Archive | Canada Mining – North of 60

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 →

Yukon placer miners don’t dig the idea of higher gold royalty rates – by Nancy Thomson (CBC News North – September 21, 2017)

‘The impression that a placer miner has a room full of gold that they can roll in — just doesn’t exist’

The Klondike Placer Miners’ Association (KPMA) says modernizing the royalty rates for placer gold won’t help the Yukon government avoid budget deficits. About 35 placer miners presented their opinions to the territory’s financial advisory panel at a meeting this week in Dawson City.

The independent panel issued a draft report earlier this month, spelling out ways the government might balance its books in the future. One recommendation is to review taxation on mining with a possible increase on the royalty rate on placer gold operations.

But placer miners say their industry makes a valuable contribution to local economies — and should not be taxed further. KPMA president Mike McDougall says although miners pay only about 37 and a half cents tax per ounce of gold — a royalty rate that hasn’t changed in a century — they also pay business and personal income tax. Continue Reading →

Dominion Diamond investors OK $1.2B US sale to Washington Companies (CBC News North – September 19, 2017)

Shareholders expected to receive $14.25 US per share in cash when acquisition closes

The Canadian Press: The Canadian head office of Dominion Diamond is to remain in Calgary after its shareholders voted on Tuesday to approve its $1.2-billion US sale to Washington Companies.

Larry Simkins, president of the Montana-based acquirer, attended Dominion’s special meeting. He said afterwards it wouldn’t make sense to relocate the 100 employees of Dominion in Calgary after the head office was moved from Yellowknife earlier this year.

“It just moved here and the last thing we would do is uproot families and move them back to Yellowknife or some other place,” he said. Investors in the Northwest Territories diamond producer voted more than 99 per cent in favour of the deal announced in July. Continue Reading →

Northwest Territories Mining – The Drive Beyond Diamonds: Whati Road Could Deliver Polymetallic NICO Mine and More – by John Curran (Aboriginal Business Quarterly – Summer 2017)

For the entire issue:

There’s no denying the importance of the mining sector for the NWT’s economy, but at the same time this key industry has become completely dependent on a single commodity in recent times: Diamonds. Over the years, gold, lead, zinc, silver, tungsten, radium and many other minerals have been mined around the territory, but those days are currently in the rearview mirror. As the recent downturn has shown us, economic dependence on a single item plucked from the ground is never good – even something as lucrative as diamonds.

When prices for rough gems dropped a couple of years back and NWT mines were forced to trim operating costs, the territory has been suffering through the miners’ belt-tightening ever since. Despite the decline, diamond mining remains the dominant industry in the NWT.

“Resource projects, such as the diamond mines, provide the GNWT with a significant portion of corporate income tax, fuel tax, and property tax revenues and the projects’ employees provide payroll tax and personal income tax revenues,” said Andrew Livingstone, Senior GNWT Cabinet Communications Advisor. “Over the past three years, diamond mines contributed 41 per cent of the GNWT’s corporate income, fuel, property and payroll tax revenue.” Continue Reading →

ARCHIVES: The Murders In The Mine – by Katherine Laidlaw (Up – September 18, 2012)

Eighteen months on the picket line. Thirty-eight kilos of explosives. Nine men dead. 20 years passed.

It’s the story that made world news and changed a mining town forever. The Giant Mine strike stands as one of the longest and bloodiest in Canadian history, punctuated by one of the worst mass murders the country has ever seen. For those who lived through September 18, 1992, the scars have never healed. Here are their stories …

On May 22, 1992, a company called Royal Oak Mines Inc. locked out its workforce at Giant Mine in Yellowknife. The union, the local 4 chapter of the Canadian Association of Smelter and Allied Workers, and management couldn’t reach a settlement. Before the strike, it was a good, if finite, time to be a gold miner.

The average worker at Giant was pulling in $77,000 a year, and those clocking overtime were making more than $100,000. But the strike got dirty quickly as rumours swirled of Royal Oak CEO Peggy Witte’s intent to break the union. One thing she did break was an unwritten labour rule in Canada: you don’t bring in replacement workers. No mining company had done that in 45 years. Nevada-born Witte flew them in by helicopter the next day. Continue Reading →

Don’t let Dawson City’s UNESCO debate pit miner against miner – by Stuart Schmidt (Yukon News – September 14, 2017)

Stuart Schmidt is the past president of the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association.

The nomination of Trondek-Klondike for UNESCO world heritage designation is a contentious subject and I am concerned that it is causing a rift within the membership of the Klondike Placer Miners’ Association (KPMA) and among the placer mining community at large. I would like to try to explain why I support the UNESCO nomination even though there may be no immediate or apparent benefit to gold miners or our organization.

I have not forgotten 2003 when the federal Minister of Fisheries and Oceans cancelled the Yukon Placer Authorization and we were faced with the prospect of most of us not being able to operate any longer or only being able to operate in a very limited fashion in only a few areas. I was truly grateful for all the people in the Yukon who came out and voiced their support for placer mining both in Dawson and across the territory.

I was and continue to be especially grateful to the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in First Nation. They came out fully in support of all of us and they carry a lot of political clout. This I have not forgotten and to this day I feel indebted to them for their support during those challenging times. Continue Reading →

Long-awaited N.W.T. mining road through national park gets thumbs up from review board (CBC News North – September 14, 2017)

The much-anticipated all-season road to Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek mine passed its environmental assessment this week, more than five years after the Prairie Creek mine was approved in the heart of Nahanni National Park Reserve.

The Mackenzie Valley Review Board announced Tuesday it is recommending the project to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs for conditional approval. This week’s green light marks the end of a process that lasted more than three years. The nearby Nahanni Butte Dene Band grew impatient, and began construction on their own road to the mine.

However, the board’s support is contingent on the implementation of 16 measures it says will prevent “significant adverse impacts on the environment.” Among those measures: a road adapted for permafrost conditions, along with ongoing permafrost monitoring; wildlife monitoring that incorporates traditional knowledge; and the creation of an independent technical panel to ensure the road’s design protects people and the environment. Continue Reading →

Plan may spur ‘environmental fragmentation’: conservationist – by Emily Blake (Whitehorse Daily Star – September 11, 2017)

Some environmental groups are expressing concerns about the Yukon Resource Gateway Project

Some environmental groups are expressing concerns about the Yukon Resource Gateway Project following a commitment of more than $360 million in federal and territorial funding. The project will see improved road access in the Dawson Range, located between Carmacks and Dawson City, and the Nahanni Range Road in southeast Yukon, both mineral-rich areas in the territory.

And while members of the mining industry and government are applauding the funding announcement, there are concerns about the lack of information on environmental impacts. “We’re not supportive of these projects until we get more information,” Lewis Rifkind, a mining analyst with the Yukon Conservation Society, told the Star last week.

“We’re opening up vast swaths of the Yukon to environmental fragmentation.” He worries about how the infrastructure project might affect woodland caribou. He said an extreme example of this is logging and oil and gas roads in Alberta, where the woodland caribou population has been reduced to around 7,000. Continue Reading →

Roads to Yukon resources: Feds, territory commit C$360 million to modernize Yukon mining roads – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – September 10, 2017)

Roads to some of Yukon’s richest mining districts are getting more than C$360 million in upgrades. Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rolled out the plans to invest in modern transportation infrastructure during a visit to the territory on Sep. 2.

“Modern infrastructure is key to developing and properly managing the incredible natural resources we have at our fingertips,” Trudeau said. The prime minister pledged C$247.8 million to the Yukon Resource Gateway project, a program that will upgrade more than 650 kilometers of roads in the territory, and build or replace numerous bridges, culverts, and stream crossings in two minerals-rich regions of the Yukon.

“The Resource Gateway is one of the most significant projects ever undertaken in this territory and will have an incredibly positive impact on the Yukon economy,” said Yukon Premier Sandy Silver. Continue Reading →

Underground expansion could extend Ekati mine life by 7 years, says new report – by Melinda Trochu (CBC News North – September 8, 2017)

First diamond mine in the Northwest Territories could stay open until 2042

Further expansion of underground mining operations at the Ekati diamond mine could keep the mine in business until 2042, according to a preliminary economic assessment released by Dominion Diamond Corporation on Wednesday. Dominion operates the mine, and owns a controlling interest.

The Fox Deep project would expand the mine by developing an underground operation below the mined-out Fox open pit. It follows on the recently-approved Misery Deep project, which is already expected to expand the life of the mine from 2033 to 2035.

Tom Hoefer, executive director of the NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines, says Yellowknifers should be doing a happy dance. “A year ago we thought that Ekati had a life to 2021,” says Hoefer. “And so with their work on other pipes and now adding Fox in they’ve created a very exciting future for the N.W.T.’s mining industry.” Continue Reading →

Nunavut Planning Commission gets started on Mary River expansion – by Jim Bell (Nunatsiaq News – September 6, 2017)

After nearly three years, Baffinland’s Phase 2 scheme starts moving through the Nunavut regulatory system

Nearly three years after Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. first proposed its Phase 2 expansion plan for the Mary River iron mine, an updated version of the project will finally start moving through Nunavut’s regulatory system.

And more than two years after Bernard Valcourt, then the Conservative minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, exempted the first version of the scheme from the scrutiny of the Nunavut Planning Commission, the NPC will get to look at it after all.

The planning commission, in a public notice issued Aug. 31, now seeks comment from governments, organizations and individuals on an application from Baffinland to change the North Baffin Regional Land Use Plan to allow for a 110-kilometre railway between Mary River and Milne Inlet, and for winter sealifts during the months of December, January and February. Continue Reading →

Heading into public hearing, Nunavut, Agnico Eagle disagree over caribou – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – September 5, 2017)

Final NIRB hearing into Whale Tail gold mine project starts Sept. 19 in Baker Lake

Parties planning to attend the upcoming public session on Agnico Eagle Ltd.‘s Whale Tail gold mine project near Baker Lake have plenty to read and think about between now and the public hearing set for between Sept. 19 and Sept. 22 in Baker Lake before the Nunavut Impact Review Board.

That’s because the mining company submitted a 208-page document to the NIRB Aug. 28, responding to multiple opinions expressed by stakeholders. This document contains detailed responses to comments that the NIRB received from such groups as the Baker Lake Hunters and Trappers Organization, Inuit organizations and the Government of Nunavut about Agnico Eagle’s Whale Tail project.

Despite the heavy use of acronyms and diplomatic jargon like “values” and “appreciates” in the document, it’s likely that big, unresolved issues around caribou will be among topics discussed in Baker Lake. Much of the discussion on caribou in Agnico Eagle’s response is heavily technical. Continue Reading →

Trudeau announces $360 million highway improvement package for Yukon (Halifax Chronicle Herald – September 2, 2107)

THE CANADIAN PRESS – WHITEHORSE — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poured nearly a quarter of a billion dollars into Yukon’s highway network Saturday in hopes it will lead to resource development, but some Indigenous leaders remain wary about environmental implications.

Trudeau and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver announced their two governments will spend more than $360 million to improve road access to mineral-rich areas in the territory. The federal share amounts to $247 million of that total.

The governments say the money will upgrade more than 650 km of road and build or upgrade a number of bridges for highways leading into the Dawson Range in Central Yukon and the Nahanni Range in the southeast part of the territory. Continue Reading →

Preparing for more robots in Yukon mining – by Lewis Rifkind (Yukon News – August 29, 2017)

Increased automation means the territory has to be prepared for changes in the mining industry

Mining creates jobs but jobs are fickle things. Not only humans can do them. Robots and computers can also do them too, and usually do them cheaper and better than humans

Signs of that are obvious, Automated Teller Machines have somewhat replaced human bank tellers. Even ATMs are now being somewhat replaced by online banking applications on smartphones and computers. Certain coffee shops now have automated coffee makers. Press a button and instant, freshly brewed java pours into your cup. Think of how many baristas those machines have replaced.

The mining industry is not immune to these changes. According to a report developed by the McKinsey Global Institute, A future that works: Automation, employment, and productivity (January 2017), 96% of some mining jobs, such as continuous mining machine operators, can be automated. Continue Reading →

Resource-rich NWT begins rewriting its mining rules in an effort to attract investment – by Ashley Renders (Financial Post – August 30, 2017)

Miners are one of the biggest private employers in the territory, but existing projects are close to the end of their lives and exploration interest has declined

Residents of the resource-rich Northwest Territories began consulting on a new Mineral Resource Act on Monday, a made-in-the-North piece of legislation aimed at making the territory more attractive for mining investment.

As one of the largest private employers in the territory, mining is an important part of the economy and makes up one quarter of the region’s GDP. But existing projects are moving closer to the end of their lives and interest from exploration companies dropped, and then stagnated, years ago.

Part of the reason is that mining laws and unsettled land claims have created uncertainty for investors. The government hopes to “redefine” its relationship with the industry through a modern piece of legislation that clearly explains how mining is supposed to be done in the territory. Continue Reading →