Reader rebuttal (September 01, 2006)
Getting it straight for Noranda… er, Falconbridge… er, Xstrata
I would like to point out an error in your article [“Canada’s Top 40”, CMJ August 2006]. You state in the first paragraph “… and chose Falconbridge because it swallowed Noranda…” in fact the exact opposite is true. Noranda acquired the remaining minority interest of Falconbridge that it did not already own (approx. 36%) and completed the merger of Noranda and Falconbridge on June 30, 2005. The company chose to continue under the name of ‘Falconbridge Limited’. In other words, Noranda bought Falconbridge and decided to operate under the changed name of ‘Falconbridge’.
More recently, Falconbridge was acquired by Xstrata.
Tom Graham Xstrata
From a fan in Port-Cartier
From my prospectors camp I have read by oil lamp your article on Duck Pond (CMJ August 2006). This is the best article I have read in many years, full of details like the sort of ground (the same as here, marine sulphides and deep sedimentary rocks, hydrothermal). Being a retired electrician from smelters, concentrators and mines in the north, I am delighted to see that the type of people still exist who can develop or create a mine with millions, not billions [of dollars]. It inspires hopes and dreams not necessarily for us but for the younger people, that you do not have to be Rio Tinto, CVRD or BHP Billiton to open or start a mine.
Madame, I bow to your journalistic talent and my hat touches the ground as I salute you. Thanks to you I have seen the Duck Pond installation the same or even better than my own eyes would have seen had I been there. It took guts, plenty of hard work, patience, studies, but they reached the arrival line. This is how Canada was built. Thanks for letting us know and appreciate it.
Best regards and wishes to you, Aur and Newfoundlanders.
Bob Richards, prospector Port-Cartier, QC
Dear Bob: We only get this kind of mail once in awhile (like once in a lifetime). I’m going to frame your letter and hang it on my wall. Gladthat you appreciated all the details and the “story” behind the mine. We’ll try to include all the facts including the geology in our future articles. — Jane Werniuk
Response to Commentary about Whitehorse Conference
The editorial on p. 5 of this issue was originally published at www.CanadianMiningJournal.com on Aug. 30. Below is a response from the Mining Association of Canada.
I read with interest your story on the Mines Ministers meeting. I am concerned, however, that you have not fully understood our industry’s messages to government. Let me clarify a few points.
We are not asking government to find new deposits. That would be absurd. However, we are deeply concerned by the fact that our geoscience investment has declined significantly over the past decade and a half. In Nunavut, over 70% of the territory is unmapped. With geoscience being one of the fundamental building blocks of a mineral economy and one of the main ways in which countries attract exploration, we have pressed governments to renew such investment. A federal/provincial and territorial geoscience strategy (CGMS) was developed four years ago but has not been implemented due to lack of federal government funding. At $25 million per year, we believe this is a modest investment that will make our industry’s job–finding new deposits–much more targeted and therefore effective.
On regulatory processes, our brief acknowledges that improvements have been made at the provincial level. But the federal government’s process is broken. It is uncoordinated, under-resourced and woefully complex. Mining is not alone in its views on this. The multi-stakeholder regulatory advisory committee to the Minister of the Environment, which includes NGOs and Aboriginal groups, feels the same way, as do many other key sectors of the Canadian economy–oil and gas, pipelines, etc. The proposal for an “office” is not to add another layer of bureaucracy–God forbid–it is to create an organization within the federal government that would have overall responsibility for overseeing and managing the project review process–something that does not exist currently. This is a complex issue and one which we could spend more time on, if you are interested.
Regarding human resources, our industry does admit that we have partly ourselves to blame for our current circumstances. But we’re also dealing with realities facing all sectors of the economy–the retirement of the baby boom generation and an overall labour shortage. Our message to government is quite simple–let’s work together to address this through a range of strategies, because we all have an interest in ensuring that our industry remains an important economic engine of this country. You may have heard the example in Australia of a mine that has not opened because it could not find enough people to run it. The labour crisis is global and so is the competition for labour. It’s in our country’s interest that we work on this.
Pierre Gratton, vice-president, sustainable development and public affairs Mining Association of Canada Ottawa, Ont.