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Ashley Fitzpatrick - Of Rock & Sea

Time to talk timelines - Maybe I’m missing something. Tell me if I am. On Tuesday, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and mining company Vale announced another amendment to the Voisey’s Bay Development Agreement. If this is the first you’ve heard of it, it would be worth reading our story on that and also making note of the shock since expressed since by the Nunatsiavut Government, claiming lack of consultation on the deal. In any event, my brain has been nagging me over the timelines here. Go back to March 2013, when the company and provincial government — this time with then-premier Kathy Dunderdale taking the lead — announced a fifth amendment to the Voisey’s Bay deal, including the terms for the export of further nickel concentrate from the province. (There is a hard cap on nickel exports, meant to force in-province processing. The amendment added to the 440,000 tonnes that could be sent out, to give Vale more time to get to full-tilt operations at its plant at Long Harbour.) In the 2013 deal, the province allowed export of an additional 99,000 tonnes of nickel concentrate, because construction at Long Harbour had fallen behind. That was actually 84,000 tonnes and an additional 15,000 tonnes, under specific conditions, as needed. The deal would be in play until the new ceiling on exports was reached, or to end of 2015, whatever came first. “If timelines aren’t met, damages will accrue to the province and they are substantial enough benefits that I think the company will be well disciplined in terms of…

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Photo : Ashley Fitzpatrick February 25, 2015
Photo : Jackie McCann-Scott February 10, 2015
Photo : Telegram Photographers June 26, 2014

James McLeod - Briefing Note

Inaccurate info from Think NL - When businessman Charlie Oliver launched his new project — “Think NL” — a few weeks ago, he spent a lot of time talking about what it’s not. It’s not partisan. It’s not a think tank. It’s not interested in laying blame for the province’s problem. (He said they just want to come up with solutions, instead of dwelling on the source of the problems.) Let me add another one to the list of things that Think NL is not: It’s not a source of accurate information. Since Oliver launched the project, basically all we’ve seen from it is a series of infographics that show up on the Think NL twitter feed, and on their website. Some of the infographics are pretty basic — the population of Newfoundland and Labrador is 526,977, for example. Some of them are inscrutable — is it 1.45 or 1.48?  At least one of them is just flatly wrong. The website claims that there are 49 staffers for the 48 members of the House of Assembly. No matter how you slice it, that information is simply incorrect. Apparently what Think NL did was go into the departmental salary details document (http://www.budget.gov.nl.ca/budget2014/salary_details_2014.pdf) and looked at the staff compliment listed for the House of Assembly. The salary details actually lists 51 people, but Think NL took out the salaries of the Leader of the Official Opposition (Dwight Ball) and the Leader of the Third Party (Lorraine Michael) since they’re both MHAs. Makes sense, right? Sure, but neglected to subtract the salaries for the…

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Photo : James McLeod February 19, 2015
Photo : Geoff Meeker February 10, 2015