The Discovery of Sudbury Nickel was Accidental – Gary Peck

The discovery of ore in the Sudbury area is one worthy of recording for in many ways its discovery was both accidental and initially at least, unappreciated.

 In 1856, A.P. Salter, provincial land surveyor was involved in survey work in the area. While running the meridian line north of Whitefish Lake, he noted a deflection on his compass needle. This occurred in the area between present – day Creighton and Snider townships. He reported to Alexander Murray, a geologist with the Geological Commission. Murray visited the area, took samples, and wrote a report; however, in 1856 little interest was generated given the inaccessibility of the area. Significantly, the samples were taken about 200 yards west of Creighton mine. Creighton mine was rediscovered in 1886 and in 1901 the Canadian Copper Company began operation there.

Continue Reading →

How Long Will the Mining Boom Last? – Paul Stothart

Paul Stothart - Vice-President Economic Affairs - Mining Association of CanadaThe Canadian and international mining industries are enjoying buoyant times. As shown in the adjacent table, while the specific figures vary by mineral, overall prices have grown by roughly two-fold to five-fold over the past five years.

In some instances, prices have continued to increase through 2007. Gold, for example, has increased in value by another 35 per cent since 2006 — to around $850 per ounce. Copper is expected to climb another 50 per cent to 450 cents per pound in 2008 according to Bloomsburg projections. Nickel and zinc prices generally levelled off or declined in the latter part of 2007.

At these high price levels, exploration spending, both globally and in Canada, has increased significantly as companies seek to find new mineral reserves. Global exploration spending has grown exponentially from $2.4 billion in 2003 to $10.5 billion in 2007.

Merger and acquisition activity has also exploded in recent years. In Canada, Xstrata bought Falconbridge for $20 billion, CVRD bought Inco for a similar amount, and Rio Tinto bought Alcan for $38 billion. Continue Reading →

Need Recognition for Mining Supply and Service Companies – Dick DeStefano

Dick DeStefano - Executive Director of SAMSSAI had the good fortune to spend a day with mining colleagues and mining supply and service leaders in a workshop in Sudbury sponsored by NORCAT and The Conference Board of Canada to discuss the lack of recognition and the importance of mining and related services within the national and provincial political context.

It was clear that mining as a national strategic asset receives little acknowledgement from all senior levels of government. Note the recent mining takeovers. What is more distressing is the almost total dismissal of the mining supply side within policy discussions.

It is frustrating to sit in rational discussion about industries that generate jobs and innovative products to a booming natural resource sector and find that all Canadian related mining services/products can’t be catalogued and identified within government statistics and profiles.

Continue Reading →

Looking Through Stone – Poems About the Earth – By Susan Ioannou

Looking Through Stone - Poems About the EarthSusan Ioannou of Toronto first became interested in geology as a theme while her son was completing a PhD. Exploring the science of rocks and minerals from a poet’s perspective was a fascinating and refreshing change from writing personal lyrics. Ioannou’s fiction, articles, and poetry have appeared across Canada. Winner of the 1997 Okanagan Short Story Award and twice a finalist in the CBC Literary Awards, in 2002/2003 she received an Ontario Arts Council Works in Progress grant to complete Looking Through Stone.

 The following book review was done by Adge Covell.

“Enough iron to make a nail, potassium for….” well, you probably know most of the rest. It’s one of the favourite quotes to be found in those “Did you Know?” lists which are everywhere these days, and which describes the cocktail of elements which make up the human body.

Continue Reading →

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources – The Honourable Gary Lunn – Toronto PDAC Speech

Honourable Gary Lunn - Canadian Minister of Natural Resources - Toronto PDAC -Government PhotoGood morning, everyone. Thank you, Pat [Pat Dillon, President of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada] for that kind introduction. It’s a great privilege to speak to the largest gathering of mining prospectors and developers in the world.

I want to thank Pat and PDAC for the invitation and also extend a special greeting to those of you who are here in Canada from all over the world for the first time.

Canada is one of the world’s leading mining countries, and our government continues to work with you to ensure we stay at the forefront.

It was a great week last week for both the mining and exploration industry. We tabled our federal budget – there were several investments that will benefit the Canadian minerals and metals sector, both directly and indirectly, and I’ll touch on those in a few minutes.

Continue Reading →

Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources – Gary Lunn – An Introduction

The Honourable Gary Lunn - Canada’s Minister of Natural ResourcesThe Honourable Gary Lunn was appointed Minister of Natural Resources by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on February 6, 2006. Since 1997, he has been the Member of Parliament for the beautiful Saanich –Gulf Islands in British Columbia.

The Natural Resources portfolio is well suited to Minister Lunn because his early working days were spent in the mining and forestry industries in British Columbia and northern Canada. This experience has allowed him to understand first-hand the importance of Canada’s natural resources to our present and future prosperity.

Minister Lunn speaks frequently about the need to streamline the regulatory approval process for energy and mining projects in Canada, and has made this a personal priority.

In the February 26, 2008 budget, the government committed to the establishment of a new framework for Aboriginal economic development by the end of 2008, dedicating $70 million over the next two years for Aboriginal economic development measures to support the framework. In announcing this framework, the Budget makes special mention of the role that the mining and resource sectors serve in creating economic opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians.

The Federal Budget committed $34 million over the next two years to Natural Resources Canada for geological mapping, primarily focused in Canada’s North, and for logistical support for mapping activities provided by the Polar Continental Shelf Project.

The Budget also announced a commitment to renew the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (super flow-through share program) for a further year until March 31, 2009. The temporary 15-percent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit is an incentive available to individuals who invest in flow-through shares that are used to finance grassroots mining exploration. Extension of the credit will support continued exploration for new mineral reserves in the North and other regions of Canada.

A journeyman carpenter, Minister Lunn has designed and built numerous homes, including his family’s current home in Sidney, British Columbia. He and his wife Alexis have two children, David and Victoria.

Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll – Cape Town African Mining Indaba Speech – Opportunities in Africa

Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll visits Anglo Platinum’s Amandelbult Mine - Anglo American Photo

Mr Chairman, honourable Ministers, ladies and gentlemen,

I was delighted to be asked to deliver the keynote address at this year’s mining Indaba, which as you know is one of the premier conferences of the mining industry. As chief executive of Anglo American, I head the mining group which for the best part of a century has been the leading mining investor and employer in Africa, and which today provides direct employment for around 150,000 people globally with 110,000 of them here in Africa.

In 1917, –Anglo American was born in Africa, and not only are our roots here but we retain a strong commitment to the continent. More than 40% of our assets are located in Africa. These include all the mining and refining operations of Anglo Platinum, the world’s number 1 platinum producer; many of Anglo Coal’s mines; and the great majority of the mines of our associate De Beers.

Continue Reading →

Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll – An Introduction

Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll - Anglo American PhotoCynthia Carroll succeeded Tony Trahar as Chief Executive Officer of Anglo-American on March 01, 2007. As President and Chief Executive Officer of the former Alcan’s Primary Metal Group, her responsibilities include all of that company’s primary metal facilities, research and development, technology and power generation with 18,000 employees operating in 20 countries around the world. The then Primary Metal Group accounted for approximately $12 billion in turnover and 75% of Alcan’s earnings.

Cynthia Carroll started her career with Alcan in 1988 in the Rolled Products Group.  In 1991 she became the General Manager of Alcan’s U.S. Foil Products packaging business. She next served in Ireland as the Managing Director of Alcan’s Aughinish Alumina subsidiary. From 1998 to 2002 she was President of Alcan’s Bauxite, Alumina & Speciality Chemicals Group. Since 2002 Cynthia Carroll has worked to substantially reposition Alcan in the aluminium industry while simultaneously reducing costs, resulting in Alcan Primary Metal now achieving the highest profitability and returns in the history of the company.

During this time she led the successful integration of Pechiney’s primary metals business; developed a project pipeline of over $10 billion through the expansion of existing businesses, acquisitions and the development of new facilities in South Africa, China, Canada, Oman, and France; and achieved an over 80% improvement in Lost Time Accidents (LTAs). Prior to joining Alcan, Cynthia Carroll was a Senior Petroleum Geologist for Amoco in North America.

An American citizen, she has a Masters of Science degree from the University of Kansas and an MBA from Harvard University. Last August, according to Forbes Magazine’s one hundred most powerful women in the world list, Cynthia Carroll came in at number seven.

According to a recent Sunday Times profile titled, “Cyclone Cynthia Carroll shakes up Anglo”, she has modernized the company, repaired damaged relations with South Africa and is focusing on increasing value internally as opposed to looking for mergers or takeovers.

Vale Inco President and Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira on Sustainability

Vale Inco President and CEO Murilo FerreiraThe following excerpt by Vale Inco President and Chief Executive Officer Murilo Ferreira is from the Vale Inco sustainability report released last summer. The full report is available at: Toward Sustainability

TOWARD SUSTAINABILITY – Murilo Ferreira

At CVRD Inco, we believe that our journey toward sustainability involves operating in a responsible manner to our employees and other stakeholders, the natural environment and the communities where we operate.

As a responsible employer, we are committed to treating our employees with dignity and respect, providing opportunities for career development and fulfillment, and always placing safety above all else. In the coming year, we will continue to work diligently as we strive to integrate the people, cultures, policies and guidelines of the former Inco with those of our parent company CVRD.

The year 2006 saw significant accomplishments in safety. For instance, year on-year we achieved an eight per cent reduction in disabling injury frequency worldwide in 2006. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese – Toronto PDAC Speech – Strong Markets, Big Challenges

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese at Toronto PDACIntroduction

Thank you for your welcoming introductions. It is a pleasure to be here to address you this afternoon. Over lunch we’ve been reflecting on what a great time it is to be in the mining industry.

When I started in the late 1970s all the way through to the 1990s we saw demand growth rates falling and prices steadily declining in real terms. Many of us can remember 60 cent copper, two dollar nickel and 50 cent aluminum. And this was only a few years back.

As the large attendance at this convention shows, our industry is back in fashion. We are seeing almost unprecedented demand for the metals and minerals we produce.

One of my daughters is studying in New York. She tells me a lot of unlikely people keep asking her about the resources industry. Resource stocks have become cool, even hip, like dot coms were. None of us can remember mining being here before. There’s a whole new ballgame under way, with soaring asset valuations generating a great deal of excitement.

Rio Tinto’s friendly takeover of Alcan last October, along with several other company realignments, are all indicators of how rapidly times are changing as globalisation gathers pace.

Our positive outlook is not unique; certainly BHP Billiton’s conditional bid is a sign of others wanting what we have. While these are the best of times for our industry, the flip side is that it throws up a lot of challenges, which is my theme today. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese – PDAC Speech Brief Summary

Rio Tinto CEO, Tom AlbaneseYesterday, Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese gave a keynote lunch speech on the last day of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention in Toronto, Canada. The following is a brief summary of some of his major points.

One of his first comments was on how pleased Rio Tinto was to expand into Canada with the friendly takeover of Alcan. The company now has 14,800 employees in this country, of which 10,300 are with Rio Tinto Alcan.

Albanese is a strong believer in the commodity super-cycle and feels the American economic problems will not impact the mining industry. “Important as the US is to the world economy, it is not as influential as it once was to the global demand for metals and minerals. We are firmly of the view there is an economic de-linkage between China on one hand and the rest of the world, especially the US, on the other,” said Albanese.

Rio Tinto feels that a possible US recession will only impact Chinese GDP growth by about one per cent or less.

Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto CEO Tom Albanese – An Introduction

Tom Albanese succeeded Leigh Clifford’s seven-year tenure as chief executive of Rio Tinto, in May 2007.

Albanese was born in 1957 and grew up in New Jersey. He attended the University of Alaska in Fairbanks where he received a bachelor’s degree in mineral economics and a master’s degree in mining engineering.

He held a number of positions with Nerco Minerals, and was chief operating officer at the time of its acquisition by Rio Tinto in 1993. Later that year he was appointed general manager of Rio Tinto’s Greens Creek gold, silver, zinc and lead mine on Admiralty Island, Alaska, where he led a team that was working to develop a newly discovered high grade orebody at the mine.

He moved to London in 1995 where he took up the post of Group exploration executive. Three years later he became vice-president of Kennecott Utah Copper at the Bingham Canyon copper mine outside Salt Lake City.

When Rio Tinto acquired a majority holding in North Ltd in Australia in 2000 Albanese transferred to Melbourne as its managing director. In this role he oversaw strategic reviews of North’s operations and the integration of its key businesses into Rio Tinto’s product group structure.

He was appointed chief executive of Rio Tinto’s Industrial Minerals group based in London, with responsibility for the Group’s borates, talc and titanium dioxide operations, before becoming chief executive, Copper and Exploration, in 2004.

Albanese joined the board of directors in March, 2006 and became director, Group Resources in July, with responsibility for Exploration, Operational and Technical Excellence, Human Resources, Communications and External Relations and Global Business Services.

Recently Tom has been involved in developing the joint venture exploration agreement with Norilsk Nickel in Russia, and in Rio Tinto’s investments in La Granja in Peru and Ivanhoe Mining’s Oyu Tolgoi copper project in Mongolia.

Many Challenges for Early Sudbury Prospectors – Gary Peck

Previously it was noted that the lot of a Sudbury prospector was one beset with many difficulties. A. Hoffman Smith, a resident of Sudbury since 1883, had stated in 1894 that Algoma was the most difficult area in North America to prospect.

Having already examined some of the actual problems associated with locating a site, today we will discuss the difficulties associated with securing a site and conclude with a discussion of what, to two early pioneers, was the ideal prospector.

Once a site had been located, a prospector had to secure the prospect. Unfortunately the central office was over 300 miles distant in Toronto. On occasion, his affidavits and applications, once they had arrived, might remain unrecognized for weeks. Continue Reading →

Canada’s PDAC 2008 Convention – The Mining Boom Continues – Stan Sudol

Ontario Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle and PDAC Mining Matters KidsThe annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention is the premier event in the global exploration and mining sector. The Toronto convention, which is always held in the first week of March, is expected to set another attendance record this year with about 20,000 visitors.

As I jump from presentation to event throughout this column I may sound like I have a severe case of “attention deficit disorder. This only reflects the many stories, people, lectures and events at the PDAC which just simply overloads the mind. Combine that with the networking, business deals, and the enormous amounts of partying and the frantic three and a half days can become a blur to any participant. Where to start? Continue Reading →

Interview with New PDAC President Jon G. Baird on Mining Challenges – Stan Sudol

Jon G. Baird - President of the Prospectors and Developers Association of CanadaThe Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) promotes the interests of the Canadian mineral exploration sector to ensure that there is an economically prosperous and competitive mining industry in Canada. A critical part of PDAC’s mandate is to encourage the highest standards of technical, environmental, safety and social practices of the industry both in Canada and internationally.

New Presidents for the Prospectors and Developers Association start their two-year mandates just following the organization’s convention held in Toronto, Canada in early March of each year.

Canadian-born President Jon G. Baird is an engineer who graduated in geophysics from the University of Toronto in 1964. He has a solid background in dealing with international business. Continue Reading →