and governments be cautious and include environmental protections on projects that could harm the environment — even if it isn’t scientifically proven that the project will do any harm. 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 →

Nunavut port-road project needs full environmental assessment: NIRB – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – November 2, 2017)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—Western Nunavut’s Grays Bay road and port—a project which received robust support from the previous Nunavut government and Kitikmeot Inuit—will undergo a full environmental review, the Nunavut Impact Review Board said Oct. 31, in a screening decision.

“The board has indicated to the responsible minister(s) that the proposed project should undergo further assessment best facilitated through a full environmental review,” the NIRB said.

The NIRB’s screeing decision contained stern words about the project, which it says has “the potential to cause significant adverse effects on the ecosystem and may be a cause of significant public concern.” The NIRB cited many reasons for doing a full review, including the importance of allowing members of the public to provide comment. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto says it paid $38M in royalties to N.W.T., but gov’t can’t confirm – by Walter Strong (CBC News North – November 2, 2017)

Rio Tinto is disputing a claim in a recent mining report that it paid no royalties in the N.W.T.

If the government of the Northwest Territories wanted to attract attention to its mining policy review in advance of the territory’s new Mineral Resources Act, it did a good job.

A report, posted to a territorial government website in October, paints the disturbing picture of a royalty and taxation regime that lets mining companies get away with paying little in mining royalties and taxes, at least compared to some other jurisdictions in the world.

Rio Tinto, a 60 per cent owner of the Diavik diamond mine was singled out in the report for not — according to the report — paying any royalties for diamond production at the mine in 2015. The company has since disputed that claim. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Industry supports NWT Premier McLeod’s Red Alert (November 1, 2017)

(Yellowknife, NT – November 1, 2017) The Premier of the Northwest Territories, Bob McLeod does not stand alone in issuing his Red Alert today in which he appeals to the Federal Government for an urgent national debate on the future of the Northwest Territories because “the promise of the North is fading and the dreams of northerners are dying as we see a re-emergence of colonialism.”

We support the Premier’s appeal. The NWT has 85 years of resource production history in both mining and oil and gas, creating significant benefits to Canada. We aren’t a colony.

Over the past 21 years, our northern diamond mining industry alone has made nationally significant and progressive strides, including:
• Training to assist over 1,300 Indigenous and northern residents get mining jobs;
• Providing over 26,000 person-years of Northern jobs of which 50% are Indigenous; Continue Reading →

Candidates mull devolution, mining and tourism potential in Pond Inlet – by Walter Strong (CBC News North – October 25, 2017)

Pond Inlet, Nunavut, a community of about 1,600 people on North Baffin Island, is surrounded by stunning mountainous terrain and the newly created Tallurutiup Imanga (Lancaster Sound) marine conservation area — the largest of its kind in Canada.

It’s also the closest community for the nearby Mary River iron ore mine owned and operated by Baffinland Iron Mines. The mine, approximately 180 kilometres southwest of Pond Inlet by air, has been in production since 2015 and maintains an 800-person camp.

The mine will impact the economic and social life of Pond Inlet for decades to come, but what that legacy will eventually amount to is not clear: the mine has struggled to fulfill its Inuit hiring commitments, and risks to the traditional hunting and trapping way of life in the region have been well-noted by community members and activist groups. 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 →

Western Nunavut to pressure new government on Grays Bay – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – October 18, 2017)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—The Kitikmeot Inuit Association wants to make sure the Grays Bay Road and Port project remains a top government priority, because the Oct. 30 territorial election could see western Nunavut left out of the territory’s leadership circle.

That’s because two of the Grays Bay project’s biggest champions, Peter Taptuna and Keith Peterson, are not seeking re-election.

The upcoming election could result in “a cabinet that may have quite different priorities than the ones which we have enjoyed under [outgoing] Premier Peter Taptuna,” KIA President Stanley Anablak said Oct. 16 in his president’s report to the annual general meeting of the Kitikmeot Inuit Association in Cambridge Bay. Continue Reading →

Nunavut Inuit call for public hearing on iron mine expansion – by Beth Brown (Nunatsiaq News – October 13, 2017)

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Hamlet of Pond Inlet have called on the Nunavut Planning Commission to hold a single in-person public hearing in the North Baffin community before the commission considers a land use plan amendment that would allow a new railway and winter shipping route to service the Mary River mine.

The call comes by way of public submissions made to the NPC after Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. submitted a proposed amendment to the land use plan, Aug. 31, for the second phase of its iron ore project.

The amendment asks to construct a 110-km railway along the route of the existing tote road between the mine and the Milne Inlet port and to allow winter icebreaking in Milne Inlet and Eclipse Sound so freight can be shipped in December, January and February. Continue Reading →

Faded Yukon Gold Rush Town, Population 20, Mines Its Weirdness – by Dan Levin (New York Times – October 15, 2017)

Mr. Tremblay began placer mining a few years ago, a passion he
admitted is stoked more by the thrill of discovery than the
prospect of striking it rich. “When you see gold rimmed along
the bottom of a pan,” he said, “it’s better than sex.”

KENO CITY, Yukon Territory — The journey to the heart of Yukon’s historic mineral wealth started with a question posed to a waitress at the aptly titled Gold Rush hotel in the territorial capital of Whitehorse: What’s the weirdest place in Yukon?

Her answer was a patch of pay dirt around 290 miles north, past endless forests of spruce and golden-leafed aspen, at the end of a gravel road known as the Silver Trail. There lies Keno City, a gold-rush-era relic with about a dozen full-time residents, tap water not fit for human consumption and two bars whose owners haven’t been on speaking terms for more than a decade.

Perched among hills rich in silver, zinc and lead, Keno City began as a Swedish prospector’s staked claim in 1919, its name inspired by a popular gambling game and intended to lure hearty fortune-seekers with the promise of an ore-laden metropolis in Canada’s frigid northern reaches. Continue Reading →

Hunters still oppose winter sealift and railway for Mary River mine near Pond Inlet, Nunavut – by Sara Frizzell (CBC News North – October 11, 2017)

For several years, Baffinland Iron Mines has been trying to get permission for a railway and an extended shipping season for its Mary River mine — it’s still trying and hunters in Pond Inlet, Nunavut, are still opposed.

The mining company’s most recent proposal to the Nunavut Planning Commission was closed for public comments at the beginning of October and respondents are still wary of both elements of the revised plan.

In this iteration, Baffinland is looking for approval to build an 110-kilometre railway along the existing roadway, which connects the mine site to the Milne Inlet port site. It was also looking to extend the shipping season through to February by icebreaking. Continue Reading →

Chief Isaac and the mass media – by Dorota Kupis (Yukon News – September 28, 2017)

The Yukon’s earliest newspapers frequently treated the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in poorly

The Klondike Gold Rush altered the lives of several Yukon First Nations. The most affected were the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, living near Dawson City. The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in came in contact with white people years before the gold rush. The first traders (Jack McQuesten, Frank Bonfield) arrived in their territories as early as 1874. Other than traders, early newcomers were missionaries and miners.

After gold was discovered on Rabbit Creek in 1896, enormous waves of white newcomers came to the Yukon. By 1898, about 40,000 people settled in Dawson City, the center of the Klondike Gold Rush, and the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in living in this area became a minority in their traditional territories.

The Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in, who relocated to the little community of Moosehide, three kilometers downriver from the new town, had to adapt their lives to interact with the residents of Dawson City and miners working on the adjacent creeks. Continue Reading →

Plans for Yukon’s biggest mine delayed – by Chuck Tobin (Whitehorse Daily Star – September 25, 2017)

Western Copper and Gold Corp. has indicated it will take a year longer to advance the proposal for its mammoth Casino mine project.

Western Copper and Gold Corp. has indicated it will take a year longer to advance the proposal for its mammoth Casino mine project. The company indicated Friday in a press release it is delaying the submission of the environmental and socio-economic statement until the end of 2018.

Western Copper and Gold was originally scheduled to submit the statement to the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board by the end of this year.

Continuing work on the design of its tailings dam and pond, along with the time it will take the Yukon government to secure permits for improvements to the access road, are cited as the two factors behind the decision to delay the submission of the statement. Continue Reading →

Nunavut, mining company, link arms to improve Kivalliq quality of life – by Beth Brown (Nunatsiaq News – September 21, 2017)

GN and AEM name 10 priority areas, but mention no budget to pay for it

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. wants to do more than just dig for gold in Nunavut. The multinational corporation, which operates mine sites in Nunavut’s Kivalliq region, signed a memorandum of understanding with the Government of Nunavut Sept. 20, pledging to collaborate with the territory on 10 high-profile “priority areas.”

Those areas are: health, education, training, economic development, infrastructure, housing, heritage resources, wildlife, public safety, and climate change. “None of those are directly mining related,” Agnico Eagle president Ammar Al-Joundi said during a media event at the Nunavut Legislative Assembly in Iqaluit.

But, they are areas that are “absolutely essential” to good mining in the long run, he said, calling the MOU and investment in Nunavummiut all part of the company’s business strategy. The MOU came with no budget or specific funding source. But a spokesperson for the mining company, Dale Coffin, said later that a working group will be struck to further the memorandum’s goals and that any related costs would be borne by Agnico Eagle or the GN. Continue Reading →