Fraser Report – Global Rankings of Mining Jurisdictions – Stan Sudol

The conservative think-tank – the Fraser Institute – has released its annual Survey of Mining Companies, on the most attractive jurisdictions for mineral investment. This year’s top three are Quebec, Nevada and Finland.

The Policy Potential Index is a composite measurement of the effects of government mining policies on mineral exploration and development that include environmental regulations, taxation, infrastructure, political stability, uncertainty over native land claims, labour issues as well as geological attractiveness and the interpretation of existing regulations.

“Quebec has always been viewed in a good light by the mining industry, primarily due to its favourable geology,” said Fred McMahon, coordinator of the survey and the Institute’s Director of Trade and Globalization Studies.

“But Quebec’s government also provides a favourable policy environment to go along with strong mineral potential. Continue Reading →

New PDAC President Jon G. Baird – A Profile

Jon G. Baird - President Prospectors and Developers Association of CanadaPDAC Presidents traditionally serve two years. Outgoing President Patricia Dillon will be relinquishing her position to Jon G. Baird, a Canadian-born engineer who graduated in geophysics from the University of Toronto in 1964.

His business career has spanned 28 years with Scintrex Limited, a Toronto based consultant and manufacturer of instrumentation used in mineral exploration and other applications. Responsible for the marketing and selling of Scintrex’ products and services for over 20 years, Baird led a world wide campaign which helped make the company a world leader in its field.

Accomplishments included making the brand name well known to mineral exploration specialists in more than 100 countries, establishing and running a dealer network in more than 55 countries and negotiating major sales in many countries including Mexico, India, China and the U.S.S.R.

Since January, 1993, Baird has been the Managing Director of CAMESE, the Canadian Association of Mining Equipment and Services for Export. Founded in 1981, CAMESE exists for the sole purpose of assisting mining supplier firms to export. Since 1993, the membership of CAMESE has increased from 28 to over 250 companies, demonstrating the sector’s interest in approaching new global challenges through a level of joint action.

Baird has been on the Board of Directors of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada since 1995 and since March 2006 has been First Vice-President of that organization.

He has visited 71 countries on business, speaks five languages and is working on a sixth. Baird is also interested in marketing, geopolitics and global issues.  He is happily married to his Swiss-born wife, Martha and resides in the country north-east of Toronto.

In one of my next postings I will interview incoming PDAC President Jon G. Baird about the main challenges and issues facing the mining industry and his goals for this organization over the next two years.

The Annual PDAC Convention Begins on Sunday – Stan Sudol

The annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention starts this Sunday in Toronto, Canada. This year’s convention has shifted to the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from the North Building to accommodate more exhibitors and a larger crowd. They are expecting to see close to 20,000 participants, a new record high like the price a many of the metals its members are searching for.

PDAC was first founded in 1932, early in the Great Depression in order to fight some new provincial government regulation that was detrimental for struggling prospectors. Copper was then selling at four cents a pound (US), nickel was about 35 cents per pound, and gold could be bought for $20.67 per ounce. How things change and how they stay the same. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Mining Supply Companies Need Strategic Govenment Investments – Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano - Executive Director of SAMSSAMining as a national asset seems to have fallen of the table. Not one substantial government document or study that has been produced places any real value on the mining industry or its strategic importance to the Canadian economy.

There are few restrictions on foreign takeovers and the entire sector is rarely placed under the microscope and examined as a “natural asset” that needs to be given serious protection as international brokers and banks play ownership games with resource companies around the world.

The Competition Policy Review Panel – Sharpening Canada’s Edge – is beginning a consultation on investment policies and how Canada can become a destination for talent, capital and innovation. Continue Reading →

Dick DeStefano and the birth of SAMSSA – Stan Sudol (Part B)

Fuller Industrial PhotoSudbury Mining Supply and Service Industry is Enormous

More money is spent within a 500-kilometer radius of Sudbury on underground hard-rock mining supplies than anywhere else in Canada, the United States or Chile. In 2006, Inco alone spent over $400 million on local supplies and services. That figure will only grow with the announcement to bring the Totten Mine into production as well as the Creighton Deep and Copper Cliff Deep projects. Xstrata Nickel is building Nickel Rim South, while FNX Mining will be bringing the Podolsky mine into production in 2008, just to mention a few other initiatives.

One of the main aspects of SAMSSA is the global nature of the organization. During its first year, DeStefano made contacts with 125 embassies focusing on their trade commissioners and government agencies who might have been interested in partnerships or distributorships. Continue Reading →

Dick DeStefano and the Birth of SAMSSA – Stan Sudol (Part A)

SAMSSA Members in Antofagasta, Chile (2004); Dick DeStefano, SAMSSA; Andre Ruest, B&D Manufacturing; Norbert Hoffman, Novenco; Ivania Misetic, Chilean Economic Development AgencyWhile southern Ontario manufacturing and auto industries are under severe economic stress due to the high dollar, competition from China and a U.S. recession, Sudbury’s cluster of mining supply and service (MS&S) companies are growing, exporting their products and technical expertise around the world.

Due to their success and economic clout, the local mining suppliers formed an industry association in 2003 called the Sudbury Area Mining Supply Services Association (SAMSSA) that also has members from North Bay and Timmins. The three communities supply about 35% of mining supply and services in Canada – the second largest concentration in the country.

SAMSSA Executive Director Dick DeStefano says, “Unfortunately, the Sudbury cluster has not been recognized by the provincial government as an important manufacturing centre. In the last three years the local cluster, including North Bay and Timmins have been exporting their products around the world, significantly increasing their revenues and regional employment.” Continue Reading →

The Commodity Super-Cycle Will Benefit Sudbury for Years to Come – Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol - Executive Speech Writer and Mining ColumnistThere is no doubt that the impending recession in the U.S. is causing economic upheaval across Ontario which exports about 86% of its manufactured goods to our southern neighbour.

Over the next few years as the province copes with a high Canadian dollar, competition from China and high energy prices, many communities in Ontario may be faced with a declining standard of living unless we can find sustainable solutions.

However two recent reports confirm that the commodity super-cycle has a long life ensuring that Sudbury – the location of approximately half of the province’s mining production – will be an island of prosperity as the region’s mineral products, supply and service sector and mining expertise is in great demand around the world. Continue Reading →

PDAC – Mining Matters: Educating the Next Generation about the Mineral Industry – Stan Sudol

Laura Clinton - Project Coordinator - PDAC Mining MattersAccording to a comprehensive study by the Mining Industry Training and Adjustment Council (MITAC), the Canadian mining industry needs to fill 81,000 high-paying, highly skilled new positions in the next 10 years. 

Considering that the industry has a terrible image problem among urban populations and a rapidly aging workforce, the issue of attracting the next generation of mine workers has become a significant problem or even a crisis to some.

One small solution is Mining Matters, the educational outreach initiative run by the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC). Continue Reading →

Excerpt from Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold: Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

Pronto Mine, Rio Algom - Elliot Lake 1958The World Wants Yellowcake (Uranium)

Among some people uranium gets a bad rap due to its use as the explosive material for atomic weapons and yet these folks tend to forget that it has most beneficial uses for mankind, principally as the fuel for nuclear reactors which deliver about 15% of the country’s electricity. Canada is currently the largest producer of uranium in the world, although Australia has the larger proportion of the world’s known deposits. In 2006 of the seventeen countries that mined the element, Canada produced 28%, followed by Australia with 23%. The term ‘yellowcake’ was originally given to uranium concentrate, although the colour and texture today can range from anything through dull yellow to almost black.

Early interest in uranium in Canada took a back seat to the work of Gilbert and Charles LaBine who discovered radium at Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories in 1930. Continue Reading →

Early Problems for Sudbury Prospectors – Gary Peck

During the 1890s many Sudbury prospectors were upset with recent provincial legislation that proposed to levy a royalty on nickel production. In 1894, A. Hoffman Smith, a resident of Sudbury since 1888, forcefully expressed his criticism of the legislation. At the same time he discussed in some detail the life of a prospector. It is his views regarding prospecting that will be examined today.

 It was the contention of Smith that Algoma was the most difficult area in North America to prospect. Isolation was a problem, there being no trails or roads and pack horses couldn’t be used to the extent they were in British Columbia. Continue Reading →

The MacMillian Claim Table – Michael Barnes

The auctioneer’s gavel has had a great deal to do with the distribution of our northern history. People pass away, the relatives put the estate up to auction and sometimes priceless artifacts are lost to public view, often because those who bid on them are not aware of their significance.

All across our north country people are holding artifacts, curios and just plain keepsakes with the vague notion that the object in question is old and therefore should be kept for their own private posterity.

I come across paintings, photographs pieces of furniture and so on but often with no background material, the significance of the item is lost. Continue Reading →

Sudbury Nickel Always Important to American Military Might – Stan Sudol

Inco Advertising During Second World WarCanada and the United States have been economic and military allies for most of the 20th century, notwithstanding the bad chemistry between our leaders from time to time. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has done a reasonable job of repairing the damage in relations caused by the Paul Martin Liberals. However, throughout much of American history, many influential politicians were firmly committed to the expansionist ideology of Manifest Destiny. This is the belief that the United States has an “inherent, natural and inevitable right” to annex all of North America.

So it should not be a huge surprise to learn that the United States military had prepared a Joint Army and Navy Basic War Plan to invade Canada in the late 1920s, and updated it in 1935. The document called War Plan Red was declassified in 1974. However, the story resurfaced in a Washington Post (Dec.30, 2005) article by journalist Peter Carlson headlined Raiding the Icebox; Behind Its Warm Front, the United States Made Cold Calculations to Subdue Canada. Continue Reading →

New York article ‘glowed’ in reports of nickel and copper mining in area – Gary Peck

The following account from New York published in the last century glowingly sketches the activities of the mining industry in this area. This article concludes the two part series.
 
“The uses to which this newly-found wealth of ore is to be applied may be grouped under two heads. In the first place, it has been proved by a series of experiments that nickel steel, a material made of four parts of nickel to ninety-six of steel, is superior to the plain steel used at present.
 
Breaking and hoisting tests have been applied to the new combination, and it is found that the strength of the metal is largely increased: two pounds weight of nickel steel will effect the purposes of four pounds of the old substance. Continue Reading →

19th century New York account saw Sudbury area as the second El Dorado – Gary Peck

The discovery of nickel in this area quickly gained international recognition for the village of Sudbury. The following account from New York published in the last century glowingly sketches the activities of what was viewed as a “second El Dorado”.

Part One
 
Only recently the eyes, not only of the mining, but also of the commercial world have been fixed upon one little town in Canada. This town is Sudbury, a junction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which the westward traveler but a short time ago would have passed with nothing but a sigh of boredom. It has now been discovered to be the centre of nickel and copper mines larger than the world has hitherto seen. Continue Reading →

Excerpt from Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold: Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

2006 Mining Activity in British ColumbiaHidden in the Rock – Porphyries (British Columbia)

Those who seek minerals in porphyries would be advised to follow the old adage, “Go west young geologist,” as this form of igneous activity is found in young rock with large crystals. Deposits are usually large but the trade-off is in low-grade mineralization. The name porphyry comes from the Latin for its colour purple and has associations with royal or imperial qualities dating back to the Romans. In Canada, British Columbia enjoys the lion’s share of this rock, which contains the largest resources of copper, significant molybdenum and 50% of the gold in the province.

British Columbia is copper-rich, and mining of the metal commenced in the late nineteenth century. Many mines have been worked in the province over the past 125 years, and there are currently still some porphyry deposits of interest. Continue Reading →