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Fall 2020

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Ontario Government Proposes Extending Forestry Exemption of Endangered Species Act

A proposal extending the exemption of the Endangered Species Act for the Ontario forestry has two groups at odds: environmental activists, who say the exemption will destroy at-risk species, and those in the forestry sector, who insist the act would be a bureaucratic nightmare.

According to The Globe and Mail, the province proposed extending the exemption for another year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

During this time, the government said the sector will “continue to be regulated by the Crown Forest Sustainability Act, which provides for the sustainable management of Crown forests in a manner that must have regard for plant and animal life, including species at risk, water, soil, air and social and economic values.”

“This approach would consider species at risk while creating certainty for the forest sector, supporting economic development and job creation in the northern and rural communities that depend on this sector,” Ministry of the Environment spokesman Lindsay Davidson said.

“We have a very robust planning process under the Crown Forest Sustainability Act and that includes developing and including protections for species at risk,” stated Ian Dunn, Executive Director of the Ontario Forestry Association, to The Globe and Mail. However, Dunn said social and economic values must also be taken into consideration.

“There are a number of towns in rural Ontario that depend entirely on the forest sector.”

Green party leader Mike Schreiner said the proposed delay would cause a weakening of protections for endangered species. “Every time we weaken the Endangered Species Act, we’re threatening Ontario’s biodiversity,” he said. “We also have to recognize that as we lose habitat for species that puts us at greater risk to things like flooding and it also makes it more challenging for us to meet our climate commitments.”

Loader Catches Fire at Thunder Bay Sawmill

On the morning of June 29, Thunder Bay Fire and Rescue responded to the Resolute sawmill, when a loader caught fire near the main building.

According to CBC, the fire department deployed multiple 45-millimetre hand lines to prevent the fire from spreading to the nearby structure and a large wood supply.

The fire was most likely caused by a mechanical overheating issue in the engine compartment. The loader
had extensive damage, but the operator was able to evacuate without injury.

Northern Ontario Struggles with Spruce Budworm

Recently, Northern Ontario has encountered a resurgence of the spruce budworm.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the eastern spruce budworm is native to North America, feeding primarily on balsam fir and white spruce. The resulting loss amounted to tens of millions of hectares of trees.

“This pest is wastefully destructive and spreads incredibly quickly.

It focuses on new growth,” wrote Andrew Autio of the Timmins Daily Press. “Reports of damaged trees are emerging from across Northern Ontario, from Thunder Bay, to the Sault Ste. Marie area, to Manitoulin Island, Sudbury, Parry Sound, and now Gogama and the Timmins area.”

Research conducted by scientists at the Canadian Forest Service (CFS) concluded adult budworm moths lay eggs in clusters on the needles of host trees in July and August, and it is their larvae that do most of the damage on trees.

“Regarding Northern Ontario’s forest and the potential for negative impacts on the forest industry,” stated Autio, “the situation is being monitored closely, and aerial spraying isn’t out of the question.”

Vale Canada Expands Use of Electronic Vehicles in Ontario Mining

As 2020 progresses, the use of electronic vehicles (EV) has progressed as well. Amongst the companies that have adopted this technology is Vale Canada, which is aiming to have more than 20 battery-powered vehicles operating within their North Atlantic operations.

The plan is for the EVs to be operating on a trial basis at Vale Canada’s Creighton, Coleman, Copper Cliff, Garson, and Thompson mines by the end of 2020, according to a June press release. The benefits so far have included health and safety improvements, cost savings, and environmental benefits.

“EVs certainly complement the efforts of the business in terms of greenhouse gas and carbon reduction,” said Alex Mulloy, Mining Engineer, Base Metals Technology and Innovation.

“It’s a great technology. Not only does it enable operational benefit and improvement, it also contributes to our greater goals of reducing our emissions and the impact on the environment.”

Electric Autonomy Canada reported that Maclean Engineering had also been testing EVs in Sudbury, “with deployments that include Newmont’s nearby Borden gold mine.”

At Vale, the results will tell how EVs can impact business. “The vehicles are going to be evaluated with feedback from operations, as well as operating data,” said Mulloy, “to help us understand how they perform in terms of reliability, functionality and the benefits they can offer our people and the business.”

 MAC Recognizes Environmental and Community Engagement Achievements in Canada’s Mining Sector

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has awarded Agnico Eagle and Cameco, leaders in Canada’s mining sector, with this year’s prestigious Towards Sustainable Mining® (TSM) Excellence Awards in recognition of their innovative sustainability projects focused on community engagement and environmental stewardship.

According to a press release, TSM is a performance-based program whereby mining operations evaluate, manage, and publicly report on critical environmental and social responsibilities. The intended objective would enable mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals, and energy products in the most socially, economically, and sustainable way. It has been highly successful in encouraging more sustainable practices in mining and has been formally adopted by international mining associations, including Spain, the Philippines, Brazil, Finland, Botswana, and Norway.

“MAC’s TSM Excellence Awards represent the best of the best when it comes to showcasing the innovative work being done by Canadian mining on innovation in environmental stewardship and community engagement,” said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of MAC. “We are extremely proud of what both Cameco and Agnico Eagle have been able to accomplish as they highlight what is possible and achievable in terms of sustainable and collaborative practices in our sector.”

To be eligible for the awards, mining companies must be actively implementing the initiative. TSM is overseen by the Community of Interest (COI) advisory panel, which consists of individuals from Canada’s three Indigenous communities, environmental organizations, labour representatives, individuals involved in finance, local mining communities, social and faith-based organizations, academic communities, and those involved in international development. The COI panel provides guidance and advice on the development and maintenance of TSM and annually selects winners.

Red Lake Junior Miner Raises $33 Million in Gold Exploration Financing

Great Bear Resources, a company based in Vancouver, has expanded their exploration budget for the next two years.

The money is a result of the aggregate gross proceeds of the issuance of flow-through shares and common shares. A June press release states, “Great Bear has approximately $53 million in cash and is fully funded for continuous exploration drilling through 2022. Updated exploration program plans will be provided by the Company in the near future.”

Great Bear’s 9,100-hectare property is 22 km south of the town where the company has made many high-grade gold discoveries in a previously underexplored area of the camp, reports Northern Ontario Business. A particular focus is on the property is infilling drilling on a five-kilometre stretch of its LP Fault Zone.

Great Bear has four all-season projects in Northwest Ontario: the flagship Dixie Project (100% owned), the Pakwash Property (earning a 100% interest), the Dedee Property (earning a 100% interest), and the Sobel Property (earning a 100% interest).

Harte Gold Finds Financing to Restart Sugar Zone Mine

Harte Gold has entered into a term sheet agreement with financing firm Appian Capital Advisory worth up to C$40 million. According to the Market Herald, the deal will see Appian acquire 9.5 million special series B shares for an approximate price of $12.98 million, before loaning Harte Gold approximately $25.17 million in a non-revolving credit facility. The Appian will receive 0.5% net smelter royalty from Harte, for the Sugar Zone mining operation.

Appian is a 19.45% owner of Harte Gold and has been bankrolling the company’s efforts in northwestern Ontario since December 2016, according to Northern Ontario Business.

In a July press release, Harte Gold states that all mine activities have recommenced and the company is ahead on all key mining metrics.

Harte Gold holds a 100% interest in the Sugar Zone Mine located in White River, and they predict the company has further potential through exploration at the Sugar Zone Property, which encompasses 79,335 hectares covering a significant greenstone belt.

Rubicon Minerals Changes Name to Battle North Gold

In July, Rubicon Minerals Corporation completed its corporate name change to Battle North Gold Corporation to better reflect the company’s culture of perseverance, determination, determination, tenacity, and resilience. The new ticker symbol will be BNAU.

The company stated in a corresponding press release, “We believe the new name provides a fresh perspective on the Company’s significant accomplishments in recent years and its renewed long-term potential.”

The company also changed the name of its flagship project in the Red Lake gold mining district from the Phoenix Gold Project to the Bateman Gold Project.

“This is the dawn of a new era for Battle North Gold, its shareholders and stakeholders,” stated Battle North CEO George Ogilvie, “We believe the new name provides a fresh look at the Company’s potential to create value. Fuelled by our perseverance and determination, we have significantly de-risked and advanced our shovel-ready Bateman Gold Project in Red Lake. We are now just months away from the completion of the Feasibility Study for the Project, the results of which, we believe, are highly anticipated and closely watched by our investors and the many that follow the Company.”

Alamos Completes Lower Mine Expansion at Young-Davidson Mine

Alamos Gold Inc. has announced the completion the lower mine expansion at Young-Davidson with a successful commissioning of the Northgate shaft.

“This marks a significant milestone for Young-Davidson and turning point for Alamos as we transition from a reinvestment phase to a period of strong free cash flow growth,” states John A. McCluskey, President and Chief Executive Officer. “I would like to congratulate the entire team at Young-Davidson for this historic achievement which will unlock the full potential of the operation. With a 13-year mineral reserve life, large resource base, and significant exploration potential, Young-Davidson is well positioned to deliver solid free cash flow over the long term.”

In addition to the Northgate shaft, the underground crusher and conveyor system have also been successfully commissioned, according to a press release. This is expected to drive strong free cash flow growth at Young-Davidson and company-wide in the second half of 2020 and beyond.

PureGold Red Lake Mine Achieves Permitting Milestone

Pure Gold Mining Inc. has received an amended Environmental Compliance Approval (ECA) for Air and Noise permit from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) for the PureGold Mine, located in Red Lake.

According to the announcement, the amended ECA sets out operating conditions relating to air and noise emissions for the PureGold mining and milling operations, including all ancillary and support processes and activities, at a production limit of up to 1,089 tonnes of gold ore processed per day. The company is now waiting for a receipt of the amended industrial effluent permit.

“I am exceptionally proud of the tremendous groundwork our team has completed to establish the foundation of a long-life mining company in Red Lake,” said Darin Labrenz, President and CEO of PureGold. “Since first acquiring the project, we have worked very closely with the First Nations, local communities and regulators to materially advance the project and to transform a brownfields site into a sustainable modern mine. To date, our work has clearly established a robust, scalable mining operation, while concurrently improving the surrounding environment through the progressive removal and reclamation of legacy works.”

Monarch Gold Signs MOU With Ontario Northland for Wasamac

Monarch Gold Corporation (TSX: MQR) has entered into a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Ontario Northland Railway (Ontario Northland) for the transportation of ore from its Wasamac gold project to the Kidd concentrator in Timmins, ON. The first phase of the agreement consists of an economic study on the infrastructure for the transportation of ore by train from Wasamac to Kidd, to be completed no later than December 31, 2020.

“This is another important step in the development of our Wasamac gold project with respect to the custom milling option, the objective of which will be to negotiate a favourable rate for the transportation of Wasamac ore to the Kidd concentrator,” said Jean-Marc Lacoste, President and Chief Executive Officer of Monarch. “Ontario Northland has the necessary capacity, a solid reputation and has been providing this transportation service to mining companies for more than a century. It is important to remember that if we choose the custom milling option, we will be able to significantly reduce the construction costs of the Wasamac mine compared to the initial option of building the mill and tailings facility directly on site, in addition to reducing the impact on the environment and neighbouring communities. The other important aspect will be to ensure that our operating costs are as low as possible, including transportation costs, which will allow us to increase the profitability of the project.”

Ontario Northland has been moving freight in and out of northeastern Ontario and northwestern Quebec for more than 115 years. Monarch Gold Corporation is an emerging gold mining company focused on becoming a 100,000 to 200,000 ounce per year gold producer through its large portfolio of high-quality projects in the Abitibi mining camp in Quebec. The Corporation currently owns more than 315 km² of gold. FEA – What’s Happening in Northern Ontario