A Balancing Act at Granville Island

It was bound to happen–I just wondered when.  With Pebble essentially down, attention now turns to new BC mines that may affect rivers that flow into Alaska.  Here is a statement that hit my email this morning.

The largest and oldest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments that advocates for the United States to uphold its trust responsibility to Tribes has adopted a resolution to protect the water quality, salmon, and livelihoods of Southeast Alaskans from a mining boom in northwest British Columbia.

The resolution, passed by the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) in June, requests that “Congress, the White House, and the State Department engage directly with the Canadian government on B.C.’s proposed mines to protect the health and productivity of Southeast Alaska’s waters by ensuring they are not damaged by development upstream;”

Five large open pit and underground mines are in various stages of permitting and construction in the BC side of transboundary watersheds that drain into three of Southeast Alaska’s most productive salmon rivers: Taku, Stikine, and Unuk.

Southeast Alaska communities downstream from the mines will face negative impacts and risks to clean water, salmon and hooligan runs, wildlife and livelihoods, yet will receive no economic benefit from the mines, the resolution notes.

NCAI’s resolution also points out that B.C.’s large mine development in the transboundary region is happening under Canadian laws and regulations that have been significantly weakened over the past few years and that Canadian and B.C. mine permitting processes are not as strong as Alaskan regulations regarding water and salmon protections.

“I’m heartened that NCAI is standing in solidarity with us. Many Southeast Alaskan tribes also passed resolutions expressing concern about the B.C. mining developments that could harm our waters, salmon, and ultimately our culture and livelihoods in Southeast Alaska,” said Rob Sanderson Jr, co-chair of the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group, a tribal coalition advocating for the protection water quality and lands in the Southeast Alaskan/northern British Columbian transboundary region.

Sanderson is also the second vice-president of the Central Council Tlingit & Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, one of the member Tribes on the Work Group and also a Tribe that passed its own resolutions expressing concern about BC mining.

“We will speak out until the United States and Canadian governments take adequate steps to protect our waters, fish, and way of life in Southeast Alaska for current and future generations,” Sanderson says.

Canadian government officials have released an environmental assessment (EA) for the Kerr-Sulpherrets-Mitchell (KSM) Mine, a proposed copper/gold/molybdenum mine located in the headwaters of the Unuk River that flows into Southeast Alaska near Ketchikan. The EA, which is now open to public comment, concluded that the proposed mitigation measures for protecting Alaskan waters and fish are adequate. Southeast tribes are not confident in the EA and are pushing for Canada to do a Panel Review, a more stringent examination of the proposed mine.

John Morris Jr, co-chair of the United Tribal Transboundary Mining Work Group and a member of the Ketchikan Indian Community tribal council, stated ”the Work Group will submit comments on the EA and will strongly urge Canada to conduct a full Panel Review of the KSM mine. Based on the NCAI resolution and the United States’ trust responsibility, the Work Group will also encourage the United States government to submit comments and to request a Panel Review.”

Public comment period for the proposed KSM Mine is open until August 20th. See  http://salmonbeyondborders.org/ for information on this comment period.

To read the NCAI resolution, visit: http://www.ncai.org/resolutions/ANC-14-013_Reso_and_Rec.pdf


Paddling against the tide in poor equipment


Inlaid wood floor of the library of the Canadian Houses of Parliament

Continuing the postings on the new CostMine 2014 Survey Results- Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits, here are some mine salaries.  First the range and then the average in thousands of Canadian dollars per hour.

  • General Manager = from 125 to 257 for an average of 202
  • Mine Manager = from 99 to 295 for an average of 169
  • Mill Superintendent = from 86 to 162 for an average of 131
  • Mine Engineer = from 80 to 153 for an average of 103
  • Mine Geologist = from 66 to 123 for an average of 97
  • Environmental Coordinator = from 70 to 123 for an average of 97
  • Personnel Manager = from 92 to 156 for an average of 129
  • Secretary = from 54 to 88 for an average of 65

I wonder which mine pays the Mine Manager more than the General Manager?  Or which mine pays the secretary $88,000 per year?

Here are some average salaries, first for surface mines, and second for underground mines:

  • General Manager = 199/212
  • Mill Superintendent = 126/139
  • Environmental Coordinator = 98/93
  • Secretary = 65/65

No clear pattern of difference that I can discern.

Some pattern in the type of mine you work for.  Some numbers, first for metal mines, second for diamond mines, and third for fossil fuel mines:

  • Mine Manager = 165/152/198
  • Mine Engineer = 96/98/115
  • Mine Geologist = 87/105/113
  • Environmental Coordinator = 95/82/103

Obviously better to work for a fossil fuel mine than a diamond mine.


Ottawa as seen on a cold winter day from the Houses of Parliament


Received the following by email. Not sure where it originated, or how widely it has been circulated. All these words remind me of growing up on a mine in South Africa. We used them all in common speech. So sad they cannot now be used by us to color or talk. Still you may enjoy. Sommer so! Continue Reading »


At this link is an interview with Anglo American’s Mark Cutifani on the past progress and promised future performance of Anglo American.  His message: we will get there, with there being a 15% return on capital employed (ROCE). Continue Reading »


The hall of the parliament building in Ottawa

It does make a difference to your wages if you work on a Canadian metal or diamond or fossil fuel mine.  Here are some numbers to highlight the differences.  I quote from the new CostMine 2014 Survey Results- Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits. Here are some average wages by mined commodity in Canadian dollars per hour.  The first number is for metal mines; the second for diamond mines; and the third for fossil fuel mines. Continue Reading »

DSCF3623 - Copy - Copy - Copy

Planning for the upcoming conference Geosynthetics Mining Solutions 2014 is well advanced. As the above news items attest, there is great interest in geosynthetics and this conference will focus on the use of geosynthetics in mining. We have many fine sponsors and a great slate of papers—with more still on their way. Please to be able to tell that Mike O’Kane and his folk at O’Kane Consultants have promised two great papers on the use of geosynthetics in the covers of closed mine waste disposal facilities. Continue Reading »


Just published by CostMine is the 2014 Survey Results – Canadian Mine Salaries, Wages and Benefits.  I will survey some of the data in this and future postings.  First a look at average Canadian Mine wages (In Canadian dollars): Continue Reading »


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