24th October 2014

Vale Coming of Age as Nickel Heavyweight as Prices Sink – by Juan Pablo Spinetto (Bloomberg News – October 23, 2014)

http://www.bloomberg.com/

Vale SA (VALE5), whose $18 billion base-metal incursion was beset by a slew of delays and stoppages, is growing nickel output at the fastest pace in six years at a time of tumbling prices for the stainless steel ingredient.

The Rio de Janeiro-based company beat analysts’ estimates to post a 16 percent jump in nickel production in the third quarter, taking total output of the metal this year to 201,400 metric tons. That puts Vale, which plans to produce 289,000 tons of nickel in 2014, on track to challenge top producer OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, which targets as much as 230,000 tons.

After winning a battle to take over Inco Ltd. in 2006, Vale is leaving behind a series of setbacks including strikes in Canada, plant faults in Brazil and an acid spill in New Caledonia. While its earnings outlook was boosted by nickel’s first-half rally, prices have plunged 24 percent from a Sept. 8 peak and are down about 50 percent since the Inco deal.

“It’s not the best timing in the world,” Marcel Kussaba, an equity analyst at Quantitas, which oversees 16.6 billion reais ($6.6 billion) including Vale shares, said from Porto Alegre, Brazil. “There is the feeling that Vale is starting to deliver when the environment is bad.”

Vale said in its third-quarter production report yesterday that nickel climbed to 72,100 tons, beating a 68,800-ton average forecast by nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, the unit’s best performance for a third quarter since 2008, despite a planned maintenance at its Thompson project in Canada. Read the rest of this entry »

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

24th October 2014

The limits of Ecuador’s shakedown statism – by Peter Foster (National Post – October 24, 2014)

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

Ecuador is run by the left-wing caudillo windbag Rafael Correa, whose hero was Hugo Chavez

The great eighteenth century lexicographer and wit Samuel Johnson described second marriage as the “triumph of hope over experience.” How then might one characterize the tendency of Canadian mining companies to return again and again to the altar of commerce with foreign government partners who recall Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction?

This week, Vancouver-based Lundin Group confirmed that a subsidiary would take over the Fruta del Norte prospect in Ecuador from Toronto-based Kinross Gold Corporation for US$240 million. Ecuador is run by the left-wing caudillo windbag Rafael Correa, whose hero was Hugo Chavez, the man who turned oil-rich Venezuela into a basket case.

Mr. Correa’s preferred mode of money-raising is the shakedown. The two most spectacular examples in recent years have been an attempt, via the “Yasuni Initiative,” to blackmail the rest of the world into putting up US$3.6 billion in return for Mr. Correa (italics) not (close italics) drilling for oil in an Amazonian nature reserve; then there is a beyond-fiction trumped-up court case against California-based Chevron Corp. seeking (at last count) US$9.5 billion for alleged damage to the rainforest.

Kinross took a massive flier by buying Fruta del Norte in 2008 for $1.2 billion when Ecuador had no clear mining policy. The company’s attempt to develop FDN turned out to be the proverbial marriage from hell. Read the rest of this entry »

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

24th October 2014

How the Fruta del Norte project is another high-risk, high-reward gamble for Lundin Group – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 23, 2014)

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

If anyone was going to tackle the Fruta del Norte project, it would naturally be Lukas Lundin.

The Vancouver-based mining entrepreneur has never shied away from investing in the most politically challenging parts of the world. And by getting into countries including Argentina and the Democratic Republic of Congo ahead of the pack, the Lundin Group has taken hold of many world-class projects at low cost and made a fortune for its shareholders.

Fruta del Norte (FDN) fits the bill for Mr. Lundin perfectly. It is arguably the world’s best undeveloped gold deposit, with 6.8 million ounces of very high-grade reserves. It is also in Ecuador, a country that has been inhospitable for mining investment and has scared away the rest of the gold sector. As a result, the asset was available at a bargain-basement price.

“One of those things the Lundin family has done so well over so many years is [obtaining] great assets,” Ron Hochstein, chairman of Lundin shell company Fortress Minerals Corp., said in an interview. “And also having the ability to work with governments and with the population to see them through.”

Fortress announced late Tuesday it will buy FDN from Kinross Gold Corp. for US$240-million in cash and stock. Fortress will be renamed Lundin Gold Inc. and plans to use FDN as the foundation to build a significant gold producer. Read the rest of this entry »

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

24th October 2014

The indigenous land rights ruling that could transform Canada – by Martin Lukacs (The Guardian – October 21, 2014)

http://www.theguardian.com/us

Indigenous rights offer a path to a radically more just and sustainable country – which is why the Canadian government is bent on eliminating them

The unrest is palpable. In First Nations across Canada, word is spreading of a historic court ruling recognizing Indigenous land rights. And the murmurs are turning to action: an eviction notice issued to a railway company in British Columbia; a park occupied in Vancouver; lawsuits launched against the Enbridge tar sands pipeline; a government deal reconsidered by Ontario Algonquins; and sovereignty declared by the Atikamekw in Quebec.

These First Nations have been emboldened by this summer’s Supreme Court of Canada William decision, which recognized the aboriginal title of the Tsilhqot’in nation to 1,750 sq km of their land in central British Columbia – not outright ownership, but the right to use and manage the land and to reap its economic benefits.

The ruling affects all “unceded” territory in Canada – those lands never signed away through a treaty or conquered by war. Which means that over an enormous land mass – most of British Columbia, large parts of Quebec and Atlantic Canada, and a number of other spots – a new legal landscape is emerging that offers the prospect of much more responsible land stewardship. Read the rest of this entry »

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

23rd October 2014

BHP Billiton to pursue demerger with no share listing in Canada – by Barry Critchley (National Post – October 22, 2014)

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

For the second time in four years, BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest mining company — which holds its annual meeting in London Thursday — has announced plans that don’t include a Canadian share listing.

In the summer of 2010, BHP Billiton – the result of the 2001 merger between BHP and Billiton – launched a hostile bid for Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. It offered US$130 cash a share — a potential US$40-billion transaction.

At the time, BHP Billiton noted it had business interests in Canada dating back almost 40 years.

The most significant interest was EKATI, a diamond mine in which it had invested about US$5-billion since production began in 1998. BHP, which sold the EKATI mine in 2012, had also acquired exploration rights in potash, notably the Jansen mine.

But, perhaps as a reflection of the takeover consideration, BHP Billiton, which at the time had a market cap of US$188-billion, made no plans to list its shares on the TSX. However, late in the game when opposition to its takeover was mounting, it offered a secondary listing on the TSX to complement listings Australia, London, Johannesburg and New York. But its TSX-listing plans were shelved when the takeover was withdrawn after Ottawa nixed the deal after applying the net benefit test. Read the rest of this entry »

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

23rd October 2014

Define ‘consultation’ and ‘social licence’ – by Jeffrey Simpson (Globe and Mail – October 22, 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.

What does it mean to be “consulted?” Does it mean to give an opinion and to be heard? To have your views prevail? To exercise a veto? We don’t know, and as a result of this, much confusion surrounds public decisions, especially for projects that require this amorphous idea of “consultation” or “social licence” to proceed.

Who defines “social licence?” Interest groups such as NGOs or businesses? Courts? Public opinion, but as measured by what? Polls? Write-in campaigns? Social media comments? Street demonstrations? Elections?

The confusion about “consultation” and “social licence” deepens when it comes to Canada’s First Nations. Courtesy of court rulings and depending on their title or land claim or treaty, aboriginals have to be “consulted,” their interests “accommodated,” and, if title is demonstrated, give their assent – except in the face of a “pressing and substantial” public interest.

What might that be, the “public interest?” Take the Northern Gateway pipeline to pump Alberta bitumen oil through northwestern British Columbia to Asia-Pacific markets.

The three-person National Energy Board panel that exhaustively studied the pipeline proposal – and supported it, with 209 conditions – declared that “the public interest is the interest of all Canadians.” Read the rest of this entry »

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

23rd October 2014

Yukon mining project partners with China (CBC News North – October 22, 2014)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north

Collaboration with Beijing institute could ‘reduce costs by 40%’ says Canadian CEO

A mining project in Yukon is hiring Chinese engineers. Copper North Mining is planning for work in the Carmacks area. The company has announced a firm in Beijing will help design a process to help it recover copper, gold and silver.

The project is at the feasibility study stage but Chinese workers will help design the mine and ship equipment to Canada.

Harlan Meade is President and CEO of Copper North Mining. He says this approach could reduce costs by as much as 40 per cent.

“What (Copper North Mining) is doing is getting them to do the detailed design engineering. We oversee it here in Canada then we get the procured equipment in China. We have it delivered and then our Canadian engineering firm, JDS Energy and Mining Inc, does the construction management, mining, earth works, and the other parts of the project.”

Meade says Chinese engineers would provide “about half” of the work at the feasibility stage with Canadian engineers hired to do the rest.

The project would see also savings as it would obtain its equipment directly from Chinese suppliers. Read the rest of this entry »

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

23rd October 2014

Taseko seeks to sue Ottawa for damages over B.C. mine rejection – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 22, 2014)

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

Taseko Mines Ltd. claims the federal government acted unlawfully in pushing its British Columbia copper project off the rails. Its solution: Try to sue the government for damages and to find out precisely what happened.

On Wednesday, Taseko will appear in a federal court in Vancouver to argue that its two judicial review applications to Ottawa should be combined into one civil lawsuit seeking damages. The move, which appears to be unprecedented, is being fiercely opposed by the government.

“We haven’t found another instance where a company in precisely this position sues the federal government,” said lawyer John Hunter of Hunter Litigation Chambers, which is representing Taseko.

Taseko claims it was the only logical course of action. The Vancouver-based miner says it has evidence of actual malfeasance by federal officials, including secret meetings with opponents of the $1.5-billion New Prosperity project that could have swung Ottawa’s decision.

The project has been controversial for many years. Taseko’s first Prosperity mine proposal was approved by the British Columbia government in 2010, but rejected by Ottawa later that year. It cited environmental concerns over Taseko’s plan to drain the nearby Fish Lake. Read the rest of this entry »

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

22nd October 2014

Hopes for Ontario’s Ring of Fire doused as mining companies grow wary – by Rachelle Younglai (Globe and Mail – October 22, 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.

Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” mineral belt was supposed to be a $60-billion natural resources treasure trove that would bring employment and economic prosperity to a remote part of the province’s north. It hasn’t worked out that way.

The project’s key player has given up, leaving the future of the deposit in question and hurting prospects that it will ever reach the lofty expectations of politicians.

Today, not much is happening in the Ring, a 5,000-square-kilometre crescent of mostly chromite in the boggy James Bay lowlands, 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay.

The region was said to be so rich in resources that it would rival Sudbury’s nickel basin and Alberta’s oil sands. Instead, the area remains undeveloped, a victim of the global slump in commodity prices and bureaucratic red tape.

“I’m disappointed that it hasn’t advanced more. It’s a long time, seven years after discovery,” said Neil Novak, the geologist who made the first discovery in the Ring and is now exploring for other metals as the chief executive officer of Black Widow Resources Inc.

In addition to the complete lack of infrastructure – there are no roads or power in the area – there is no real plan on how to mine the chromite, which is used to harden steel. 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

21st October 2014

[Deltion Innovations] Sudbury company works to develop space drill (CBC News Sudbury – October 20, 2014)

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury

Deltion Innovations is working to develop drill that would prospect for water and ice on the moon

A Greater Sudbury mining innovation company is getting to literally take some of its equipment out of this world. Deltion Innovations Limited is in the process of developing a drill for the Canadian Space Agency and the goal is to have the drill mine for water and ice on the moon.

CEO Dale Boucher said the drill is being developed in the company’s test facility in Capreol. Testing is being done by using a liquid nitrogen tank that is used to cool down the sample, filled with simulated moon dirt and water, he said.

This test phase involves trying to drill through material at liquid nitrogen temperatures — about minus 180 degrees Celsius. “The moon is a little bit cooler than that,” he said. “The moon is actually about minus 220 Celsius.”

Benefits of space mining

Boucher said the prospecting tool will look for water and ice near the south pole of the moon. “Water is kind of the ore of choice for space mining right now,” he said.

“Water can be broken down into hydrogen and oxygen using a very simple solar cell system. So, if you break it into hydrogen and oxygen you have a couple of things: you have oxygen to breathe, you have hydrogen and oxygen which is the most powerful rocket propellant that we know of.” Read the rest of this entry »

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

21st October 2014

How Covergalls [Workwear] inked a $75,000 deal that includes new dragon Michael Wekerle – by Mary Teresa Bitti (National Post – October 20, 2014)

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

CBC’s Dragons’ Den is back with two new dragons who are wasting no time making their mark. Each week, Financial Post contributor Mary Teresa Bitti revisits the previous week’s episode. She captures what the cameras didn’t and in the process provides a case study for readers, zeroing in on what pitchers and dragons were thinking and what the challenges for the deal are going forward.

The pitch As sales director for an underground mobile equipment manufacturer, Alicia Woods spends her fair share of time underground, understanding the challenges of customers. She recalls the first time she had to go into a mine 14 years ago. She was handed full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), coveralls, belt, hard hat but nothing was designed for women. “I was given the smallest men’s sizes but nothing fit properly and it wasn’t convenient, especially if I had to use the washroom facilities, which are typically a port-a-potty,” Ms. Woods says.

The only alternative she found online was a shirt and pants. She preferred the coverall which offers better protection. She sketched a few concepts that got put to the side as her career started to grow and she and her husband started a family. For 10 years, she would have nothing to drink if she knew she’d be going down into a mine, to avoid having to use the washroom.

“Three summers ago, I was underground at a potash mine and before I knew it I had consumed three bottles of water because it was so dry and dusty,” Ms. Woods says. “I had to face what I had avoided for a decade. It was not a pleasant experience.” Read the rest of this entry »

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

20th October 2014

RB Energy meltdown highlights tough times for lithium, rare earth firms – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 20, 2014)

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

TORONTO — As RB Energy Inc. flamed out and fell into creditor protection during the past couple of weeks, investors were shell-shocked.

Despite some start-up problems in recent months, Vancouver-based RB seemed to be in an ideal position. It was emerging as North America’s only serious lithium producer, just as demand for the metal is set to soar because of its use in electric vehicle batteries. Its management team was linked to the legendary Lundin Group, a resource conglomerate with a fantastic track record of success. Lundin companies do not just melt down like that.

But RB did. It filed for protection last Monday after its stock price collapsed and it could not raise capital under reasonable terms.

“I can tell you it’s been a long time since I’ve seen the resource capital market crash as quickly as that,” chief executive Rick Clark said. “I would say the last time was back in the ‘90s.”

There was a time when RB, formerly known as Canada Lithium Corp., had a much easier time raising cash. The company has tapped the capital markets for about $268-million since 2009, according to Financial Post data. RB also received $92-million of debt financing from Bank of Nova Scotia and Caterpillar Financial Services that was partially guaranteed by the Quebec government. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Critical, Strategic and Rare Earth Minerals and Metals, Quebec Mining | 0 Comments

20th October 2014

RB Energy says TSX statement a key factor in CCAA filing – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 20, 2014)

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

TORONTO — The chief executive of RB Energy Inc. believes the lithium miner might have avoided insolvency if not for a two-sentence statement issued by the Toronto Stock Exchange.

CEO Rick Clark said in an interview the company thought it had a $70-million financing package lined up in mid-September that would have resolved its liquidity issues. But then the TSX, following its guidelines, issued a blanket press release saying it was conducting a de-listing review of the stock.

The TSX statement simply repeated what Vancouver-based RB said the day before. But the stock price collapsed as soon as it came out, and Mr. Clark said he could no longer line up financing on reasonable terms.

Instead, he elected to file for creditor protection last Monday. “We got absolutely hit in the side of the head [by the TSX statement],” said Mr. Clark, who was formerly CEO of market darling Red Back Mining Inc. Regardless, he said he does not want to blame the exchange for what happened.

The impact of the TSX announcement on Sept. 16th is undeniable. The stock plunged 25% that day, with 14.4 million shares changing hands. It then fell another 25% during the following five trading days and could not recover. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Critical, Strategic and Rare Earth Minerals and Metals, Quebec Mining | 0 Comments

20th October 2014

In Wake of Mount Polley, Union Wants New BC Safety Regime – by David P. Ball (The Tyee.ca – October 14, 2014)

http://thetyee.ca/

Ministry defends miners’ exclusion from WorkSafeBC.

It took a spate of deaths in Nanaimo’s coal mines to create a ministry devoted to regulating the industry in 1877. Since that era, the provincial department’s authority over mine health and safety has endured — and subsequent worker protection laws explicitly excluded mines to this day.

But after the near slaughter of workers by the Mount Polley mine tailings dam disaster this summer, the union representing many miners in B.C. is warning about worker safety in the industry.

Thirteen B.C. mine workers have been killed on the job since 2000, according to annual Chief Inspector of Mines reports. The worst year was 2006, when four died from oxygen deprivation at the Sullivan mine near Kimberley, B.C.

Over the same period, a total of 423 people were injured at mine sites, averaging 33 a year. WorkSafeBC’s prevention jurisdiction does not extend to mines to which the Mines Act applies.

All activities conducted in relation to mining within the boundaries of a Mines Act permit area fall within the [occupational health and safety] jurisdiction of [Ministry of Energy and Mines]. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in British Columbia Mining, Canada Mining, Mining Environmental Accidents, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media | 0 Comments

20th October 2014

Miner Opposition [Canadian Global Mining Sector's Reputation] – by James Munson (iPolitics.ca – October 1, 2014)

http://www.ipolitics.ca/

Where mining and violence meet

James Munson (bitly.com/MinerOpposition) traveled to Guatemala in July to explore the stories of mines caught up in a global debate over the responsibilities of Canadian-owned mining firms in developing countries. With Canada moving toward a new policy for the sector, Munson explores how the Fenix nickel mine in eastern Guatemala became the test case for bringing allegations of murder, rape and assault tied to the mine to an Ontario court room. Meanwhile, Goldcorp Inc.’s Marlin mine in the western part of the country has been the subject of protests and findings that its operations broke human rights standards. The stories of these mines, and the people who live beside them are the starting point for Miner Opposition — http://www.bitly.com/MinerOpposition (Produced with support of the Ford Foundation)

EL ESTOR, GUATEMALA— One night this past April, while poring over legal documents at around four in the morning, Manuel Xo Cu drifted to sleep and had the dream that would save his life.

The dream involved him grabbing onto the roots of two trees to keep from sliding into a dark hole. During a bus ride the next day, he was confronted by three armed men who asked him to move to the back of the bus. He refused, recognizing the back of the bus as the dark hole, and sat beside a woman who he would later use as an excuse to get off at an earlier stop, thinking the would-be assassins could identify him with more certainty if he were to get off at his regular destination. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Latin America Mining, Mining and Oil Sector Image | 0 Comments

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