Sudbury Better Off With Vale – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star)

Carol Mulligan is a reporter for the Sudbury Star, the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper. cmulligan@thesudburystar.com

For an informative six-minute interview between Sudbury Star staff and Vale top executives, John Pollesel, chief operating officer for Vale’s North Atlantic operations and Jon Treen, general manager of Vale’s Ontario operations click here: http://www.thesudburystar.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=2935261&auth=John

Sudbury Better Off With Vale

There is no question in John Pollesel’s mind that Sudbury is better off with Vale running its largest mining company than it was in the old days of Mother Inco.

Vale’s chief operating officer for the North Atlantic doesn’t necessarily agree with Industry Minister Tony Clement’s opinion that Sudbury would have become the “Valley of Death” if Brazil-based Vale had not purchased it four years ago.

“Inco on its own, without somebody coming in, it would have been a tough go, there’s no question,” Pollesel said Tuesday.

When you look at the $2 billion Vale will invest in its atmospheric emissions reduction project in Sudbury, and its total projected investment of $3.4 billion to the year 2015, “We needed an investment of capital here, and that’s something that Vale has provided,” said Pollesel.

The Vale executive, who took on new duties as chief operating officer with Vale in Canada and the UK last October, participated in a 75-minute editorial board meeting with The Sudbury Star. Continue Reading →

We Need Tougher Rules on Foreign Investment – by Diane Francis (National Post)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. This column was originally published in the Financial Post on January 15, 2011.

“A new Canadian foreign investment policy need involve only four pillars: investor reciprocity, resource protection, reverse onus and a veto for any affected provinces.”    Diane Francis (January 15, 2011)

The Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. rejection hasn’t abated interest in takeovers in Canada. Just look at this week’s contest to buy two iron-ore plays or news that China’s sovereign fund is opening a Toronto office.

It also hasn’t harmed Potash Corp.’s stock price either, which is trading much higher than BHP Billiton PLC said it was worth.

The point is that the come-and-get-it Canada mentality has to end. The open-door mindset is ideological and rooted in the misconception that globalization and free markets exist. They do not and the world’s economic players have been cherry-picking naive nations like Canada for as long as our government has let it happen.

The mentality, by the way, is fiercely propagated by banks, and their mergers and acquisitions departments seeking fat fees, which would have happily sold Potash Corp. to foreigners and denied untold billions of dollars in head office benefits to Canada. Continue Reading →

[Viola MacMillian] The Prospector in the Pink Penthouse – by Christina MaCall

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on July 20, 1957.

Viola MacMillan believes “anybody can do anything” and has mink, a mansion, a Miami apartment and mines worth $10,000,000 to prove it

Mining papers credit her with building the Prospectors and Developers
Association from a loosely knit agglomeration of fieldmen and promoters
into a powerful organization representing one of the most important
segments of the mining industry.

The Prospector in the Pink Penthouse

Canada’s sprawling two-billion-dollar mining industry owes its boom to a motley army of men: sleek brokers in big city offices, lonely prospectors in frontier camps, geologists and bush pilots, road builders, professional engineers. But their spokesperson is a women who lives in a pink penthouse, wears a mink coat and buys size ten dresses from Sophie of Saks.

For fourteen years Viola Rita MacMillan has been president of the Prospectors and Developers Association, the largest organization of mining men on the continent, and in that time she has made scores of biting speeches that lash out at anything and everything impeding the development of mining. The sophisticated apartment and the soigné clothes are really only trappings. As she says herself, “I’m a miner. I love this business and I want to stay in it until I die.”

She doesn’t look much like a miner she so proudly calls herself. A small woman, she stands just over five feet tall and weighs little more than a hundred pounds. She has alert cobalt-blue eyes and short dark hair. The most striking thing about Voila MacMillan is the agility and speed of her movements. She darts about so quickly that bigger people sometimes feel almost cumbersome, when they are in her presence.

Mrs. MacMillan often says with firm conviction that Canada’s future greatness depends to a large extent on the growth of the mineral industry. For more than thirty years she has dedicated her unusual energy and persistence to that industry. In returen she has gained both money and prestige. Continue Reading →

Viola MacMillan: From the Ground Up: An Autobiograpy (Afterword) – by Virginia Heffernan (Part 2 of 2)

Virginia Heffernan, principal of GeoPen Communications, is a science and business writer who specializes in writing about mineral and energy resources. She provides research and writing services to both corporate and government clients and is a regular contributor to publications such as Investment Executive, The Northern Miner and Canadian Consulting Engineer. www.geopen.com/

“From the Ground Up” is an autobiography of one of Canada’s most notable mining women Viola MacMillan, best known for her involvement in the infamous Windfall mining scandal of 1964. Although her autobiography presents her side of the controversial story some gaps and context were missing. Virginia Hefferernan’s thorough investigation cleared up many of those gaps and provided much needed context in the “Afterword” final chapter of the autobiography.

Afterword (March 2001)

The frenzy begins

“Some of the drillers started buying stock through their brokers, who would have told their other clients that if the drillers were buying, there must be something in the core. The market activity just blossomed from there, almost regardless of what the MacMillans did,” says Ford. Blossomed is an understatement. On Monday morning, Windfall shares opened at $1.10. Before the market closed at 3:30 PM, 1.57 million shares had changed hands and the price had reached $2. When rumours that the core contained 2.4% copper and 8% zinc surfaced later in the week, the trading accelerated and by the closing bell on July 10th, the price had doubled again to $4. “Such trading removed from the market any semblance of order and reduced it to a scene of uncontrollable speculative frenzy,” observed Justice Arthur Kelly, the judge who presided over the royal commission.

In the absence of any concrete information, the press and brokerage houses latched onto rumour. They became enthusiastic boosters of the Windfall play, fuelling even more optimism in the market. The Northern Miner congratulated the “Mining MacMillans” for taking an intelligent gamble on the Prosser claims and The New York Herald Tribune reported a “major base metal drill core.” Brokers added credence to the rumours by reporting them to investors as fact. “Frustrated by their efforts to get accurate information and feeling under compulsion to provide whatever information was available, (the brokers) gave out such reports as they were able to gather,” concluded Justice Kelly. Just like during the Bre-X mining scandal that was to hit three decades later, the  information mongers whose impartiality is so vital to the investing public were either unable or unwilling to see that the emperor was wearing no clothes.

Throughout this frenzy, the MacMillans kept their lips sealed save for two statements issued to the press on July 7th and again, under orders from the TSE, on July 15th. Both releases were equivocal, saying little more than that the first hole had been stopped at 530 feet, the core had not yet been sent for assay and drilling would continue. The second release read as follows: Continue Reading →

Viola MacMillan: From the Ground Up: An Autobiograpy (Afterword) – by Virginia Heffernan (Part 1 of 2)

Virginia Heffernan, principal of GeoPen Communications, is a science and business writer who specializes in writing about mineral and energy resources. She provides research and writing services to both corporate and government clients and is a regular contributor to publications such as Investment Executive, The Northern Miner and Canadian Consulting Engineer. www.geopen.com/

“From the Ground Up” is an autobiography of one of Canada’s most notable mining women, Viola MacMillan, best known for her involvement in the infamous Windfall mining scandal of 1964. Although her autobiography presents her side of the controversial story some gaps and context were missing. Virginia Hefferernan’s thorough investigation cleared up many of those gaps and provided much needed context in the “Afterword” final chapter of the autobiography.

Afterword (March 2001)

The name Viola MacMillan evokes one of two responses. Those who knew her personally describe a generous and dynamic professional who became the sacrificial lamb of a corrupt Bay Street. Those introduced to her by the press recall a scoundrel who swindled innocent investors out of their savings. Will the real Viola Rita MacMillan please stand up?

If MacMillan were alive today, she would readily rise and state her case, just as she did on the 1960s television program, “To Tell the Truth.” As her memoirs divulge, she was an aggressive personality who rose from humble beginnings to achieve success in the mining industry: Canada’s own Horatio Alger, some would say. Despite her tiny stature – she stood just five feet tall and weighed little more than 100 pounds – she fought her way to the top of a man’s world by sheer force of will and a refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer. “Anybody, regardless of sex or circumstance, can do anything they want to do. All you need is the guts to stick to things,” was her favourite response to queries about the secret of her success.

But she rarely spoke of what became known as the Windfall affair, a mining scandal in the 1960s that triggered a royal commission investigation, exposed weaknesses in the market regulatory system and shamed several high-ranking officials. Even MacMillan’s otherwise detailed autobiography gives scant attention to an event that not only rocked her world, but changed the dynamics of share trading in Canada forever. MacMillan carried a long list of accomplishments to her grave, but her name will always be synonymous with Windfall.

MacMillan and the mining industry were joined at the hip. Continue Reading →

Golden Hope For a Timmins, Ontario Wasteland – by Nick Stewart

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was published in the January, 2011 issue.

Goldcorp Inc. is just months away from making a production decision to dig up the literal “heart of gold” a stone’s throw from downtown Timmins. 

The Vancouver-based producer is working fervently through the winter months to build a case for a series of open pit mines at the very centre of the historic mining community, potentially making Timmins a unique portrait of modern mining in Ontario.

The project will carve out a patch of land just south of Highway 101, the main drag along which most of the city’s major commercial activity is located. The 250-acre property is surrounded by a pharmacy, a fast food outlet, a hotel, the Shania Twain Centre, the Gold Mine Tour and residential suburbs on two sides. The downtown core is across the street to the west.

This large area is the site of the shuttered but still treacherous underground Hollinger Mine, closed in 1968. Its hundreds of miles of tunnels have plagued the community with sinkholes and subsidences, creating a restricted wasteland and resulting in millions in property damage.

By mining out the area, Goldcorp stands to not only tap into the abandoned riches beneath the soil, but also to later transform it into safe, usable land. Like the issues surrounding the property itself, the new mining project is rife with logistical challenges, not the least of which involves determining what was left in the ground following nearly a century of mining. Continue Reading →

KWG Resources News Release: RING OF FIRE CHIEFS INVITED TO JOIN CANADA CHROME BOARD

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

MONTREAL, Canada, Jan. 18, 2011 (Canada NewsWire via COMTEX) —
Symbol on TSX Venture Exchange: KWG
Shares issued and outstanding: 623,458,941

KWG Resources Inc. (KWG) has extended invitations to the Chiefs of five First Nations in the Ring of Fire area to join the Board of Directors of its subsidiary Canada Chrome Corporation (“CCC”).

“Late last year we advised Chiefs Elijah Moonias, Cornelius Wabasse, Sonny Gagnon, Roy Moonias and Lewis Nate that there appeared to be technical and economic merit to proceeding with a feasibility study of the railroad for which we have staked a right-of-way and sampled soil profiles,” said KWG President Frank Smeenk. “Should subsequent development ensue which physically affects their traditional lands, there must first be prior consultation and accommodation, as is well understood by all constituencies. The entire Matawa family of First Nations is enthusiastic to see these developments progress. To facilitate and expedite the process, we felt that the extensive consultation necessary could be most effectively undertaken by having the leading members of the five most directly impacted communities participate in the corporate planning from the outset. In this way those who are most affected by these hoped-for developments can become the proponents of them.”

Golder Associates were retained by CCC to conduct testing of the soil profiles from samples taken last winter at 1000-foot intervals along the length of the potential right-of-way.

Continue Reading →

Northern Policy Advice for Ontario’s Next Premier: Hudak or McGuinty? – by Livio Di Matteo

Livio Di Matteo is Professor of Economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Visit his new Economics Blog “Northern Economist” at http://ldimatte.shawwebspace.ca/

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

A regional power authority could become a valuable tool for
northern development and provide the cheap electricity for
value-added processing and development necessary for mining
in the Ring of Fire. – Livio Di Matteo (January 17, 2011)

As Ontario heads towards its fall 2011 election, there will inevitably be discussion of what new policies can help drive Northern Ontario’s economy in the 21st century. Historically, economic development in Ontario’s North was a partnership between private sector resource exploitation and a public sector economic strategy to make the north an investment frontier for the south as well as a source of government revenue via the exploitation of natural resources.

Nineteenth century Ontario implemented a northern development scheme that could be termed a “Northern Ontario Policy” that operated parallel to the Federal government’s National Policy. Ontario’s Northern Policy provided a regional program of northern land grants to promote agricultural settlement and the building of the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway and colonization roads to foster access.  As well, there was the passage of the “Manufacturing Condition” which required that timber cut on crown land be processed within the province so as to retain value added as well as provide government revenue.

At its peak, the province of Ontario obtained nearly one quarter of its revenue from northern resources and used it to fund expanding provincial services.  Indeed, in the early part of this century, Ontario’s northern forests and mines were akin to Alberta’s oil today.  Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto Invests $10 Million in Sudbury’s Centre of Excellence in Mining Innovation – Mark Henderson

Mark Henderson is editor of Research Money.

“We are attempting to establish a centre of excellence that can compete in the R&D space and collaborate with centres in Brazil and Chile … Our mandate is to establish R&D and innovation excellence in Ontario and Canada by bringing industry money together with people doing research and who can commercialize the work.” – CEMI President and CEO Dr. Peter Kaiser

Boost to growing mining cluster
 
Sudbury’s quest to become a major centre of mining R&D received a significant boost with a decision by Rio Tinto to invest $10 million in a Centre for Underground Mine Construction (CUMC), the fifth and final centre in its global research network. The centre is part of Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future program as the British-Australian mining giant banks on innovation to transition from open pit to underground mining by developing deeper underground mines to meet soaring demand for minerals.

To be based at the Centre of Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI), located at Sudbury’s Laurentian Univ, the Rio Tinto centre marks the first time a foreign-based multinational has committed to funding mining R&D through CEMI.

The decision may signal a reversal in Canada’s flagging reputation as an innovative mining nation — a status that has been threatened by a rash of foreign takeovers of some of Canada’s biggest mining enterprises. For instance, the former Falconbridge was acquired by Xstrata based in Zug Switzerland, while Inco was absorbed by Vale Ltd, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rio Tinto’s CUMC will be set up as a division of CEMI with a steering committee to direct R&D initiatives. Continue Reading →

Honesty and Trust Spell Success for New Inductees Into Sudbury SAMSSA Hall of Fame – by Adelle Larmour

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was posted on the newspaper website on December 27, 2010.

The Sudbury Area Mining Suppliers and Services  Association (SAMSSA) represents the largest concentration of mining suppliers in North America. Northeastern Ontario is the hardrock mining heartland of the Americas and Sudbury is its epicentre.

Being honest, being yourself and treating everybody equal are qualities that Ivan Beljo and Bob Rappolt support and live by. These traits that have led both men down their respective roads of success were recognized by their peers as the 2010 Sudbury Area Mining Supply & Service Association (SAMSSA) Hall of Fame inductees.

Their sons proudly shared their fathers’ stories  with humour and affection at the association’s annual general meeting in December.

Ivo Beljo, son and business partner of Ivan, talked about the daily demands of running Rematech Industries, a designer, manufacturer and distributor of conveyor belting, rubber and urethane  moulded products and linings.

Like many other supply and service companies, Ivan and Ivo have felt the challenges of a cyclical mining industry, lengthy local strikes and global economic downturns. Ivan learned about hardship and hard work growing up on the family farm and vineyards in  Croatia after the Second World War. Continue Reading →

News Release – Sudbury SAMSSA Member – Fuller Industrial – Scores in Multi-Million Dollar Project in Mongolia

Sudbury-based Fuller Industrial is a world-class supplier of carbon steel pipe spool fabrication,  rubber lining and specialty coating of pipes, fittings, tanks, and assemblies. The company has been in operation since 2004 and employs 100 people at their Sudbury operations and 30 people in their Edmonton plant. www.fullerindustrial.com

The Sudbury Area Mining Suppliers and Services  Association (SAMSSA) represents the largest concentration of mining suppliers in North America. Northeastern Ontario is the hardrock mining heartland of the Americas and Sudbury is its epicentre.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Sudbury, January 13, 2011 – Fuller Industrial has done it again. Hot off the heels of their massive project in Madagascar, they have been awarded another multi-million dollar project to supply carbon steel, rubber lined pipe and fittings, this time to Mongolia.

The Ivanhoe Mining / Rio Tinto Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia is set to be one of the largest copper and gold mines in the world. The mine is under construction as of 2010 and scheduled to begin production in 2013. It is also the largest financial undertaking in Mongolia’s history and is expected upon completion to account for more than 30% of the country’s gross domestic product.

Fuller, with plants in Sudbury, Ontario and Edmonton, Alberta won the award over several international bidders including competitors in neighbouring China to supply nearly 6 km of rubber lined pipe and fittings for the massive concentrator being built in the Gobi desert. The rubber lined pipe increases the life of the system by providing abrasion resistance to the slurry being processed.

Fuller, who will produce and manage the project in their Sudbury plant, acknowledges that the award is a big win for Fuller, for Sudbury, Ontario, and for Canada. It bucks the ongoing trend of value added manufacturing happening in China. Continue Reading →

Minister [Gravelle] Tries to Calm Fears for Ring of Fire – by Chelsey Romain (Timmins Daily Press)

This article was originally published in the Timmins Daily Press on January 11, 2011. Timmins is the second largest mining community in Ontario with a population of about 45,000.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

“We consider it an absolute priority that the greatest value-added opportunities take place with the Ring of Fire development. That very much includes the processing facility be in the North.” (MNDMF Minister Michael Gravelle – Jan/11/2011)

“We are very, very concerned about plans for the Ring of Fire because, quite frankly, there doesn’t seem to be any plan. There doesn’t seem to be a plan that involves Northern communities or the First Nation people who live up in the region.” MP Charlie Angus (NDP — Timmins-James Bay – Jan/11/2011)

Vows ore won’t go to China

The Far North’s Ring of Fire project has been hailed as the next great thing in mining, bigger than the Porcupine Camp and Sudbury’s ore body combined.

But there is fear among those wanting to benefit from the project that Northern Ontario, more specifically the Northeast and Timmins, will be left out, while foreign countries reap the rewards.

A recent comment from Teamsters Canada Rail Conference Maintenance of Way Employees president William Brehl that ore mined from the Ring of Fire could be shipped to China for processing has political leaders saying discussion on the subject needs to take place now.

“We are very, very concerned about plans for the Ring of Fire because, quite frankly, there doesn’t seem to be any plan,” said MP Charlie Angus (NDP — Timmins-James Bay). “There doesn’t seem to be a plan that involves Northern communities or the First Nation people who live up in the region.”

Up for debate is whether or not the companies involved with the project will decide to have a processing plant in the North. Stating Ontario’s lack of competitiveness versus other provinces as well as other countries, there is concern that a processing plant could be built elsewhere, most specifically China. Continue Reading →

Sudbury’s Mining Reseach Hub Gets $10-Million Rio Tinto Investment – by Nick Stewart

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was posted on the newspaper website on January 11, 2011.

“While this is a real game-changing technology that’s developing, we still need to
do drill and blast conventional advances, and that has to happen at a higher
speed too.” (Dr. Peter Kaiser, CEMI President and CEO)

Sudbury, Canada turning into Silicon Valley of hardrock mining reseach

A $10-million research effort funded by Rio Tinto and coordinated through the Sudbury-based Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation will first be tested at the mining giant’s Northparkes Mine in New South Wales, Australia.

A $10-million investment in one of Sudbury’s major mining research nodes by Rio Tinto in December may well benefit other mining operations in Sudbury and around the North, according to project leaders.

The U.K.-based company’s partnership with the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) will target the high-speed construction and development of underground mines and the development of ground support systems.

As the company seeks to rapidly move away from open pits to these new underground environments, Rio Tinto will focus on its own mechanized tunnelling and shaft sinking systems, whose issues are common across many Sudbury-area projects, said CEMI president and CEO Peter Kaiser. Continue Reading →

Battle of the Canadian Gold Rushes: Klondike Versus Northern Ontario – by Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol is a Toronto-based communications consultant, who writes extensively about mining issues.(stan.sudol@republicofmining.com)

The Yukon Klondike

I have a small complaint about Canadian mining history or more importantly, our media coverage of past gold rushes. The Yukon Klondike gold rush of 1896-1899 seems to take all the glory – thanks to writers like Jack London, Robert W. Service and Canadian literary icon, Pierre Berton – while northern Ontario’s four globally significant gold/silver discoveries in the first half of the last century do not get the historical respect they deserve.

The initial Klondike discovery, on August 16, 1896, at a fish camp near the junction of the Yukon and Klondike rivers, is credited to George Carmack and his Tagish Indian brothers-in-law, Skookum Jim Mason and Dawson (Tagish) Charlie. Robert Henderson, a Nova Scotia prospector is credited as a cofounder, since it was on his advice that the discovery was made, however he made no money from the find.

At the height of the rush, Dawson City, the main staging town at the mouth of the Klondike River had a booming population of about 30,000 and was known as the most cosmopolitan city west of Winnipeg and north of Vancouver.  Due to its isolation, all the claims had been staked by the time most people finally arrived. Some of the most memorable photographs from the period show a thin line of thousands of people climbing the legendary Chilkoot Pass – the shortest but most difficult route to the goldfields – bringing the required year’s supply of food and living material.

Fortunes were made and lost in Dawson City’s “rip-roaring” frontier atmosphere where prostitutes were tolerated and nearly everyone was on the lookout for charlatans and con men. Many became rich just supplying services to the stampeders.  In total, about 12.5 million ounces of gold was produced during this short-lived rush that lasted for less than a decade. Continue Reading →

Real Help for the North – by Peter Foster (National Post)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. This column was originally published in the Financial Post on January 4, 2011.

Whoever wins the contest for control of BIM, the people of Baffin Island are
far more likely to thrive being “exploited” by filthy capitalists than being
“helped” by governments. National Post, Peter Foster (January 4, 2011)

The Baffinland Iron mine Would Bring Desperately Needed Jobs

From a financial point of view, the takeover contest for control of Baffinland Iron Mines Corp., BIM, hardly registers. The latest round of bidding for the company puts a value on it of $570-million, a piddling amount when compared with, say, the $44-billion market capitalization of Potash Corp. In other respects, however, BIM may be more genuinely “strategic” than the Saskatchewan mining giant, a proposed takeover of which was deep sixed earlier this year because of the “S” word.

In fact, the rejection of BHP Billiton’s bid for Potash was all about electoral politics. However, the location of Bafflinland’s prime asset is genuinely strategic in terms of the Conservative government’s Arctic aspirations. Also, the project would bring desperately needed jobs and revenue to the region of Nunavut, where it costs Canadian taxpayers $1-billion a year to service some 33,000 people living in an area the size of Western Europe.

U.S.-controlled Nunavut Iron Ore Acquisition Inc. made a hostile bid for BIM in September. Since then, Luxembourg-based steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal has arrived on the scene as a white knight. Last week Arcelor upped its bid to $1.40 per share for all the Baffinland shares. Nunavut Iron Ore, which was set up solely to acquire Baffinland, immediately upped its own bid to $1.45, but for only 60% of the equity.

Continue Reading →