Archive | Mining Railway, Road and Other Infrastructure

Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk road finally connects Canada from sea to sea to sea – by Jim Coyle (Toronto Star – November 18, 2017)

When Eddie Gruben got into the transportation business in the 1950s in the Northwest Territories, his means of locomotion for hauling supplies between Arctic communities was dogsled.

The corporate logo for E. Gruben’s Transport Ltd. is still a man with a pack on his back and a dog team. But the company — now grown into a successful contracting and project management firm with offices in Inuvik and Edmonton and headquarters in Tuktoyaktuk — has changed dramatically.

This week, so did the region, with the official opening on Wednesday of the Inuvik-to-Tuktoyaktuk Highway, a road Eddie’s grandson helped build. “It’s a lot of years coming,” said Merven Gruben, a former mayor of the hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk and current vice-president of the firm his late grandfather founded. “It’s something that we’ve been dreaming about for so many years.” Continue Reading →

Canada’s first permanent road to Arctic coast set to open this week – by Bob Weber (Globe and Mail – November 13, 2017)

At 6 a.m. on Wednesday, in the arctic cold and darkness of the Mackenzie Delta, Darrel Nasogaluak will fire up his vehicle and head out on Canada’s newest and most exotic road trip.

Nasogaluak, mayor of the Northwest Territories hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, will drive down 120 kilometres of brand-new, two-lane, all-weather gravel to Inuvik. Replacing a seasonal ice road, the new highway is the country’s first permanent link to its Arctic coast.

With apologies to Stan Rogers, travellers will now be able to grasp the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea from the heated comfort of their drivers’ seats. Continue Reading →

Nunavut port-road project needs full environmental assessment: NIRB – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – November 2, 2017)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—Western Nunavut’s Grays Bay road and port—a project which received robust support from the previous Nunavut government and Kitikmeot Inuit—will undergo a full environmental review, the Nunavut Impact Review Board said Oct. 31, in a screening decision.

“The board has indicated to the responsible minister(s) that the proposed project should undergo further assessment best facilitated through a full environmental review,” the NIRB said.

The NIRB’s screeing decision contained stern words about the project, which it says has “the potential to cause significant adverse effects on the ecosystem and may be a cause of significant public concern.” The NIRB cited many reasons for doing a full review, including the importance of allowing members of the public to provide comment. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-China’s Belt and Road boosts sentiment for commodities, not demand – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – November 1, 2017)

LONDON, Nov 1 (Reuters) – One of the great hopes for a sustained bull run for commodities is China’s Belt and Road initiative, with expectations of hundreds of billions of dollars in commodity-intensive projects over the coming years.

However, quantifying the impact on various commodities of China’s ambitious plans to fund, build and benefit from infrastructure and other ventures along maritime and land corridors linking Asia to Africa and Europe is challenging.

In theory, the touted billions to be spent on ports, roads, railways, power plants and so on will serve as an ongoing stimulus for commodities such as iron ore, coal, copper, crude oil and a host of minor metals with industrial applications. Continue Reading →

After Oct. 30 election, Inuit org will lobby for Nunavut-Manitoba link – by Jane George (Nunatsiaq News – October 25, 2017)

CAMBRIDGE BAY—A road to bring cheap, clean power and internet northwards—and, at the same time boost the economy in central Nunavut: that’s what the Kivalliq Inuit Association wants for the future.

On those goals, the KivIA sounds a lot like the Kitikmeot Inuit Association on its western Nunavut Grays Bay port and road project, which has received $2 million from the Government of Nunavut to pay for the permitting process for the project.

After the territorial election Oct. 30, and a new premier and cabinet are chosen, the KivIA plans to head to Iqaluit “to move our priorities forward.” “What’s holding us up right now is the elections,” said KivIA President David Ningeongan, after he delivered his organization’s report to the Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. annual general meeting in Cambridge Bay. Continue Reading →

Nunavut Inuit call for public hearing on iron mine expansion – by Beth Brown (Nunatsiaq News – October 13, 2017)

The Qikiqtani Inuit Association and the Hamlet of Pond Inlet have called on the Nunavut Planning Commission to hold a single in-person public hearing in the North Baffin community before the commission considers a land use plan amendment that would allow a new railway and winter shipping route to service the Mary River mine.

The call comes by way of public submissions made to the NPC after Baffinland Iron Mines Corp. submitted a proposed amendment to the land use plan, Aug. 31, for the second phase of its iron ore project.

The amendment asks to construct a 110-km railway along the route of the existing tote road between the mine and the Milne Inlet port and to allow winter icebreaking in Milne Inlet and Eclipse Sound so freight can be shipped in December, January and February. Continue Reading →

Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli ‘excited’ Northern passenger rail has been proposed – by Gord Young (North Bay Nugget – October 13, 2017)

he return of passenger rail service to Northern Ontario is among the many policy proposals Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives will be voting on early next month. “I’m very excited about this proposal,” says Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli, noting the return of a viable passenger rail service is a “key piece” for the North.

He stresses, however, that a “viable plan” is required, noting the Ontario Northland Railway’s former Northlander passenger train is gone. “The Northlander was stripped by the Liberal government,” says Fedeli, suggesting the cars are no longer available and that a new train service be built from the ground up using Northern rail experts.

The provincial Tories have oft been criticized for advocating on issues related to the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC) because of a proposal by the Mike Harris government to cancel the Northlander and a subsequent proposal to privatize other divisions of the Crown agency. Continue Reading →

Research opens door to potential northern transport corridor – by Jonathon Naylor (Flin Flon Reminder – October 11, 2017)

Click here for report:

Flin Flon could figure prominently into an ambitious proposal to open the floodgates to northern Canadian development in the coming decades.The Northern Corridor is envisioned as a coast-to-coast transportation route featuring some 7,000 km of highway, railway and other infrastructure across the northern portion of the country.

The corridor is only an idea at this stage, but a preliminary map shows the passageway would pass right by Flin Flon – potentially spurring significant growth.“There’s certainly a potential that it could become one of the hub cities on [the route],” said Kent Fellows, a professor with the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy and a researcher of the proposal.

“One of the next phases of our research is to look where population centres are already, where resources are located and try to figure out, what are the main areas that we can hit? So Flin Flon is definitely on the radar from that perspective.” It’s difficult for Fellows or anyone else to speculate about what impact the corridor could have on Flin Flon and other communities along the route. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto pushes forward with driverless ore train – by Robb M. Stewart (Wall Street Journal/Market Watch – October 2, 2017)

MELBOURNE, Australia–Driverless trains hauling iron ore across Australia’s arid Pilbara region were meant to transform the mining industry, until the technology proved much trickier than companies expected. But a successful test run by Rio Tinto PLC suggests the automation strategy may finally have shifted up a gear.

On Monday, Rio Tinto said it had completed a pilot run spanning nearly 62 miles with trains operated by individuals in an air-conditioned control room hundreds of miles away. The milestone puts it on track for a late-2018 commissioning of the so-called AutoHaul project, which has been dogged by software problems and repeated delays.
Until now, Rio Tinto’s trains have run about half of the miles across its Pilbara network in autonomous mode, albeit with drivers still on board to oversee operations.

Driverless mining vehicles promise greater efficiency for an industry that continues to target costs even as it pulls out of a tough few years in the wake of a slump in commodities prices. Continue Reading →

Five big ideas for Northern Ontario: The biggest barrier isn’t cost, though; it’s attitude – Charles Cirtwill (Northern Ontario Business – September 25, 2017)

Twice last month, we were challenged to think BIGGER in terms of our vision for the future of our region and our country. First came Dr. David Robinson’s piece in this magazine decrying the incrementalist nature of the recently released provincial multi-modal transportation study.

Then came Conrad Black, in the pages of the National Post, reminiscing about the days of real policy debate in this country and putting forward some big ideas of his own for transformational change. So, here are five big ideas for Ontario’s North.

One, connect Highway 11 through Aroland to Armstrong and over top of Lake Nipigon to Savant Lake. If we are serious about a dedicated truck route, electronic vehicles, and creating a true transportation grid, that will do it. If the bridge at Nipigon is ever blocked again, the country will not be cut in half. Such a route also “opens up” the mid-north and would tie nicely into the proposed infrastructure for the Matawa communities and the Ring of Fire. Continue Reading →

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 →