Tuesday 18th June 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘ontario’

Conscription, colonization, a gold-backed buck: Some Conrad Black remedies for Canada

June 3rd, 2019

by Greg Klein | June 3, 2019

Here’s a guy who wants to make this country a “world-important nationality”—in other words, to put Canada on the map. Yes, a country that makes “unassuming” a euphemism for “sub-mediocre” just might have hope after all. But Canadians would have to follow Conrad Black’s plan, Conrad Black says.

Conscription, colonization, a gold-backed buck Some Conrad Black remedies for Canada

Not at all modest in his proposals, the former Canadian who renounced his citizenship outlines them in his most recent book, The Canadian Manifesto. Despite zero likelihood of finding acceptance, the ideas do offer a peculiar interest.

Forced military service is one of them, as is a Canadian colonial empire in the Caribbean. Of interest to goldbugs, however, is Black’s “sensible, radical and imaginative” alternative to the northern peso: “Canada should tie the value of its currency to a combination of the prices of gold, oil, and a consumer shopping basket in equal thirds.”

Sounds interesting, as far as it goes. But that’s as far as it goes. Black provides no additional info.

As for Canada’s resource industries, Black lambastes the “faddish environmental trends” holding them back.

“All that we have that the world needs are natural resources. More than forty per cent of the stock values on the Toronto Stock Exchange are extractive industries that operate in Canada. The banking cartel lives largely off the resources companies, which feed all heavy, and most light industry, and the legal and accounting and consulting professions live off the banks and their principal clients.”

Speaking of the TSX, Black says it suffers from over-regulation. He suggests one province, preferably Alberta, simplify its securities system. Provinces that follow its example “would almost immediately become serious international financial centres, and not just, as Canadian stock exchanges have always been, non-essential eddies of local resource promotion and small-capital start-ups and the odd site of a great international and inter-listed company. Canada could easily surpass Singapore, Hong Kong, and any other centre—except New York and London and perhaps Tokyo and Shanghai—as a world leader in modern securities issuance and trading.”

A capricious and pestilential tumour on the entire Canadian securities industry.—Conrad Black ponders the
Ontario Securities Commission

As for that “sociopathic securities regulator” looming over Toronto, “an added benefit would be the humbling of the Ontario Securities Commission, which periodically tries to shoulder aside the other provinces and become a national regulator, and has become a capricious and pestilential tumour on the entire Canadian securities industry, such, in its stunted condition, as it is.”

Looking at other aspects of the Canadian malaise, Black challenges the Charter of Rights, under which “practically every judge in Canada is now cock-a-hoop imposing his or her own idiosyncratic versions of legislation.

“[….] Pierre Trudeau himself told me, nearly twenty years after the patriation of the Constitution and promulgation of the Charter, that he never intended any such disorderly rout as had already begun to tumble out of the many courts and jurisdictions in his last years.”

Compulsory service, military and civil, augments Black’s plan to tackle unemployment and impress the world. “We need at least 100,000 more people in the armed forces,” he insists.

How on earth would Ottawa sell such an idea? By making it sexy, Black suggests: “The military could also be kitted out in far more attractive uniforms, by Canadian designers, and that would help instil greater pride in military service, which the distinguished military traditions of Canada certainly justify. One need only look at YouTube videos of Italian carabinieri, or crisply professional and stylishly clad contemporary Chinese female soldiers to see how easily the martial career, even if used chiefly for assisting in humanitarian disasters, could be made more attractive.”

A measure that would quickly expand the population would be the absorption of parts of the West Indies.—Conrad Black advocates Canadian colonialism

Of course Black’s “world-important nationality” would need many more people. One tactic of population expansion could be territorial expansion with “the absorption of parts of the West Indies.” As examples he mentions Bahamas, Barbados, Antigua and Bermuda, along with Haiti, “already a significant contributor to such increases as there are in the French-speaking population of Quebec.”

Black examines other topics including health care, culture and education, the latter problem sometimes evident in this document’s editorial standards. The book can be unintentionally entertaining for its curmudgeonly comments as well as its impractical boldness. But, even if it proposes to substitute one wretched dystopia with another, The Canadian Manifesto does offer a serious perspective on a country that’s lost its way, if it ever had one. This could be just the thing to read on a Canada Day trip to the States.

Read Mark Steyn’s comments on Conrad Black’s prosecution.

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.

Pistol Bay Mining branches out to Nevada with vanadium acquisition

April 10th, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 10, 2019

Despite historic reports of what’s now a sought-after energy metal, this former mining region has never been systematically explored for vanadium. Pistol Bay Mining TSXV:PST hopes to change that by purchasing a new property in Clark County, Nevada.

Pistol Bay Mining branches out to Nevada with vanadium acquisition

Known collectively as the Vanadium Claims Group, the 397-hectare property covers two groups of claims, each about one by 1.6 kilometres hosting former mines and historic reports of vanadium. U.S. Geological Survey info from the 1920s states that one of the former mines shipped 14 tons of material to the American Vanadium Company, although no data on content or grade was available. The USGS also stated that outcrops within the current VCG project showed vanadium mineralization. 

Other occurrences of vanadium mineralization noted by the USGS suggest the potential for district-scale, low-cost exploration, as well as lead-zinc-silver byproduct potential, commented Pistol Bay president/CEO Charles Desjardins.

“We’re very excited about this new project and look forward to getting boots on the ground this month for sampling and other field work,” he said.

The price comes to an initial $15,000 (all amounts in U.S. dollars), $50,000 and eight million shares on TSXV approval and another $100,000 six months later. The vendor retains a 2% royalty, 75% of which Pistol Bay may buy for $1 million.

In northwestern Ontario, the company holds the largest land package in the Confederation Lake greenstone belt. The claims host several historic estimates as well as a 2017 43-101 resource for the Arrow zone. Using a base case 3% zinc-equivalent cutoff, the estimate outlines an inferred category:

  • 2.1 million tonnes averaging 5.78% zinc, 0.72% copper, 19.5 g/t silver and 0.6 g/t gold, for a zinc-equivalent grade of 8.42%

Contained amounts come to:

  • 274 million pounds zinc, 34.3 million pounds copper, 1.33 million ounces silver and 41,000 ounces gold

Results from last year’s three-hole 1,555-metre drill program “confirm the consistent nature of mineralization in the Arrow zone and give us more confidence in the existing mineral resource estimate,” Desjardins stated at the time. Assays reached as high as 5.15% zinc-equivalent over 12.85 metres.

Mining ministers Greg Rickford of Ontario and Bronwyn Eyre of Saskatchewan speak out on Ottawa’s proposed Impact Assessment Act

April 1st, 2019

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Maureen Jensen of the Ontario Securities Commission comments on $7.5 million awarded to tipsters

March 18th, 2019

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Carbon tax, Bill C-69 prompt provincial dissent at Ottawa’s PDAC announcement

March 3rd, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 3, 2019

PDAC’s opening day might have seemed like a good time for the feds to express a concern for jobs that transcends SNC-Lavalin. But a hoped-for unanimous show of provincial and territorial support fell apart when Ontario and Saskatchewan objected. As long as the Liberals push their carbon tax and Bill C-69, the two provinces argued, the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan means little.

Carbon tax, Bill C-69 prompt provincial dissent at Ottawa’s PDAC announcement

Although lacking details, federal Minister of Natural Resources
Amarjeet Sohi promotes the CMMP at PDAC.
(Photo: Natural Resources Canada)

In fact the “plan” remains a notion waiting for substance. Bandied about since an August 2017 meeting of federal, provincial and territorial mining ministers, the CMMP goes to another ministerial conference for further discussion in July. That, says Ottawa, will be “the forum to discuss actions to realize this vision across the six strategic directions.”

In the meantime, the industry has to settle for platitudes on the half-dozen topics: encouraging economic development and competitiveness; increasing native participation; protecting the environment; building science, technology and innovation; benefiting communities; and fostering global leadership.

“Ontario and Saskatchewan agree with some of the elements covered in the CMMP,” said a joint statement from ministers Greg Rickford of Ontario and Bronwyn Eyre of Saskatchewan. But they expressed concern “about how misguided federal policy will stand in the way of progress.”

Ottawa needs to address trade challenges so Saskatchewan uranium and Ontario metals “can access international markets in a transparent, stable and effective fashion,” the ministers stated.

They promised “we will do everything in our power to protect our provinces’ industries from the job-killing carbon tax that the federal government seeks to impose.”

As for the proposed Bill C-69, it “has the potential to use environmental assessments as weapons against future development. This short-sighted approach by the federal government will curb development efforts and prevent major development projects from getting off the ground.

“Until we address these issues that are hurting Canadian families, businesses and the national economy, Ontario and Saskatchewan cannot endorse the CMMP.”

Still, other jurisdictions endorsed the idea. So did the Mining Association of Canada. President/CEO Pierre Gratton praised the CMMP for its six proposed areas of improvement.

Gratton also noted Ottawa’s five-year renewal of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit, as well as encouraging announcements from Newfoundland and British Columbia. “We look forward to seeing the full implementation of federal, provincial and territorial action plans in the coming months.”

According to federal data, 2017 mineral production totalled about $44 billion. The country produces some 60 minerals and metals at 200 active mines and 7,000 pits and quarries. Mining, exploration and related activities produce 19% of Canada’s domestic exports, 5% of GDP and 634,000 direct and indirect jobs.

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.

Republic of Mining commentator Stan Sudol addresses public confusion about First Nations and the Ring of Fire

January 18th, 2019

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OSC invites suggestions on reducing regulatory red tape

January 17th, 2019

by Greg Klein | January 16, 2019

Some “outdated or unduly burdensome” requirements could be mitigated as the Ontario Securities Commission broadens discussion on reform. By canvassing written comments up to March 1 and scheduling a March 27 roundtable discussion, the OSC hopes to find “short, medium and long-term actions to reduce regulatory burden.”

OSC invites suggestions on reducing regulatory red tape

Some specific topics include:

  • Finding operational or procedural changes to make interaction with the OSC easier or less costly

  • Providing greater certainty on regulatory requirements or outcomes

  • Streamlining or reducing forms and filings

  • Addressing unnecessary or unduly burdensome filings

  • Providing OSC info more efficiently

Respondents can reply via online form by March 1 and also indicate whether they want to take part in the March 27 roundtable. The OSC website will post more info including an agenda and list of participants in the coming weeks.

Following the roundtable, suggestions go to a Burden Reduction Task Force created in November, which will also consider the regulatory regimen from an investor’s perspective. Among issues to be considered is the use of plain language in regulatory disclosure.

“Our markets and businesses are better able to compete, innovate and flourish when we lighten the regulatory load while maintaining strong protections for Ontario investors,” said OSC chairperson/CEO Maureen Jensen.

IBM Canada partner Mark Fawcett comments on Goldcorp’s AI success at Red Lake

January 11th, 2019

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