News Release: Rio Tinto Creates A New $10 Million Mining Research Centre at CEMI in Sudbury, Canada

Sudbury, ON – On November 25th, 2010, Rio Tinto announced the establishment of the Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction (RTC-UMC) at the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) located in Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. Rio Tinto will be investing $10 million dollars over five years to undertake research at the centre.

Rio Tinto is focusing on mechanized excavation including a shaft boring system (SBS) and tunnel boring systems (TBS). Rio Tinto has selected CEMI as the agent for collaborative research leadership in support of high speed construction associated with underground mine construction. For Rio Tinto, this investment reflects the company’s long term commitment to science, engineering and innovation, and is central to its approach to research partnerships. This is the fifth global long-term research centre to be established by Rio Tinto.

The Rio Tinto Centre for Underground Mine Construction at CEMI will undertake research with respect to ground and machine performance. For this purpose, prototype test sites will be instrumented to improve ground characterization techniques and to develop innovative support systems to facilitate high speed, mechanized tunnel and shaft development technologies for underground mines in highly stressed ground and at depth. Continue Reading →

Could Sault Ste. Marie be Site of Ring of Fire Processing? – by Ian Ross

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.

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

Bruce Strapp Exit interview

Sault Ste. Marie is well-positioned to get a share of the chromite processing from the James Bay lowlands, said its outgoing economic development head.

“The value that Sault Ste. Marie will bring to the Ring of Fire is we’ll have one of North America’s biggest steel plants,” said Bruce Strapp, who was preparing in October to take on his new job as executive director of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC).

While a number of communities across the North have been vocal in getting a piece of the action to process chromite ore, the Sault has been flying below the radar, but Strapp said the city is far from being out of the loop.

Strapp said with mine development in the massive McFauld’s Lake camp more than five years away, there is no reason to blow the Sault’s horn until the site selectors show up.

“Moving forward and talking to Cliffs (Natural Resources) and saying ‘We want your business’ (makes no sense when) there’s really no business to be had yet.” Continue Reading →

The New “Cluster Moment”: How Regional Innovation Clusters Can Foster the Next Economy – Mark Muro and Bruce Katz (Brookings Institute)

The Brookings Institution is a nonprofit public policy organization based in Washington, D.C. One of Washington’s oldest think tanks – founded in 1916 – Brookings conducts research and education in the social sciences, primarily in economics, metropolitan policy, governance, foreign policy, and global economy and development.

Its stated mission is to “provide innovative and practical recommendations that advance three broad goals: strengthen American democracy; foster the economic and social welfare, security and opportunity of all Americans; and secure a more open, safe, prosperous, and cooperative international system.” Brookings states that its scholars “represent diverse points of view” and describes itself as non-partisan. – Wiki

The Obama administration’s FY2011 budget request (February/2010) proposed several initiatives to support American regional industry/innovation clusters. The budget request  document states, “We need to recognize that competitive, high-performing regional economies are essential to a strong national economy.” 

An except from a United States Department of Commerce, February 1, 2010 News Release states, “Competitive, high-performing regional economies are the building blocks of national growth and can benefit from smarter policies. The budget supports growth strategies based on stronger regional clusters of economic activity through funding in the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration (SBA), as well as the Department of Labor with other agencies in key support roles. As part of the administration’s place-based initiative, the 2011 budget provides $75 million in regional planning and matching grants within EDA to support the creation of Regional Innovation Clusters that leverage regions’ competitive strengths to boost job creation and economic growth.”

Mark Muro and Bruce Katz have produced an excellent policy paper on the economic value of regional clusters for the Brookings Institute. The Executive Summary is posted below. For the entire policy document please click here:


Twenty years after Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter introduced the concept to the policy community and 10 years after its wide state adoption, clusters—geographic concentrations of interconnected firms and supporting or coordinating organizations—have reemerged as a key tool and rubric in Washington and in the nation’s economic regions.

Continue Reading →

Vale Closure Announcement Unacceptable – Steve Ashton (Thompsom, Manitoba MLA)

Steve Ashton was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1981 for the New Democrat Party (NDP). He was re-elected in the general elections of 1986, 1988, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007. In October 2009, he was appointed as Minister of Infrastructure and Transportation, Minister Responsible for Emergency Measures and Minister Responsible for the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation. His daughter, Niki Ashton, is also a politician and is the New Democratic Party MP for the riding of Churchill.

Vale’s announcement that they are eliminating the surface operation here in Thompson is unacceptable.

Since the 1950’s Thompson has had a fully integrated mining operation.  The development of the refinery and smelter were integral parts of the 1956 agreement that established Thompson.

In good times and in bad times our community and our province have always been there to work with Inco, now Vale. In the process we have developed one of the best mining, smelting and refining operations in the world.

Vale’s announced shut down of the surface operations in Thompson came without any discussion about solutions with key stakeholders or the provincial government. I have never seen a more arrogant and insensitive move.

Continue Reading →

Standard Charter PLC News Release – The World is in a Super-cycle Once Again, This Time Led by Asia

Standard Chartered PLC is a leading international bank, listed on the London, Hong Kong and Mumbai stock exchanges. It has operated for over 150 years in some of the world’s most dynamic markets and earns more than 90 per cent of its income and profits in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. This geographic focus and commitment to developing deep relationships with clients and customers has driven the Bank’s growth in recent years. For more information, please visit:

Download “The Super-cycle Report”

London, 15 November 2010: The world is in a sustained period of high economic growth, or super-cycle, which started in 2000 and is expected to last at least another couple of decades and see the global economy reach over USD 300trn in size by 2030, up from USD 62trn today, according to a special report by Standard Chartered. The world economy has already doubled between 2000 and 2010.

The developed economies will do well through the super-cycle, but the emerging markets will do much better. As a result, the global balance of economic power will shift decisively from the West to the East, according to the report.

The key drivers

The key drivers of the super-cycle will be increased trade, especially among emerging markets, rapid industrialisation, urbanisation and booming middle classes in the developing world. The number of people living in the cities will grow to 5bn in 2030, up from 3.4bn today.

Asia will drive most of the global growth over the next 20 years, during which global output is conservatively set to more than double in real terms, having already risen more than 50 per cent in the last decade. Living standards, as measured by real per capita income, will have increased nine-fold in China and India between 2000 and 2030. Continue Reading →

United Steelworkers News Release – Vale Announcement Long on Propaganda, Short on Investment

RELEASE, 17 November, 2010

Vale’s latest “investment” announcement continues a public-relations campaign more concerned about image than providing net benefits to Canadian communities.

“Vale’s announcement today is perhaps the most cynical public relations exercise we have seen yet from this foreign corporation,” said Ken Neumann, the United Steelworkers union’s National Director for Canada.

“While it claims to meet its commitments under the Investment Canada Act, Vale decides to close the smelting and refining facilities in Thompson, Manitoba,” Neumann said.

“This closure will eliminate a crucial value-added component of Thomson’s mining operations, potentially killing more than 500 jobs and dealing a devastating blow to the community.

“This clearly demonstrates Vale’s lack of commitment to Manitoba. Rather than invest in its Thomson operations, Vale opts to cut 40 per cent of its workforce and wreak more havoc on Canadian working families.” Continue Reading →

Vale Canada’s Net Benefits – by Terence Corcoran (National Post-November 18, 2010)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. Terence Corcoran’s editorial opinion was originally published on November 18, 2010.

This cannot be true. The Brazilian mining giant Vale announced $10-billion in new investment in Canada, building new facilities, opening new mines, pouring fresh capital into Sudbury. Where did this come from? For weeks now, the only thing Canadians knew of Vale is that the company was the despicable foreign investor that swooped in and took over Inco and pretty much made Canada look like a sucker.

In the context of BHP Billiton’s $40-billion plan to take over Potash Corp., the Vale takeover of Inco was routinely cited as the kind of soul-destroying foreign investment Canada should stop accepting. Look what they did in Sudbury, where Vale fought the unions, forced a prolonged shutdown, and left the local community devastated.

Or maybe not. Vale didn’t leave town, or Canada, and it now appears set to sink a lot of money into various projects across the country, including $3.4-billion into Sudbury’s century-old nickel and copper operations. The plan includes the first new Sudbury mine in more than 40 years.

The new money, spread across Canada, comes on top of $1.7-billion Vale says it has invested in various capital projects over the last three years — about 50% more than had been invested by the old Inco operation in the previous three years.

A company official also says Vale has exceeded whatever commitments it made to satisfy Investment Canada’s “net benefits” test when it bought Inco. The new $10-billion plan is above and beyond those old commitments, which are about to end. Vale, in other words, appears to be doing a better job at keeping Canadian mining alive than its predecessors. If that is an exaggeration, it is certainly true that Vale has emerged as a great boon to Canadian mining that is no less than would have been achieved under the old national champion known as Inco.

As the Conservatives try to soft-shoe out of their rejection of the BHP Billiton takeover of Potash, the Vale experience makes that decision look even more preposterous. The net benefits of Vale’s presence in Canada seem obvious, as are the net losses arising from the Potash decision.

Laggard Ontario – by National Post Guest Columnist Livio Di Matteo

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. This editorial opinion was originally published on November 17, 2010 in the Financial Post section. Livio Di Matteo is professor of economics at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay.

 “In the midst of all the economic carnage, the Ontario government is presiding over a massive hike in electricity costs — an energy source that used to be the foundation of Ontario’s economic advantage. Add to this the fiscal deficit and a net debt that is expected to reach $240-billion by 2011, and one has an economy that is on the verge of being unable to deliver the standard of living that its citizens have come to expect.” – Livio Di Matteo – National Post, November 17, 2010

Dalton McGuinty has presided over the province’s economic decline

The Ontario government will be tabling its fall economic statement in the legislature on Thursday. Premier Dalton McGuinty, who has been seemingly unaware of the impact of his energy and economic policies on the province’s economy, would do well to take heed from the danger signs provided by another update — the recent Statistics Canada update to provincial GDP numbers.

The new StatsCan numbers show that, as a result of the recession, real gross domestic product in 2009 fell in every province except Manitoba. Moreover, the declines were steepest in Newfoundland and Labrador, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario.

Being in the company of so many poor performers will not be a suitable defence for Ontario’s economic record for two main reasons. First, while Ontario’s decline was smaller than that in Newfoundland, Alberta and Saskatchewan, those provinces can blame their drop primarily on the fall in natural resource commodity prices, namely oil. Ontario’s key natural resource sector — forestry — while hit hard over the last decade, is not as important a sector to Ontario as oil and gas is in these other provinces. The economy will grow in Newfoundland, Alberta and Saskatchewan as oil and gas prices recover.

Second, Ontario’s dismal performance caps a decade of dismal performance. Ontario has become a laggard in per capita GDP, as highlighted when it entered the ranks of the “have-not” provinces and began to collect equalization. Continue Reading →

Manitoba Government News Release – PREMIER VOWS FIGHT TO PROTECT JOBS IN THOMPSON [Manitoba]

November 17, 2010

Vale’s Proposed Shutdown of Smelter, Refinery Operations Completely Unacceptable: Selinger

Premier Greg Selinger today called on the owners of Vale’s Thompson operations to work with the Province of Manitoba, the City of Thompson and the United Steelworkers union to immediately seek alternative solutions to closing the smelter and refinery in Thompson by 2015.
“This decision comes without due notice or proper consultation with our government and the City of Thompson,” said Selinger.  “Vale’s intended course of action is unacceptable and our government stands firmly with the people of Thompson in saying this job loss will have a significant impact on the community and the province.”
The proposed shutdown of the Thompson smelter and refinery would result in a loss of about 500 jobs or 40 per cent of the current Vale Thompson workforce.
“We have a long and very successful history of supporting the mining industry through initiatives such as training, taxes and geoscience,” said Innovation, Energy and Mining Minister Dave Chomiak.  Continue Reading →

Brazilian Miner Vale Plans to Eliminate 500 Jobs in Thompson, Manitoba by 2015 — A Third of its Local Workforce – by John Barker

Vale's Thompson, Manitoba Operations - Photo by Jeanette Kimball

This article was originally published in the Thompson Citizen which was established in June 1960. The Citizen covers the City of Thompson and Nickel Belt Region of Northern Manitoba. The city has a population of about 13,500 residents while the regional population is more than 40,000.

Thompson NDP MLA Steve Ashton denounces Vale’s ‘arrogance’ in blistering words

November 17, 2010 – BY JOHN BARKER

Brazilian mining giant Vale said today it plans to phase out its smelting and refinery operations at Manitoba Operations by 2015, eliminating 500 jobs or a third of its local workforce, and focus on “developing new sources of ore as it transitions its operations to mining and milling….”

Vale dropped Inco from its name May 27 and its global nickel business is simply known now as Vale. It had operated around the world as Vale Inco since Companhia Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) re-branded itself less than three years ago on Nov. 29, 2007. “Vale” is pronounced (vah-lay) and literally means “valley” in Portuguese.

In a blistering “MLA Report” weekly column filed today at noon that will appear in print in Friday’s Nickel Belt News, Steve Ashton, Thompson NDP MLA and minister of infrastructure and transportation, as well as the minister responsible for emergency measures and the minister charged with the administration of the Manitoba Lotteries Corporation Act, says “Vale’s announcement that they are eliminating the surface operation here in Thompson is unacceptable.”

Ashton is the longest serving MLA in the Manitoba legislature, first elected 29 years ago today in the Nov. 17, 1981 provincial election. He is second in order of cabinet precedence to Premier Greg Selinger. Continue Reading →


In Excess of $10B Over Five Years

For immediate release

November 17, 2010 — Vale today revealed its blueprint for the future in Canada anchored by a planned five year investment program in excess of $10 billion to strengthen and expand its Canadian operations.

“The investment program we’re pursuing is an indicator of the bright future we see for Vale in Canada,” said
Tito Martins, Chief Executive Officer of Vale Canada and Executive Director, Base Metals for Vale. “These
investments represent an important building block for the future of our Canadian operations. The dollars
invested here will improve environmental performance, unlock new market opportunities, increase efficiencies and strengthen our global competitiveness for years to come.”

Large-scale investments have already commenced and will continue to ramp-up in 2011, said Mr. Martins,
noting that in addition to the direct benefits accrued to Vale’s operations, the projects promise to generate
significant economic opportunities for communities and suppliers over the next five years.

The five-year investment program combines recently started projects with projects yet to begin. It follows a
comprehensive review of Vale’s Canadian operations that addressed issues of efficiencies, aging
infrastructure, environmental performance and creating a long-term sustainable future. Key components of the investment program include:

Continue Reading →

Foreign Takeovers [in Canada] Should Hinge on Reciprocity – by Roger Martin (Toronto Star-November 16, 2010)

The Toronto Star is the largest circulation broadsheet in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This column was originally published November 16, 2010.

“But it is not reciprocity to allow Vale to buy Inco. The Brazilian government has the absolute right to stop any takeover of Vale. Reciprocity would mean that if Vale has the right to buy Inco, then Inco would have the right to buy Vale. Similarly, it is not reciprocity to allow BHP to buy Potash. As part of the BHP-Billiton merger, the Australian government imposed draconian restrictions on BHP, meaning that BHP can go hunting internationally but it can never be hunted.” – Roger Martin, November/2010

Roger Martin is dean of the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and chairman of the Institute for Competitiveness & Prosperity.

Sadly, the federal government’s decision to block the purchase of Potash Corporation by BHP Billiton Ltd. is likely to hurt the future competitiveness of Canadian companies.

This does not imply that Canada has no right or cause to challenge foreign takeovers of Canadian companies. Far from it. The problem is with the “net benefit” theory and rationale used by our government to block the takeover.

This approach to foreign direct investment is in stark contrast to the approach to merchandise trade, the traditional focus of trade policy, where the theory is reciprocity: you let us send you our BlackBerrys without tariffs or restrictions and we will let in your GE MRI machines.

We need to move policy from net benefit to reciprocity as the defining criterion.

If net benefit was used in merchandise trade, there would never be a lowering of trade barriers because every single industry or company that is adversely affected would wrap itself in the protective flag of net benefit.

Continue Reading →

Vale Contributes $525,000 to National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation for Launch of Innovative Mining Education Module

John Pollesel, COO Vale Canada and Director for Base Metals Operations, North Atlantic Region; Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO (NAAF)

November 12, 2010 – Sudbury — The National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (NAAF), in partnership with Vale, launched a mining education curriculum module designed to inspire Aboriginal students to pursue careers in the mining industry. The launch event took place today at the N’Swakamok Native Alternative School at the Sudbury Friendship Centre.

As part of the launch, Vale announced a $525,000 contribution to NAAF to support the ongoing evolution of the program. The funds will support the research, development, design, DVD production and initial distribution of the module.

The innovative curriculum includes informative, relevant material that is being made accessible to high school teachers seeking to inspire students about possible career options in the mining sector.

“The Foundation’s partnership with Vale is invaluable. Together we are providing Aboriginal high school students with a unique opportunity to see what their future could be if they decide to pursue a career in the mining industry,” said Roberta Jamieson, President and CEO of the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation. “By showcasing fantastic role models and providing key information, our youth are being inspired to recognize their full potential. Thank you Vale for your vision and commitment!” Continue Reading →

The Real Story Behind Ottawa’s Potash Rejection – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail-November 11, 2010)

Eric Reguly is the European Business Correspondent for the Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous impact and influence on Canada’s political and business elite as well as the rest of the country’s print, radio and television media.

Eric Reguly

BHP Billiton’s $39 billion (U.S.) bid for Potash Corp. is unofficially dead. Ottawa’s rejection of the offer has triggered a flurry of half truths, outright falsehoods and general hysteria from the usual political, business and media quarters. Herewith are some of the myths, and my responses to them.

Ottawa’s (tentative) rejection of the deal sucks because BHP was making a big, fat “investment” in Canada:

No investment is created equally. The best investments are the ones that bring fresh capital, and fresh thinking, to the deal. In this case, BHP’s proposal to buy Potash Corp. was not an investment per se; it was merely substituting one bucket of capital (BHP’s) for another (Potash Corp.’s). The Canadian company doesn’t need BHP’s capital any more than Potash Corp. boss Bill Doyle needs to stuff another $100-million into his holiday fund. Potash Corp. has never had any trouble raising capital; no company with a killer product and a decent business plan does. It became the top fertilizer player on the planet all by itself and ownership by BHP would not necessarily accelerate its growth plans; on the contrary, it might slow them down because BHP has zero fertilizer experience or working fertilizer assets, meaning it could not offer management expertise or synergies.

Continue Reading →

Michael Barnes Keeps Northern Ontario’s Mining Heritage Alive – 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 is from the November, 2010 issue.

Chronicled the North’s Facinating History and Folklore

Humility and hard work has kept one Ontario author’s pen to the parchment. 

Michael Barnes, a prolific Haliburton-based writer and author of several Canadian bestsellers, describes himself as a middle-rank writer that people don’t remember. Yet he has produced more than 50 books, the majority of them about the history of Northern Ontario.

“I’m one of those people that fill up bookshelves in libraries,” he said.

Even though people may not remember his name, they recognize him as the fellow who writes mining books. “That doesn’t bother me. I would rather have the guy up the hydro pole shout down and say: ‘I just read your latest book.’… I want them in the hands of the average person.”

His written contribution to preserving the history of Ontario’s North was recognized by the Canadian government when he was named a Member of the Order of Canada in 1994. Continue Reading →