21st November 2014

How Canada Can Help Combat the ‘Resource Curse’ – by Lina Holguin (Huffington Post – November 20 , 2014)

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/business/

Lina Holguin is a Policy Director at Oxfam Canada and Oxfam-Quebec.

Recently, Canada’s Parliament introduced the Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act, which could have a huge impact on people around the world experiencing the “resource curse.”

More than 60 per cent of the world’s poorest people live in countries rich in natural resources — but they rarely share in the wealth. Too often, poor communities have no say in the extraction of resources from their land and receive little information about the scope of these projects, the revenues they generate, their timelines and potential impacts.

The legislation would increase transparency in the oil, gas and mining industry by requiring Canadian companies to disclose the payments they make to governments for the extraction of natural resources. The legislation, part of the omnibus bill introduced last month, is an important first step to helping citizens of resource-rich countries increase accountability and fight corruption.

The finalized legislation needs to align with global transparency standards already in place around the world, including in the European Union and the U.S., which require company by company, country by country, public, project-level disclosure. Publish What You Pay Canada, of which Oxfam is a member, has proposed amendments to the law that would bring it into line with these standards. At the moment, the act has critical gaps that must be filled to make it effective and to deter corruption. Read the rest of this entry »

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

21st November 2014

Ring of Fire is ‘beyond the point of no return,’ mining company says – Bill Curry and Bertrand Marotte (Globe and Mail – November 20, 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 and MONTREAL – The Ring of Fire project is “beyond the point of no return” in spite of renewed government pledges to move ahead, says the CEO of the mining company that owns the rights to most of the resources in the remote Northern Ontario mineral deposit.

Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. CEO Lourenco Goncalves made headlines last month with his declaration that he had “zero hope” that the Ring of Fire would be developed in his lifetime.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail this week, Mr. Goncalves said recent pledges from the federal and Ontario governments to support the project with public infrastructure cash have not changed his assessment of the project’s viability.

“Last month I said it would not happen in the next 50 years. This month I will say it’s not going to happen in 49 years and 11 months,” he said. “We are beyond the point of no return.”

The Cleveland-based company bought three chromite deposits in 2010 for $350-million and has spent about $200-million on development. Since large chromite deposits were first discovered in 2008, estimates have pegged the mineral potential of the region at $60-billion. Read the rest of this entry »

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

21st November 2014

EXCLUSIVE-Foreign firms challenge Poland over access to mine concessions – by Adrian Krajewski and Anna Koper (Reuters India – November 21, 2014)

http://in.reuters.com/

WARSAW, Nov 21 (Reuters) – Two foreign-owned mining firms have challenged the Polish government over what they see as the unfair allocation of copper and potash extraction permits to state-controlled miner KGHM.

Poland’s environment ministry, which allocates concessions, denied it gave preferential treatment to KGHM over Canadian Miedzi Copper, which has filed a lawsuit, or British firm Darley Energy, which has submitted an appeal.

KGHM, Europe’s second-largest copper producer and an industrial champion for Poland, is 31.8-percent owned by the state. It said it did not limit competition.

Whatever the outcome, the row could rattle foreign investors at a time when Poland’s resource sector, struggling with low prices on the world market, badly needs investment.

The government is also anxious to bring investors into shale gas, which it hopes will reduce its reliance on imported Russian gas. But a number of firms have pulled out, citing difficult geology and unclear regulations. Read the rest of this entry »

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

21st November 2014

Cliffs Natural Resources retreats from Canadian ‘disaster’ – by Nicolas Van Praet (Globe and Mail – November 21, 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.

MONTREAL — The chief executive officer of mining giant Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. is taking aim at his predecessors for their decision to pump billions of dollars into Canada, saying every single investment it made here in recent years was a “disaster” that failed to produce any profit.

“I’m walking away from Canada big time – Canada for Cliffs has not been a good thing,” Lourenco Goncalves, the company’s chairman and CEO, said in an interview Thursday. “All these investments that the company made in Canada after the Wabush mine were a disaster.”

“I’m not the type of guy that’s too much of a Monday morning quarterback,” he said. “But these [decisions] are very clear. Misguided decisions all the way.”

Cleveland-based Cliffs, the biggest U.S. iron ore producer, has spent $6-billion (U.S.) in all on its Bloom Lake iron ore mine in northeastern Quebec over the past three years and “never made a penny” on the investment, Mr. Goncalves said. The company on Wednesday announced that it is “pursuing exit options” for its Eastern Canadian iron ore operations, evaluating its maximum exposure to close the Bloom Lake site at $700-million. The company will also close its mine in Wabush, Nfld., which had been in operation for more than 40 years. Read the rest of this entry »

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

21st November 2014

There are many good reasons for takeover interest in Nevsun — and one really big downside – by Peter Koven (National Post – November 21, 2014)

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

Canadian miner Nevsun Resouces Ltd. has emerged as a potential takeover target, but any bidder is going to have to overcome a major deterrent: Eritrea.

The Vancouver-based miner revealed Thursday it recently received inquiries from “various parties” about a potential transaction. The announcement came after Bloomberg News reported that a Qatar-backed private equity fund called QKR Corp. is eyeing a US$1-billion bid for the company. Nevsun shares jumped 11%, giving the firm a market value of $942-million.

There are good reasons for the interest. Nevsun’s Bisha mine is extremely rich, with high-grade copper output that will transition into high-grade zinc output in a couple of years, when many analysts are forecasting shortages in the zinc market. The company has promising exploration ground in the area that could yield more mines. It also has close to US$400-million of cash, which means a takeover would largely pay for itself.

But the downside is that Bisha is in Eritrea, which is ruled by one of the world’s most repressive governments. The country is facing international sanctions, and Western governments may not look kindly at any company looking to do business there.

The Eritrean government has caused major problems for Nevsun. Read the rest of this entry »

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

20th November 2014

Canada’s natural-resources companies: Reputation management (The Economist – November 22, 2014)

http://www.economist.com/

The government promises to keep promoting miners’ and energy firms’ interests abroad if they behave themselves

OTTAWA – FEW governments have aligned their interests so closely to those of their country’s energy and mining firms as Canada’s Conservative administration. The prime minister, Stephen Harper, has boasted of Canada as an “emerging energy superpower”. Under the banner of “responsible resource development”, his government has done its best to ease the way for minerals firms, at home and abroad, including directing some foreign aid to countries where Canadian firms wanted to drill.

Ministers point with pride to the C$174 billion ($169 billion) in export revenues from sales of minerals, oil and gas in 2013 and to the fact that Canada is home to more than half of the world’s publicly listed exploration and mining companies.

But the downside of seeming so cosy with extractive firms is that whenever one of them gets in trouble—an inevitable occurrence with 1,500 firms active in more than 100 countries—the country’s image is tarnished too. So the government has recently begun to reduce that vulnerability by taking a stricter line on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and bribery by Canadian firms operating abroad. Protecting the national brand is “a huge part of it,” says Andrew Bauer of the Natural Resource Governance Institute, a group that monitors the industry and lobbies for openness.

Ed Fast, the international trade minister, admitted as much on November 14th, as he introduced new rules that require Canadian resources firms involved in disputes with local communities to take part in a resolution process. If any firms refuse, the government will withdraw its economic diplomacy on their behalf. Read the rest of this entry »

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

20th November 2014

Rock-bottom prices forcing Cliffs to pull up stakes in Canada – by Bertrand Marotte and Nicolas Van Praet (Globe and Mail – November 20, 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.

MONTREAL — Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s Canadian adventure is winding down. The Ohio-based mining giant is preparing to shut down its money-losing Bloom Lake iron ore mine in northeastern Quebec amid rock-bottom prices for the mineral and high operating costs. It has already closed a Labrador iron ore property at Wabush and said it is looking to sell its chromite deposits in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

Cliffs has spent hundreds of millions of dollars developing the high-potential Ring of Fire deposit and the existing Lake Bloom operations, but has run into a series of roadblocks, including a five-year low for iron ore prices, slumping Chinese demand and major delays in getting agreements with Ontario and First Nations over essential infrastructure for the Ring of Fire.

A shutdown of Bloom Lake would be a major blow to the local economy and to the provincial government’s multibillion-dollar Plan Nord economic development strategy pinned on natural resources extraction north of the 49th parallel.

Likewise, the Ontario government had made the Ring of Fire the centrepiece of its ambitious development plans for the mineral-rich region about 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay in the James Bay Lowlands. And Cliffs had been the leading mining player in that plan. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Chromium/Platinum Group Metals, Cliffs Natural Resources, Iron Ore, Ontario Mining, Ontario's Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery, Quebec Mining, United States Mining and History | 0 Comments

20th November 2014

Cliffs’ massive closure costs at Bloom Lake stun analysts – by Peter Koven (National Post – November 20, 2014)

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

Three weeks ago, Lourenco Goncalves warned that shutting down the Bloom Lake mine in Quebec would not be a simple task. “Going away from [Bloom Lake] is not deleting it on a computer. It’s a pretty complicated process,” the chief executive of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. told the Financial Post.

He wasn’t kidding. Cliffs announced on Wednesday that it plans to exit Bloom Lake. And if it can’t find a buyer, it expects to be on the hook for astounding closure costs of US$650-million to US$700-million during the next five years. The stock plunged US$2.04 or 20% to US$8.17 in New York on the news.

The Cleveland-based miner did not respond to requests for comment. But analysts said a key problem for Cliffs is the penalty costs involved in breaking a “take or pay” rail contract between Bloom Lake and the Quebec North Shore and Labrador Railway Company. If the mine shuts, there is no choice but to terminate that contract.

Citigroup analyst Brian Yu was forecasting US$360-million of care and maintenance and transport penalty costs over three years to close Bloom Lake, noting the company’s estimate is “obviously much larger.”

Cliffs said in a filing this month that if Bloom Lake were to close, “various commitments including rail minimums, royalties, and other ongoing costs could be incurred.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Cliffs Natural Resources, Iron Ore, Quebec Mining, United States Mining and History | 0 Comments

20th November 2014

OBITUARY: Engineer Walter Curlook was ‘Pied Piper of productivity’ – by Judy Stoffman (Globe and Mail – November 20, 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.

Walter Curlook’s favourite film was the Danish drama Babette’s Feast. Perhaps this story, of a Parisian chef who takes refuge in an austere religious community, then spends all her money to prepare a sumptuous meal that awakens her hosts’ repressed senses, confirmed Mr. Curlook’s belief in generosity – sharing wealth to enlarge people’s horizons.

As a metallurgist, engineer and manager who spent his entire career as an executive at Inco when it was the world’s largest nickel miner, he understood how to create wealth as well as share it. Mr. Curlook, who died on Oct. 3 in Toronto of a brain hemorrhage at the age of 85, held 14 patents for improvements to nickel refining and played a role in the establishment of a science centre, a college and a research facility for particle physics in Sudbury that has no equal in Canada.

Brilliant and tenacious, he never stopped working. After he retired from Inco, he became an adjunct professor in materials science and engineering (unpaid) at the University of Toronto and donated $1-million to set up two laboratories there for the study of minerals.

“He was one of those people able to use a larger percentage of his brain than most of us,” his son Michael said. His daughter Christine Stinson recalled her father’s ability to be so absorbed in some problem that he would not hear his children speak: “He would sort of zone out and my mother would tell us, ‘Quiet – your father is thinking.’” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Education and Innovation, Vale | 0 Comments

19th November 2014

Canada’s Estractive Sector Strategy well received, expected to fuel prosperity of sector – by Tracy Hancock (MiningWeekly.com – November 19, 2014)

 http://www.miningweekly.com/page/americas-home

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – The Canadian government has an important role to play in supporting both the global competitiveness of the Canadian mineral industry and its ability to contribute to the sustainable development of the societies in which it operates, said Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) president Rod Thomas on Tuesday.

The organisation has welcomed Canada’s commitment to assist the mineral exploration and mining industry to succeed abroad, noting that measures to support the sector were included in the updated Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector that was released on November 7, as well as the Extractive Sector Strategy on Tuesday in Ottawa by Minister of International Trade Ed Fast and Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford.

The Ministers made the announcement at the Mining Association of Canada’s annual Mining Day on the Hill luncheon. The Extractive Sector Strategy builds on Canada’s plan for responsible resource Development, ensuring that mining and energy continued to represent an engine of economic growth and prosperity for Canadians.

“Our government recognises the importance of the mining industry to Canadian jobs and long-term economic prosperity. We’re working aggressively to attract investment and open new markets. Once again, we are demonstrating our commitment to creating the conditions that enhance Canada’s competitive position as a global mining leader, ” said Rickford. Read the rest of this entry »

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

19th November 2014

Ring of Fire funding held up by Ottawa, Ontario battle – by Bill Curry (Globe and Mail – November 19, 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 — Plans to spend billions of federal and provincial dollars on infrastructure in Ontario are being held up by a behind-the-scenes battle over the Ring of Fire, as the province wants Ottawa to match $1-billion in new money to develop the ambitious mining project.

Nearly two years have passed since Ottawa announced a 10-year, $14-billion Building Canada Fund for infrastructure, but the Conservative government is expressing its strong frustration that Ontario has yet to submit a list of projects. Ottawa has said Ontario qualifies for $2.7-billion from the fund, but the province argues that using that money for the Ring of Fire would leave very little for other provincial needs such as transit and new roads.

As a result, the two governments appear to be at loggerheads, though ministers and officials are attempting to break the impasse. The waiting, combined with falling chromite prices, has proved to be too much for Cleveland’s Cliffs Natural Resources – the region’s leading mining firm is now looking to sell its Ring of Fire assets.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford, who represents the Northwestern Ontario riding of Kenora, insisted Tuesday that there is momentum around the Ring of Fire and that he expects the two governments to make progress shortly. Read the rest of this entry »

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

18th November 2014

Perception study of Aboriginal Canadians reveals low opinion of mining industry – by Creamer Media Reporter (MiningWeekly.com – November 18, 2014)

http://www.miningweekly.com/page/americas-home

JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – A Canada-wide survey of Aboriginal Canadians who reside in rural and/or remote communities has revealed that only 38% have a favourable perception of the mining and mineral exploration industry. This is a considerable difference compared with the positive approval among Canadians cited in recent industry studies, ranging between 76% and 82%.

The results provide valuable insight on how mining proponents can gain social license by building positive relationships with Aboriginal communities, addressing concerns and ensuring the communities benefit from proposed projects.

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, Greg Rickford, on Monday highlighted the importance of mining to Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian economy, as well as the potential presented by areas with high mineral development opportunities such as the Ring of Fire and the North.

When addressing attendees of the Canadian Aboriginal Minerals Association’s twenty-second annual conference, the Minister also emphasised the Canadian government’s commitment to responsibly developing Canada’s natural resources, which includes engaging with communities and environmental stewardship.

Rickford underscored the government of Canada’s ongoing efforts to increase Aboriginal participation in the mining industry with a particular emphasis on Aboriginal youth. Read the rest of this entry »

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

18th November 2014

Canada’s mining CSR changes (Business Excellence Mining – November 18, 2014)

http://www.bus-ex.com/

Strategic improvements to Canada’s mining governance policy are welcome, but more is needed according to EWB

Canada’s enhanced Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy, “Doing Business the Canadian Way: Advancing Corporate Social Responsibility in Canada’s Extractive Sector Abroad” was announced by the Canadian government on November 14. It builds on experience and best practices gained since the 2009 launch of Canada’s first CSR strategy, “Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian Extractive Sector Abroad.” The idea is that Canadian companies operate abroad with the highest ethical standards.

The international development organisation Engineers Without Borders Canada (EWB) has welcomed several of the improvements made, while encouraging the Canadian government to demonstrate further leadership by closing critical gaps in the recently tabled Extractive Transparency Measures Act.

While mineral and fossil fuels are widely seen as potential drivers of economic and social development in resource rich countries, these positive outcomes are not guaranteed, says EWB. One of the core improvements in Canada’s revised CSR Strategy is that it recognizes these benefits are only fostered under certain conditions, and strives to help create them. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Corporate Social Responsibility, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media | 0 Comments

18th November 2014

Osisko Gold chief says $461M Virgian Mines takeover a ‘natural evolution’ – by Peter Koven (National Post – November 18, 2014)

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

From the day he launched Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. in June, chief executive Sean Roosen knew that a merger with Virginia Mines Inc. was too logical to pass up.

The transaction was finally unveiled on Monday, as Osisko announced a $479-million all-stock deal to buy Virginia Mines and create a powerful Quebec-based royalty company that generates cash from the province’s two biggest gold mines.

“It was evident that this was a pretty natural evolution,” Mr. Roosen said in an interview. His prior company, Osisko Mining Corp., built the giant Canadian Malartic mine. When Osisko was sold for $3.7-billion this year, Osisko Royalties was spun off and granted a 5% royalty on Canadian Malartic.

Virginia Mines is led by André Gaumond, a Quebec entrepreneur who has struck a dizzying number of mining deals across his home province. His best discovery was the Éléonore project, which Goldcorp Inc. acquired nine years ago for US$420-million. Mr. Gaumond kept a royalty on Éléonore that is now paying off, as Goldcorp brought the mine into production this year.

Mr. Roosen thinks these are the two best royalties in the gold business. By putting them together, Osisko transforms into a $1.3-billion company that can compete with the three dominant players in the mining royalty space: Franco-Nevada Corp., Silver Wheaton Corp. and Royal Gold Inc. Read the rest of this entry »

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

17th November 2014

NEWS RELEASE: French President Hollande inaugurates Koniambo Nickel

Baar, Switzerland / Kone, New Caledonia

17 November, 2014 – Glencore is pleased to announce that today French President, François Hollande officially inaugurated the Koniambo Nickel Project (Koniambo) in New Caledonia, a joint venture between Société Minière du Sud Pacifique (SMSP) and Glencore.

President Hollande was joined by Paul Néaoutyine, President of the North Province, Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, André Dang, President of SMSP, Peter Hancock, President of Koniambo Nickel, and Vincent Bouvier, French High Commissioner in New Caledonia.

The construction of Koniambo Nickel commenced in 2007 and represents a $7 billion investment in New Caledonia, majority financed by Glencore. Its state-of-the-art infrastructure and proven nickel smelting technology, along with a world-class ore body, makes Koniambo a leading player in the global nickel market and is transformative for New Caledonia’s nickel industry. At peak production, the mine will provide steady employment for approximately 950 workers, with a focus on local employment, and indirect employment for thousands of others.

Ivan Glasenberg, CEO of Glencore, commented:

“We are honoured that the French President has recognized Glencore’s ongoing commitment to and investment in New Caledonia by officially opening Koniambo Nickel. This inauguration marks a milestone for our New Caledonian operations and for the country’s nickel industry. We look forward to continuing our well established collaborations with the local community, government and our joint venture partners as we continue the ramp up period to nameplate capacity of 60ktpa.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Australia Mining and History, Canada Mining, Glencore-Xstrata PLC, Nickel Laterites | 0 Comments

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