17th April 2015

Floating nuclear power plants promise major savings for Arctic mines – by Peter Varga (Nunatsiaq News – April 17, 2015)


Diesel-fuelled power “not sustainable for the scale of development we want to see”

Mining projects in Nunavut are saddled with high expenses that could discourage development. With that in mind, why not go for a tried and proven cheaper source of energy that can come and go on the high seas, and reach the territory’s coastal communities?

That’s just what Dunedin Energy Systems Ltd., an Ontario-based energy consulting firm, suggested when it pointed to “floating nuclear power plants” as an alternative energy source, April 16 at the Nunavut Mining Symposium in Iqaluit.

Nuclear power generators have been cruising the high seas in the ships of the world’s biggest navies since the 1950s, Peter Lang, president of Dunedin, told an audience at the symposium.

“Since then, civilian applications have come along,” Lang said during his presentation, adding that icebreakers and carriers powered by nuclear energy also sail the high seas.

A generator on a ship can produce more than enough for the largest mines now operating in northern Canada, at a fraction of the cost that diesel-fuelled power generators require, he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th April 2015

Why coal looms large in India’s future – by Peter Foster (National Post – April 17, 2015)

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

Narendra Modi is the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Canada since Indira Ghandi. For much of the intervening period, relations were sticky because of that unfortunate business of India using Canadian technology to manufacture nuclear weapons. At the same time, India’s growth was held back by poor economic policies and widespread corruption, much of it soaked in socialist cant.

Those lousy policies also go back to Mrs. Ghandi. Mr. Modi is rightly seen as a breath of fresh air, even if he inevitably has to play the hypocritical game of global realpolitik.

The alleged landmark deal of Mr. Modi’s visit is India’s $350 million purchase of Saskatchewan uranium. This both symbolically buries the bomb issue, and enables Mr. Modi to trumpet his country’s commitment to “sustainable development,” even as SD is increasingly exposed for the unworkable non-concept that it is.

The notion first emerged at the 1972 UN conference on the environment in Stockholm. Conceived by British intellectual Barbara Ward, who thought the Industrial Revolution had been a mistake, SD’s conceit was that poor nations had to grow while avoiding free markets and fossil fuels. Read the rest of this entry »

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17th April 2015

Between boom and bust – by Phil Hopwood (Lawyers Weekly – April 17 2015)


Cutting red tape just one of the ways to help junior miners raise money in hard times

I always say you can tell you’re at the peak of the market when your cab driver starts offering you stock tips. Likewise, I now say you can probably tell you’re at the bottom of the market when mining companies start transforming themselves into medical marijuana producers.

That may sound strange, but it’s true: Canadian mining companies have grown weary of lacklustre returns and are looking to other sectors that hold out greater promise. It just goes to show how very challenging the mining market has become, especially for the juniors.

Heavily responsible for exploration and discovery of new deposits, junior miners are the foundation of the industry’s food chain, often selling their new discoveries to larger developers before starting the cycle all over again. But after years of being battered in a bear market, juniors are struggling to keep the lights on, cutting back on exploratory costs in the past year by 29 per cent — on top of a 39 per cent cut the year before.

Given the time it takes from exploration to development to production, we are headed for serious supply shortages in key minerals and metals in the next decade if this trend continues. To compound the problem, investors have already been taking note of the poor returns from mining stocks and are leery of the sector. Gone are the days of Chinese investors financing large capital projects, while banks rarely offer favourable terms anymore. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th April 2015

Uranium deal with India signals new era, Modi tells Harper – by Les Whittington (Toronto Star – April 16, 2015)

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.

Trade, energy, the environment, security, and culture are expected to be among the issues Harper and Modi will discuss during the visit.

OTTAWA—Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi kicked off his visit to Canada by signing a uranium supply deal with Ottawa he says signals a new era in cooperation between the two nations.

At a joint press conference on Parliament Hill with Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Modi said the agreement that will see hundreds of millions of dollars worth of uranium exported to India from Saskatchewan annually “is a mark (of Canada’s) trust and confidence” in his country.

“And this is going to take forward our relations,” Modi told the media, adding that uranium for India’s civilian nuclear program will help his country address global warming through “clean energy” and thus allows India “to give something to the world.”

Harper, who will accompany Modi to Toronto and Vancouver during the Indian leader’s three-day visit, agreed the uranium sales deal will end the lingering tension arising from India’s use of Canadian equipment to develop a nuclear bomb in the 1970s — which Harper said created “an unnecessarily frosty relationship for far too long.” Read the rest of this entry »

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16th April 2015

NEWS RELEASE: Sale of Canadian Uranium to India Denounced by International Experts at the World Uranium Symposium

QUEBEC CITY, QUEBEC–(Marketwired – April 15, 2015) – About 200 international experts and delegates of the World Uranium Symposium this morning denounced the sale of Canadian uranium to India, a country that maintains an arsenal of nuclear weapons and has never signed the United Nations’ Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). By signing such a deal on the eve of the NPT review conference to be held in New York City in two weeks’ time, Canada is undermining and discrediting the key international treaty prohibiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

“Canada’s attitude sends a terrible message to the international community regarding the necessity for all countries to respect and to reinforce the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” said Arielle Denis, Director of the International Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

“India’s nuclear weapons program is very active, as demonstrated by a series of nuclear test explosions. Moreover tensions between India and Pakistan, a country with its own nuclear arsenal, are running very high. The attitude of Canada is irresponsible and alarming,” according to Shri Prakash, one of several participants from India at the World Uranium Symposium.

“Despite rules specifying no military use of Canadian materials, some uranium from Canada could well end up in Indian bombs,” said Dr. Gordon Edwards of the Canadian Coalition for Nuclear Responsibility. “At the very least, Canadian uranium will free up more Indian uranium for weapons production purposes.” Read the rest of this entry »

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16th April 2015

Cameco’s first deal with India gives it access to the world’s second-fastest-growing consumer of uranium – by Jonathan Ratner (National Post – April 16, 2015)

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

The numbers certainly aren’t mind-blowing on Cameco Corp.’s five-year agreement to provide 7.1 million pounds of uranium to India through 2020.

The deal is only estimated to be worth $350 million and it’s small when you consider that the Saskatchewan-based miner sells about 33 million pounds of uranium annually.

But it’s not the size of the deal that prompted investors to push the stock up 7.56 per cent on Wednesday. What excites them and Tim Gitzel, Cameco’s chief executive, is the opportunity that has now opened up.

“This was more than a uranium buy-sell agreement,” Gitzel said in a telephone interview. “It was really a marking of a new relationship between Canada and India via Cameco. The pounds here aren’t enormous, it’s really the importance of being able now to deal with the Indians and bid into their market.”

Canada banned uranium exports to India in the 1970s after the country used Canadian technology to build nuclear weapons. But the countries put what Prime Minister Stephen Harper called an “unnecessarily frosty relationship” behind them on Wednesday, building on a nuclear cooperation agreement established in 2013. Read the rest of this entry »

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16th April 2015

Greek miners protest against government decision threatening their jobs – by Angeliki Koutantou and Alkis Konstantinidis (Reuters U.K. – April 16, 2015)


(Reuters) – Thousands of workers at a Canadian-run gold mine in northern Greece protested in Athens on Thursday against a decision by the new leftist government to revoke the company’s licence to develop the mine.

Eldorado Gold has spent about $400 million (268 million pounds) in the gold mine project in Skouries, in the lush forest of Halkidiki, since 2012. It wants to invest another $700 million by 2017 to build a processing plant and develop two mines in the area.

The investment has been a test case for Greece’s will to attract foreign investment and kickstart its economy after years of austerity-induced recession. Skouries has stirred violent clashes between the mine workers and opposing local communities who say that the investment would destroy the environment.

In a rare rally of this scale in favour of the project, thousands of workers worried they may lose their jobs gathered outside the environment ministry in their safety vests and helmets, waving flags which read “Yes to mines, yes to growth.”

About 2,000 people are currently employed by the project and the company planned to hire another 1,000 by 2020, in a country struggling with record high joblessness. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th April 2015

Cameco signs major uranium supply deal with India (Business Network News – April 15, 2015)


BNN.ca staff

Canada’s largest uranium producer has signed a sales agreement with India. Cameco will provide the Department of Atomic Energy of India with 7.1 million pounds of uranium concentrate under a long-term contract through 2020.

“This contract opens the door to a dynamic and expanding uranium market,” Cameco president and CEO Tom Gitzel said in a statement. “Much of the long-term growth we see coming in our industry will happen in India and this emerging market is key to our strategy.”

The agreement, worth $350-million to Cameco, was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada Wednesday. Cameco shares (CCO.TO 5.69%) surged almost five percent Wednesday to $19.80 on the TSX after the news was announced. Read the rest of this entry »

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15th April 2015

Canadian-Japanese partners eye promising copper project in western Nunavut – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – April 15, 2015)


“We think we have a great start at building something terrific”

There’s something a little different about a new copper-silver project near Kugluktuk. This doesn’t come as a surprise because Matthew Hornor, president and CEO of a company called Kaizen Discovery, confided “our dream was to do things different” during an April 14 presentation to the Nunavut Mining Symposium in Iqaluit.

“Kaizen,” by the way, means continuous improvement in Japanese, a language that Hornor, who has a long-time relationship with Japan, speaks fluently.

Kaizen Discovery’s Coppermine project is one of two Nunavut mining projects with Japanese partners — the other being Areva Resources Canada’s Kiggavik uranium project whose minority partners include Japan-Canada Uranium Co. Ltd. and Daewoo International Corp.

Kaizen’s Coppermine copper-silver project, acquired last November, is also a newcomer to the western Nunavut mining scene. Hornor said he’s reluctant to make promises until the company is sure the resources are there to support a large copper-silver mine project.

But this fledgling project has a few things that make it stand out among the slow-starting, stalled or failed mining projects in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot region. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2015

Nunavut miners face tough times: Scotiabank commodity expert – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – April 14, 2015)


“Conditions are quite challenging in the mining industry”

Here’s a bleak forecast: this year’s going to be a tough one for the Nunavut mining industry. That was gist of the message from the Scotiabank vice-president and commodity economist, Patricia Mohr, the keynote speaker April 14 at the Nunavut Mining Symposium, now underway in Iqaluit.

“Think and hope” were two words used by Mohr, who spoke in a less optimistic way than in 2013 when she told symposium delegates that the mining industry globally — and in Nunavut — could look ahead to better times by 2015.

“Conditions are quite challenging in the mining industry,” Mohr said at her April 14 talk to delegates meeting at the Frobisher Inn.

These conditions include poor economic growth worldwide, a slowdown in China, rock-bottom oil prices and increased competition in metal and iron ore markets. And these have created challenges, such as low prices for gold, uranium, iron and base metals — copper, zinc, nickel and aluminium.

The price for iron is “extremely low,” Mohr said, which she acknowledged is “very important to Nunavut,” where Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. has recently started producing iron ore. As well, there’s “a market-share war in the iron ore business,” Mohr told symposium delegates. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2015

The mining industry’s best hope for survival has some flaws – by Tim Kiladze (Globe and Mail – April 14, 2015)

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.

It has come to this: the largest gold deal in a year is one where no premium is paid and no cash is exchanged.

During the commodity boom, miners of all stripes were scooped up at prices sometimes worth over 50 per cent of their market values. Three years after the bull run ended, Alamos Gold Inc. and AuRico Gold Inc. have proposed merging in a share-for-share deal worth $1.5-billion (U.S.) that contains no takeover premium whatsoever. The motivation is to combine finances and assets to make it through this storm.

To some, the deal is a beacon of hope. ‘Mergers of equals,’ as they are known, have been pitched like crazy for the past few years – multiple investment bankers stressed to me that this very combination has been pitched six ways to Sunday – but for the longest time, no two companies would take the bait. Now that two intermediate miners are finally acting on the idea, Bay Street hopes it will spawn more deals.

You can understand the optimism. Many dealers still hope to drum up business from miners – AuRico alone has 16 research analysts who cover the name – and they are looking for any sign that the tide is turning. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2015

Hellas Gold mining project divides Greek kin on Halkidiki peninsula – by Vassilis Kyriakoulis (Globe and Mail – April 13, 2015)

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.

THESSALONIKI, GREECE — Scrawled on the walls of homes in the village of Megali Panagia in northern Greece are angry slogans that show how much this picturesque community has been torn apart by a controversial gold mining project.

“Gold mines are a curse for every nation,” reads one. Others are more profane. For the past three years, the promise of a huge investment by a Canadian mining company has deeply divided the inhabitants of this spectacular corner of the Halkidiki peninsula, setting neighbours and even family members at each others’ throats.

In Megali Panagia itself, tit-for-tat attacks on shops and cars belonging to rival factions of those for and against Hellas Gold – a subsidiary of Canadian firm Eldorado Gold Corp. – have been going on for years.

Until now, most of the demonstrations were by residents fearing that the project will cause irreversible damage to beautiful forested peninsula, one of Greece’s most popular tourist areas. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2015

Mining and conservation can co-exist in the Arctic: Oceans North – by Lisa Gregoire (Nunatsiaq News – April 14, 2015)


Conservation group urging Ottawa to balance shipping with Lancaster Sound marine park

Now that the Nunavut Planning Commission has deemed Baffinland Iron Mines’ beefed up shipping plan a no-go, Oceans North is hoping Ottawa doesn’t decide to overturn the decision.

That option, along with others, was presented to Baffinland when the NPC issued their non-conformity ruling on April 8, effectively stalling the mining company’s desire to break ice near Pond Inlet and ship ore through the winter ice season.

But Chris Debicki, Oceans North’s Nunavut projects director, is hoping that before Ottawa considers any possible alternatives for shipping through Milne Inlet and Eclipse Sound, that consideration is given to another huge project right next door: the proposed Lancaster Sound Marine Conservation Area.

“These are the biggest land use processes going on in that region that we’ll probably see in a generation. It’s almost as though they’re happening independent of one another,” Debicki said. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2015

Alamos Gold Inc, AuRico to merge their gold businesses in $1.5-billion friendly deal – by Peter Koven (National Post – April 14, 2015)

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

TORONTO – The friendly merger between Alamos Gold Inc. and AuRico Gold Inc. fills needs for both companies: Alamos has money and wants a mine, while AuRico has a mine and needs money.

The two Toronto-based gold miners announced a US$1.5 billion transaction on Monday to create a significant mid-tier gold producer. The all-stock deal is a true “merger of equals” with shareholders of each company owning 50 per cent of the new entity (which will retain the Alamos name).

This is one the rare deals that everyone seemed to like, as Alamos shares jumped 6.6 per cent to $7.90 on Monday, while AuRico’s jumped 8.2 per cent to $4.09. It’s a zero-premium merger, so there is a chance an interloper will jump in with a bid for one or both companies. However, hostile bidding wars have been extremely rare in the gold mining space over the last couple of years as prices have been low and companies have been very cautious.

Alamos and AuRico have talked on and off for years, according to an industry source. This turned out to be the ideal time to strike a deal: Their market values are almost identical, and a merger will help them gain scale and lower their cost of capital to help deal with a rough gold market. Read the rest of this entry »

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14th April 2015

NEWS RELEASE: Statement by Rob McEwen- Cartel Confusion: Clarification of Statement

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwired – April 13, 2015) – “Responding to numerous media reports, I want to make it perfectly clear, that neither I nor any member of McEwen Mining’s (NYSE:MUX)(TSX:MUX) management team in Canada or in Mexico have had any regular contact with, or have any relationship with, cartel members.

“On Thursday April 9, 2015 at 11:40 am EST I was interviewed on television by Andrew Bell of Business News Network about the recent gold theft from our El Gallo mine. During the interview, I was asked: ‘Is it a dangerous part of Mexico (at our mine site)?’

“I answered: ‘It hasn’t been. I mean the cartels are active down there. Generally we have a good relationship with them.’

“My answer was related to gaining access to properties we wish to explore. It is our policy to contact all property owners or impacted community members in an area to seek their permission and ascertain the appropriate timing to enter their properties to conduct mineral exploration. We respect their wishes as any good neighbor and responsible miner would.

“Unfortunately, my use of the words, ‘good relationship’, was careless and has created the entirely false impression with Mexican media that we have regular contact with criminal elements in their society. This is simply not true. I wish to apologize sincerely for any misunderstanding my words may have caused. Read the rest of this entry »

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