31st July 2014

Cliffs and Casablanca – the start of a beautiful friendship? – by Northern Miner Editorial (July 30, 2014)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

It’s the biggest shareholder revolt of the current downturn in mining, but as we go to press it looks like Casablanca Capital has succeeded fulsomely in its long-shot bid to swamp the 11-member board of Cliffs Natural Resources with six of its own nominees.

Cleveland-based Cliffs is a major producer of iron ore and metallurgical coal worldwide, but its share price has suffered in the past three years owing to a combination of low iron ore and coal prices, and overexpansions into such ill-fated projects as its chromite project in Ontario’s Ring of Fire region.

Earlier this year, Cliffs idled its high-cost Wabush iron ore mine in Labrador and suspended an expansion of its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in Quebec, and is now set to idle its Pinnacle coal mine in West Virginia for more than six months starting in late August.

In the lead-up to the vote, Cliffs woes showed in its second-quarter net loss of US$2 million on revenues of US$1 billion. That compares with net earnings of US$133.1 million, or US82¢ per share, on revenues of $1.4 billion in the same quarter of 2013.

Based in New York and founded in 2010 by Donald G. Drapkin and Douglas Taylor, Casablanca Capital describes itself as an “event-driven and activist investment manager.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Cliffs Natural Resources, Iron Ore | 0 Comments

31st July 2014

One Ring of Fire approach to rule them all – by Andrew Reeves (CIM Magazine – August 2014)

http://www.cim.org/en.aspx

Ontario’s development corporation plan criticized in new reports

Almost everyone with a stake in the Ring of Fire wants to see development in the region move ahead. But when it comes to determining how to do that, the consensus evaporates. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne has pledged to form a regional development corporation (Devco) to govern the Ring of Fire’s advancement within 60 days of taking office. But in recent weeks, alternative processes have been proposed that seek to put industry in the driver’s seat and help it take a more holistic approach towards environmental protection.

Last November, Ontario Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle announced a solution to break the logjam that had seized the region, which his government boasts holds a known mineral potential of $60 billion. Prompted by infrastructure squabbles between rival miners, Gravelle became convinced of the need to create a process to hear from First Nations, industry and government on how to proceed.

The Liberals proposed a not-for-profit Devco, which the government would lead, to set the pace and tone of development in the Ring of Fire and bring disparate voices to the negotiating table. The Ontario government would have control over the design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of all infrastructure built. Consulting firm Deloitte was brought aboard last February to begin work on a technical infrastructure report and handle the legalese of forming a new governance structure. Deloitte will also be there to act as a neutral, third-party resource for all stakeholders in the Devco in case tempers flare or disagreements persist. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

31st July 2014

Gold miners report weaker-than-expected earnings; Barrick names two new directors – by Peter Koven (National Post – July 30, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Canada’s gold miners maintain they are operating well and continuing to find ways to cut costs. However, their second quarter earnings still fell below expectations.

Barrick Gold Corp., Kinross Gold Corp. and Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd. all had positive things to report as they released Q2 results on Wednesday evening. Notably, Barrick lowered its cost guidance for the year, while Agnico raised its production guidance. But the stocks dropped in after-market trading as each result was slightly below consensus analyst estimates.

Barrick’s earnings were highlighted by the surprise announcement that it is naming two new directors, one of whom is a longtime associate of chairman John Thornton.

Michael Evans was a Canadian gold medalist in rowing in 1984, and was formerly vice chairman at Goldman Sachs. He worked closely with Mr. Thornton in their Goldman days, and his appointment will likely fuel further speculation that Mr. Thornton is consolidating his power at Barrick . Some investors already believe that is the case following the gold miner’s move to replace chief executive Jamie Sokalsky with two co-presidents earlier this month.

The other new director is Brian Greenspun, a prominent publishing and telecommunications tycoon in Nevada, which remains Barrick’s most important mining jurisdiction. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Barrick Gold Corporation, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Gold and Silver | 0 Comments

31st July 2014

KGHM Starts Copper Output in Chile After Record Takeover – by Maciej Martewicz (Bloomberg News – July 31, 2014)

http://www.businessweek.com/

KGHM Polska Miedz SA, the copper producer with the largest European output, began production in its Chilean mine, acquired two years ago as part of a record Polish takeover transaction abroad.

The Sierra Gorda mine will operate at full capacity at the start of 2015 and will produce 120,000 tons of copper a year, the Lubin, Poland-based company said in a regulatory statement today. KGHM will also produce 50 million pounds of molybdenum, used to toughen stainless steel, and 60,000 ounces of gold annually in the mine.

KGHM acquired the Sierra Gorda project as part of its $2.9 billion takeover of Canada’s Quadra FNX Mining Ltd. in 2012. The state-controlled company expands outside Poland as it seeks to cut production costs and raise output.

“The start of Sierra Gorda production will help us cut unit cost in the group,” Chief Financial Officer Jaroslaw Romanowski said in an e-mailed statement today. “This is mainly due to additional products from the site, like gold as well as molybdenum, whose price is currently one fourth above what we initially estimated.”

KGHM produced 666,000 tons of copper in its Polish and northern American sites last year at an average cost of $1.85 a pound, which includes $0.53-a-pound impact of Polish copper taxes imposed in 2012. The production cost at Sierra Gorda is estimated at $1.13 a pound, according to its presentation. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Copper, Europe Mining, International Media Resource Articles, Latin America Mining | 0 Comments

31st July 2014

Canada’s great First Nations experiment – by Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail – July 30, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Canada, without being sure precisely how to proceed, is trying to do something with aboriginal peoples in its midst that no other country in the world is attempting.

The effort involves taking the principles and statements of the Royal Proclamation of 1763 about fair treatment of natives and respect for their rights and updating and giving practical effect to those ideals for the 21st century.

Necessarily, this is a complex task in today’s world, since aboriginals account for a small fraction of Canada’s population (perhaps 4 per cent), compared with their majority position in the mid-to-late 18th century in the territory we now call Canada.

Almost 60 per cent of First Nations communities have fewer than 1,000 persons, but that description misleads since in many cases members have left their reserves or traditional areas. That these “nations” number in the hundreds and are scattered across most of Canada means, among other practical things, that they have – and historically have had – little in common one with the other. As a result, they are always going to struggle, whatever their “title” to land and other aboriginal rights, to deliver what they demand: self-government. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

30th July 2014

Ontario First Nations Prepared To Lay Down Their Lives To Protect Lands: Chiefs – by Maria Babbage (The Canadian Press/Huffington Post – July 29, 2014)

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/

TORONTO – Aboriginal people in Ontario are prepared to lay down their lives to protect their traditional lands from any unwanted development, a group of First Nations chiefs said Tuesday.

Five aboriginal chiefs served notice on the Ontario and federal governments, developers and the public that they’ll assert their treaty rights over their traditional territory and ancestral lands.

That includes the rights to natural resources — such as fish, trees, mines and water— deriving benefit from those resources and the conditions under which other groups may access or use them, which must be consistent with their traditional laws, said Ontario Regional Chief Stan Beardy.

“All those seeking to access or use First Nations lands and resources have, at a minimum, a duty to engage, enquire and consult with First Nations with the standards of free, prior and informed consent,” he said.

“We will take appropriate steps to enforce these assertions.”  Tuesday’s declaration follows a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in late June which awarded 1,700 square kilometres of territory to British Columbia’s Tsilhqot’in First Nation, providing long-awaited clarification on how to prove aboriginal title. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery | 0 Comments

30th July 2014

A year after brutal losses, Canada’s gold miners expected to see return to stable ground – by Peter Koven (National Post – July 30, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

One year ago, the gold mining sector reported its most appalling quarterly earnings ever. A steep decline in the price of gold caught the industry off-guard in the spring of 2013, prompting some miners to report record writedowns and net losses in the second quarter. Barrick Gold Corp. led the way with an absurd quarterly loss of US$8.56-billion, the second biggest in Canadian history.

The senior gold miners are now set to report their latest Q2 results over the next two days. But thanks in part to the measures they took a year ago, their earnings should be a lot less noisy and a lot less troubled.

“I’m not looking for any big dislocations in this quarter,” Mackie Research Capital Barry Allan said. “Not a lot of ‘Oh my God, where did that come from?’”

When gold plunged 26% in April and May of 2013, the whole industry shifted focus. Instead of chasing production growth (as they had for many years while prices were rising), miners turned their attention to cost reductions and capital spending cuts.

At the time, the cost reduction announcements were overshadowed by some of the more ridiculous writedowns. But those moves are bearing fruit today.

The senior gold miners reported significant year-over-year reductions in all-in sustaining costs in the first quarter of 2014. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Barrick Gold Corporation, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Gold and Silver | 0 Comments

30th July 2014

Aboriginal court decisions shouldn’t be dealbreakers – by Drew Hasselback (National Post – July 30, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

You’ve heard varying degrees of panic over the Supreme Court of Canada’s rulings in Tsilhqot’in and Grassy Narrows.

These are clearly important aboriginal rights decisions, and each will have a profound impact on Canada’s natural resource industry. Yet I’m not sure either case justifies any fear.

The cases clarify some technical aspects of aboriginal law. And, well, that’s it. They’re not legal blocades that will halt all development in this country.

Litigation is a zero-sum game. If a case makes it all the way to judgment, you have a winner and you have a loser. Now, what is it that the winner gets? A bill from the lawyers, and a bunch of legal rights that too often require a fresh round of litigation — i.e., even more legal bills — to enforce. Just because you can win a legal case doesn’t mean you instantly get what you really want.

A lot of commentary around Tsilhqot’in and the Grassy Narrows decisions treats them like winner-takes-all victories. But that’s not how it works. If you win some rights in native litigation, you still have to speak with the other side about how you will use those rights. Indeed, a lot of lawyers who practice aboriginal law actually spend their time negotiating so-called impact and benefit agreements. These are business deals that ensures a local First Nations participates in the profits from a project on or near their lands. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

30th July 2014

Mining deals defy the doubters – by Peter Koven (National Post – July 30, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Mining M&A activity has defied the doubters and returned to prominence in 2014, with several big deals being struck and more in the pipeline.

After an extremely slow 2013, the expectations for mergers and acquisitions activity were muted going into this year. Metal prices remained low, junior and intermediate companies did not want to sell while their stock prices were depressed, and many seniors were still trying to recover from bad acquisitions in the last cycle. They were effectively in the investor “penalty box.”

Regardless, the takeovers have come. There have been 41 Canadian mining deals so far this year worth a total of $7.1-billion, according to Financial Post Data. By comparison, there were just $9.3-billion of deals in all of 2013.

Most notably, there has been an impressive number of large and medium-sized takeovers, including those of Osisko Mining Corp. ($3.7-billion), Augusta Resource Corp. ($555-million), Lumina Copper Corp. ($470-million), and Sulliden Gold Corp. Ltd. ($300-million). And of course, Barrick Gold Corp. and Newmont Mining Corp. were negotiating a potential US$13-billion tie-up until talks collapsed in April.

The pace and size of deals is still far below peak years like 2010, when there were 191 transactions worth almost $40-billion. But the action is very encouraging in a sector that needs more consolidation.

Kevin Thomson, a partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP who works on many mining deals, said the hostile bid for Osisko back in January was the catalyst that got people looking at M&A again. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

30th July 2014

Greenpeace stands for delay, delay, delay – by Peter Foster (National Post – July 30, 2014)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Greenpeace Canada continues to squirm to avoid coming up with a defence against Resolute Forest Products’ $7-million lawsuit alleging “intentional interference with economic relations;” that is, trying to destroy Resolute’s business by pressuring its customers

Last Friday, lawyers for Greenpeace sought leave to appeal the decision of the Divisional Court of Ontario (which had rejected an earlier appeal and told Greenpeace to file a defence, plus pay costs).

The case has significant ramifications for whether radical NGOs will be allowed to continue to spread misinformation, trample over corporate reputations, and destroy business and jobs. This is somewhat related to those over-ballyhooed CRA audits of charitable institutions, although Greenpeace had its charity status removed long ago. In fact, “intentional interference with economic relations” could almost be Greenpeace’s mission statement.

The suit goes back to claims made by Greenpeace about Resolute’s business practices after the radical environmental NGO exited the Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement, the deeply flawed 2010 deal under which forestry companies were persuaded that they could buy off their radical opponents by becoming “partners” in plans to sanitize huge swathes of Canada in the name of “environmental protection.” Screw the people who lived there. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Forestry | 0 Comments

29th July 2014

Changes afoot for aboriginal treaty talks and resource development – by Bill Curry and Kathryn Blaze Carlson (Globe and Mail – July 29, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — The Conservative government is launching more flexible options for aboriginal treaty talks after setbacks to its ambitious resource development plans.

The announcement signals Ottawa’s desire to give its stagnant British Columbia treaty process a boost by negotiating smaller, incremental treaties where possible and signing deals with aboriginal groups outside the formal treaty process.

It is also promising to improve its nation-wide approach to aboriginal consultation, which has been at the heart of a string of court defeats for the federal government as it attempts to speed up resource projects like mining and new pipelines, particularly in Western Canada.

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt made the announcement on Monday in Vancouver via a news release and was not available to answer questions.

The plans are in response to recommendations in a November, 2013, report from Douglas Eyford, who was appointed last year by Prime Minister Stephen Harper as Canada’s special federal representative on West Coast energy infrastructure. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

29th July 2014

Scotiabank named in silver price-fixing lawsuit – by Madhavi Acharya-Tom Yew (Toronto Star – July 29, 2014)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

Bank of Nova Scotia, Deutsche Bank and HSBC named in suit.

A U.S. investor has accused the Bank of Nova Scotia, Deutsche Bank and HSBC of engaging in an ongoing conspiracy to fix the price of silver.

Investor J. Scott Nicholson alleges that thousands of small investors around the world have been put at a disadvantage by the secretive way in which prices for the physical metal, as well as futures contracts, are set by the financial institutions.

The three firms have knowingly engaged in “an unlawful combination, agreement, and conspiracy” to “intentionally manipulate” the price of physical silver and silver derivatives, including futures contracts, according to the lawsuit.

“We intend to vigorously defend ourselves against this suit,” a spokesperson for Toronto-based Bank of Nova Scotia said in an email.

None of the allegations have been tested in court. The lawsuit, filed in the Southern District of New York on Friday, seeks to establish a class action that could have thousands of members, the court filing states. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Gold and Silver | 0 Comments

29th July 2014

Investors unclear on Barrick’s future direction amid CEO shakeup – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – July 29, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

On the eve of the first full meeting of Barrick Gold Corp.’s new board, investors are in the dark about the gold giant’s strategy.

Barrick’s new chairman John Thornton said he wants the miner, the world’s biggest gold producer, to be the “leading gold company” and a “leader” in copper. But what that means is unknown.

“I don’t think they have been clear, and I don’t think they have made up their minds yet,” said Michael Sprung, president of Sprung Investment Management, which has held Barrick shares for about five years.

The miner’s game plan has come under scrutiny after Mr. Thornton got rid of the company’s chief executive role. Instead, the company will have two co-presidents and the company’s chief financial officer will work closely with Mr. Thornton to develop strategy, he said. Barrick CEO Jamie Sokalsky will be leaving in September, just two years into his tenure.

The management shakeup will lead to further changes at Barrick, which is already in flux after a turbulent year. Directors who had served on the board with former chairman and founder Peter Munk since the beginning faced pressure to leave, and merger talks with Colorado-based gold company Newmont Mining Corp. blew up, with each side blaming the other for the collapse. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Barrick Gold Corporation, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Gold and Silver | 0 Comments

28th July 2014

What is Harper’s ‘real interest’ in Mongolia? – by Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail – July 28, 2014)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — John Baird was given a ceremonial welcome in Ulan Bator, and invited to try a bow-and-arrow at a festival in the Jargalant Valley. The Foreign Affairs Minister is on a trip to Asia, visiting big powers China and Japan. But last week, his first stop was in a sparsely populated nation of three million.

Stephen Harper’s government is taking a particular interest in, of all places, Mongolia. Why?

Mongolia’s Foreign Minister, Luvsanvandan Bold, called Canada an important part of his country’s foreign policy. Canada just put Mongolia, a middle-income country, on its list of “countries of focus” for foreign aid.

Yes, there’s potential mining trade. But there’s also an invitation that the Harper government finds alluring: to help a little democracy maintain its independence from its two authoritarian neighbours, Vladimir Putin’s Russia and the People’s Republic of China.

“The Prime Minister has taken a real interest in Mongolia,” Mr. Baird said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Harper long ago turned from strident China critic to pragmatic trader with a rising economic power, but he still views its global influence darkly. And Mr. Harper has been a vocal critic of Mr. Putin’s actions in Ukraine: He’s called the Russian President a “throwback” to the Soviet Union. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Asia Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles | 0 Comments

25th July 2014

Red Dog lead, zinc mine marks 25 years, $1B in royalties – by Tim Bradner (Alaska Journal of Commerce – July 24, 2014)

http://www.alaskajournal.com/

The Red Dog Mine in Northwest Alaska turned 25 years old July 17 after producing since 1989 and paying about $1 billion in royalties to NANA Regional Corp., the landowner.

NANA paid $608 million of that to other Alaska Native corporations under revenue-sharing provisions of the Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act and $199 million in dividends to its own shareholders.

The remaining $103 million was retained by NANA to help pay operations and for investments in other business, which has now helped NANA grow a diversified portfolio of assets that earned the corporation $1.7 billion in revenues last year.

To celebrate the July 17 anniversary, NANA invited guests to the mine including including former Gov. Bill Sheffield and Willie Hensley, NANA leaders and former legislators who played key roles in the original mine development.

Teck president and CEO Don Lindsay also attended. The mine is operated by Teck Alaska Inc. Teck Alaska’s parent, Canada-based Teck Resources, purchased Cominco, the Canadian company that developed Red Dog with NANA in the mid-1980s.

Red Dog is a surface mine that is one of the world’s largest zinc mines, producing 551,300 tonnes of zinc concentrates in 2013 (a tonne is approximately 2,200 pounds). The mine earned $874 million in total revenues that year, according to Teck. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, Canada Mining, International Media Resource Articles, United States Mining and History, Zinc and Lead | 0 Comments

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