The 2010 PDAC Environmental and Social Responsibility Award – Avalon Rare Metals Inc. – Don Bubar

(L to R) Jon Baird, PDAC President; Bill Mercer, Avalon VP-Exploration; Don Bubar, Avalon President and CEOThe PDAC Environmental and Social Responsibility Award recognizes an individual or organization demonstrating outstanding initiative, leadership and accomplishment in protecting and preserving the natural environment or in developing good community relations during an exploration program or operation of a mine.

Avalon Rare Metals Inc. is being recognized for its responsible exploration practices with respect to community engagement and its encouragement of skills training and employment for aboriginal people.

Before applying for a land-use permit from the Mackenzie Valley Land and Water Board or setting foot on its new Thor Lake property in the Northwest Territories, Avalon President and CEO Don Bubar introduced himself with letters written to four Dene leader in communities around Thor Lake.

After several attempts at convening a meeting, Bubar was able to sit down with Dene leaders at a neutral location.

They were surprised that Avalon had not applied for a land-use  permit before requesting a meeting. Other companies either had received or applied for land-use permits and then sought permission to enter Dene land.

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The 2010 PDAC Prospectors of the Year Award Winners for the Ring of Fire Discovery in Northern Ontario – John D. Harvey, Donald Hoy, Richard Nemis, Neil D. Novak and Mac Watson

(L to R) Award Presenter, Edward Thompson; Prospectors of the Year Winners, Mac Watson, Richard E. Nemis, John D. Harvey, Donald Hoy, Neil D. Novak


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

The PDAC Bill Dennis Prospector of the Year Award honors the memory of past PDAC president Bill Dennis who was one of the association’s staunchest supporters during its formative years and a prominent and respected prospector. This award is presented to individuals or groups who have made a significant mineral discovery, offered noteworthy contributions to the PDAC, or have been involved in some important service or technological invention or innovation that helped improve the Canadian prospecting and exploration industry.

John D. Harvey, Donald Hoy, Richard Nemis, Neil D. Novak and Mac Watson are recognized for the significant base metals and chromite discoveries in northern Ontario’s Ring of Fire.

In 2002, Neil Novak, as vice-president of Spider Resources Inc., was seeking kimberlites in the James Bay lowlands in a joint venture with KWG Resources Inc.

Novak had found 1.1-billion-year-old, diamond-bearing kimberlites under 130 metres of sand and limestone. De Beers Canada Exploration, curious about Novak’s work, formed a JV with Spider-KWG to look at their geophysical and geochemical database.

Novak’s expertise led De Beers to launch a reverse-circulation drill program near McFauld’s Lake, northern Ontario.

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Key Economic Points About the Canadian Mining Sector – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice-president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. This column was originally published November, 2009.

Late summer and fall are always busy times for the mining industry on the economic policy front. Typically, the Mining Association of Canada releases its annual “Facts & Figures” report in August and also prepares a formal industry submission in advance of the meeting of federal, provincial and territorial energy and mines ministers held each fall. The federal government’s pre-budget process also starts in late summer, launched with a submission deadline set by the Finance Committee. The key messages reflected in MAC’s ministerial comments, pre-budget views and “Facts & Figures 2009” follow.

The mining industry is important to the economy

The industry, as defined by Natural Resources Canada, contributes $40 billion to Canada’s GDP, employs 350,000 people, pays approximately $13.5 billion in taxes and royalties, contributes 19 per cent of Canadian exports and generates business for 3,140 supplier companies. It creates value in urban, rural and remote regions and its products are fundamental to modern life and to the emergence of clean energy technologies.

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Mining as a Core Supplier to the Global Clean Energy Revolution – by Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice-president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. This column was originally published January, 2009.

Few subjects are receiving as much attention in the daily media as that of our societal need to move towards a clean energy economy. This theme was fundamental to the platforms of all the Canadian federal parties in the recent election — each featuring an array of programs supporting this transition.

In the United States, the platform of President-elect Obama talks extensively of hybrid vehicles, electricity from renewable sources, low carbon standards and the ultimate objective of eliminating oil imports from the Middle East and Venezuela within a decade. Republicans in Washington talk of nuclear power, carbon capture and sequestration and battery development, among other initiatives.

Beyond the political and media coverage, it is evident that few subjects offer comparable transformative potential as changes to the world’s energy infrastructure. Developed economies have been driven for two centuries by the industrial combustion of fossil fuel — indeed there has long existed a direct macro-economic correlation of living standards with per-capita energy consumption.

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Show Us the Money: Canada’s Federal and Provincial Outlooks to Mining – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

“Money” was the word on the industry’s lips last week as the federal, British Columbia and Ontario governments brought outlined their spending plans for the future. A mining-friendly government helps keep our industry healthy, so let’s take a look at what we can look forward to.

First out of the gate on March 2 was the Throne Speech from Ottawa. In it the federal government promised to develop a clearer process for project approval and a commitment to both Northern development and Aboriginal Canadians.

The speech was lauded by Mining Association of Canada (MAC) president Gordon Peeling, who said, “These issues in today’s Speech from the Throne will enhance the contribution that the mining industry can make to all Canadians by improving the investment climate, bringing efficiency and clarity to our regulatory processes and strengthening our skilled workforce.”

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Ontario Throne Speech Supports Mining’s Role in Province’s Future

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Mining was given top billing as a builder of Ontario’s future prosperity in the throne speech opening the new session of the provincial legislature yesterday.  Ontario Mining Association President Chris Hodgson attended the throne speech as an invited guest of Premier Dalton McGuinty.  “It is positive to see mining recognized in this important address as a contributor to solving Ontario’s economic challenges,” said Mr. Hodgson.   

In introducing the launch of the five year “Open Ontario Plan” for economic growth and development, the speech, delivered by Lieutenant Governor David Onley, recognized the important role of mining.  “Your government will ensure the North benefits from its Open Ontario Plan,” he said. 

“In 2008, Northern Ontario became home to our first diamond mine.  Your government will build on that success – particularly in the region know as the Ring of Fire.  It is said to contain one of the largest chromite deposits in the world – a key ingredient in stainless steel.”

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Why We Need to Defend our Canadian Mining Industry against Bill C-300 – by David Clarry

David Clarry is a management consultant focused on project development, project financing and business improvement in the mining, energy, and cleantech sectors.  His career has included 19 years with the prominent Canadian engineering and consulting firm Hatch Ltd., as a Director in the management consulting and environmental practices.  Prior to Hatch David worked for DuPont and General Electric. His expertise includes general business management and project management.

David’s projects have spanned North and South America, Asia, Australia, Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Africa. He brings particular strength in building project teams that integrate technical, environmental, management and financial perspectives.  He has led projects for mining and metals companies, equipment manufacturers, utilities, governments, and financial institutions. 

Why you need to read this?

Bill C-300, the “Corporate Accountability of Mining, Oil and Gas Corporations in Developing Countries Act”, was introduced as a Private Member’s bill in February 2009 (initially solely to prompt the government to respond to the CSR Roundtable process).  While the objective of improving CSR performance is laudable, this bill, written with no consultation with the mining industry,  in fact will likely work counter to that objective.  There are fundamental flaws in the bill, and its main proponents seem more interested in attacking Canadian mining companies than in improving CSR performance. 

In the words of the petition being circulated by the sponsor of the bill “the alleged abuses of human rights and the degradation of the environment by Canadian mining companies is a violation of the principles of fundamental justice …”.  This bill ignores the leadership of the Canadian mining industry in CSR.

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The Killings in Takeovers of Canadian Resources (The Loss of Inco and Falconbridge) – Donald Coxe

With 35 years of institutional investing and money management experience in the United States and Canada, Donald Coxe has a unique background in North American and global capital markets  This was originally written in May, 2007.

We have been asked by several Canadian clients for clarification about our strong opposition to some of the takeovers of Canadian resource companies. This is our detailed response. (The opinions contained herein are those of Donald Coxe and do not necessarily represent the opinions of BMO Capital Markets.) The material is primarily for Canadian clients, but others who were forced to tender their Inco or Falconbridge shares, or who fear being forced to sell their oil sands holdings, should find the analysis of interest.

We opposed the takeovers of Inco and Falconbridge, and have for two years expressed strong concern that Big Oil’s Reserve Life Index problems would lead to takeovers of publicly-traded oil sands companies at unrealistically low prices—because they tend to trade in line with spot oil prices.

Last September, we gave a speech to the 30th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (whose membership includes the CEOs of Canada’s biggest companies) in which we ridiculed the prices at which Inco and Falconbridge were sold and warned that takeovers of oil sands companies would probably be next. (We had a polite exchange of views with the Brazilian Ambassador about his government’s holding in CVRD during the question period.

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The Oil Sands and Climate Change — Some Important Considerations – Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. This column was originally published October, 2009.

The development of the western oil sands constitutes one of the world’s most significant economic stories of recent decades. Technological advances and increases in crude oil prices from $20 per barrel in the 1990s to $140 in mid-2008 together reinforced the oil sands’ economic viability and, through hundreds of billions of dollars of investment, sustained its production growth from test-well quantities to volumes exceeding one million barrels per day.

As with any source of energy, the process of extracting oil from oil sands raises a range of environmental issues. Its rapid development has served to position this sector as target number one among some environmental groups. In this respect, it is important that NGOs and public policy stakeholders not ignore some key realities.

Economic contribution

Oil sands development has increased wealth and economic activity in western Canada during the past decade, creating 200,000 jobs, including many in central Canada that helped to offset job losses in the manufacturing sector. It is also estimated that each direct job translates to nine additional jobs among suppliers and indirect beneficiaries. Continue Reading →

Raw Materials Protectionism Around the World – Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. This column was originally published December, 2009.

There are a number of interesting public policy issues surrounding Canada’s mining industry relating to areas such as social license, tax competitiveness, tailings management, air pollutants, land access and Aboriginal relations. One emerging policy issue that has not attracted much attention in the industry or media relates to a growing movement towards raw materials protectionism by a number of developing countries, most significantly China.

At the root of the raw materials protectionism issue is the fact that many countries are engaged in a battle to secure a steady, or better yet, growing supply of raw materials. Towards this end, any key raw materials that these countries can get their hands on, in the form of concentrate, scrap or recycled material, are jealously guarded.

In the case of China, a broad array of export taxes, quotas and licensing requirements are used to obstruct raw materials exports so as to ensure the maximum supply for domestic usage.

According to a study by ITS Global consultants, in recent years these measures have been used to maximize domestic supply of aluminum, antimony, bauxite, nickel, scrap, iron ore, coal, coke, platinum, copper, tungsten, zinc, manganese, molybdenum and rare earth elements.

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2010 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame – Better Prospects, Recovery and Compassion for Haiti – Stan Sudol

Eric Friedland, President and CEO Peregrine Metals Ltd.; Pierre Lassonde, Chairman, Franco-Nevada Corp.; Nean Allman, CHHF Co-ordinator EmeritaLike the recent record setting price of gold and the stock market recovery, the general mood at the annual Canadian Mining Hall of Fame dinner at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel a few weeks ago in Toronto, was upbeat, bright and a  turnout. Master of ceremonies Pierre Lassonde, Chairman of Franco Nevada Corp. – the Billy Crystal of the mining sector – was practically “giddy” discussing the high price of gold and Tiger Wood’s problems. “Gold miners never had it so good, like mosquitoes at a nudist colony” quipped Lassonde. He continued, “there is not enough mustard in the U.S. to cover that hot dog,” in reference to Tiger Wood.

One of the highlights of the evening was a spontaneous outpouring of sympathy and financial donations for the earthquake victims in Haiti. Lassonde started the initiative with a $150,000 donation from the head table and challenged the audience to contribute. Lassonde and head table colleagues Goldcorp’s Ian Telfer, Teck’s Norm Keevil and Inmet’s Jochen Tilk each put in $25,000.

“We raised approximately $900,000 between soup and dessert,” stated Edward G. Thompson, Director and Treasurer of the Mining Hall of Fame who also donated $25,000. The money which will be matched by the federal government will be given to the Canadian Red Cross.Stan Bharti, President and CEO Forbes & Manhattan; Ian Telfer, Chairman Goldcorp Inc.; Edward G. Thompson, Director/Treasurer, Mining Hall of Fame

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Benny Hollinger (1885-1919), Sandy McIntyre (1869-1943) and John (Jack) Wilson (1872-1948) – 2010 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductees

Benny HollingerThe Porcupine Gold Rush of 1909 was a transformative event in Canadian history, with three gold mines discovered by separate prospecting parties a few miles from each other. The rich discoveries made by Benny Hollinger (1885-1919), Sandy McIntyre (1869-1943) and John (Jack) Wilson (1872-1948) in northern Ontario wilderness led to the development of one of Canada’s premier mining camps and the founding of Timmins, the City with a Heart of Gold.

The Hollinger, McIntyre and Dome mines built from the discoveries of these intrepid prospectors are in a league all their own, having produced 19.5 million ounces, 10.8 million ounces and 15.9 million ounces of gold, respectively. During the past 100 years, the “Big Three” and other mines in the Timmins Camp have collectively produced 67 million ounces of gold, with production continuing into a new century.

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Graham Farquharson – (Born 1940) – 2010 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Grahman FarquharsonGraham Farquharson has earned a reputation as a senior statesman of Canada’s mining industry by demonstrating a commitment to integrity, fairness and technical excellence throughout his career with Strathcona Mineral Services Limited, a consulting firm he created with two partners in 1974.  He is one of the industry’s most prominent consultants, best known for taking on extraordinary challenges, including developing and managing Canada’s first mine north of the Arctic Circle and debunking an Indonesian property once believed to host the world’s largest gold deposit.

Born in Timmins, the son of a mining engineer whose first love was prospecting, Farquharson began his mining career in 1960 at a copper mine at Tilt Cove, Newfoundland, moving on to work in mines across Canada.  After graduating as a mining engineer from the University of Alberta in 1964, he spent four years in Africa, at Kilembe in Uganda and Tsumeb in Namibia. With an MBA from Queen’s University, he joined the consulting firm of Watts, Griffis and McOuat before founding Strathcona. 

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Victor C. Wansbrough – (1901-1994) – 2010 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Victor C. WansbroughVictor Wansbrough served Canada’s metals mining industry with distinction for more than 20 years as the first full-time Managing Director of the Canadian Metal Mining Association (CMMA), the forerunner of the Mining Association of Canada. His appointment in early 1947 was a surprise, as he knew nothing about mining at a time when the industry faced serious challenges, notably a labor shortage and a gold mining industry in decline because of rising costs and a fixed gold price.

He worked cooperatively with governments to devise innovative solutions, which included recruiting displaced persons from post-war Europe to alleviate the labor shortage and creating subsidies to support and keep the beleaguered gold mining industry alive. The CMMA had 32 members when Wansbrough assumed full-time leadership, and had grown to represent 102 companies when he retired in 1968. During this period, Canadian mineral production rose from $502 million to $4.39 billion, including $3 billion from metal production.

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Hugo T. Dummett – (1940-2002) – 2010 Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Inductee

Hugo T.  DummettHugo Dummett was one of the world’s most respected economic geologists, aptly described as “the brains, the ideas and the energy” behind the first discovery of economic diamond deposits in Canada. In the 1970s and ‘80s, he worked with Canadian geologists Charles Fipke and Stewart Blusson and South African university professor John Gurney in a quest to find diamonds in North America. Almost a decade later, he convinced BHP Minerals to sign a joint venture with Fipke and Blusson’s junior company, Dia Met Minerals, and continue the diamond hunt in the Northwest Territories. The result of their collaboration was Ekati, Canada’s first diamond mine, and the development of a hugely successful, major new industry.

Dummett’s successes were not confined to diamonds or Canada. He was a respected authority on porphyry copper deposits. During his tenure as Vice-President of Ivanhoe Mines, he contributed to the discovery of a huge porphyry copper-gold deposit that bears his name at the advanced Oyu Tolgoi project in Mongolia.

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