New rules will cost Quebec lost investments, miners warn – by Bertrand Marotte (Globe and Mail – September 12, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

MONTREAL – Quebec’s reputation as one of the most mining-friendly places in the world is taking a beating as exploration companies sound the alarm over stringent new government regulations they say could scare away at least $1-billion in investments.

Quebec is pushing ahead with proposed new legislation that would force exploration companies to win approval from local and municipal authorities for their projects.

The proposed law – Bill 14 – means companies would have to deal with a third level of regulation for their projects besides federal and provincial rules.

It also spells potential chaos as small and medium-sized companies try to navigate the uncertainty of dealing with individual municipalities which have their own local standards, say industry officials. Continue Reading →

Chasing Rare Earths, Foreign Companies Expand in China – by Keith Bradsher (New York Times – August 25, 2011)

The New York Times has the third highest weekday circulation in the United States (after USA Today and the Wall Street Journal) and is one of the country’s most influential newspapers.

CHANGSHU, China — China has long used access to its giant customer base and cheap labor as bargaining chips to persuade foreign companies to open factories within its borders.

Now, corporate executives say, it is using its near monopoly on certain minerals — in particular, scarce metals vital to products like hybrid cars, cellphones and energy-efficient light bulbs — to make it difficult for foreign manufacturers of high-tech materials to build or expand factories anywhere except China. Companies that continue making their products outside the country must contend with tighter supplies and much higher prices for the materials because of steep taxes and other export controls imposed by China over the last two years.

Companies like Showa Denko and Santoku of Japan and Intematix of the United States are adding factory capacity in China this year instead of elsewhere because they need access to the scarce metals, known as rare earths. Continue Reading →

Liberals come out swinging – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 10, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The Liberals were the first party to offer a plan for the north and they will expand upon it if they are re-elected Oct. 6, says Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci.

A key component of the Grits’ Forward. Together plan is to make the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corp. a permanent fixture so future governments can’t abolish it, and to boost the fund from $100 million to $110 million.

It has created more than 16,000 jobs in eight years and will create 4,000 more per year for the next four years if the Grits are re-elected, the Sudbury MPP says. Bartolucci also vowed his party would facilitate at least eight new mines in the next 10 years and provide more family health care to underserviced areas of the province.

The Liberal incumbent was flanked by Nickel Belt Liberal candidate Tony Ryma and Timiskaming-Cochrane Liberal hopeful Denis Bonin at a news conference Friday to unveil the plan. Continue Reading →

More questions than answers in Far North Act – by the Sudbury Star Staff (September 10, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce and chambers of commerce from Timmins, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie are calling on the provincial government to address five key issues relating to the Far North Act that will provide more detail and make it friendlier to business.

The chambers issued a joint statement Friday calling upon the party that forms the next government to address what they call weaknesses in the act.

The act sets out a process for community-based land use in the north. First Nations, Northern Ontario municipalities, mining companies and business organizations fear the loss of growth opportunities and the creation of investment uncertainty if parts of the act are not clarified, the chambers said in the statement.

“Over all, we agree with the act and we like it and we see there’s value,” said Julie Denomme, vice-chair of the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce. Continue Reading →

Bye bye Howie [Hampton] – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun – September 4, 2011)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.

Around here’s he’s just known as Howie. When Howard Hampton quietly announced last month that he wouldn’t be running in the Oct. 6 election, it caused surprisingly few ripples in the Queen’s Park political pond.

When he stepped down as leader after the 2007 election, many pundits were surprised he stayed on as MPP for Kenora-Rainy River.

In his northern riding, his departure signals a seismic shift in the political tectonics. Hampton is a powerful political force in northwestern Ontario.

As NDP leader, he often fought a long, lonely battle to put northern issues on the government’s agenda. He is the quintessential small-town northern son.

Raised in Fort Frances, a gritty mill town across the border from Minnesota, his father worked in the local pulp mill. His brother still works there. Continue Reading →

Northern [Ontario Kenora] riding in transition – by Christina Blizzard (Toronto Sun – September 4, 2011)

Christina Blizzard is the Queen’s Park columnist for the Toronto Sun, the city’s daily tabloid newspaper.

Kenora- Rainy River up for grabs since Howard Hampton unexpectedly ended his 24-year political career

KENORA — Husky the Muskie presides over the waterfront in this gloriously beautiful northwestern city on the Lake of the Woods.

The giant fish statue is the place where newlyweds go to get their pictures taken. You have to think Husky was shocked to the gills, like everyone else here, when veteran New Democrat MPP Howard Hampton recently pulled the plug on his 24-year political career.

You even wonder if New Democrats in the former NDP leader’s own Kenora-Rainy River riding were ready for him to hand over the baton. Local Liberals were clearly caught off-guard.

Anthony Leek, the young Emo councillor who’s carrying their banner is certainly sincere, but at 27, hardly brings much by way of a track record to the race. Continue Reading →

Northern Chambers of Commerce challenge province’s Far North Act – by The Timmins Daily Press (September 10, 2011)

 The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper. Contact the writer at

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

“The Far North Act affects us collectively and
individually, and we want to ensure that it is
carried out in a responsible and inclusive manner
that respects all northern groups – be they
businesses, municipalities or First Nations.”
(Julie Denomme, vice-chair of the Greater Sudbury
Chamber of Commerce)

The province should reconsider how development is handled in Ontario’s Far North if it is to properly serve the region’s communities, First Nations, and business, according to the Chambers of Commerce of Timmins, Sudbury, North Bay and Sault Ste. Marie.

In a joint statement issued Friday, the four chambers agreed that the Far North Act, as passed by the Ontario government in October 2010, fails to consider the needs of those who are most affected by it.

The province’s stated goal of protecting “at least” 50% of the 225,000 square kilometres that make up the Far North was reached without consultation with the region’s First Nations who, through this legislation, are being forced to set aside portions of their land for protection. Continue Reading →

Ontario’s Provincial Election and the North: What Is the Issue? – by Livio Di Matteo (September 9, 2011)

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

“Indeed, the most innovative set of Northern policies ever
proposed in my living memory was the Peterson government of
the 1980s which set forth three planks: the Northern Ontario
Heritage Fund, Northern Health Travel Grants and a program
of decentralization of provincial government offices to the
north.  Since then, there has really not been articulated
any similar set of innovative strategic and concrete
nitiatives for the North.” (Livio Di Matteo, Sept/9/2011)

As the provincial election campaign begins, undoubtedly the need to articulate northern issues will be an important one.  The conventional wisdom would probably argue that the most important issues are jobs and the economy, followed by health care.  A glance at the “northern platforms” of the three parties certainly would suggest that the economy is an important focus and there are indeed some similarities across the three main parties when it comes to the economy.

The New Democratic Party argues the North has been ignored by the provincial government and is pledging “respect for the North. ”  Its northern policy wants to hire more doctors for under-serviced communities, remove the HST from home heating and electric bills, cap gas prices, create a Northern Ontario legislative committee to address Northern issues and change laws so mining companies must process their raw materials in the province (incidentally, something similar was done a long time ago in Ontario for logs harvested on Crown lands under the rubric of the Manufacturing Condition).  Continue Reading →

Failing [Aboriginal] kids in our [Ontario] north – (Toronto Star Editorial – September 10, 2011)

The Toronto Star, has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

A coroner’s inquest into a suicide routinely results in recommendations for more accessible, comprehensive and better funded mental health services. Ontario’s examination of the suicides of 16 children on a northern First Nations reserve is no different on that score. It’s Ontario deputy chief coroner Dr. Bert Lauwers’ call for other things — things so basic that they shouldn’t need mentioning — that really make his report stand out.

Access to clean water. Indoor plumbing. A decent school. How can communities without such basic necessities still exist in Ontario? The level of poverty and deprivation in the fly-in community of Pikangikum First Nation, 100 kilometres east of the Manitoba border, is appalling. It helped to create such deep despair that children, like the 12-year-old boy who hanged himself from a poplar tree outside his grandmother’s home and a 16-year-old girl who hanged herself with a shoelace in the laundry room, could see no way forward.

The coroner’s 100 recommendations are not just a blueprint to stem the dramatically high suicide rate of First Nations children and youth in northern Ontario. They are an indictment of the conditions that Ottawa has allowed to persist for far too long. Continue Reading →

Northeastern Ontario Chambers Joint Policy Statement About Far North Act-Bill 191

A joint statement by the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce, Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce on the Far North Act – Bill 191.

The provincial government introduced the Bill 191 for First Reading on June 2, 2009. The Act passed Third Reading on Sept. 23, 2010 and received Royal Assent on Oct. 25, 2010. Its purpose is to permanently protect at least half of Ontario’s Far North for the “sustainable development of natural resources” as well the preservation of biological diversity and ecological processes.

The legislation puts forward a process for community-based land-use planning that will ultimately set aside at least 21% of the province’s total landmass, or half of the Far North’s 450,000 square kilometers, in an interconnected network of protected areas. The region reaches from the Manitoba border in the west to James Bay and Quebec in the east and north along a line several hundred kilometers north of Red Lake, Sioux Lookout, Hearst and Cochrane.

This area contains 24,000 people spread across 34 communities (31 of which are First Nations). It is also host to the socalled “Ring of Fire,” an area of potential significant mineral wealth that includes a world-class deposit of chromite,deposits of nickel and other base and precious metals. It is expected that $1.5 billion will be spent over the next 10 years to develop this area in advance of mineral extraction. Continue Reading →

Canada lax in support of efforts to ease corruption abroad – by Don Cayo (Vancouver Sun – September 9, 2011) (Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative)

Canada is less enthusiastic than it ought to be in support of a high-level attempt to shine light into the oftenmurky world of international mining and oil extraction, says the head of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.

And Canadian companies drag their feet worse than our government, says Clare Short, the former U.K. cabinet minister who made her country a leader in effective international development and is now the chair of the decade-old initiative launched by former British prime minister Tony Blair and supported by the G8.

The federal government endorses the initiative and has a representative on its board, and seven major companies – Vancouver-based Goldcorp and Teck, plus Barrick, Kinross, Rio Tinto, Talisman and Vale – have signed on to abide by the principles of the initiative.

But Canadian companies punch far above the country’s weight in international mining – Short says Canadian miners are the biggest single international player in Africa, for example – and she thinks many more should be on board. Continue Reading →

NDP promises respect for Northern Ontarians – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – September 9, 2011)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

If the New Democratic Party is elected in Ontario, it would ensure resources that could be processed here are, it would cut the HST from electricity and home heating bills and encourage 200 doctors to practise in underserviced areas of the province, at least 50 of them in the North.

Northeastern Ontario would also get the positron emission tomography scanner that thousands of northerners have been calling for, NDP Leader Andrea Horwath told a partisan crowd at Laurentian University on Thursday.

Those promises and more are contained in the Respect for the North plan Horwath unveiled in Sudbury at her first stop on a northern tour.

It is time Queen’s Park showed respect to the people and the communities of the North, said Horwath, and hers is the party to do it. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Probe Mines Announces Memorandum of Understanding With Brunswick House, Chapleau Cree and Chapleau Ojibwe First Nations for Its Borden Lake Gold Project, Chapleau, Ontario

Sep 07, 2011

TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Sept. 7, 2011) – Probe Mines Limited (TSX VENTURE:PRB) (“Probe” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) with the Brunswick House, Chapleau Cree and Chapleau Ojibwe First Nations communities near Chapleau, Ontario. The MOU establishes a commitment by Probe to develop an ongoing relationship with the three communities in the area of the Company’s Borden Lake Gold Project and provides the communities with an opportunity to participate in the benefits of the project through training, ongoing communication and business development.

An Elders Committee (the “Committee”) will be created to provide advice to the Company on traditional values and local cultural and environmental matters during the exploration phase. Probe has also agreed to negotiate an Impact Benefit Agreement with the communities should the project proceed to production.

David Palmer, President of Probe, states “The signing of the MOU is an important first step in building a relationship based on mutual respect and cooperation with the First Nations communities. We are looking forward to working with the communities and receiving their input as we explore the Borden Lake area. Their contribution of local knowledge will be invaluable in helping us create a socially responsible exploration program to the benefit of all involved.” Continue Reading →

Global Uncertainties Are A Sure Bet – Ned Goodman (Canadian Mining Journal – September, 2011)

The Canadian Mining Journal is Canada’s first mining publication.

Ned Goodman is President and CEO of Dundee Corporation, an asset management company dedicated to private wealth management, real estate and resources.

“We remain solidly long-term bullish on our
scenario that demand for most commodities,
including food, will remain in excess of
the world’s ability to supply.”(Ned Goodman –
President and CEO Dundee Corporation)

It was some months ago that I was asked by Russ Noble if I would write a few words for an op-ed article in Canadian Mining Journal. There were several subjects that came to mind, just about all would have been too lengthy and not bear the kind of information required for this specialized and excellent magazine.

Sitting back, I thought I would write about development, global economic movements, freedom and the overall investment climate.

Amartya Sen, a winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, wrote a book in 1999 called “Development as Freedom”. He concluded the book with a quote from William Cowper: “Freedom had a thousand charms to show, That slaves, however contented, never know.”

Sen wrote too that, “Development is indeed a momentous engagement with freedom’s possibility”. In his book, Sen presented and defended a particular approach to the development of the global human population. He recommended as a process the expansion of substantive freedoms that would be available to people all over the world. He presents the perspective of freedom in both an evaluative analysis of assessing change and in a predictive analysis of “seeing freedom as a causally effective factor in the generation of rapid change.” Continue Reading →

Shoe on the other foot for Thunder Bay’s Gravelle – by Adam Radwanski (Globe and Mail – September 9, 2011)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

For the web’s largest database of articles on the Ring of Fire mining camp, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

THUNDER BAY – For most of his political career, Michael Gravelle has been seen as a fighter for his hometown of Thunder Bay – a little guy, literally and figuratively, standing up to those who would neglect Ontario’s Far North.

This fall, he’s fighting charges that he’s the one doing the neglecting.

Such is the mixed blessing of spending the past four years as Northern Development Minister for a government perceived not to have done enough to develop the region. So what was once one of the safest Liberal seats in the province is now up for grabs, with Mr. Gravelle one of several northern Liberal MPPs fighting for their political lives.

But who the real contenders are in Thunder Bay-Superior North, a sprawling riding that includes half of northwest Ontario’s largest city and some more far-flung communities, is less clear. Continue Reading →