Archive | Manitoba Mining

As 777 winds down, Hudbay looks to Lalor – by D’Arcy Jenish (Canadian Mining Journal – June 2017)

For nearly a century – 90 years in December, to be precise – Hudbay Minerals has been the cornerstone and lifeblood of the northern Manitoba community of Flin Flon. But change is coming to this quintessential one-industry, resource-based Canadian town.

In 2020, Hudbay is scheduled to close the 777 mine – its only remaining mining operation in the immediate vicinity of Flin Flon. Meantime, the company is continuing to develop and expand its base and precious metal Lalor mine, which began producing in late 2014 and is located in Snow Lake, 215 km east of Flin Flon.

“We have undertaken a program of re-evaluating exploration opportunities with the Flin Flon area,” says Cashel Meagher, Hudbay’s senior vice-president and chief operating officer. “The obvious future in northern Manitoba will divert from Flin Flon to Lalor. We want to perpetuate the life of the Lalor mine.” Continue Reading →

Analysis: A diamond of an opportunity for northern Manitoba – by Joseph Quesnel (Winnipeg Free Press – June 15, 2017)

Joseph Quesnel is a research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

In early March, the Manitoba Geological Survey and its industry partner, Lynx Consortium, made an important diamond discovery southeast of Thompson. While there is no guarantee the find will lead to a significant mining project, the province should move quickly to enhance the potential by involving industry partners, First Nations and municipalities in the region.

If this development works out, Manitoba would join Ontario, Quebec and the Northwest Territories in profiting from diamond mining. Royalties, employment opportunities and tax revenue may lie ahead from, and in, places where they are sorely needed. Mining is a long-term venture relying on good economic policies, political stability and the prospect of decent returns on investment. The provincial government should be careful, but also reasonably venturesome.

To move forward, the province will have to involve northern First Nations. Indigenous communities would best become true partners in the venture to avoid problems that have plagued some other ventures and communities, such as Attawapiskat First Nation in northern Ontario. Continue Reading →

The federal government wants to put a national park right where it will cost First Nations mine-workers their jobs – by Joseph Quesnel (Financial Post – June 8, 2017)

A working mine pours royalties into the provincial government and supports
many other industries….A national park on top of rich ore deposits
potentially worth billions will remove a major economic development
opportunity for both indigenous communities and Manitoba.

Joseph Quesnel is a research associate with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Why is the federal government planning to create a national park on top of potentially lucrative nickel ore deposits in Northern Manitoba? That’s a question that local indigenous communities that stand to benefit are asking.

The Manitoba Lowlands near Grand Rapids between Lake Winnipeg and Lake Winnipegosis are designated to become a national park, according to the recent federal budget. This area includes breathtaking limestone cliffs, an aquamarine lake, very productive wetlands and a region unique in the province where four species — deer, bison, elk and moose — share the habitat.

The region has some things that need protecting. However, it is not clear why Manitoba needs a new 4,400-square-kilometre national park that will cut off economic development for the local indigenous communities. Continue Reading →

Vale to close nickel mine in Manitoba – by Staff (Sudbury Star – May 17, 2017)

Vale has announced plans to close another nickel mine in Canada. In an email to employees, Vale Manitoba Operations announced that the Birchtree Mine will shift to “care and maintenance” and no longer produce nickel starting Oct. 1, resulting in 150 unionized employees and staff being laid off and another 50 jobs also being affected.

According to union officials, moving to ‘care and maintenance’ means the power and water at the mine will not be shut down but production will cease. “As you know, the nickel market continues to be challenging as inventories remain high and the price remains at an historic low, with little sign of significant recovery in the near term,” said Mark Scott, head of the company’s Manitoba Operations in an email to employees on Monday.

“This reality has caused us to review every aspect of our business. As a result we have made the difficult decision to suspend operations at our Birchtree Mine and place it on care and maintenance in the fourth quarter of 2017.” Continue Reading →

Thompson, Manitoba mine to close in October, will put at least 150 out of work (CBC News Manitoba – May 16, 2017)

Falling nickel prices forced Vale to close mine, company says

A nickel mine in Thompson, Man. will be closing this fall, a representative with the United Steelworkers confirmed Tuesday. The closure of the Birchtree mine will put between 150 and 200 people out of work, USW 6166 president Les Ellsworth said.

“I certainly wasn’t expecting to hear this week that we would actually be closing the mine,” he said. “It came as a shock.” Ellsworth expected the mine to be open until at least 2020 but falling nickel prices forced mine owner Vale’s hand, he said.

Ryan Land, manager of corporate affairs for Vale in Thompson, said the company has been in a “prolonged down cycle” for some time. He added the mine was approaching the end of its life cycle as well. “We happen to be in a business where we are price takers, not price makers,” he said, referring to nickel prices. Continue Reading →

Homecoming History: Roots of a mining town – by Jonathon Naylor (Flin Flon Reminder – May 2, 2017)

Accounts of local history often begin in 1927, the year Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Co., Limited (HBM&S) and Flin Flon were founded courtesy of the Flin Flon ore body. In actual fact, the area’s history – and the events necessary for the eventual formation of Flin Flon, Creighton and Denare Beach – date back further.

Amisk Lake, situated along present-day Denare Beach, has at least two important historical stories to tell. The serene lake has been utilized since the days of the Canadian fur trade. In the 1950s, explorers Harry Moody and Tom Welsh journeyed to the north side of Amisk Lake, where they found artifacts such as steel-bladed scissors and metal utensils.

Moody saw this as evidence that the famed fur-trading Frobisher brothers had set up a winter camp there in 1774-75. He later helped discover the actual site of Fort Henry Frobisher, an independent British post. Saskatchewan’s first gold-rush mining town was located on the southern shore of Amisk Lake, within driving distance of present-day Denare Beach. Continue Reading →

Local Angle: Healthy Hudbay better in ever-shrinking world – by Jonathon Naylor (Flin Flon Reminder – April 25, 2017)

During the so-called Great Recession of the late 2000s, several residents remarked that Flin Flon was left basically unscathed by the economic ravages occurring elsewhere in the world.

It wasn’t entirely true. The recession saw Hudbay suspend its Snow Lake operations, causing a ripple effect of layoffs that reached Flin Flon, and prompted the company to scale back its use of local contractors. Nevertheless, the notion that Flin Flon is insulated from global turbulence – that we are an economic island – gained traction during those tough times.

But globalization is a very real force in the mining industry and, by extension, Flin Flon’s economy. The acension of Donald Trump and his “America First” platform has politicized the issue of globalization down south. Here in Canada, mining globalization enjoys support from both the right and the left. Continue Reading →

[Manitoba] Let the diamond rush begin – by Martin Cash (Winnipeg Free Press – March 7, 2017)

Diamonds have been discovered in Manitoba for the first time in the province’s history, ending decades of speculation and opening up the possibility of a resurgence of diamond exploration.

An informal group of prospectors called the Lynx Consortium has found small micro-diamonds — less than one millimetre in diameter — in the Knee Lake region near Oxford House. The discovery comes after a brief flurry of diamond exploration in the province 15 years ago came up empty.

Ruth Bezys, the president of Manitoba Prospectors and Developer Association and the wife of Mark Fedikow, one of the prospectors who found the diamonds, said it is an exciting development. Continue Reading →

Miners shy away from investing in Ontario: land claim uncertainty to blame, report says – by Angela Gemmill (CBC News Sudbury – March 01, 2017)

Want to invest in mining? Fraser report says look to Manitoba and Saskatchewan

When it comes to investment in mineral exploration, Ontario has dropped into a slump, the latest report from the Fraser Institute says. The think-tank recently rated 104 regions around the world on their geological and regulatory attractiveness to those looking to invest in mineral exploration.

The report named Saskatchewan as the top jurisdiction for investment. The prairie province moved up to first from second place in 2015. Manitoba moved up to second place this year after ranking 19th the previous year.

Western Australia dropped to third, after Saskatchewan displaced it as the most attractive jurisdiction in the world. Rounding out the top-10 are Nevada, Finland, Quebec, Arizona, Sweden, the Republic of Ireland, and Queensland. Ontario dropped three spots this year to 18th place. The reason? Mining companies are put off by the uncertainty around land claims in Ontario, the report says. Continue Reading →

Hudbay mine closures will mean major reductions at Flin Flon surface operations – by Jonathon Naylor (Flin Flon Reminder – January 21, 2017)

Hundreds of job reductions are expected at Hudbay’s Flin Flon operations by 2019 or 2020, with the company hoping retirements and a proposal to maintain the zinc plant can minimize job losses.

While Hudbay has developed projections around job losses and layoffs, Daniel Weinerman, manager of investor relations and corporate communications, stressed all figures under discussion are preliminary estimates.

At best, the news will mean a reduction of approximately 500 jobs: Hudbay estimates 200 will come from layoffs, with the rest from attrition as workers leave or retire. At worst, Flin Flon could lose 800 to 900 jobs, leaving the city with a small fraction of the company’s Manitoba workforce. Continue Reading →

Will the nickel boom make a new man of Manitoba? – by Robert Collins (MACLEAN’S Magazine – April 13, 1957)

It’s been a have-not province for years. Now its “worthless” north is bustling with an epic strike and staking rush. Some enthusiasts insist it’s the biggest thing since the CPR went through

Until a couple of decades ago every Canadian schoolboy was aware that the prosperity of our three prairie provinces — Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba — depended on agriculture. Given a bumper wheat crop, the prairies were rich.

Hit by drought or rust, they were poor. Then Alberta broke the mold with a series of oil strikes, and in the bonanza that followed became a fat and flamboyant Canadian Texas. Times changed in Saskatchewan too with the advent of the atomic age and the discovery of major uranium deposits.

Manitoba was left in the lurch, with a horse-and-buggy economy hitched to agriculture in the south and a desolate pile of rock in the north that yielded a modest treasure without changing the basic pattern of the province’s economy. Continue Reading →

[Manitoba Mining History] Flin Flon – by Jack Paterson (MACLEAN’S – OCTOBER 1, 1938)

Ten years ago Flin Flon was a struggling mining camp in the wilderness; today it is Manitoba’s third city

OVER Flin Flon at 4,000. Visibility excellent. Landing now. Advise Winnipeg. Okay Lac Du Bonnet.”

A quick rattle of sign-off letters and the pilot carelessly tossed sponge-rubber earphones above the cowling. At Lac du Bonnet, 450 miles distant, a young operator of Wings, Limited, would relay the message from loudspeaker to private telephone line. In brief seconds head office would have it. Simple routine.

My mind flashed to an article I had done for Maclean’s short years back, wherein was prophesied general two-way radio for wilderness airplanes. At that time voice distance and sixty-five pounds unit weight had been the sticker. Now here was voice distance handled by a compact set of only thirty pounds, live and simple as a telephone.

Progress. Yes, but 4,000 feet below us, a jumble of wooden boxes, scattered over rocky hills plumed by smoke from a great smelter, was another herald of progress that commanded attention. Ten years! My spine tingled at thought of changes I would see. Continue Reading →

The Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company, Limited History (1927-1996) – by International Directory of Company Histories

Centennial of the Flin Flon Ore Discovery (May 2015) 

For a large selection of corporate histories click: International Directory of Company Histories

Company History:

The Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting Company, Limited, is a major Canadian producer of copper and zinc which operates mines and metal processing facilities in remote areas of the province of Manitoba. The company has been removing metals from the ground for most of the twentieth century, and its efforts to industrialize western Manitoba have helped to foster development in the region.

More than 23 mines have yielded ore to the Hudson Bay metal processing works over the last 60 years, as the company has engaged in aggressive geological exploration to support its metal refining activities.

Hudson Bay got its start in January 1915, when Tom Creighton, an early Canadian prospector, happened upon an outcropping of sulfide ore in an undeveloped area of Manitoba. In the previous decade, prospectors had discovered that an enormous greenstone belt stretched east from Manitoba into northern Saskatchewan. This geological structure contained numerous deposits of different metals mixed together, including zinc, copper, silver, and gold. Continue Reading →

[Flin Flon, Manitoba History] By Tractor Train – by Emmett E. Kelleher ((MACLEAN’S Magazine – March 1, 1930)

The story of a rail-less railroad which moved 23,000 tons of freight into the heart of a wilderness “on time”

IT WAS past midnight—the weather several degrees below zero. The snowmobile sped along a newly cut road in northern Saskatchewan. A night of inky blackness. Trees rushing by like black spectres of a lost army. With the hum of the motor and the whistle of the skis on the glazed snow, I was almost dozing to sleep when we rounded a curve and the swaying of the car roused me.

I blinked through the frosted windshield at a pair of strange lights that appeared suddenly up ahead. High, extremely bright, and set wide apart, they looked like the eyes of some ancient mammal that had returned to its northland home. The nearer the lights approached, the more deeply fascinated I became.

The orbs of dazzling white loomed right in front of us. Our driver swung his car off the trail. The machine ploughed easily through a three-foot snowdrift. A sterner and a mightier roar of machinery filled the northerh murk. Peering through the window I caught a glimpse of the largest tractor I had ever seen. Coupled behind were six loaded sleighs as large as circus wagons. At the rear end was a caboose, the warm yellow glow from its window contrasting vividly in my mind with the frigidity of the night. Continue Reading →

[Prolific Flin Flon-Snow Lake Greenstone Belt] Rockcliff expands 
presence in Manitoba – by Trish Saywell (Northern Miner – October 27, 2016)

While it may not be apparent from its share price, which has ranged between 1.5¢ and 16¢ over the last year, Rockcliff Copper (TSXV: RCU) has quietly expanded its grip on Manitoba’s Flin Flon-Snow Lake greenstone belt, with recent option deals on two of the mining camp’s highest-grade metal deposits.

In September, the junior explorer signed an agreement with a prospector to earn 100% of the Laguna gold property, which hosts a former high-grade gold mine, 20 km southeast of Snow Lake and Hudbay Minerals’ (TSX: HBM; NYSE: HBM) 2,150-tonne-per-day gold mill facility.

The deposit was mined intermittently between 1916 and 1939 — producing more than 60,000 oz. gold from 101,000 tonnes averaging 20.57 grams gold per tonne — and there has been virtually no exploration done there in the last 70 years. Continue Reading →