Reader Rebuttal (April 01, 2001)
Another Big Development Project
I was quite disappointed when I looked at the centre page (Feb/ March 2001 issue) where appears, “The biggest mineral development projects in Canada.” Our [Niocan niobium] project, which has a bankable feasibility completed and is undergoing environmental permitting, was not there.
Our project [in Oka, 40 km northwest of Montreal, Que.] ranks well not only in comparison to those projects listed on that map, but it is the lowest capex ratio [0.07] per dollars of recoverable metal.
Further, our capital cost estimate [Cdn$102 million] is based on new equipment only, and is located in an area easily accessible compared to most, thus, lower risk of exceeding the capital expenses. Our estimated cost of production should rank as the second lowest cost for niobium in ferroniobium amongst existing producers, with a top quality product which is sold directly to consumers while others still need transformation after milling.
Richard R. Faucher, president and CEO
Mining Sourcebook Cover Objectionable
I am writing to voice my outrage over the image that appears on the cover of the 2001 Mining Sourcebook.
I fail to see the artistic value in using this type of image on the cover of a publication meant to serve the industry as its “Holy Grail” of information. Not only does it conjure up a negative image, but also the miner, who is standing in a rather precarious location, is not even wearing his safety glasses–a non-negotiable, standard piece of safety equipment. Perhaps you could have used a little more judgement in selecting a cover image that at least meets the minimum safety requirements of our industry.
Southam’s decision to publish this “nostalgic” photo essay only stands to reconfirm and promote the negative perception that we all work so hard to change. As a third-generation miner, I say save the nostalgia for the Mining Hall of Fame, museums and beerhalls of Sudbury, Timmins, Val D’Or and Murdochville (my home town).
Shame on Southam for publishing it.
Dale Coffin manager, external communications
I am concerned about your choice of cover image on the 2001 Mining Sourcebook.
It is an increasing public policy challenge for the mining industry to engage the attention of governments, who are enraptured by the urban “cool” image of the new high tech sectors. The reality is that the resource sectors are the largest customers of high tech and a driving force behind the new economy’s rapid growth. The mining industry’s productivity record, outstripping the national average three to one and outperforming its U.S. counterparts, is explained by its proactive employment of new technologies and commitment to innovation. Our challenge is to get this message out and thereby capture the attention of decision-makers to convince them that by addressing the obstacles to the industry’s growth, we feed the economy as a whole.
Anachronistic photos, such as those on the cover, undermine our efforts. I am pleased you will consider these concerns in future issues.
Pierre Gratton, vice-president, public affairs and communications
The Mining Association of Canada
The photo was selected for artistic merit. Agreed, it is an anachronism and does not reflect the responsibilities of today’s miner. Our audience, however, is not the general public, who cling to outmoded ideas. Our audience is people like ourselves, people who know the importance of technical advances in our industry. Once in a while it won’t hurt us to indulge in a little nostalgia.