Archive | Mining Railway, Road and Other Infrastructure

New Roads to Riches – by Sheldon Gordon (Lexpert Business of Law – September 22, 2017)

In a depressed market for commodities, mining companies will have to rely on government funding, P3s and the ambition of local communities to get their projects off the ground.

THE CANADIAN MINING INDUSTRY’S success depends on its capacity to move its output to markets efficiently, at competitive prices and via modern infrastructure such as railways, roads and ports. Power generation is also critical. Mines in northern Canada face a special challenge because of the lack of electrical grid capacity.

The slump in world commodity prices from their peaks of 2011 has put a damper on the mining sector in general and on mining infrastructure procurement in particular. There is cautious optimism regarding mining plays in 2017, but nothing like the exuberance that would be triggered by a sustained rally in precious and base metals.

“I think prices need to go up a little bit more and hold for a little bit longer,” says Erik Goldsilver, a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP in Toronto. “The increase in prices we’ve seen over the past six to 12 months is positive, but there’s still some room to grow.” Continue Reading →

Northwest Territories Mining – The Drive Beyond Diamonds: Whati Road Could Deliver Polymetallic NICO Mine and More – by John Curran (Aboriginal Business Quarterly – Summer 2017)

For the entire issue:

There’s no denying the importance of the mining sector for the NWT’s economy, but at the same time this key industry has become completely dependent on a single commodity in recent times: Diamonds. Over the years, gold, lead, zinc, silver, tungsten, radium and many other minerals have been mined around the territory, but those days are currently in the rearview mirror. As the recent downturn has shown us, economic dependence on a single item plucked from the ground is never good – even something as lucrative as diamonds.

When prices for rough gems dropped a couple of years back and NWT mines were forced to trim operating costs, the territory has been suffering through the miners’ belt-tightening ever since. Despite the decline, diamond mining remains the dominant industry in the NWT.

“Resource projects, such as the diamond mines, provide the GNWT with a significant portion of corporate income tax, fuel tax, and property tax revenues and the projects’ employees provide payroll tax and personal income tax revenues,” said Andrew Livingstone, Senior GNWT Cabinet Communications Advisor. “Over the past three years, diamond mines contributed 41 per cent of the GNWT’s corporate income, fuel, property and payroll tax revenue.” Continue Reading →

AUDIO: Ontario’s far north one step closer to building all-season road (CBC News Sudbury – September 17, 2017)

Project becoming more urgent as winter road season becomes shorter every year

Plans to build an all-season road to the James Bay Coast in northern Ontario are moving forward with a feasibility study. It will examine information gathered from community consultations, environmental data and refine cost estimates, which have been pegged between $500 to $700 million.

“We’re no longer going to be isolated,” Mushkegowuk Council Grand Chief Jonathan Solomon said. “You’re going to see forestry. You’re going to see resource development. Companies coming into your territory.” Solomon adds that he hopes a permanent road will ease the cost of living.

“For instance, back home I was in my own community of Kashechewan this week and my wife went to the store to pick up a slab of bacon,” Solomon said. “She paid $17 for that … where they’re selling $3 or $4 in Timmins.” Continue Reading →

Long-awaited N.W.T. mining road through national park gets thumbs up from review board (CBC News North – September 14, 2017)

The much-anticipated all-season road to Canadian Zinc’s Prairie Creek mine passed its environmental assessment this week, more than five years after the Prairie Creek mine was approved in the heart of Nahanni National Park Reserve.

The Mackenzie Valley Review Board announced Tuesday it is recommending the project to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs for conditional approval. This week’s green light marks the end of a process that lasted more than three years. The nearby Nahanni Butte Dene Band grew impatient, and began construction on their own road to the mine.

However, the board’s support is contingent on the implementation of 16 measures it says will prevent “significant adverse impacts on the environment.” Among those measures: a road adapted for permafrost conditions, along with ongoing permafrost monitoring; wildlife monitoring that incorporates traditional knowledge; and the creation of an independent technical panel to ensure the road’s design protects people and the environment. Continue Reading →

Roads to Yukon resources: Feds, territory commit C$360 million to modernize Yukon mining roads – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – September 10, 2017)

Roads to some of Yukon’s richest mining districts are getting more than C$360 million in upgrades. Canada Prime Minister Justin Trudeau rolled out the plans to invest in modern transportation infrastructure during a visit to the territory on Sep. 2.

“Modern infrastructure is key to developing and properly managing the incredible natural resources we have at our fingertips,” Trudeau said. The prime minister pledged C$247.8 million to the Yukon Resource Gateway project, a program that will upgrade more than 650 kilometers of roads in the territory, and build or replace numerous bridges, culverts, and stream crossings in two minerals-rich regions of the Yukon.

“The Resource Gateway is one of the most significant projects ever undertaken in this territory and will have an incredibly positive impact on the Yukon economy,” said Yukon Premier Sandy Silver. Continue Reading →

Fast is slow: Will Ontario really build a road to the Ring of Fire? – by Jon Thompson (TV Ontario Northwestern – August 31, 2017)

ANALYSIS: Kathleen Wynne said she’d take her time to get the road right. Jon Thompson asks what took her off course

Kathleen Wynne’s government says it likes to get relationships right: It pledged to get things right with the feds in the 2016 Ontario budget. In a 2015 address to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario, Wynne herself committed to “getting it right” when it comes to Queen’s Park’s relationship with cities.

Wynne often uses the phrase when discussing Ontario’s relationship with the Matawa tribal council, whose lands and lifestyles the proposed Ring of Fire mining development — consisting of huge chromite and nickel deposits nearly 600 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay — could alter considerably.

When critics allege progress on that file has stagnated, Wynne again stresses the importance of “getting it right.”

However, in recent months the premier has tried to speed up the Ring of Fire’s development and events from last week suggest “getting it right” may have been a sound approach after all. Continue Reading →

Should Ontario Northland be the railroader for the Ring of Fire? – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – September 6, 2017)

Regional railway says it has the smarts, capability to serve James Bay mining camp

The Ontario Northland Railway (ONR) is ready to be a logistical player in the Ring of Fire, if and when an ore haul railroad is required.

Now that Queen’s Park has unveiled a road-building timetable to reach the Far North mineral deposits, Ontario Northland Transportation Commission president-CEO Corina Moore said the North Bay-headquartered Crown railroader has the ability to do the job.

“Ontario Northland remains interested in providing input on how we can provide rail support in the future with regards to the Ring of Fire,” said Moore in an email. She was responding to comments made by Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts, who hinted that the ONR could serve as the exclusive railroader to the Ring.

“When the Ring of Fire chromite market grows to a level requiring rail, Ontario Northland has the experience, technology, and capabilities to safely operate and maintain the rail infrastructure,” replied Moore. Continue Reading →

Trudeau announces $360 million highway improvement package for Yukon (Halifax Chronicle Herald – September 2, 2107)

THE CANADIAN PRESS – WHITEHORSE — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poured nearly a quarter of a billion dollars into Yukon’s highway network Saturday in hopes it will lead to resource development, but some Indigenous leaders remain wary about environmental implications.

Trudeau and Yukon Premier Sandy Silver announced their two governments will spend more than $360 million to improve road access to mineral-rich areas in the territory. The federal share amounts to $247 million of that total.

The governments say the money will upgrade more than 650 km of road and build or upgrade a number of bridges for highways leading into the Dawson Range in Central Yukon and the Nahanni Range in the southeast part of the territory. Continue Reading →

North-south road offers way out of poverty, isolation for Martin Falls First Nation – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – September 1, 2017)

Marten Falls will collaborate with province on first stage of Ring of Fire road

One isolated First Nation community near the Ring of Fire declares that a year-round access road will bring a “prosperous, sustainable, and more inclusive future for its elders, youth and families.” In an Aug. 31 news release, Marten Falls said the time has come to finally be connected to the provincial highway system after “years of negotiating and planning” for a community access road.

Premier Kathleen Wynne’s two-corridor Ring of Fire road proposal unveiled in Thunder Bay on Aug. 21 was initially being celebrated as a breakthrough in finally making progress on development in the stalled Far North mineral camp.

Within days, the chiefs of four of the five communities closest to the Ring of Fire either backtracked on their support for a east-west shared community/industrial road, or vowed to stop its planned construction in early 2019. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Marten Falls First Nation’s North-South Road Goes to the Community and Eventually to Ring of Fire

THUNDER BAY, Ontario, Aug. 31, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Marten Falls First Nation was pleased to participate in the August 21st media announcement of the government of Ontario. What is most important for Marten Falls and has been overlooked in the announcement is the reality that the First Nation will finally, after years of negotiating and planning, get a community access road. The road to the community will follow a north-south alignment from around Aroland/Nakina and construction of the road is planned to start in 2019.

Marten Falls views the access road as a means to food security and to improving housing, education and economic opportunities. The First Nation experiences poverty, drug addiction, and social and economic challenges and has also been denied development and employment opportunities due to remoteness.

Marten Falls has been looking for options to connect the community to the provincial highway for a while and although four other remote regional First Nations received $785,000 in March 2015 from the federal and provincial governments for studying an all-weather road, Marten Falls only started work on road options with the province late last year. Continue Reading →

Editorial: Ontario gov’t to fund road to Ring of Fire, nearby First Nations – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – August 30, 2017)

It’s the first bit of genuinely good news about Ontario’s Ring of Fire mineral district in five years: the Ontario government has pledged “support” and provincial funding to build two roads into the fledgling mining camp in the James Bay lowlands that would also link previously isolated First Nations communities in the area to the province’s all-season road network.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne made the statement on Aug. 21 in Thunder Bay, Ont., flanked by three of her ministers: Indigenous Relations Minister David Zimmer; Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle; and Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro.

The announcement was made with the chiefs of the Marten Falls, Webequie and Nibinamik First Nations, which would be most affected by the roads. Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum and Webequie Chief Cornelius Wabasse attended the announcement, as did Noront Resources president and CEO Alan Coutts. Continue Reading →

[Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario] City continues ferrochrome plant pitch – by Elaine Della-Mattia (Sault Star – August 30, 2017)

Mayor Christian Provenzano said he’s met twice with representatives of NorOnt to push Sault Ste. Marie’s attributes to house a ferrochrome plant. “Both times NorOnt came to the Sault they told me their priority was the road,” Provenzano said. “I asked how to help and they told me to lobby for the road so I did that.”

The Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corp. has also been keeping in close contact with NorOnt Resources and has been gathering the data and information it believes will be required for its request for proposal submission. In addition, NOLAN also lobbied collectively for the importance of the road, considering the vast impact the development could have on the region’s economy.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne announced on Aug. 21 that an agreement has been reached with three First Nation communities closest to the mineral deposit site and that environmental work would begin with road construction expected to begin in 2019. The road will allow year-round access to the remote mineral deposit, believed to be the largest of its kind. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire road ‘a huge win for northern Ontario’ – by Angela Gismondi (Daily Commercial News – August 29, 2017)

“I think it’s a huge win for northern Ontario as a whole,” said Adam Pinder, executive director of the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association.

“That level of development will certainly impact construction companies either directly or indirectly across the north. A road of that size, an investment of that size, just to get the project underway is a big deal, let alone the potential of the actual Ring of Fire area. We’re happy to hear it and look forward to what the future holds.”

Wynne was joined by Michael Gravelle, minister of northern development and mines, in Thunder Bay Aug. 21 to announce agreements are in place with First Nation communities in northern Ontario to begin constructing an all-season access road to the mineral-rich region. Continue Reading →

Nunavut government, Kitikmeot Inuit move ahead on ambitious road-port – by Jim Bell Nunatsiaq News – August 25, 2017)

Despite no firm funding, no firm users, Grays Bay enters environmental screening

Though there’s no firm guarantee that anyone will use it and no firm guarantee the federal government will put up the cash to pay for it, the ambitious Grays Bay Road and Port Project in western Nunavut will now undergo an environmental screening by the Nunavut Impact Review Board, the project’s backers announced Aug. 24.

The Government of Nunavut and the Kitikmeot Inuit Association teamed up in 2016 to push for the Grays Bay scheme after the Chinese-owned mining firm MMG Canada said their lucrative base metal deposits aren’t viable without a road and port that are too costly for the company to build and run on its own.

In the first phase of Grays Bay, the GN and KIA would build a deepwater port at Coronation Gulf on the Arctic Ocean and a 230-kilometre all-season road between the port and the site of the abandoned Jericho diamond mine. (See map at the bottom of this page.) About 10 to 20 permanent staff would be located at the port site and up to three permanent staff would be located at Jericho. Road and port maintenance costs would amount to around $3 million a year. Continue Reading →

Sidelined First Nations vow to halt Ring of Fire road construction plans – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 24, 2017)

Eabametoong, Neskantaga want their say on Far North development 150

Two remote First Nation communities left on the curb by Queen’s Park’s monumental Ring of Fire roads announcement are prepared to erect a stop sign to Far North development.

Leadership from Eabametoong and Neskantaga First Nations are upset with Premier Kathleen Wynne’s “divisive approach” in negotiating agreements with individual communities of the Matawa tribal council as a strategy to run roads into the region with their approval.

In an Aug. 24 news release, Neskantaga Chief Wayne Moonias said he’s prepared to put the brakes to that. “The reality is that all the roads to the Ring of Fire traverse the territory of our nations, and nothing is happening without the free, prior, and informed consent of our First Nations.” Continue Reading →