29th August 2014

First Nations group working on Ring of Fire infrastructure plan (Northern Miner – August 28, 2014)

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

Yet another infrastructure plan is in the works for Ontario’s remote Ring of Fire region, this one for an infrastructure corridor consisting of a railway, power, and a seasonal sea port in James Bay.

The big difference here is that the plan is being proposed by First Nations – the Mushkegowuk Tribal Council.

“This is going to be aboriginal-led,” said Mushkegowuk Director of Lands and Resources Vern Cheechoo. “I know there’s other plans in the region – the Ontario government with their corporation plan, we have Ontario Hydro with a grid plan, we have other groups that want to bring infrastructure into the region and we are one of the options. We feel we’re best situated for this.”

Mushkegowuk represents 10,000 people, including members of the Attawapiskat, Kashechewan, Fort Albany, Moose Cree, Taykwa Tagamou, Chapleau Cree and Missanabie Cree First Nations. The council has started talks with the nine Matawa First Nations, whose territories are closest to the Ring of Fire, on working together.

Some of the previous infrastructure proposals, such as Cliffs’ proposal to build a 340-km all-weather industrial road, for example, proved controversial because of inadequate consultation. Read the rest of this entry »

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

28th August 2014

Mining must strengthen community engagement, public confidence – Minister Rickford – by Dorothy Kosich (Mineweb.com – August 28, 2014)


Instead of debating whether Canada should develop its resources, Minister Greg Rickford advises the discussion should focus on responsible resource development.

RENO (MINEWEB) - While Ontario’s Ring of Fire holds great promise for the province’s north, Canadian Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford stressed the importance of engaging with all communities in the region to work effectively with the province and the mining industry.

In a speech to 2014 Energy and Mine Ministers Meeting in Sudbury Tuesday, Rickford said, “I believe the Ring of Fire holds great promise for this region—a legacy resource development that will require substantial investment, new roads and essential infrastructure to ensure that our communities will have road access and electrification at a competitive value point for industry and communities in Northern Ontario to thrive.”

However, he observed, “To build local confidence, communities must trust what governments and industry say and what government and industries do. We must listen and address local concerns.”

“Building trust in public confidence comes from transparency,” said Rickford. “One of the reasons we’re pursuing initiatives like mandatory reporting for the extractive sector … is to get us to a point of some consensus.” Read the rest of this entry »

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

28th August 2014

Mandatory-reporting plan for energy and mining companies welcomed by provinces – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – August 27, 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 — Natural Resources Minister Greg Rickford vowed to introduce legislation requiring energy and mining companies to report all revenue paid to foreign and domestic governments, but said its impact on corporate payments made to First Nations will be delayed for two years while Ottawa consults aboriginal leaders.

At a meeting in Sudbury, provincial and territorial resource ministers endorsed Ottawa’s plan to impose new mandatory reporting of resource payments. But most provinces appear willing to let Ottawa take the lead on the measure, which includes controversial new accountability rules for First Nations.

“Canada is recognized around the world as a leader in promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive sector as a whole, here at home and around the world,” Mr. Rickford said on Tuesday after the ministerial meeting. “We have a responsibility to ensure that here at home and abroad, our corporations – in their relationships that they build in the effort to develop resources responsibility – that they are transparent and accountable.”

Mr. Rickford said the proposed legislation would allow each province or territory to implement its own mandatory reporting regime that could supersede the federal rule, and Quebec has indicated it intends to do so. Read the rest of this entry »

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28th August 2014

Imperial Metals agrees to First Nation tailings review – by James Keller (Canadian Manufacturing.com – August 27, 2014)


The company behind the Mount Polley tailings dam breach will pay for an independent engineer to review the tailings facility at its Red Chris mine

VANCOUVER— The Canadian Press – A  British Columbia company behind a mine tailings spill has signed an agreement with a First Nation that will see an independent engineering firm review a tailings facility at a separate project.

The agreement between Imperial Metals Corp. and the Tahltan Central Council ends a blockade of the company’s Red Chris gold and copper mine, where workers had been prevented from entering by a group of Tahltan elders for more than two weeks.

The tailings dam at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine in central B.C. failed earlier this month, releasing millions of cubic metres of waste water and silt into several lakes and rivers. The spill raised concerns about the potential impact on humans and the environment, placing the company and the entire mining industry under increased scrutiny.

Several days later, a group of Tahltan elders known as the Klabona Keepers established a blockade of the Red Chris site, which is located in northwestern B.C. and expected to open by the end of the year.

Imperial Metals issued a news released announcing that it would pay for an independent engineer, selected by the Tahltan Central Council, to review the tailings facility for the Red Chris mine and report back by Sept. 24. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Aboriginal and Inuit Mining, British Columbia Mining, Canada Mining, Northern Ontario/Canada Regional Media | 0 Comments

28th August 2014

A Wake-up Call for Canada’s Mining Industry – by David Suzuki (Huffington Post – August 27, 2014)


David Suzuki is a co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation

When a tailings pond broke at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in south-central B.C., spilling millions of cubic metres of waste into a salmon-bearing stream, B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett called it an “extremely rare” occurrence, the first in 40 years for mines operating here.

He failed to mention the 46 “dangerous or unusual occurrences” that B.C’s chief inspector of mines reported at tailings ponds in the province between 2000 and 2012, as well as breaches at non-operating mine sites.

This spill was predictable. Concerns were raised about Mount Polley before the breach. CBC reported that B.C.’s Environment Ministry issued several warnings about the amount of water in the pond to mine owner Imperial Metals.

With 50 mines operating in B.C. — and many others across Canada — we can expect more incidents, unless we reconsider how we’re extracting resources.

Sudden and severe failure is a risk for all large tailings dams — Mount Polley’s waste pond covered about four square kilometres, roughly the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park. As higher-grade deposits become increasingly scarce, mining companies are opting for lower-grade alternatives that create more tailings. Read the rest of this entry »

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

28th August 2014

UPDATE 1-Barrick scraps corporate development team, further cuts coming -sources – by Euan Rocha and Nicole Mordant (Reuters U.S. – August 27, 2014)


Aug 26 (Reuters) – Barrick Gold Corp is eliminating its entire corporate development team and more cuts are in the works as the world’s top gold miner looks to trim costs, three sources familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

The sources, who asked not to be named as they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said Rick McCreary, the development team’s head, is leaving the company this week, with some others on the team set to depart next month.

The corporate development team’s main role was to identify and evaluate assets worth buying. McCreary, a former investment banker with CIBC, has led the team within Barrick since 2011.

A spokesman for Barrick declined to comment on whether the company was doing a wider round of cuts, which the sources said would be announced in the coming weeks. He confirmed, however, that the corporate development team was being restructured with some staff moving into other groups.

“The change reflects our focus on achieving operational excellence across the company, with an emphasis on optimizing our existing portfolio and further improving efficiency across our operations,” said Andy Lloyd, a spokesman for Barrick Gold.

Some staff from the corporate development team will stay on as part of a newly minted business development unit, while most others depart the company. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th August 2014

NEWS RELEASE: Mining industry commends Mines Ministers for supporting transparency of mining payments

SUDBURY, August 26, 2014 /CNW/ – The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) applaud the joint announcement made today by Canada’s Mines Ministers lending their support to enhance the transparency of mining sector payments to governments. The statement was issued on the last day of the 2014 Energy and Mines Ministers Conference, held in Sudbury, Ontario.

“We welcome the broad support that federal and provincial Mines Ministers have given to improving the transparency of mining revenues paid to governments at home and abroad, and we look forward to working with all levels of government on this important initiative,” said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, MAC. “We are also encouraged to learn that some provinces are considering implementing transparency through their securities regulators, which would bring Canada in line with how similar standards in the United States and European Union are structured.”

MAC and the PDAC have been actively promoting the need for Canada to adopt such a standard since late 2012 when the two associations joined two NGOs—Publish What You Pay-Canada and the Natural Resources Governance Institute (formerly the Revenue Watch Institute)—in what’s known as the Resource Revenue Transparency Working Group (RRTWG).

“The Canadian mineral industry generates significant economic opportunities for communities at home and abroad, ranging from jobs and training to royalty and tax revenues,” noted Rod Thomas, PDAC President. Read the rest of this entry »

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27th August 2014

Mount Polley fallout puts damper on Canadian mining – by Derrick Penner (Vancouver Sun – August 27, 2014)


Signs continue to mount that the modest rebound that Canada’s mining sector had been experiencing has been knocked off the rails by the blowout of the tailings dam at Imperial Metals’s Mount Polley Mine and the Supreme Court of Canada’s Tsilhqot’in decision on land title.

Shares of Canadian mining companies had been doing well in the weeks before the court decision on July 29, and then the mine disaster on Aug. 4, as investors anticipated better demand for metals for a booming global auto sector. But declines have been steady in recent days.

“People are being discouraged about investing in mining in general,” said Raymond Goldie, a senior mining analyst with the brokerage firm Salman Partners, referring to the recent developments.

He added that Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett’s establishing an independent review panel to investigate the Mount Polley dam failure, and then ordering the operators of all 98 tailings ponds licensed under his ministry to conduct independent safety inspections, is the latest fallout from Mount Polley that is clouding investor sentiments.

“That is going to dissuade companies from investing in British Columbia,” Goldie said. “(And) along with the Tsilhqot’in decision of last month, it increases the uncertainty about investing in (the province).” Read the rest of this entry »

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

27th August 2014

Deadly clashes continue at African Barrick gold mine – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – August 27, 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.

JOHANNESBURG — Police have killed more villagers in clashes at a controversial Tanzanian gold mine owned by a Barrick Gold Corp. subsidiary, despite the company’s pledges to reduce the violence, researchers say.

The researchers, including a law firm and two civil society groups, say they’ve received reports that as many as 10 people have been killed this year as a result of “excessive force” by police and security guards at the North Mara mine, owned by African Barrick Gold, a subsidiary of Toronto-based Barrick.

A spokesman for African Barrick confirmed to The Globe and Mail that “fatalities” have occurred in clashes at the mine site this year, but declined to estimate how many. It is up to the Tanzanian police to release the information, he said.

Tanzanian police have repeatedly refused to give any details on fatalities at the site. Dozens of villagers have been killed by police at the mine in the past several years, according to frequent reports from civil society groups. The company occasionally confirms some of the deaths, including a clash in which police killed five people in 2011.

The deadly clashes occur when villagers walk into the mine site in search of waste rock, from which small bits of gold can be extracted. Hundreds or even thousands of “intruders,” as they are known locally, can be involved. Read the rest of this entry »

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

26th August 2014

“Our Resources, New Frontiers” Speech – by the Honourable Greg Rickford (Sudbury, Ontario – August 25, 2014)

Greg Rickford is Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and this speech was given at the Energy and Mines Ministers Meeting in Sudbury, Ontario.

Check against delivery

Thank you, David [David Simpson, Vice-president, Union Gas], for those kind remarks. Let me welcome you all to Northern Ontario, our extraordinarily beautiful and vast region. I can’t think of a better place and a better time for us to be gathered here in Sudbury, the mining capital of the world and — more than that — the centrepiece for Canada on the global stage for perhaps the world’s best example of a fully integrated city.

We’re building a region here that has a lot to offer the world. So it’s fitting that we’ve got people from around the world and particularly from across the country and, in particular, my colleagues — ministers from across the provinces and territories — to join me at this conference. Over the next 24 hours, ladies and gentlemen, we’ll be discussing a wide range of issues and hearing from and engaging with industry. But this afternoon, I want to speak about the priorities that I believe are critical to an upward trajectory of expanding opportunity over the coming years and beyond.

We all know the importance of natural resource industries to Canadians. They account directly and indirectly for almost one-fifth of our GDP — as many as 1.8 million jobs in every part of the country. That resource development is the difference between communities surviving and communities thriving, and it helps pay for our social programs and education program and public infrastructure and the quality of our life — the things, as I said last evening, that define us as Canadians and tie together our social fabric. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Ontario Mining | 0 Comments

26th August 2014

49 ‘dangerous occurrences’ at B.C. mine tailings ponds in past decade: ministry data – by Gordon Hoekstra (Vancouver Sun – August 26, 2014)


Dike breach, sinkholes and leaked tailings among incidents

Dangerous occurrences at tailings storage facilities at mines in B.C. between 2000 and 2012 included a breach of a dike, the discovery of sinkholes and leaked tailings. The vast majority of the dangerous occurrences involved incidents with equipment, which crashed, sunk into tailings storage facilities or flipped over.

In several cases, workers were injured and two workers died. The B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines provided details of 49 dangerous occurrences at tailings ponds at the request of The Vancouver Sun following Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley tailings dam collapse on Aug. 4.

The dam failure released millions of cubic metres of water and tailings containing potentially toxic metals into Quesnel Lake in central B.C., and has increased scrutiny at the province’s 98 tailings facilities, which store mine waste.

The chief inspector of mines’ annual reports provide an annual breakdown of the number of dangerous occurrences, but the mines ministry initially balked at providing details of the dangerous occurrences, requested 10 days ago.

Neither B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett nor chief inspector of mines Al Hoffman were available for comment Monday. Read the rest of this entry »

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

25th August 2014

Alaska requests greater involvement in oversight of large B.C. gold mine – by James Keller (Globe and Mail – August 23, 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.

VANCOUVER — The Canadian Press – The state of Alaska has taken the rare step of asking the Canadian government for greater involvement in the approval and regulation of a controversial mine in northwestern British Columbia amid growing concern that the project could threaten American rivers and fish.

Alaska’s Department of Natural Resources outlined its request in a letter this week to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, which has been reviewing the proposed KSM gold and copper mine, owned by Seabridge Gold Inc. The project has already been approved by B.C.

“The state of Alaska has important obligations to our citizens relating to the protection of fish, wildlife, waters and lands that we hold in trust,” says the state’s letter, signed by three senior bureaucrats.

They request in the letter that the state be involved in the authorization and permitting process for the KSM mine, the development of enforcement provisions in those permits, and the development of monitoring programs for water quality and dam safety. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in British Columbia Mining, Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining Environmental Accidents, United States Mining and History | 1 Comment

25th August 2014

After Mount Polley, a Recipe for Better Mines – by Maura Forrest (The Tyee.ca – August 25, 2014)

Science-focused journalist Maura Forrest is pursuing a master’s degree at the UBC Graduate School of Journalism and is completing a practicum at The Tyee. http://thetyee.ca/

Yes, we can create a more responsible, even sustainable industry.

Could the Mount Polley disaster have been prevented? It’s a difficult question to answer, with an independent investigation of the tailings dam breach just getting underway.

Certainly, concerns about the engineering of the tailings dam and the recent decline in mine inspections suggest the incident was not entirely unpredictable.

But if we change the question — if we look ahead and ask how similar accidents can be avoided — answers are easier to come by. And they indicate it’s not only tailings ponds that need to be changed; it’s our whole approach to mining.

Anna Johnston works at Vancouver-based West Coast Environmental Law to advance law reform proposals. She believes the philosophy of the mining industry needs a fundamental rethinking. “We need to have sustainability as the goal, not just minimizing harm,” she said.

Johnston said B.C.’s mining policy needs “a pretty serious overhaul,” starting at the very beginning of the process, when companies stake their claims to mineral rights. Read the rest of this entry »

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

25th August 2014

Alberta riled by Leonardo DiCaprio’s position on oil sands – by Ingrid Peritz (Globe and Mail – August 24, 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.

Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio is ruffling feathers in Alberta after becoming the latest celebrity to visit the province and shine a critical spotlight on Canada’s oil sands.

Both the Alberta government and the oil industry came to the defence of the oil sands after Mr. DiCaprio travelled Friday to Fort McMurray, the heart of the oil-sands industry, as well as to the small community Fort Chipewyan, which has drawn world attention to health and environmental concerns.

The purpose of the trip was to reportedly research a documentary, but The Wolf of Wall Street actor has already staked a high-profile position as an environmentalist and critic of big oil. A video released last week, narrated by Mr. DiCaprio, warns about climate change and depicts the fossil-fuel industry as a robotic monster stomping over the Earth.

“They drill, they extract, making trillions of dollars,” Mr. DiCaprio says about the industry, in the video titled ‘Carbon’. “We must fight to keep this carbon in the ground.” Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Canada Mining, Canadian Media Resource Articles, Mining and Oil Sector Image, Oil and Gas Sector-Politics and Image | 0 Comments

25th August 2014

Donlin gold mine brings hope of jobs — and fear of destruction – by Lisa Demer (Alaska Dispatch News – August 23, 2014)


DONLIN GOLD WORK CAMP — On a remote ridge in the big, open space between Bethel and Anchorage, where the land and minerals are owned by Alaska Native corporations, developers want to cut deep into the earth to extract microscopic bits of gold.

The Donlin Gold project is moving quietly forward. Backers are seeking key government permissions and trying to secure the trust of local residents.

Developers say the mine’s design will be the safest, most stable possible. A wealth of good jobs would open up in the cash-starved Western Alaska region if Donlin is developed, project sponsors say.

Still, the nature of large-scale gold mining incites anxiety and doubt among people who depend on the land and water as their sources of food.

The mine site is 10 miles from the Kuskokwim River near a salmon-producing stream, Crooked Creek. The project would disturb rock and soils laden with arsenic, mercury and other heavy metals; use cyanide in the production of the gold; bring barges loaded with diesel and other supplies upriver daily in ice-free months; and create a 2-mile-long, 1-mile-wide open pit where the hilltop used to be. Read the rest of this entry »

posted in Barrick Gold Corporation, Canada Mining, Gold and Silver, United States Mining and History | 0 Comments

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