Natural Resources Notebook

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Hydro power show and tell

Staff with Nalcor Energy welcomed a collection of state officials from Massachusetts to the Crown corporation’s properties in central Labrador earlier this month, reportedly including Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard K. Sullivan.
The state officials were given the grand tour of the Lower Churchill project site and the Churchill Falls hydroelectric power plant.

No contracts have been signed for power from the Lower Churchill project and any sale into the U.S. would first require the completion of the Maritime Link power tie-in to Nova Scotia.


On the Italian job

Having lost out on the $1-billion contract for major civil works at Muskrat Falls, Shawn Skinner says the company he works for, Aecon, will consider sub-contracting, but is not currently looking to bid directly for any other contracts.

“This was the one we wanted. This is the one we spent our time and a team of a couple of dozen people (on),” he said.

“We put our best foot forward and we weren’t successful, so we’ll move on.”

Astaldi S.p.A. out of Italy is the preferred bidder and Nalcor Energy is currently in final talks with that company for the contract award.

Astaldi’s roots in Italy have led to the large piece of project work being dubbed “The Italian Job” by bloggers and members of the public who are following closely the progress of the hydro project.


Pine Cove chugging along

For the three months ended Aug. 31, Anaconda Mining sold more than $5.7 million in gold from the Pine Cove mine on the Baie Verte Peninsula.

The 4,096 ounces sold at $1,399 was a strong revenue generator for the company, but the three-month results showed a drop in sales volume year over year, by about three per cent.

Even so, for the full year ended May 31, 2013, Anaconda brought in about $24 million in gross revenue compared to a little more than

$4 million the year before, largely attributable to more gold produced.

Recently, Anaconda has also added a new member to its board of directors. Tim Casgrain is a consultant, involved with Skyservice Investments since 1997 and, from 1976-2002, acting as executive vice-president of Brookfield Asset Management.

The third railway

The Quebec government is starting to look at the possibility for a third railway for the export of iron ore from the Labrador Trough — a major investment in mining infrastructure.

The move has been applauded by companies active on the Labrador side of the border, including Champion Iron Mines, which points to a need for increased capacity for ore transport.

Yet Liberal MP for Labrador Yvonne Jones said she believes it reflects a missed opportunity for the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.

“A new railway system in Labrador could be an important asset and can create many years of employment. The fact that the Dunderdale Government has done nothing to move forward on such a fantastic opportunity is irresponsible,” she said in a statement Tuesday.


Guiding IOC project review

If there are concerns you want addressed in relation to an expansion at the IOC mine at Labrador City, with the new Wabush 3 pit, now is the time to pay attention.

The provincial government has decided the project will require a detailed environmental impact statement (EIS) as part of the environmental review. The Department of Environment and Conservation is now accepting comments on draft guidelines for the EIS, stating what should be included.

Comments are due by Nov. 12 and will be reviewed before a final set of requirements is put to IOC.

The response from the company will be reviewed by the department and subsequent information may be requested, putting any OK for the mine development into 2014 at the earliest.


The Old Harry tour

Oil exploration at the Old Harry prospect in the Gulf of St. Lawrence will be under discussion in Prince Edward Island this week.

Sylvain Archambault, a representative for the St. Lawrence Coalition, a group opposed to proposed drilling in the offshore area, will be presenting on oil exploration in the Gulf to relevant committees of the P.E.I. legislature today.

Archambault was invited to PEI by that province’s branch of the Save Our Seas and Shores Coalition and will be following up to a presentation made to the same political representatives in June.

Archambault will also be participating in four public talks, under the title, “Cradled on the Waves: The Gulf at Risk.”


The Natural Resources Notebook is compiled by reporter Ashley Fitzpatrick. Do you have news from the resource sectors? Let us know at

Organizations: Nalcor Energy, Anaconda Mining, Skyservice Investments Department of Environment and Conservation Lawrence Coalition Seas and Shores Coalition

Geographic location: Italy, Newfoundland and Labrador, U.S. Pine Cove Prince Edward Island Quebec

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