Archive | Mining Railway, Road and Other Infrastructure

Inadequate infrastructure hurting national competitiveness – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 24, 2017)

Chamber report identifies key infrastructure challenges facing business

A new report released by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce said much work needs to be done to move traffic in major cities, expand broadband networks, improve trade corridors to the U.S., lay down new pipelines, and unlock the North’s potential.

The report’s name – ‘Stuck in Traffic for 10,000 Years: Canadian Problems that Infrastructure Investment Can Solve’ – comes from the estimated amount of the time commuters in big cities spend stuck in traffic every year because of road congestion. The report has corporate sponsors including Telus, Rogers, Ontario Power Generation, Suncor, and various B.C. port authorities and container shippers.

The chamber said the lack of proper infrastructure is wasting Canadians’ time and leading to lost business opportunities. The report identifies seven infrastructure challenges that government must target to keep Canada moving and competitive. Continue Reading →

Northern Manitoba transportation corridor would have ‘revolutionary impact’ – by Sean Pratt (The Western Producer – July 6, 2017)

A Senate committee has endorsed a plan to build a northern transportation corridor that would revitalize the Port of Churchill. The banking, trade and commerce committee has embraced a proposal by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy to build a 7,000 kilometre east-west corridor through Canada’s north.

“(It) will have as revolutionary an impact on today’s Canadian economy as the coast-to-coast railway did in the 1800s,” the committee said in a news release accompanying its 50-page report on the proposal.

“The idea is to establish a right-of-way that would accommodate highways, railways, pipelines as well as electrical transmission and communications networks.” The right-of-way would tie into existing infrastructure such as the Trans-Canada Highway, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Port of Churchill. Continue Reading →

Are the feds ready to buy into the Ring of Fire? – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – July 7, 2017)

Transport minister launches national $2-billion transportation infrastructure fund

It’ll be a wait-and-see proposition if Ottawa is finally ready to invest in mining-related transportation infrastructure for Northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire. Federal transport minister Marc Garneau announced some of the details behind the Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative (TTCI) as part of the government’s “nation-building infrastructure plan” on July 4.

The feds said they’re prepared to spend two billion dollars over 11 years on trade-oriented transportation infrastructure through investments in ports, waterways, airports, roads, bridges, border crossings, and rail networks.Up to $400 million is earmarked to support transportation infrastructure for the movement of people and goods in Canada’s Northern territories under a merit-based program.

Proponents are now being invited to tap into this fund by submitting an expression of interest to support transportation projects. Last March, no mention was made in the federal budget of any kind of investment toward building mining-related infrastructure for the Ring of Fire. Continue Reading →

Northern Ontario rail advocates must do their homework – by Greg Gormick (Northern Ontario Business – July 4, 2017)

Many Northern Ontarians believe improved and expanded rail service is a solution for several of the region’s transportation challenges. Having worked for more than 30 years inside the rail industry and as a policy advisor to various politicians, I applaud those who intelligently promote a greater reliance on rail. However, if they are to succeed and not burn themselves out in frustration, I have two pieces of advice.

First, ensure your vision is not a fantasy. I have watched numerous advocates futilely promote concepts that weren’t thoroughly researched and vetted before they faced the glare of public scrutiny. Most of these proposals were rooted in the past and only demonstrated that their promoters didn’t realize that time runs in only one direction.

The world has changed and other modes of transportation have risen up to usurp rail’s original crown, which was based on trains being all things to all people. They no longer can be. Continue Reading →

MAC lauds initiative to improve transportation infrastructure in Northern Canada – by Megan Van Wyngaardt ( – July 5, 2017)

JOHANNESBURG ( – The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has welcomed the launch of the federal government’s Trade and Transportation Corridors Initiative (TTCI), which will include an allocation of up to $400-million in dedicated funding for transportation infrastructure in Northern Canada.

The acute lack of infrastructure in Canada’s remote and northern regions is inhibiting further sustainable mineral development owing to the high costs of exploring, building and operating in these regions.

A recent study co-authored by the MAC had found that it cost about two- to two-and-a-half times more to build a gold or base metals mine in northern Canada than in the south, as a result of the lack of infrastructure. Continue Reading →

How China’s shaping one country’s future – Karishma Vaswani (British Broadcasting Corporation – June 23, 2017)

China’s Belt and Road initiative is ploughing through central Asia. The plan, which aims to expand trade links between Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond, was unveiled in 2013. What impact has China’s grand plan had so far in Kazakhstan? I went to Almaty – the financial capital – to find out.

The lyrical strains of Almaty’s latest pop song reverberates through the city’s main Chinese market, lending a distinctly Kazakh feel to what looks like a scene that could easily be from Beijing or Shanghai.

Inside, signs in both Mandarin and Kazakh point out directions in the warren-like maze. It’s here that I meet Huang Jie, a jovial bear of a woman. She’s been running a convenience store in this market for 15 years, selling everything from hairbrushes to soy sauce. She came to Almaty from China to take part in an ice-skating competition, but then stayed on because of the opportunities here. Continue Reading →

Head north to understand why Canada needs an infrastructure bank – by Pierre Gratton (Globe and Mail – June 18, 2017)

Pierre Gratton is president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada.

Any government initiative with a $35-billion price tag is bound to drum up political debate, and the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) has been seeing its fair share. But I stand with the International Monetary Fund, Canadian and global business groups, and aboriginal organizations who say that the CIB, if well structured, is exactly what Canada needs to grow the economy over the long term. Bold action is needed to address an area that we’ve been failing at: constructing strategic, nation-building infrastructure.

Many of you are probably reading this on a digital device connected to wireless high-speed Internet. And I’ll assume that many of you are reading this at work, a place that you travelled to on roads, and that is powered by the electrical grid. Pretty mundane stuff, right? But it’s not if you’re living or working in remote and northern areas of Canada.

I should know. I represent a major Canadian industry whose opportunities for growth are increasingly in areas where infrastructure simply does not exist, or is severely lacking. Continue Reading →

Robot Ghost Ships to Extend Miner’s Technology Drive to Seas – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – June 6, 2017)

BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s biggest mining company, is studying the introduction of giant, automated cargo ships to carry everything from iron ore to coal as part of a strategic shift that may disrupt the $334 billion global shipping industry.

“Safe and efficient autonomous vessels carrying BHP cargo, powered by BHP gas, is our vision for the future of dry bulk shipping,” Vice President, Freight Rashpal Bhatti, wrote in a posting on its website. The company, also one of the world’s largest dry bulk charterers, is seeking partners to work on technological changes in the sector, he said.

BHP, which charters about 1,500 voyages a year for around a quarter of a billion metric tons of iron ore, copper and coal, wants to deploy the technology within a decade, according to Bhatti. For the biggest miners, a move to crewless ships could deliver new savings in the $86 billion a year seaborne iron ore market, mirroring the shift to autonomous trucks to trains that allow fewer staff to remotely operate or monitor multiple vehicles. Continue Reading →

Chinese railroaders like the route to the Ring of Fire – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – June 2, 2017)

Feasibility study projects moving mega-tonnes of chromite out of Far North

A delegation of KWG Resources and Marten Falls First Nation (MFFN), one of the communities near the Ring of Fire deposits, completed a trip to China to lay the foundation for a Far North railway and project financing.

A June 1 KWG release said the group was provided with an overview of the feasibility study began last year, when they most recently visited with their project partner, China Railway First Survey & Design Institute Group (FSDI), at its headquarters in Xian, China on May 15.

The company was advised by its Chinese partners that the study had concluded that the route which traverses the Marten Falls’ traditional territory was a viable alignment for the construction of a chromite ore-haul railroad. Continue Reading →

Nunavut deputy minister dishes on what will drive northern economy – by Beth Brown (Nunatsiaq News – May 29, 2017)

Record public spending on infrastructure, along with a surge in mining and exploration, could cause as much economic growth as Nunavut saw in the late 1990s. That’s according to Sherri Rowe, deputy minister for the Department of Economic Development and Transportation for the Government of Nunavut.

“I believe we are at a very important time in the territory’s development,” Rowe said, over a breakfast of granola and pancakes at Iqaluit’s Hotel Arctic. Rowe, who has been a bureaucrat and in business for 25 years, was the second speaker featured in a breakfast series hosted by the Iqaluit Chamber of Commerce, May 25.

She talked about ongoing development projects in Nunavut, from mining and tourism to airport and marine infrastructure. “Nunavut has a consumer market that didn’t exist two decades ago,” said Rowe—and Iqaluit is the centre of that opportunity. Continue Reading →

Reinstating passenger rail in Nipissing not part of provincial transportation talks – by Laurel J. Campbell (Almaguin News – May 29, 2017)

ALMAGUIN — The Ministry of Transportation is expected to release the draft of its multimodal transportation strategy for Northern Ontario by the end of this month.

Plane, train, automobile and truck travel has been analyzed extensively over the past few years in order to determine a plan that will keep goods and people moving until 2041, but reinstating passenger rail travel through Nipissing District is not part of the current discussion.

“The province recognizes the importance of transportation in Northern Ontario and every community that was served by the former Northlander train is served by ONTC (Ontario Northland Transportation Commission) motor coach service,” Ministry of Transportation spokesperson Bob Nichols told the News. “While there is currently no plan to resume the Northlander passenger train service, the province remains committed to continuing motor coach service to every community that is served only by the ONTC.” Continue Reading →

Laying the groundwork for a Ring of Fire road – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – May 15, 2017)

Northwest communities, industry study freight, ore-haul transload facility

With no funding or direction coming from Queen’s Park on Ring of Fire transportation infrastructure, Sioux Lookout is taking the lead in promoting a road-to-rail transload facility to move material and supplies in and out of the largely dormant mineral belt.

The northwestern Ontario town has pulled together a “working group” of like-minded business leaders, community and First Nation partners to craft a logistics concept called the Integrated Transportation System (ITS). It binds together the town’s local highway, rail and air connections, and creates much-needed brownfield space.

To Vicki Blanchard, the town’s economic development manager, Sioux Lookout is the “place to start” to stage, ship and transfer raw materials, industrial supplies, fuel and goods to remote communities and the potential Ring of Fire mining camp through an east-west road corridor. Continue Reading →

China pitches ‘One Belt, One Road’ by telling other countries they have nothing to fear – by Nathan Vanderklippe (Globe and Mail – May 15, 2017)

Have no fear, China’s top political leader urged Sunday: in a world of sectarian strife, poverty and rising isolationism, Beijing has an answer that can bring new wealth by tearing down old barriers.

China’s One Belt, One Road initiative is “a project of the century,” President Xi Jinping said Sunday in a major speech at the outset of a two-day conference that gathered together presidents, cabinet ministers and investors from 130 countries. Among them was Pamela Goldsmith-Jones, Canada’s parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Trade, who came, she said, as part of Ottawa’s new push for “deepening ties” across the Pacific.

She joined what Chinese state media declared “the most prestigious international assembly China has ever inaugurated,” a moment for the world’s second-largest economy to sketch its vision of future global growth inspired by the China model, and funded with Chinese money. Continue Reading →

China’s push to reshape global trade comes with high costs – by Nathan Vanderklippe (Globe and Mail – May 15, 2017)

BEIJING — Had you come to Gwadar in 2000, you would have taken in what Sohaib Jamali saw on his first trip here: a small, dusty fishing outpost huddled at the end of a long and terrible road in the distant southwestern corner of Pakistan, just 70 kilometres from the border with Iran.

Even three or four years ago, “it was still a sleepy village and nothing else,” said Mr. Jamali, a Karachi-based economist and independent researcher who has been to Gwadar a dozen times.

Now, the town is showing glimmers of a transformation that promise to turn it into a major trading axis in a vast project led by Beijing, one using Chinese money and Chinese methods to redraw maps of global trade and influence to the benefit of the world’s second-largest economy – while also, China promises, allowing others to emulate its own success in building prosperity. Continue Reading →

Outfitters’ objections do not sway YESAB, which recommends mining road – by Philippe Morin (CBC News North – May 4, 2017)

Yukon assessor says hunting outfitters ‘only one component of economic activity’, cites project’s benefits

The Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board (YESAB) has recommended a new 65-kilometre mining road in central Yukon be approved, despite concerns about its potential impact on wildlife.

The road is proposed by B.C.-based ATAC Resources as necessary, to allow heavy machinery to reach the Tiger deposit on its Rau gold property north of Mayo. Right now, the property is accessed only by air, or over a frozen swampy trail. The new road would require eight bridges and 38 culverts over small streams and rivers. It would be intended to last 10 to 20 years.

YESAB’s recommendation, published Wednesday, is that the road be approved with a number of terms and conditions, meant to minimize impact on wildlife, and traditional hunting and trapping. Continue Reading →