Things are not looking good for multi-billion mine projects like the KSM in B.C., according to a new mining global outlook from PwC.
Smaller, leaner projects, may stand more of a chance of getting financed in a new era of prolonged low commodity prices and activist shareholders, according to PwC’s 2015 mining outlook, The Gloves Are Off.
As the title suggests, mining companies will have to fight to survive and they are going to have to get used to operating or building new mines at current commodity prices, rather than pin their hopes on a major rally.
Thousands of kilometres of salmon-rich waterways and the drinking water of hundreds of communities in central and Northern British Columbia are at risk of mining-related environmental disasters, a new report warns.
(To read complete source article, click "The Globe and Mail")
A recently released auditor general report that addresses how the province is managing the environmental assessments of proposed natural resources projects – and uses the Skeena region as its focus area – says the government has a lot more work to do when it comes to monitoring and managing the cumulative effects of those projects.
Auditor general Carol Bellringer's May 26 report concludes that while the government has taken steps to improve and clarify parts of the environmental assessment process, plans to look at the combined effects and interactions of development, not just each project in isolation, have too long of a timeline for implementation and fuzzy details.
Earlier this month, Heather Hardcastle, a commercial fisherwoman from Juneau, Alaska met in Williams Lake, B.C. with members of the Tsilhqot'in First Nation. They shared a meal of wild Alaskan salmon that Hardcastle brought as a symbolic gesture: This fish was a reminder of all there was to lose.
After lunch, Hardcastle and her team of Alaska visitors boarded a helicopter and flew 25 minutes away to the site of the Mount Polley accident, the scene of a massive breach last August of its mine waste dam near the town of Likely, B.C.
The breach released millions of cubic metres of contaminated water into Quesnel Lake, which feeds into the Fraser River.
Nine months later, Jacinda Mack, a Xatsull woman from the Soda Creek reserve and one of many residents living near the path of the spill, invited the Alaskans to Williams Lake to see firsthand the main effect of that accident.
On the Fraser River, contamination from the mine breach threatened the run of Sockeye salmon that spawns in Quesnel Lake.
"We saw where [Mack] was raised, and where they used to fish on the Fraser where people fished for thousands of years, and they're not fishing there anymore. It's heartbreaking," Hardcastle said. "It's a stunning and gorgeous area but it was just so sad. It feels selfish to be thinking about us and our water, but it lit a fire under me. We have to do something."
(To read complete source article, click "The Tyee")
The full opening of the Red Chris copper and gold mine north on Hwy37 North has been delayed once again with an original May start pushed back to mid-June because of continued scrutiny by the ministry of the environment in conjunction with the Tahltan First Nation environmental review board.
The ministry granted a three-month temporary permit in February for the initial testing of the mine, owned by Imperial Metals, with particular emphasis on scrutinizing the tailings facility in light of concerns from the dam failure at Imperial’s Mt. Polley mine in the Cariboo last summer.
That permit expired this month and now Imperial has received another temporary permit with the government saying it fully expects to grant the company the full permit soon.
The $18 million paid by a provincial crown corporation to buy out a joint venture’s coal licences in the Klappan area in northwestern B.C. was reasonable, says an official from one of the companies in the joint venture.
The purchase of the 61 licences from the Arctos Anthracite Joint Venture owned by Fortune Minerals of Ontario and POSCO Canada, a Korean subsidiary, by BC Rail ends for now what has been more than a decade of controversy over development in the region.
Also known as the Sacred Headwaters, the Klappan is within Tahltan traditional territory and the Tahltan have objected to attempts at industrial development in the area used for an array of cultural practices.
Imperial Metals continues to bleed red ink as its main cash generator, the Mount Polley gold and copper mine, remains closed after a catastrophic failure last summer of its mine-waste dam.
The Vancouver-based mining company reported on Friday a loss in the first three months of 2015 of $33.4 million and revenues of $1.5 million.
Cash flow was negative, and dropped $26.4 million from the same three-month period in 2014.
“The decrease is primarily due to the absence of revenue from Mount Polley due to the suspension of mine operations,” Imperial Metals said in a news release announcing the first-quarter loss.
Imperial Metals is trying to get the go-ahead to restart the Mount Polley mine in the Central Interior, northeast of Williams Lake, and is awaiting a decision by the province, possibly in June.
Imperial Metals also expects to get increased cash flow from its recently-opened Red Chris gold and copper mine, but it had to cut back production in mid-April because of a shortage of clean water in its mine-waste storage facility.
Because of the production slowdowns at the new mine in northwestern B.C., it will take additional time to ramp up to full production, which means the company will not be able to meet a June 1, 2015 completion date for the mine, a requirement of banks holding some of the company’s debt.
Alaska has clear interests in protecting with extreme vigilance the water quality in rivers that flow into the state that could be affected by mine projects across the border in Canada, Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott said Monday.
Mallott, who leads a working group for Gov. Bill Walker’s administration focused on trans-boundary waters, spoke with reporters by phone about a fact-finding and relationship-building trip to British Columbia last week. Mallott said the trip included the start of discussions looking at ways to strengthen the state’s involvement with environmental reviews and the permitting of mines in order to protect Alaska’s interests.
... British Columbians should welcome rather than resist overtures from our neighbours in Alaska when they express concerns about the possible effects of half a dozen mining ventures on rivers in the province’s northwest they worry will affect wild salmon, water quality, sport and commercial fishing, tourism jobs and a unique way of life. Trout Unlimited is far from a radical organization and when it formed Salmon Beyond Borders and became partners with Alaska’s tribes to address the issue, it wasn’t out of zealotry, but from genuine pro-active concern over finding ways to ensure that development in B.C. would not be at the expense of Southeast Alaska’s rich downstream resources.
This seems entirely reasonable. Both Alaskans and British Columbians have coinciding interests here. Both place a premium on the value of wild salmon. Both have concerns about First Nations rights. Both harbour deep affection for outdoor recreation and the protection of wilderness resources. Neither wants to hobble development but neither desires a deregulated free-for-all in mineral extraction, either. Accidents such as the Exxon Valdes and at Mt. Polley are reminders that assurances are not guarantees and much is at stake.
What’s the solution? Serious talk, for one thing. We are good neighbours. It’s in all our best interests to remain so. Mutually agreeable solutions to current and as yet unforeseen problems are far better for everyone than appealing to adjudicatory agencies such as the International Joint Commission or, worse, resorting to litigation....