Construction on Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Pipeline was halted this week. Courtesy of Trans Mountain Expansion Project

It’s Freaky Friday, which means it’s time for another mining news recap. At the end of every week we’ll catch you up on the mining news from CIM Magazine and elsewhere that you might have missed. Among this week’s headlines: Kinder Morgan suspends construction on its embattled Trans Mountain Expansion project, Chile considers changes to its mining code, and Newmont temporarily suspends work at its Ahafo and Akyem mines in Ghana following a deadly accident.


Tensions continue to escalate between the government of British Columbia and the Federal and Albertan governments over the controversial Trans Mountain Expansion project, as Kinder Morgan announced a halt in construction on Sunday. The company, citing continued opposition from B.C.’s government, said it would be “difficult to conceive of any scenario in which we would proceed” unless certain agreements are made by May 31. On a federal level, Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr called on the B.C. government to “end all threats of delay to the Trans Mountain Expansion.” Meanwhile, the premiers of Alberta and B.C. remained vocal on the ongoing dispute, with Alberta’s Rachel Notley, hinting at “severe economic consequences” if the project does not continue, while B.C.’s John Horgan doubled down on his government’s position that the pipeline poses too great of an environmental risk to be allowed to continue. 

A collapsed roof at Newmont’s Ahafo Mill Expansion project in Ghana last Saturday left six construction contractors dead, the company reported in a press release. The accident occurred inside a surface reclaim facility while the crew was placing concrete. Two workers escaped with minor injuries. In response, Newmont temporarily suspended production at its Ahafo and Akyem mines for safety and risk assessment discussions with employees. As of Thursday, production had resumed but the Ahafo Mill Expansion project remains suspended during an ongoing investigation into the accident, led by the Inspectorate Division of Ghana’s Mineral Commission.

In Chile, Minister of Mines Baldo Prokurica mentioned potential changes coming to its mining code in an interview with during the 17th World Copper Conference. These changes could include revisions that put more pressure on companies who own concessions in Chile to work on them or else give them up, with an eye on attracting more mid-size miners and juniors. The ministry is setting up a Presidential Advisory Committee, which is being tasked with coming up with a new national mining policy for the country for 2018-2050.

Meanwhile, South African mines minister Gwede Mantashe said he was confident a new industry charter would be finalized by May. Mantashe, who was appointed to the position in February, is working on a third edition of a charter that will potentially include revised guidelines for black ownership of mines, up to 30 per cent from 26 per cent.

On Wednesday, we reported that Los Mineros is withdrawing its request to represent Torex Gold workers in Mexico. The announcement effectively ends what had been a government-sanctioned union process and leaves employees with the default choice of the Confederacion de Trabajadores de Mexico (CTM) for representation. In December, workers had forced a project shutdown at Torex’s El Limon-Guajes mine over complaints that the CTM – the largest alliance of unions in Mexico, which has faced criticism for siding with companies over employees – was illegitimate, and lobbied to join Los Mineros, a more independent union.

And finally, Monarques Gold’s Beaufor mine is the testing ground for Minrail Inc.’s shallow-angle mining system. The system is suspended from the roof and serves as a platform for each phase of the mining cycle, and, if it proves itself, could unlock lower-grade shallow-angle deposits that until now could not be economically mined.