Archive | Mining Power Issues

Another multinational employer is fleeing Ontario and the Wynne government doesn’t seem to care – by Bob Runciman (Financial Post – May 31, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Bob Runciman, now a senator, served as interim leader of the Ontario PC Party and as minister of Economic Development and Trade.

My hometown of Brockville, Ont. was hit with a devastating blow last week with the announcement that multinational consumer-products maker Procter and Gamble is closing its local plant, taking with it 500 jobs.

P&G is Brockville’s largest private-sector employer — only the school board and the hospital employ more. The company has been a model corporate citizen for 40 years, donating millions of dollars to local causes and generally making Brockville a better place.

And I think it is fair to say Brockville made P&G a better company. The local plant has a well-educated, resourceful, diligent workforce. Although the plant made such household cleaning products as Tide and Bounce over the years, it is most famous as the site that pioneered the Swiffer sweeper. Continue Reading →

Glencore threat to quite Mt Isa because of energy woes – by John McCarthy (Brisbane Courier-Mail – May 30, 2017)

http://www.couriermail.com.au/

GLENCORE and the State Government are trying to resolve a crippling energy problem which could force the loss of 2000 jobs in north Queensland. The mining giant has again threatened to close its Mt Isa copper operations because of the high energy costs which have combined with high rail and labour costs.

It made the threat in 2016 over the high cost of operating the assets because of environmental conditions and earlier this month said energy costs were at the heart of the latest threat. The company held talks with the State Government on Tuesday as part of ongoing negotiations to resolve the issues.

It said the State Government had made a significant effort to engage on the issue but the company’s focus was on investigating options for secure, affordable and reliable energy and electricity supply at Mt Isa and Townsville to service its operations. Continue Reading →

For First Time Since 1800s, Britain Goes a Day Without Burning Coal for Electricity – by Katrin Bennhold (New York Times – April 21, 2017)

https://www.nytimes.com/

LONDON — Friday was the first full day since the height of the Industrial Revolution that Britain did not burn coal to generate electricity, a development that officials and climate change activists celebrated as a watershed moment.

The accomplishment became official just before 11 p.m., when the 24-hour period ended.
Coal powered Britain into the industrial age and into the 21st century, contributing greatly to the “pea souper” fogs that were thought for decades to be a natural phenomenon of the British climate.

For many living in the mining towns up and down the country, it was not just the backbone of the economy but a way of life. But the industry has been in decline for some time. The last deep coal mine closed in December 2015, though open cast mining has continued. Continue Reading →

[Power Costs] Wynne and Liberals excel at fake news – by Lorrie Goldstein (Toronto Sun – April 18, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and her cabinet ministers excel at alternative facts and fake news. The latest example was Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s speech Thursday to The Empire Club, part of which boasted about how the Liberals saved Ontario’s electricity system by doing the heavy lifting needed to improve it.

As a result, Sousa said, Ontario’s electricity grid is now “the envy of North America” because the Liberals restored “integrity and reliability” to it, unlike neighbouring Canadian provinces and the rust belt states. Simply put, what on Earth is Sousa talking about?

Hydro One controls the transmission of electricity through 29,000 km of hydro lines in Ontario and provides electricity to 1.3 million customers. Continue Reading →

Gold is the new economic driver for Ontario mining – by Len Gillis (Timmins Daily Press – April 12, 2017)

http://www.timminspress.com/

Ontario’s mining industry is making all the right moves to be more sustainable, more efficient and more profitable. But more can still be done, according to Chris Hodgson, president of the Ontario Mining Association.

Hodgson was guest speaker Wednesday at a Timmins Chamber of Commerce luncheon where he talked about the efforts the mining industry is taking to stay current with energy needs, environmental demands and workplace safety.

He said mining continues to be one the engines that still drives the Ontario economy and contributes to Ontario’s economic growth. “What has changed in Ontario in the last 10 years is that gold is now a larger contributor than nickel and copper. That’s new and it is a combination of the price of the commodities and the number of new discoveries of gold and the new investments around gold,” said Hodgson. Continue Reading →

Ontario hydro bill cuts won’t help manufacturers, group says – by Allison Jones (Canadian Press/CTV News – April 11, 2017)

http://www.ctvnews.ca/

TORONTO – Thousands of businesses in Ontario that don’t qualify for a 17-per-cent cut to their electricity bills are like the forgotten middle child, a manufacturing group said Tuesday.

The Liberal government’s announcement last month applies to residential electricity customers and about half a million small businesses and farms on time-of-use pricing. The Industrial Conservation Initiative program for large manufacturers and businesses was also expanded so that more industrial customers would qualify.

But there are thousands of Ontario businesses that are too big for one program and too small for the other, and the government estimates they will only see about two to four per cent off their bills. Jocelyn Bamford, with the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers, said the 70 manufacturers the coalition represents don’t feel valued. Continue Reading →

Renewables roadshow: how Broken Hill went from mining to drag queens and solar farms – by Michael Slezak (The Guardian – April 12, 2017)

https://www.theguardian.com/

The home of BHP and Mad Max can now take credit for kickstarting the large-scale solar industry in Australia

Broken Hill is the birthplace of modern mining in Australia. It lends its initials “BH” to the mining giant BHP, and in January 2015 in an Australian first, the so-called Silver City was added to the National Heritage list in part due to its mining industry.

The city is cut in half by a mine, with a giant pile of waste material rising from its centre. It can be seen from every street in town, like a monument to the stuff the city was built from.

But over the years, mining in Broken Hill has declined. Even the titular hill, the one that appeared “broken”, has been mined away. As it disappeared, so did the jobs. Around 30,000 people once lived in Broken Hill, with 3,500 employed in the mines. Nowadays the population is around 18,000; approximately 500 of those work in mining. Continue Reading →

Zambia Copper Miners Face $276 Million Bill in Power Dispute – by Matthew Hill and Taonga Clifford Mitimingi (Bloomberg News – March 20, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Zambian copper miners including the local unit of Glencore Plc could face a power bill of more than $276 million if they lose a dispute with the government over electricity tariff rises, according to Copperbelt Energy Corp., their biggest supplier.

A resolution to the three-year battle could come by the end of the month, Copperbelt said in its 2016 annual report, published on Friday. If the High Court rules in favor of the energy regulator and its tariff increases, the supplier will be ordered to pay state-owned power producer Zesco Ltd. $276 million in outstanding fees. The company would in turn pass the cost onto customers, Copperbelt said.

A ruling could bring an end to a dispute that has raged in Africa’s second-biggest copper producer since April 2014, when Zambia’s Energy Regulation Board raised tariffs for mining operators by almost 30 percent. The Chamber of Mines of Zambia, which represents the companies, asked the High Court in Lusaka, the capital, to review if the increase was lawful. The regulator again raised prices in January, 2016. Continue Reading →

Ontario manufacturers eye greener pastures stateside as hydro rates go through the roof – by Peter Kuitenbrouwer (Financial Post – March 16, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Jocelyn Bamford, a white hard hat perched over red hair that curls down around her shoulders, has her hands on her hips. Behind safety glasses, her eyes flash. On the shop floor in the bustling Automatic Coating Inc. plant owned by her family, she has to shout to be heard above the squirt of compressed air nozzles, honks from forklifts, the clang of steel as it’s dipped in baths, and the hum of exhaust fans.

Bamford might be shouting regardless of the noise since the hydro bill for her Toronto-based company has her mad as hell. Once boasting one of the continent’s lowest electricity rates, Ontario today has some of the highest and that has many industrial companies planning to move at least some operations to the United States.

“The government treats us like bourgeois sweatshop operators who have to be stopped,” said Bamford, who has organized dozens of medium-sized companies into the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers of Ontario. “All the businesses are terrified of the government. My husband said, ‘Well, do you just want to pick up and go?’ And I said, ‘Well, I guess I gotta just stay and fight.’ I feel like I’m the Norma Rae of manufacturing.” Continue Reading →

Excluded from Ontario’s hydro cuts, firms say they can’t compete – by Shawn McCarthy and Greg Keenan (Globe and Mail – March 3, 2017)

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne unveiled a new hydro plan Thursday that targets lower residential rates but provides only modest relief to industrial customers who say soaring electricity costs are driving business out of the province.

Through legislation it intends to pass before summer, the provincial Liberal government will cut residential rates by 25 per cent, including a previously announced 8-per-cent reduction. The plan also promises deep price cuts to rural and remote customers who faced dramatic increases over the past decade, and will boost subsidies for low-income households.

Business customers will not benefit from reduced rates but will instead see an expanded rebate program for those that can shift their consumption to off-peak hours. Companies in Northern Ontario and rural areas will also benefit from a reduction in delivery charges that have driven up bills in less-populated regions. Continue Reading →

Kathleen Wynne’s sleazy, desperate hydro ploy to fool Ontarians is, well, brilliant – by Kevin Libin (Financial Post – March 2, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Ontario’s Liberal government is already being savaged for its latest scheme to quell the provincial outrage over out-of-control electricity rates. Even before the plan was official, the details that were leaked to the Toronto Star — reporting that power-bill costs would be “smoothed out” by rearranging contracts at lower rates, but longer periods — were being called a “shell game” by the opposition.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation complained that “spreading the cost … over more years, doesn’t solve the problem” but would just cost more in the long term. Sun Columnist Lorrie Goldstein called it “robbing Peter to pay Paul.”

That is surely all true. As Kathleen Wynne confirmed in unveiling the plan Thursday, long-suffering Ontarians will be made to suffer even longer with extended contracts. Other costs will be shifted from hydro bills to taxes, costing the province another $2 billion a year it doesn’t have, after already rebating the provincial sales tax on power or, more accurately, paying for it with other provincial taxes, instead. Continue Reading →

In Ontario, the taxpayers sustain Wynne’s green energy perpetual motion disaster – by Rex Murphy (National Post – February 25, 2017)

http://news.nationalpost.com/

There’s more than a touch of Oprah in our Prime Minister. Substitute town halls for studio audiences and you get a little of the flavour of his recent hopscotch to various venues across the country.

He loves – and why should he not? – being on stage in front of people who (mainly) like or idolize him, and he’s quick, like the great Eminence Herself, on his emotional feet. By far the most affecting moment of his grand tour, interestingly on “the catastrophe and heel” of his (originally) covert stay on the yacht of his buddy the Aga Khan, came in Peterborough, Ont.

There, somewhat in the manner of the Biblical Ruth, a woman “stood in tears” as she recounted to the Prime Minister, whom she both liked and supported, how her hydro bill was now competing with her mortgage payment. “Something is wrong now, Mr. Trudeau,” she told him and the assembled crowd. Continue Reading →

‘Alternate hydro facts’ ring of truth – by Thomas Perry (Timmins Daily Press – February 18, 2017)

http://www.timminspress.com/

TIMMINS – Listening to Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown and Liberal Energy Minister Glen Thibeault go back and fourth on the province’s hydro rates brings to mind a misattributed catchphrase from a 1960s television show.

Despite common belief, Det.-Sgt. Joe Friday’s monotone voice never actually proclaimed: “Just the facts, ma’am,” on any episode of the popular Dragnet. That line was actually featured in Stan Freberg’s works parodying the show. Having said that, Brown was clearly preaching to the choir while in Timmins on Thursday.

After all, this community lost hundreds of jobs when Xstrata made the decision to close its met site in May of 2010 and ship ore to Quebec for processing. Quebec, like Manitoba to the west, has much more economical electricity rates, which was certainly a factor when Xstrata made its decision. Continue Reading →

Canada’s green electricity bailouts make the Bombardier giveaway look like peanuts – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – February 10, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

While the punditocracy whipped itself into a justifiable if ritual lather over another Ottawa bailout of Bombardier, the $372-million loan is small change compared with the multi-billion-dollar green electric power fiascos across the country.

A rough tally of the ballooning financial plight of the electricity sectors in British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Newfoundland quickly runs to more than $50 billion in new debt and imbedded costs for investments that threaten to be money-losing drags on growth and consumers — and the federal government —for years to come.

The looming disasters have two things in common. They are the work of government-controlled and politically manipulated Crown corporations. They are also the product of a deliberate push to produce clean, green and renewable carbon-free electricity. No fossil fuels allowed. Money is no object. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: Liberal hot air on coal plants shutdown (Toronto Sun – January 21, 2017)

http://www.torontosun.com/

It’s obvious why Premier Kathleen Wynne’s government was anxious to discredit a report by the Fraser Institute last week that Ontario’s closure of its five coal-fired electricity plants did not significantly improve provincial air quality.

That decision cost Ontario taxpayers billions of dollars and helped to send electricity rates skyrocketing, because coal is a cheap form of energy.

The problem for the Liberals is that if the report by economists Ross McKitrick and Elmira Aliakbari is accurate, it discredits the Liberals’ claim their closure of the coal plants saved taxpayers $3 billion a year in health costs, $4.4 billion when environmental costs are added in.

The Liberals have always claimed closing Ontario’s coal plants has saved thousands of lives and prevented thousands of hospitalizations due to pollution. Continue Reading →