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 →

Ontario’s Mining Sins of the Father are being Repeated by the Son – Stan Sudol

Stan Sudol - Executive Speech Writer and Mining ColumnistIn last November’s Ontario Speech from the Throne, the Liberals highlighted their commitment, “to improve the quality of life and expand economic opportunities for all Aboriginal peoples in our province, both on- and off-reserve.”

A majority of people in Ontario desperately hope these words are not empty rhetoric however this Government’s current mineral policies seem to indicate that the “mining sins of the father are being repeated by the sons.”

In 1950, my Polish immigrant parents moved to Sudbury due to the many jobs in the nickel mines. At that time, Northern Ontario was experiencing an enormous resource boom, supplying the metals and forest products desperately needed by North American and European economies that were rebuilding after the Second World War. Continue Reading →

Assembly of First Nations Chief Phil Fontaine – Speech to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada

I would like to thank the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada for your kind invitation to speak here today. In particular, I want to thank Don Bubar, the Chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee for his vision and efforts in bringing our communities together.

Before I start though, I want to congratulate PDAC on your 75th anniversary…….your diamond anniversary.

Speaking of diamonds, the newest diamond mine in Canada – which just happens to be located on Attawapiskat First Nation territory – has inspired this speech to you today. This is because the development model being used there is exactly the model we would like to see all mining companies in Canada embrace. 

DeBeers Canada is investing more than $980 Million to develop the mine. This could eventually pump more than $6 Billion dollars into Ontario’s economy … $6 Billion dollars!

The project will earn money for DeBeers and generate royalties for Canada. However, the most important aspect of the development from our standpoint, will be the hundreds of jobs it will create for residents in local First Nations communities as well as sustainable education, training, and business opportunities for our people for decades to come. Continue Reading →

Assembly of First Nations National Chief Phil Fontaine – An Introduction

National Chief Phil Fontaine - Assembly of First NationsPhil Fontaine has devoted his life to improving the quality of life for First Nations citizens.  He was born in 1944 at Sagkeeng First Nation, 150 kilometres north of Winnipeg.  He attended residential schools in Sagkeeng and Assiniboia, later emerging as a leading critic of abuse in that system.

In the 1970s, Phil Fontaine served two terms as chief of his own Sagkeeng First Nation, promoting autonomy and treaty rights. In 1982, he was elected Manitoba’s Vice-Chief for the newly formed Assembly of First Nations.
 
Following the defeat of the Meech Lake Accord, Fontaine was elected Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs, serving three consecutive terms from 1991 to 1997.  In 1997, he was first elected National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations.  As National Chief from 1997 to 2000, Fontaine fought to protect the rights, treaty obligations and land claims of First Nations people.  He became the first aboriginal leader to address the Organization of American States.
 
In 2002, he was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Indian Claims Commission, where he helped resolve several significant land claims.  In July 2003, he was elected to his second term as National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. He is currently serving is third term as National Chief (2006-2009). 

The crowning achievement of his career to date is leading the successful resolution and settlement of claims arising out of the 150 year Indian residential school tragedy. The Final Settlement Agreement now being implemented and is worth over $5.2 billion in individual compensation. The settlement also includes a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an education fund, healing resources and commemoration funding.

The next posting is a speech that Fontaine gave to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada discussing Aboriginal participation in the mining sector.

Mine Rehabilitation in Ontario – By Chris Hodgson

Ed Cocchiarella, Manager Environment Ontario Operations, Vale Inco; Michael Gravelle, MNDM Minister; Gordon Miller, Environmental Commissioner of Ontario; and Chris Hodgson, OMA President
 The Ontario Mining Association represents companies for which environmental stewardship is a cornerstone value. Our members realize that their success depends largely on their ability to help establish healthy communities and sustainable environments in the areas where they operate.

The economic sustainability that mining engenders is often the first thing that comes to mind. Indeed, in northern Ontario in particular, there is little need to explain that mining operations play a vital role in the local economy and community life, often bringing in the investment that leads to the development of essential infrastructure and job creation. A recent University of Toronto study brought this home to a wider audience.

It concluded that the contribution of a single representative mine can have an impressive effect on employment and economic output, and that a large proportion of the benefits stay in the local area. Continue Reading →

Chris Hodgson and the Ontario Mining Association (OMA) – An Introduction

Chris Hodgson - President of the Ontario Mining Association
The mission of the Ontario Mining Association (OMA) is to support and improve the competitiveness of the mining sector in the province while representing companies engaged in the environmentally responsible exploration, production and processing of minerals in Ontario.

Established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province, the OMA has 57 member companies. These companies are engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and providing services to the mining industry. Most of the metal mines operate in Northern Ontario and produce nickel, copper, gold and a variety of other metals. The majority of non-metal mines (industrial minerals) operate in Southern Ontario and produce salt, nepheline syenite, calcite, gypsum, talc, silica, and other industrial minerals.

Chris Hodgson was appointed as the new President of the OMA in late October 2004. He joined the OMA following a distinguished career in provincial politics. He entered the Ontario Legislature following a by-election in 1994 and won general elections in 1995 and 1999, representing the riding of Haliburton-Victoria-Brock. While in government, Hodgson served in several cabinet positions including Northern Development and Mines, Natural Resources, Municipal Affairs and Housing and Chairman of Management Board. Previously, he was involved in municipal politics and real estate development.

Northern Ontario Settlers Mining on Indian Land in the 1840s – Michael Barnes

Across the North American continent there are many stories from earlier times of conflict when the interests of First Nations people came up against commercial greed.

One such incident took place at Bruce Mines in 1847 and fortunately for all concerned the situation was defused and settled amicably.

The rush to obtain copper and other minerals at Bruce Mines was the first instance of commercial mining operations in the northern Ontario. Continue Reading →