Saturday 23rd February 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘ontario’

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Some “outdated or unduly burdensome” requirements could be mitigated as the Ontario Securities Commission broadens discussion on reform.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

…Read more

Infographic: Igniting innovation

January 2nd, 2019

Infographic by Natural Resources Canada | text by Visual Capitalist

Infographic Igniting innovation

 

Canada’s mineral sector is at the forefront of technological innovation. Industry experts, academics, government scientists and engineers generate the innovations to ensure the discovery and development of mineral deposits, and the operation and closure of mines.

These innovations support jobs, communities and businesses and are leading the way in reducing and improving the industry’s environmental impact and providing the necessary minerals to build a sustainable future.

The above infographic comes from the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan and it draws out the use of technology and innovation at every stage of mining.

Innovation and discovery

The first stage of mining is discovering sources of minerals. It is not easy but with advances in exploration techniques geologists are uncovering the minerals for the future, today.

The future will require uncommon types of mineral deposits, such as chromite and rare earth elements. Canada is host to the Ring of Fire chromite deposits in northern Ontario and several well-advanced REE exploration projects to meet demand.

In order to improve the discovery of these deposits, the mineral sector deploys the latest in technology to improve the chances of making the next discovery. Field equipment such as laser-induced spectrometers detect the composition of minerals while in the field.

However, the majority of mineral discoveries will be deeper in the Earth’s crust. This requires collaborative data to identify patterns in complex geology at depth.

The Canadian government sponsors the Targeted Geoscience Initiative, a comprehensive source for information on ore systems throughout Canada. Geologists will be able to contrast and compare mineral resources across the country to develop new insights into economic deposits.

Mapping and mineral analysis generate large amounts of data and the patterns of ore systems. New deposits are not immediately apparent from this data. Through the application of machine learning and computer processing power, geologists could identify new sources of minerals.

Data will drive this initiative as 3D mapping technology and geophysical modelling provide the inputs to uncover ore deposits. These technologies can also lead to more efficient and effective mineral exploration and could extend the life of currently operating mines by identifying new zones for mining.

Finding the resources is the first step. The next is mining.

Innovation for productivity

Once a mine is built on top of an economic deposit, it is time to start moving the rocks.

Using alternative energy such as hydrogen fuel cells and battery-powered vehicles could reduce greenhouse gases of an underground mine by up to 25%.

The knock-on effects go beyond reducing the mineral sector’s carbon footprint, but alternative energy offers cost and productivity savings, as well as improved workers’ health.

Once equipment brings the ore to the mill, it is sorted using high-pulse microwave technologies and sensors that can improve crushing and milling.

Extracting minerals through comminution (the process of crushing or grinding rock into smaller pieces) is the most energy-intensive stage of the mining process. Up to 53% of a mine site’s electricity consumption is due to crushing and milling.

Technological innovation in mine management is not limited to the underground or the earth’s surface. GPS satellites will connect and monitor the mine of the future.

High-accuracy GPS can vastly improve mining safety, productivity, efficiency and environmental management by enabling increasingly precise and automated operations.

Areas that will benefit from GPS will include:

  • Road maintenance

  • Drill guidance

  • Surveying

  • Fleet management

  • Autonomous vehicles

Efficient management of mines during operation will improve the restoration of the ecosystem after mining ends.

Innovation for sustainability and resilience

Mining temporarily changes its surrounding environment but its products supply the critical material for a sustainable future. Innovation and technology will provide the greatest benefits to Earth’s other valuable natural resources, its water, land and communities, by minimizing impact.

Water is crucial to mining and is required at every step of the process. Mining operations deploy successful water recycling to minimize usage and the release of potentially contaminated water to the environment.

Canadian mines generate between 200 and 250 million tonnes of tailings waste annually. New mining techniques can extract and recycle valuable minerals from these tailings.

The critical and final stage of mining is ecosystem restoration. Returning the environment of a mine site to its natural state will help build resilience to the effects of climate change.

Industry experts and academia regularly collaborate to develop and update the best practice guidelines to maintain and monitor the high environmental standards all Canadians benefit from.

Coming full circle

At every stage of the life of a mine, innovation will improve mining’s environmental and economic footprint to deliver tangible benefits to all Canadians.

Posted with permission of Visual Capitalist.

Read more about Natural Resources Canada’s Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan.

Updated: DRC’s increasing instability heightens critical minerals concern

December 31st, 2018

This story has been updated, expanded and moved here.

B.C. votes down Greens’ voting reform proposal, but do Greens need it?

December 20th, 2018

by Greg Klein | December 20, 2018

If a new electoral system might have reduced British Columbian voter apathy, not many voters showed interest. Only 42.6% of registered voters bothered to take part in a mail-in referendum on proportional representation and 61.3% of them rejected change. Results were released late December 20, after the voting deadline ended December 7.

British Columbians vote down Greens’ voting reform proposal

With or without electoral changes, Greens increasingly
make inroads in B.C. and some other parts of Canada.

B.C.’s ruling NDP put the matter to test as part of an agreement with the province’s three-MLA Green Party, whose legislative support is necessary to the minority government. In theory proportional representation would give smaller parties like the Greens a better chance of electing members.

Voters who did want change had three options: Mixed Member Proportional, used in Germany, New Zealand and Scotland; Rural-Urban Proportional, a never-tried approach that combines MMP and another system that’s used in Ireland, Australia and Malta; and Dual Member Proportional, a made-in-Canada system that’s used nowhere.

Of those who marked that part of the ballot, 41.24% chose MMP, 29.31% RUP and 29.45% DMP. But First Past the Post prevailed.

Small parties might be disappointed but Greens in B.C. and elsewhere in Canada have been increasing their presence under the current rules. B.C.’s Greens went from one MLA to three in the May 2017 election, holding the balance of power in a very tight result.

In June of this year Ontario elected its first Green MPP. Three months later the New Brunswick legislature increased its Green presence from one to three in an election where the new People’s Alliance also won three seats. Nevertheless electoral reform supporters said the top two parties’ standings showed the need for proportional representation. The Progressive Conservatives won 22 seats with 31.89% of the vote, while the incumbent Liberals won 21 seats with 37.8%. The Liberals managed to retain the government position for over five weeks until a non-confidence vote put the PCs into precarious power.

One week later Québec Solidaire, a new party sometimes described as separatist-environmentalist, won 10 seats in that province’s National Assembly. Three of the four elected Quebec parties support proportional representation.

Prince Edward Island has one Green MLA, while Canada’s sole Green MP represents a B.C. riding.

Greens surged to prominence in Vancouver last October, electing three each to the city’s council, parks board and school board. Neighbouring Burnaby elected its first Green councillor. New municipal electoral rules did play a role, however, by hindering the funding advantages that larger parties once held.

Back to the referendum, the NDP officially supported the Green stance on proportional representation but an NDP promoter ran the official anti-PR campaign. The group quickly pulled a sensationalist TV ad that suggested PR would bring goose-stepping Nazis into the legislature.

If the NDP appeared ambivalent, it might have been because FPTP has historically served the party well. In 1996 the NDP won a majority of provincial seats with 39.5% of the vote, although the rival BC Liberals won 41.8%. And arguably the NDP has more to fear than the BC Liberals from rising Green power.

In a 2005 B.C. referendum, PR got 57.7% support but failed to meet the 60% minimum requirement. B.C. PR support fell to 39.09% in a 2009 referendum.

The Ring of Fire: Some clarification and context from Stan Sudol

December 4th, 2018

by Greg Klein | December 4, 2018

Urban journalists hundreds of kilometres away might not get it, but regional opposition to Ring of Fire development is anything but unanimous. That’s emphasized in a recent post by Republic of Mining commentator Stan Sudol: Not all the region’s native bands oppose development. Those that do, moreover, have traditional territories outside the proposed mining areas.

The Ring of Fire Some clarification and context from Stan Sudol

“As with non-Aboriginal society, First Nations do not speak with one voice,” he points out. Two of five regional chiefs got considerable news coverage by criticizing a proposed road that would connect the provincial highway system with the mineral-rich region. Those chiefs represent the Eabametoong and Neskantaga bands, both with traditional territories outside the Ring of Fire.

“In fact, the Eabametoong reserve is a little over 170 kilometres southwest of the proposed first mine in the Ring of Fire—Noront Resources’ Eagle’s Nest underground nickel-copper mine—while Neskantaga is about 130 kilometres in the same direction.”

Concerns about a mine accident affecting water on their territories are unfounded, maintains Sudol, probably Canada’s most incisive mining commentator. “Eabametoong and Neskantaga are both up-river so if some problem did occur—and the risk for this is very, very low—neither community would be affected as the water flows eastward toward James Bay.”

Three other regional native communities consist of Nibinamik, Marten Falls and Webequie. The latter two have environmental assessments underway to study the proposed highway link. “And again it must be clearly stated the known Ring of Fire mineral discoveries and the proposed north/south road are on the traditional territories of Marten Falls and Webequie,” Sudol notes. “There are some overlapping claims between these two communities but they are not letting that issue stand in the way of the proposed north/south road.”

That’s not surprising when, as Marten Falls Chief Bruce Achneepineskum said last month, “This project is an opportunity to move forward on addressing many socio-economic needs of the community, including access to more affordable food and housing, access to training, education, health care and employment and access to neighbouring communities.”

Read Basic facts about the Ring of Fire including FNs’ traditional territories, by Stan Sudol.

Goldcorp credits artificial intelligence with forecasting first-hole results

November 27th, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 27, 2018

Assays are pending but IBM’s Watson AI technology has already helped human geologists choose drill locations “with the first target yielding the predicted mineralization at the expected depth,” Goldcorp TSX:G announced. Drilling continues at other AI-suggested spots on the northwestern Ontario Red Lake project.

Goldcorp credits AI with forecasting first-hole results

Goldcorp hopes a joint AI/human program
will extend Red Lake’s mine life. (Photo: Goldcorp)

Having collaborated with IBM since 2017, the miner said Watson scrutinized previous info using spatial analytics, machine learning and predictive models “to develop geological extrapolations in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional methods.” The project’s data bank goes back 80 years.

“We are using accelerated computing power for complex geospatial queries that can harmonize geological data from an entire site on a single platform,” stated IBM Canada partner Mark Fawcett. “This is the first time this solution has been ever used, which makes this project all the more significant.”

Earlier this month Goldcorp’s use of AI won an Ingenious Award from the Information Technology Association of Canada in recognition of “excellence and innovation in the use of information and communications technology.” At the time Goldcorp noted that geologists “could spend up to 80% of their analytical time searching for and preparing data, and only 20% interpreting and analyzing the data. Watson’s big advantage over conventional computer systems is its ability to ingest and process massive amounts of data faster and more accurately than conventional systems.”

Having given up 29 million gold ounces since 1949, Red Lake currently hosts proven and probable reserves totalling 2.17 million ounces. Two underground operations on the complex are expected to produce 235,000 ounces this year. But the company emphasized Watson’s potential for finding new areas of mineralization on the 42,000-hectare property.

Along with other sponsors, Goldcorp presents the third annual #DisruptMining award on March 3 at PDAC. The winning proposal brings its technological innovator a US$1-million investment or contract. Last year’s winner was Acoustic Zoom, a geophysics company specializing in innovative seismic work. Two companies shared the previous year’s prize, with Cementation Canada getting the $650,000 portion for a process of transporting ore to surface using a pump-driven pipeline loop. KORE Geosystems won the remainder for its proposal to apply AI to geoscientific data.

#DisruptMining was preceded by the Online Gold Rush Challenge hosted by Integra Gold (since taken over by Eldorado Gold TSX:ELD) at PDAC in 2016. SGS Geostat won $500,000 for its innovative analysis of 75 years of data from Integra’s Sigma/Lamaque project in Quebec’s Abitibi region.

Goldcorp president/CEO David Garofalo has told PDAC, “In the future, every mining company will be a technology company.”

Drill-ready money

November 19th, 2018

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

by Greg Klein

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Osisko Mining’s (TSX:OSK) Windfall project offers one reason why
Quebec leads Canada and gold leads metals for exploration spending.
(Photo: Osisko Mining)

 

Blockchain might offer intrigue and cannabis promises a buzz, but mineral exploration still attracts growing interest. A healthy upswing this year will bring Canadian projects a nearly 8% spending increase to $2.36 billion, the industry’s highest amount since 2012. According to recently released data, that’s part of an international trend that puts Canada at the top of a worldwide resurgence.

The $2.36 billion allotted for Canadian exploration and deposit appraisal forms just a small part of the year’s total mineral resource development investments, which see $11.86 billion committed to this country, up from $10.61 billion in 2017.

Those numbers come from Natural Resources Canada, which surveyed companies between April and September on their spending intentions within the country for 2018. The $2.36-billion figure includes engineering, economic and feasibility studies, along with environmental work and general expenses.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Trial extraction for Pure Gold Mining’s (TSXV:PGM)
Madsen feasibility studies encourages interest in
Ontario’s Red Lake region. (Photo: Pure Gold Mining)

Of that number, Quebec edges out Ontario for first place with $623.1 million in spending this year, 26.4% of Canada’s total. Ontario’s share comes to $567.5 million or 24%. Last year’s totals came to $573.9 million for Quebec and $539.7 million for its western neighbour. Prior to that, however, Ontario held a comfortable lead year after year.

Third-place British Columbia gets $335.5 million or 14.2% of Canada’s total this year, an increase from $302.6 million in 2017.

On a per-capita basis, Yukon’s enjoying an exceptional year with an expected $249.4 million or 10.6% of Canada’s total. That’s the territory’s second substantial increase in a row, following $168.7 million the previous year.

Saskatchewan dips this year to $187.2 million (7.9%) from $191.2 million in 2017. But the Fraser Institute’s last survey of mining jurisdictions placed the province first in Canada and second worldwide.

Nunavut drops too, for the third consecutive time, to $143.9 million (6.1%), compared with $177 million in 2017. The Northwest Territories’ forecast declines to $86.2 million (3.7%) this year after $91.2 million last year.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Among companies leading Yukon’s exceptional performance
is White Gold TSXV:WGO, with substantial backing from
Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM and Kinross Gold TSX:K.
(Photo: White Gold)

Especially troubling when contrasted with Yukon’s performance, data for the other territories prompted NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Gary Vivian to call on federal, territorial and native governments and boards to help the industry “by creating certainty around land access, by reducing unnecessary complexity and by addressing the higher costs they face working in the North. Sustaining and growing future mining benefits depend on it.”

The pursuit of precious metals accounts for $1.5 billion in spending, nearly 64% of Canadian exploration. Ontario gets almost 31% of the precious metals attention, with 27% going to Quebec.

Base metals, mostly in Quebec, B.C. and Ontario, get 15.5% of the year’s total. Uranium gets 5%, almost entirely in Saskatchewan. Diamonds get nearly 4%, most of it going to the NWT and Saskatchewan. But nearly 11% of this year’s total goes to a category vaguely attributed to other metals, along with coal and additional non-metals.

Getting back to this year’s exploration total ($2.36 billion, remember?), senior companies commit themselves to nearly 55%, compared with nearly 51% last year. But the juniors’ share remains proportionately much larger than the pre-2017 years.

Additional encouragement—and on an international level—comes from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Using different methodology to produce different results, the Metals and Mining Research team found worldwide budgets for nonferrous exploration jumping 19% this year to $10.1 billion.

Juniors have been reaping the biggest budget gains at 35%. Over 1,651 functional exploration companies represent an 8% improvement over last year and the first such increase since 2012. But that’s “still about 900 companies less than in 2012, representing a one-third culling of active explorers over the past five years.”

The most dramatic spending increase hit cobalt and lithium, this year undergoing an 82% leap in exploration spending. That’s part of a 500% climb since 2015, SPGMI says.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Nemaska Lithium’s Whabouchi project in Quebec
contributes to the enthusiasm for energy metals.
(Photo: Nemaska Lithium)

Even so, precious and base metals retained their prominence as gold continues “to benefit the most from the industry recovery.” The global strive for yellow metal will claim $4.86 billion this year, up from $4.05 billion in 2017. Base metals spending will grow by $600 million to $3.04 billion. “Copper remained by far the most attractive of the base metals, although zinc allocations have increased the most, rising 37% in 2018, the report states. “Budgets are up for all targets except uranium.”

SPGMI finds Canada keeping its global top spot for nonferrous exploration with a 31% year-on-year budget increase. Second-place Australia achieved a 23% rise. The U.S. total places third, although with a 34% increase over the country’s 2017 performance.

In each of the top three countries, over 55% of the budgets focused on gold.

“Improved metals prices and margins since 2016 have encouraged producers to expand their organic efforts the past two years,” commented SPGMI’s Mark Ferguson. “Over the same period, equity market support for the junior explorers has improved, leading to an uptick in the number and size of completed financings. This allowed the group to increase exploration budgets by 35% in 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.