Sunday 8th December 2019

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Posts tagged ‘manitoba’

PDAC infographics: Highlighting mining’s contributions to Canada’s economy

October 28th, 2019

by Greg Klein | October 28, 2019

Although Canadian miners hold global stature, Canadians don’t always recognize the industry’s importance to our own country. Yet the numbers tell a story that’s not only impressive but vital to understanding an economy in which mining supports one in 29 jobs and provides the largest private sector source of native employment.

To state the case clearly, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada created a series of infographics outlining the industry’s contributions. Check them out yourself by scrolling down to see facts and figures for Canada overall and for each province or territory. Or click on the menu below for a direct link to each jurisdiction.

Canada nationwide | Yukon | Northwest Territories/Nunavut | British Columbia | Alberta | Saskatchewan | Manitoba | Ontario | Quebec | New Brunswick/Nova Scotia | Newfoundland and Labrador/Prince Edward Island

Posted with permission of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada.

 

PDAC infographics Highlighting mining’s contributions to Canada’s economy

 

PDAC Yukon mining infographic

 

PDAC NWT Nunavut mining infographic

 

PDAC BC mining infographic

 

PDAC Alberta mining infographic

 

PDAC Saskatchewan mining infographic

 

PDAC Manitoba mining infographic

 

PDAC Ontario mining infographic

 

PDAC Quebec mining infographic

 

PDAC Nova Scotia New Brunswick mining infographic

 

PDAC Newfoundland Labrador PEI mining infographic

Posted with permission of the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada.

Manitoba NDP gains seats but Conservatives win another majority

September 10th, 2019

by Greg Klein | September 10, 2019

Updated results (with seats at dissolution in parenthesis)

  • Progressive Conservatives: 36 seats, 46.75% of the popular vote (38)

  • New Democratic Party: 18 seats, 31.14% (12)

  • Liberals: 3 seats, 14.37% (4)

  • Independents: 0 seats, 0.19% (1)

Both parties vied for the pro-mining vote. But an 11th-hour New Democratic Party appeal to unite the non-right fizzled as Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives returned to power.

Among other issues, mining came to the fore as both PCs and NDs portrayed themselves as champions of the industry’s workers.

Manitoba NDP gains seats but Conservatives win another majority

On the hustings last July, NDP leader Wab Kinew slammed the incumbents “for ignoring northern Manitoba’s mining crisis and failing to take tangible action to protect northern workers and their families.”

Since Brian Pallister’s party took office in 2016, two-thirds of the province’s operating mines shut down, Kinew stated. “The closures mean that in 2018 there were 500 fewer workers working in the natural resource sector than in 2017, according to Statistics Canada.”

Kinew also charged that the PC government was withholding at least $1 million from the Mining Community Reserve Fund that should be available immediately for the unemployed and their communities.

Meanwhile a government Request for Proposals to develop a mineral readiness strategy for northern Manitoba “is too little, too late for the people of Thompson, Flin Flon and The Pas, who have watched good jobs disappear from their communities,” said Flin Flon NDP incumbent Tom Lindsey, who regained his seat.

The PCs countered by promising to provide a $20-million Manitoba Mineral Development Fund, create formal mining protocols with natives and support “all phases of mineral development in the north.”

Pallister said the NDP government that ruled up to 2016 made the province less attractive for mining. “We cannot afford to go backwards to the NDP whose leader, Wab Kinew, signed the Leap Manifesto, a document that pledges to shut down Manitoba’s mining industry…. We are committed to making Manitoba one of the most mining-friendly jurisdictions in the world and the top mining province or territory in Canada.”

Although next-door Saskatchewan took the world’s first place for government mining policies in a Fraser Institute survey released last February, Manitoba ranked ninth in Canada and 33rd globally.

Pallister, Kinew and Liberal leader Dougald Lamont all won re-election. The Green surge that has disrupted other parts of Canada, however, bypassed Manitoba. Getting 6.38% of the vote, just over 1% more than in 2016, the party elected no one. Kinew failed in his September 9 appeal asking Greens and Liberals to help him defeat the PCs, although his party gained four seats over the 2016 results and six over the dissolution numbers.

Pallister grew up on a farm and became a teacher before founding a Winnipeg financial services company that became Pallister Financial. Kinew moved as a child from Ontario’s Onigaming First Nation to Winnipeg and became a journalist, author, hip-hop artist, producer, media personality and university administrator. Lamont, a writer, editor and policy analyst, has taught Canadian literature and government-business relations at the university level.

Obviously confident of success, Pallister called the election despite the province’s fixed date schedule for October 6, 2020. Threatening Manitobans with fatigue, this election took place on the eve of the official federal campaign.

Site visits for sightseers II

July 23rd, 2019

Experience mining’s past and present in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

by Greg Klein

Our survey of mining museums and historic sites continues east through the prairie provinces. Although some oil and gas sites have made this list, generally not included for reasons of space are museums of mineralogy and museums not mostly dedicated to mining. Keep in mind, though, that local museums in mining regions often merit a mining buff’s attention.

Be sure to confirm opening hours and inquire about footwear or other clothing requirements for industrial sites.

See Part 1 about Yukon and British Columbia, Part 3 about Ontario and Quebec, and Part 4 about the Atlantic provinces.

Alberta

Experience mining’s past and present in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

A family follows in the footsteps of coal miners at Bellevue.
(Photo: Bellevue Underground Mine)

Don a lamp-equipped miner’s helmet and descend into Bellevue, a Crowsnest-region mine that gave up over 13 million tons of coal between 1903 and 1961. Forty-five minutes of the one-hour tour consist of a guided walk (accessible for strollers and wheelchairs) along 300 metres of what was once a 240-kilometre network of tunnels. Dress for temperatures as low as zero, even when it’s summer on surface.

Located in the community of Bellevue in the municipality of Crowsnest Pass, off the Crowsnest (#3) Highway. Access road starts at 2501 213 Street, by the Old Dairy Ice Cream Shoppe parking lot. Tours begin every half hour from 10:00 to 5:00, daily to August 31. During September and October every half hour from 9:00 to 4:00; from November to April group tours by appointment; from May to June 9:00 to 4:00 daily. More info.

 

Maybe four kilometres southeast of Bellevue, Leitch Collieries offers “graceful ruins” of a processing plant for a “glorious failure” of a coal mine that lasted eight years up to 1915. Although the actual mine—beneath a former cattle rustlers’ haven 1.5 kilometres away—is off limits, visitors can learn about the operation from listening posts, storyboards and summer guides.

Located just off the Crowsnest (#3) Highway near the eastern limits of Crowsnest Pass municipality. Open all year but guides are available 10:00 to 5:00 daily until September 2. More info.

 

Experience mining’s past and present in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Coal mining, processing and shipping
infrastructure survives at Brazeau Collieries.
(Photo: Government of Alberta)

Once Alberta’s most productive mine, Brazeau Collieries operated in the Rocky Mountain foothills between 1914 and 1955. Now two different two-hour guided walks take visitors through parts of the 31-hectare site. Tour A checks out workshops, houses and external workings, and also enters the mine shaft. Tour B goes through the 1950s briquette plant.

Tours begin at the Nordegg Heritage Centre on Stuart Street in the town of Nordegg, off Highway #11, about 80 kilometres west of Rocky Mountain House and 60 klicks northeast of Banff National Park. Each tour runs a few times daily, except Wednesdays. More info.

 

The Rockies’ Bow Valley had hosted numerous coal mines since the early 1880s, with the last shutting down in 1979 at Canmore. Mining awareness continues at the Canmore Museum and Geoscience Centre through a number of programs and a permanent exhibit called From Coal to Community.

Located in the Canmore Civic Centre, 902b Seventh Avenue. Open Monday to Friday noon to 4:30 and weekends 11:00 to 4:30 until September 2. Then open to October 14 Monday to Thursday noon to 4:30 and Friday to Sunday 10:00 to 4:30, then to June 1 Monday, Wednesday and Friday noon to 4:30, and weekends 11:00 to 4:30. More info.

 

Further into the Rockies, in fact right inside Banff National Park, the coal town of Bankhead once overshadowed the neighbouring tourist town. Little remains of Bankhead’s 20-year life but mining enthusiasts already visiting the park might take the interpretive trail featuring explanatory signage, exhibits in the transformer building and a mine train. The C-level Cirque Trail passes ventilation shafts and the skeleton of an old mine building, along with unmistakably Banff-style scenery.

More info here and here.

Experience mining’s past and present in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

An historic vehicle takes a trip through history.
(Photo: Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site)

 

The last of 139 operations in the Drumheller Valley Badlands from 1911 to 1979, the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site features numerous buildings, rail lines, machines and other artifacts within a 31-hectare property. In a number of separate tours, visitors look at a mine tunnel and Canada’s last wooden tipple, or they travel around the site via antique locomotive.

Located on Highway #10, 20 minutes southeast of Drumheller. Tours run daily to early October. Click here for schedule updates.

 

Coal was once Alberta’s main extractive commodity but a 1914 natural gas discovery turned attention to another type of fuel and a new petrochemical industry at the Turner Valley Gas Plant. Guided tours, an exhibit hall and historic buildings present western Canada’s first commercial oilfield and processing plant.

Located on Sunset Boulevard SE in the town of Turner Valley. Open weekends and stats from 10:00 to 5:00 until September 2. More info.

Experience mining’s past and present in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

A tribute to tenacity, Leduc #1 followed 133 dry wells.
(Photo: Canadian Energy Museum)

 

Alberta’s energy industry changed again in 1947 when a geyser of oil erupted at Leduc. The nearby Canadian Energy Museum “celebrates Canada’s relationship with energy past, present and future.” A summer exhibit portrays the lives of those who experienced Leduc’s sudden boom, while a fall exhibit will look at the model town of Devon, a boom-time creation.

Located at 50339 Highway #60, Leduc County. Open Monday to Saturday 9:00 to 5:00. Book ahead for individual or group tours.

 

The history, science and technology that unlocked another rich source of fuel comes alive in Fort McMurray’s Oil Sands Discovery Centre. Demonstrations, films and exhibits include an 850-tonne bucketwheel excavator and a 150-tonne truck.

Located at 515 MacKenzie Boulevard, Fort McMurray. Open daily 9:00 to 5:00 until September 2. Off-season hours are Tuesday to Sunday 10:00 to 4:00. More info.

 

Experience mining’s past and present in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Exhibits and mine simulations relate potash from
extraction to application. (Photo: Tourism Saskatchewan)

Saskatchewan

“Just like being in a potash mine without the dust and heat” was how one visitor described it. The Saskatchewan Potash Interpretive Centre showcases the geology, how the stuff gets mined and refined, and what it’s used for. The centre comprises one of a number of attractions in Esterhazy Historical Park.

Located at 701 Park Avenue (Highway #22), Esterhazy. Open daily 9:00 to 5:00 until August 31. For off-season visits, phone 306-745-5406 or 306-745-3942.

 

Manitoba

Heavy duty equipment befitting a hard rock heritage goes on display at the Snow Lake Mining Museum. Exhibits include jackleg drills, battery-powered trammers, rocker shovels, mock-ups of mining drifts and a mine rescue centre.

Located at 163 Poplar Avenue, Snow Lake. Generally open Mondays 10:00 to 5:00, Tuesdays to Saturdays 10:00 to 6:00, and occasional Sundays, until August 30. Phone 204-358-7867 to confirm hours.

Experience mining’s past and present in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Rugged gear reflects the rugged life of northern Saskatchewan’s Snow Lake region.
(Photo: Snow Lake Mining Museum)

See Part 1 about Yukon and British Columbia, Part 3 about Ontario and Quebec, and Part 4 about the Atlantic provinces.

Canadian Greens surge again as party takes second place in PEI election

April 23rd, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 23, 2019

Press time results (seats at dissolution in parentheses)

  • Progressive Conservatives: 12 seats, 36.5% of the popular vote (8)
  • Greens: 8 seats, 30.6% (2)
  • Liberals: 6 seats, 29.5% (16)
  • New Democrats: 0 seats, 3% (0)
  • Independent: 0 seats, 0.4% (1)
  • (Voting in one district was postponed)

Promoting its use of wind energy, Prince Edward Island likes to call itself “Canada’s Green Province.” On April 23 PEI’s government just missed turning Green itself.

In an historic first for Canada, the home of Confederation voted Greens into second place, following a few years of electoral gains for the once-marginal party in other parts of the country. At press time the popular vote showed Dennis King’s Progressive Conservatives just 6% higher than Peter Bevan-Baker’s Green Party, which came in barely ahead of the incumbent Liberals whose leader Wade MacLauchlan lost his district to a Tory. But the seat count gave PCs 12, Greens eight and Liberals six. That raises the question of who will rule the province, and how. Among the possibilities is a Green-supported minority government, as is the case in British Columbia.

Canadian Greens surge again as party takes second place in PEI election

PCs won more seats but Greens flourished in the
land of Green Gables. (Photo: PEI government)

Voting in one of the province’s 27 districts was postponed following the death of Green candidate Josh Underhay and his six-year-old son in a Good Friday canoeing accident.

The Liberals collapsed after three terms in office despite budget surpluses and avowals that PEI had built Canada’s strongest economy. Still the country’s biggest potato producer, the province’s other main resource industry is fishing. Economic diversification includes an aerospace industry that accounts for 20% of provincial exports and a bioscience sector employing over 1,000 people.

With 27 electoral districts for a population estimated at 154,748, most winning candidates draw well under 1,500 votes. At 5,660 square kilometres, the province holds just over one-sixth the landmass of Vancouver Island.

But the Greens’ performance suggests continuing growth in some parts of Canada. Last October the party took three places each on Vancouver’s council, parks board and school board, along with one each on neighbouring Burnaby’s council and school board. In B.C.’s 2017 provincial election, Greens rose from one MLA to three, a feat matched by New Brunswick Greens last September. Ontario elected its first Green MPP in June.

Southern Vancouver Island hosts Canada’s sole Green MP, as well as the three MLAs who hold the balance of power supporting B.C.’s minority NDP government.

The environmentalist-nationalist Québec Solidaire went from three to 10 seats in October’s Quebec election.

Not surprisingly, however, Greens fared poorly in last week’s Alberta election, where the party polled only 0.4%. Should PEI PCs hold onto government, they’ll join Alberta along with Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick in a bloc of provincial conservative governments.

A referendum asking whether PEI should switch to a mixed-member proportional voting system passed in 15 of 27 districts but failed to reach the 17-district threshold.

Miners and explorers pick their spots in Fraser Institute’s latest report card

February 28th, 2019

by Greg Klein | February 28, 2019

Ontario dropped dramatically but an improved performance by the Northwest Territories and Nunavut helped Canada retain its status as the planet’s most mining-friendly country. That’s the verdict of the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2018, a study of jurisdictions worldwide. Some 291 mining and exploration people responded to questions on a number of issues, supplying enough info to rank 83 countries, provinces and states.

Canadian and American jurisdictions dominated the most important section, with four spots each on the Investment Attractiveness Index’s top 10. Combined ratings for all Canadian jurisdictions held this country’s place as the miners’ favourite overall.

The IAI rates both geology and government policies. Respondents typically say they base about 40% of their investment decisions on policy factors and about 60% on geology. Here’s the IAI top 10 with the previous year’s numbers in parentheses:

  • 1 Nevada (3)

  • 2 Western Australia (5)

  • 3 Saskatchewan (2)

  • 4 Quebec (6)

  • 5 Alaska (10)

  • 6 Chile (8)

  • 7 Utah (15)

  • 8 Arizona (9)

  • 9 Yukon (13)

  • 10 Northwest Territories (21)

Here are Canada’s IAI rankings:

  • 3 Saskatchewan (2)

  • 4 Quebec (6)

  • 9 Yukon (13)

  • 10 Northwest Territories (21)

  • 11 Newfoundland and Labrador (11)

  • 12 Manitoba (18)

  • 15 Nunavut (26)

  • 18 British Columbia (20)

  • 20 Ontario (7)

  • 30 New Brunswick (30)

  • 51 Alberta (49)

  • 57 Nova Scotia (56)

Despite Ontario’s fall from grace, the province’s policy ratings changed little from last year. Relative to other jurisdictions, however, the province plummeted. Concerns include disputed land claims, as well as uncertainty about protected areas and environmental regulations.

The Policy Perception Index ignored geology to focus on how government treats miners and explorers. Saskatchewan ranked first worldwide, as seen in these Canadian standings:

The evidence is clear—mineral deposits alone are not enough to attract precious commodity investment dollars. A sound regulatory regime coupled with competitive fiscal policies is key to making a jurisdiction attractive in the eyes of mining investors.—Ashley Stedman,
senior policy analyst,
the Fraser Institute

  • 1 Saskatchewan (3)

  • 9 New Brunswick (13)

  • 10 Quebec (9)

  • 11 Nova Scotia (24)

  • 14 Alberta (16)

  • 18 Newfoundland (10)

  • 24 Yukon (22)

  • 30 Ontario (20)

  • 33 Manitoba (27)

  • 42 NWT (42)

  • 44 B.C. (36)

  • 45 Nunavut (44)

The NWT and Nunavut’s indifferent PPI performance suggests greater appreciation of the territories’ geology boosted their IAI rank.

This year’s study included a chapter on exploration permitting, previously the subject of a separate Fraser Institute study. Twenty-two jurisdictions in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Scandinavia were evaluated for time, transparency and certainty. Cumulatively, the six American states did best, with 72% of explorers saying they got permits within six months, compared with 69% for the eight Canadian provinces, 53% for the two Scandinavian countries (Finland and Sweden) and 34% for the six Australian states.

A majority of respondents working in Canada (56%) said permitting waits had grown over the last decade, compared with 52% in Australia, 45% in Scandinavia and 28% in the U.S.

A lack of permitting transparency was cited as an investment deterrent by 48% of respondents working in Australia, 44% in Canada, 33% in Scandinavia and 24% in the U.S.

Eighty-eight percent of explorers working in the U.S. and Scandinavia expressed confidence that they’d eventually get permits, followed by 77% for Australia and 73% for Canada.

Saskatchewan led Canada for timeline certainty, transparency and, with Quebec, confidence that permits would eventually come through.

As for the IAI’s 10 worst, they include Bolivia, despite some recent efforts to encourage development; China, the only east Asian country in the study; and problem-plagued Venezuela.

  • 74 Bolivia (86)

  • 75 La Rioja province, Argentina (80)

  • 76 Dominican Republic (72)

  • 77 Ethiopia (81)

  • 78 China (83)

  • 79 Panama (77)

  • 80 Guatemala (91)

  • 81 Nicaragua (82)

  • 82 Neuquen province, Argentina (57)

  • 83 Venezuela (85)

Explorers made up nearly 52% of survey respondents, producers just over 25%, consulting companies over 16% and others nearly 8%.

“The evidence is clear—mineral deposits alone are not enough to attract precious commodity investment dollars,” said Ashley Stedman, who co-wrote the study with Kenneth P. Green. “A sound regulatory regime coupled with competitive fiscal policies is key to making a jurisdiction attractive in the eyes of mining investors.”

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2018.

Cross-country events mark Investor Education Month

October 2nd, 2018

by Greg Klein | October 2, 2018

Following the ounce-of-prevention principle, securities commissions across Canada plan a number of initiatives to encourage smarter, safer investment strategies. A month of events begins with World Investor Week, in which Canadian regulators join the International Organization of Securities Commissions from October 1 to 7. Here’s an outline of this country’s events from province to province.

British Columbia
The B.C. Securities Commission will release new research on millennials this month, along with new tools to help people understand their investment returns. The BCSC also plans design updates to InvestRight.org to improve its efficacy.

Cross-country events mark Investor Education Month

Alberta
A digital education campaign called Spot the Odd will raise awareness of the Alberta Securities Commission’s free resources as well as encourage financial literacy and fraud awareness. A number of activities across the province will include Don’t Get Tricked, to be held in Calgary on October 17.  The ASC provides other resources on CheckFirst.ca.  

Saskatchewan
The province’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority has a cryptocurrency awareness campaign slated for Facebook, Twitter, the FCAA website and YouTube. In addition, businesses planning to use cryptocurrencies are invited to discuss their project with the FCAA to learn whether it falls under securities legislation.

Manitoba
The Manitoba Securities Commission will formally launch MoneySmartManitoba.ca to promote financial literacy and planning. The MSC will also take to the Twittersphere with news, tips and strategies for investors.

Ontario
The Ontario Securities Commission plans social media chats on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #IEM2018. The OSC also hosts GetSmarterAboutMoney.ca, plans a telephone townhall for October 10, presents public events around the province with OSC in the Community and further encourages awareness through an investor newsletter.

Participating in World Investor Week helps promote investor education and protection both locally and globally.—Tyler Fleming,
Ontario Securities Commission

Quebec
L’Autorité des marchés financiers will release results of its fourth Financial Awareness Index, measuring the public’s knowledge and use of financial products and services. The AMF will also present the third edition of its Talking Money in Class! contest for high school teachers and take part in the Quebec Seniors’ Fair.

New Brunswick
The Financial and Consumer Services Commission will present online info with special emphasis on initial coin offerings. For more tips on fraud, investors may visit fcnb.ca and follow the commission on Facebook and Twitter. The Fortune online trivia game allows investors to compete with others across the province to learn more and win prizes.

In addition to all that, the Canadian Securities Administrators umbrella group offers its own online tools and resources. The CSA invites the public to take advantage of Investor Education Month and World Investor Week by following @CSA_News on Twitter and @CSA.ACVM on Facebook.

Read: Regulators emphasize innovation and deterrence as financial sanctions fail.

Reaching arctic mines by sea

September 10th, 2018

Operating in northern Canada often means creating your own transportation routes

by Greg Klein

Amid all the controversy over spending $4.5 billion of taxpayers’ money to buy a pipeline project whose $9.3-billion expansion might never go through, Ottawa managed to come up with some good, if relatively minor, infrastructure news. Rehab work will begin immediately on an idled railway connecting with a port that together linked Churchill, Manitoba, with the rest of Canada by land and the world by sea. Should all go to plan the private-public partnership would be one of just a few recent success stories in northern infrastructure.

Operating in northern Canada often means building your own infrastructure

The arctic Quebec riches of Glencore’s Raglan mine
justify an especially roundabout route from mine to market.

Denver-based owner OmniTRAX shut down Churchill’s deep-water port in 2016, blaming the demise of grain shipping through that route. The following year the company said it couldn’t afford rail repairs after a flood washed out sections of the line. Now the railway, port and an associated tank farm come under new ownership in an “historic” deal involving the Missinippi Rail Limited Partnership and the Fairfax Financial Holdings & AGT Limited Partnership.

“The consortium brings together First Nations and community ownership and support, along with significant private sector leadership and global investment capacity, and further, short line rail operation and shipping experience,” Ottawa enthused. As stakeholders heaped praise on the federal government, the source for much of the money seemed clear. But not even the purchase price, let alone details on who pays how much, have been disclosed.

Still the revitalization program, which could re-open the railway this coming winter, heightens the potential of resource projects in northern Manitoba and Nunavut’s Kivalliq region. As such, the apparent P3 success contrasts with a northern infrastructure setback to the northwest.

In April Transport Canada rejected a request to fund the bulk of a $527-million proposal to build another deep-water port at Grays Bay, Nunavut, along with a 227-kilometre year-round road leading to the territory’s former Jericho diamond mine. The Northwest Territories offered to build its own all-weather link, where a winter road now connects Jericho with three operating diamond mines in the NWT’s portion of the Lac de Gras region.

However the federal refusal prompted Nunavut to pull its support for Grays Bay. Undeterred, the Kitikmeot Inuit Association joined the NWT and Nunavut Chamber of Mines at last month’s Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference in Iqaluit to argue the case for Grays Bay and other infrastructure projects. Chamber executive director Tom Hoefer said that with the exception of the NWT’s 97-kilometre Tlicho all-season road, the two territories have gone more than 40 years without government support for major projects. The last came in 1975, when Ottawa partnered with industry to build the world’s first ice‐breaking cargo ship, serving the former Nanisivik and Polaris mines in present-day Nunavut, he said.

With no power grids to our remote mines, [companies] must provide their own diesel-generated power, or wind in the case of Diavik. Being off the highway system, they must build their own roads—whether seasonal ice roads or all-weather roads. The ice road melts every year and must be rebuilt annually for $25 million…. Some of our mines must build their own seaports and all provide their own airports.—Tom Hoefer, executive director
of the NWT and Nunavut
Chamber of Mines

Hoefer compared the Slave geological province, home to deposits of precious and base metals along with rare earths and Lac de Gras diamonds, to the Abitibi. Kivalliq, he added, also offers considerable potential in addition to the regional operations of Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM.

But while mining plays an overwhelming role in the northern economy, he stressed, it’s been up to northern miners to build their own infrastructure.

Baffinland’s Mary River iron ore mine co-owners ArcelorMittal and Nunavut Iron Ore want to replace their hauling road with a 110-kilometre railway to the company’s port at Milne Inlet, where ore gets stockpiled prior to summer shipping to Europe. Now undergoing environmental review, the railway would be part of a proposal to increase extraction from four million tonnes to 6.2 million tonnes annually and finally make the mine profitable. An environmental review already recommended rejection of the increased tonnage proposal, but the final decision rests with Ottawa. (Update: On September 30, 2018, Ottawa approved the increased tonnage application for a one-year trial period.)

The rail line, if approved in its separate application, could be in operation by 2020 or 2021.

That would make it Canada’s only railway north of 60, except for a CN spur line reaching Hay River, NWT, from Alberta and a tourist excursion to Carcross, Yukon, from the Alaska Panhandle town of Skagway. (Also connected by highway to the Yukon, Skagway provides year-round deep-water port facilities for the territory, including Capstone Mining’s (TSX:CS) Minto copper mine.)

Projected for production next year, Amaruq comprises a satellite deposit for Agnico’s Meadowbank gold mine in Nunavut. The company has built a 50-kilometre all-weather road linking Amaruq with Meadowbank’s processing facility and the company’s 110-kilometre all-weather road—by far the territory’s longest road—to Baker Lake. Interestingly that’s Nunavut’s only inland community but the hamlet has seasonal boat access to Chesterfield Inlet on northwestern Hudson Bay. From there, still restricted to the ice-free months, ships can reach Churchill or the St. Lawrence Seaway.

Also primed for 2019 gold production is Agnico’s Meliadine, 290 kilometres southeast of Meadowbank. The company’s 25-kilometre all-weather road connects with summer shipping facilities at Rankin Inlet, 90 klicks south of Chesterfield Inlet.

With its Doris gold operation only five kilometres from the Northwest Passage port of Roberts Bay, TMAC Resources TSX:TMR hopes to mine two more deposits on the same Hope Bay greenstone belt by 2020 and 2022 respectively.

But the most circuitous route from northern mine to market begins in arctic Quebec using trucks, ship, rail and more rail, then another ship. Glencore hauls nickel-copper concentrate about 100 kilometres by road from Raglan to Deception Bay, roughly 2,000 crow-flying kilometres from Quebec City. That’s the next destination, but by water. From there the stuff’s offloaded onto rail for transport to a Sudbury smelter, then back by rail to Quebec City again. Ships then make the trans-Atlantic crossing to Norway.

Related reading:

Canadian exploration spending projected to rise 6%; Manitoba contradicts its Fraser Institute ranking

March 14th, 2018

by Greg Klein | March 14, 2018

It’s hardly a boom time scenario but mineral exploration within Canada should see a healthy 6% spending increase this year, according to recent federal government figures. Info supplied by companies shows an estimated total of $2.238 billion planned for exploration and deposit appraisal this year, compared with $2.111 billion in 2017. The second annual increase in a row, it’s far less dramatic than last year’s 29.6% leap.

Canadian exploration spending projected to rise 6% Manitoba contradicts its Fraser Institute ranking

The Natural Resources Canada survey compares preliminary numbers for metals and non-metals from last year with projected budgets for 2018.

Together Quebec and Ontario account for more than half the spending, with la belle province getting 27.3% of last year’s total and 29.3% of this year’s, while Ontario got 24.9% and 26.5%.

Some runners-up were British Columbia (12.2% of Canada’s total in 2017 and 13% in 2018), Saskatchewan (9% and 7.4%) and Yukon (7.8% and 7.7%).

Proportionately Manitoba enjoyed the greatest increase, a 42% jump from $38.5 million to $54.7 million, in a performance at odds with the province’s most recent Fraser Institute ranking. Less spectacularly but still impressive, the figures show Quebec climbing 13.9% from $576.5 million to $656.7 million. British Columbia gets a 12.9% increase from $257.7 million to $290.9 million, and Ontario 12.7% from $526.2 million to $593 million.

Some disappointments include Saskatchewan, falling 13% from $189.9 million to $165.1 million. Nunavut plunged 34.6% from $169.3 million to $110.7 million.

Nunavut has to address its land access issues. In the NWT, work on the proposed Mineral Resources Act and other legislation must be to improve the investment climate. Settling long-outstanding land claims and reducing the over 30% of lands off limits to development would also help, as would proactive marketing by indigenous governments.—Gary Vivian, president, NWT and
Nunavut Chamber of Mines

Addressing the territory’s performance along with its neighbour’s 10% drop, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Gary Vivian said, “Nunavut has to address its land access issues. In the NWT, work on the proposed Mineral Resources Act and other legislation must be to improve the investment climate. Settling long-outstanding land claims and reducing the over 30% of lands off limits to development would also help, as would proactive marketing by indigenous governments.”

Combining figures for mine complex development with exploration and deposit appraisal, this year’s projected country-wide total rises 8.9% to $14.9 billion, the highest number in the four years of data released in this survey.

Commodities getting the most money are precious metals, although at a nearly 1.5% decrease to $1.35 billion this year from $1.37 billion last year. A more drastic drop was uranium, down 23.4% to $103.7 million. Base metals saw a 38.4% surge to $406.9 million. Coal’s projected for a 31.1% boost to $70.8 million.

Exploration and deposit appraisal expenses considered for the survey include field work, engineering, economics, feasibility studies, the environment, land access and associated general expenses. Natural Resources Canada did not consider work for extensions of known reserves.

Recent studies from PricewaterhouseCoopers showed a marked improvement in junior mining company finances and a relatively stable, if cautious, ambience for more senior Canadian companies.

Covering a different period with different methodology than Natural Resources Canada, a study by EY, the B.C. government and the Association for Mineral Exploration calculated a 20% increase in B.C. exploration spending from 2016 to 2017.

See the Natural Resources Canada survey here.

Step-out drilling grows potential of Rockcliff Metals’ historic zinc deposit in Manitoba

December 20th, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 20, 2017

Step-out drilling grows potential of Rockcliff Metals’ historic zinc deposit in Manitoba

A late autumn drill campaign on one of the priority properties in Rockcliff Metals’ (TSXV:RCLF) extensive Snow Lake portfolio shows potential to expand the historic Bur zinc-polymetallic deposit. Assays from 10 step-out holes totalling 3,250 metres brought zinc grades up to 3.18%, with 7.2% zinc-equivalent, over 4.85 metres. Another star result showed 1.76% zinc, with 5.9% zinc-equivalent, over 6.91 metres.

Each hole intersected the Bur VMS horizon, a potentially 8,000-metre-long mineralized area hosting the historic deposit adjacent and to the northeast of the drill targets, stated president/CEO Ken Lapierre. “The potential to identify additional resources along this important horizon is considered excellent and will be the focus of upcoming drill programs.”

Some highlights from the most recent campaign show:

Hole RBU002

  • 1.76% zinc, 0.96% copper, 0.59% lead, 0.26 g/t gold and 32.76 g/t silver, for 5.9% zinc-equivalent over 6.91 metres, starting at 269.65 metres in downhole depth
  • (including 0.99% zinc, 2% copper, 0.86% lead, 0.57 g/t gold and 56.35 g/t silver, for 9.1% zinc-equivalent over 2.43 metres)

RBU005

  • 1.65% zinc, 1.84% copper, 0.15% lead, 0.05 g/t gold and 15.32 g/t silver, for 6.8% zinc-equivalent over 4.25 metres, starting at 302.82 metres
  • (including 0.5% zinc, 6.18% copper, 0.08% lead, 0.04 g/t gold and 31.31 g/t silver, for 16.9% zinc-equivalent over 0.96 metres)

RBU007

  • 3.18% zinc, 1.41% copper, 0.13% lead, 0.04 g/t gold and 13.25 g/t silver, for 7.2% zinc-equivalent over 4.85 metres, starting at 231.15 metres
  • (including 5.38% zinc, 1.95% copper, 0.2% lead, 0.05 g/t gold and 15.62 g/t silver, for 10.9% zinc-equivalent over 2.85 metres)

True widths weren’t available.

Dating to 2007, Bur’s historic, non-43-101 estimate used a zinc-equivalent cutoff of 5%:

  • indicated: 1.05 million tonnes averaging 8.6% zinc, 1.9% copper, 12.1 g/t silver and 0.05 g/t gold

  • inferred: 302,000 tonnes averaging 9% zinc, 1.4% copper, 9.6 g/t silver and 0.08 g/t gold

Rockcliff’s 100% earn-in from Hudbay Minerals TSX:HBM requires $3 million in spending over four years. Hudbay owns a copper-zinc concentrator about 22 kilometres by road from Bur.

Earlier this month Rockcliff released a resource update for its Talbot flagship, another VMS property in the company’s roughly 45,000-hectare central Manitoba Snow Lake portfolio. The package includes gold projects too. Last month the company reported 17 geophysical anomalies over the Laguna property, site of a former gold mine.

With three of the projects active, Rockcliff’s entire portfolio sits within trucking distance of two Hudbay processing facilities. Included are two copper-polymetallic deposits with resource estimates, three zinc deposits with historic, non-43-101 estimates, five gold projects and a non-core zinc project recently optioned to Nevada Zinc TSXV:NZN.

Rockcliff closed an oversubscribed private placement of $1.35 million in August.

Read more about Rockcliff Metals here and here.

Rockcliff Metals boosts its Talbot copper-polymetallic resource in Manitoba

December 8th, 2017

by Greg Klein | December 8, 2017

Among a number of active projects in the company’s Snow Lake portfolio, the Talbot deposit stands out as Rockcliff Metals’ (TSXV:RCLF) flagship. Now an updated resource has the company increasingly enthused while work continues towards further expansion.

The first update since January 2016 for the 51%-optioned property increases tonnage and contained amounts for an inferred category showing:

  • 4.23 million tonnes averaging 1.61% copper, 1.4% zinc, 1.77 g/t gold and 27.96 g/t silver for 150 million pounds copper, 130.4 million pounds zinc, 241,000 ounces gold and 3.8 million ounces silver
Rockcliff Metals boosts its Talbot copper-polymetallic resource in Manitoba

Based on 84 holes totalling 44,800 metres, the estimate uses a copper-equivalent cutoff of 2%. The copper-equivalent grade comes to 3.4%.

“The deposit remains open in all directions and is robust and predictable in all aspects including the geology, the estimation, classification and reporting assumptions,” said president/CEO Ken Lapierre. “Last year’s geophysics indicated significant upside potential to discover more VMS (copper, gold, zinc, silver) mineralization at the West Talbot deep conductive plate. Our present geophysical survey will focus on this large untested one-kilometre-by-one-kilometre anomaly, located immediately below and in the footwall of the deposit.”

Talbot has more drilling planned for 2018.

Featuring both gold and VMS projects, Rockcliff’s Snow Lake portfolio hosts five gold properties, two copper-polymetallic deposits with resource estimates and three zinc deposits with historic, non-43-101 estimates. All sit within trucking distance of two Hudbay Minerals TSX:HBM processing plants.

Reporting on the Laguna gold project last week, Rockcliff announced geophysics had located 17 high-priority anomalies, while winter plans include more surveying. A fall drill program at the Bur zinc-copper project had around 3,000 metres scheduled to upgrade the historic resource.

Read more about Rockcliff Metals here and here.