Champion Iron’s $470.7-million direct reduction pellet feed project at its Bloom Lake iron-ore complex in Quebec is expected to be commissioned in 2025 following this week’s final investment decision from its board. Courtesy of Quebec Iron Ore.

Welcome back to your weekly mining news recap, where we catch you up on some of the news you may have missed. This week’s headlines include Pandora’s switch to recycled precious metals for its jewellery, Alamos Gold’s 2023 cyberattack that leaked sensitive employee information and the push for a $38-million bioleaching innovation centre in Sudbury. 

Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced that the government aims to fix constitutional problems that the Supreme Court of Canada has with the federal Impact Assessment Act by spring, as reported by The Canadian Press. The act, which was created to overhaul the previous environmental assessment system, was passed in 2019 but was later ruled too broad by the Supreme Court due to the fact that it allowed Ottawa to cross into provincial jurisdiction. While it is probable that Canada will need hundreds of new critical mineral mines for the energy transition, it can take more than 15 years for a mine to receive approval due to inefficiencies in the current review process.  

The Nisga’a Nation of B.C. announced on Thursday the creation of Nations Royalty Corp., which the First Nation said is set to become Canada's largest majority Indigenous-owned public company, poised to be a significant player in the mining royalty sector.”The cornerstones for this new company are the existing royalty agreements the Nisga’a Nation has with the Brucejack gold mine and other projects in B.C.’s Golden Triangle still in development.  

On Jan. 30, Champion Iron announced it will proceed with its direct reduction pellet feed project at its Bloom Lake iron-ore complex in Quebec, as reported by Engineering News. The carbon-neutral project is expected to be commissioned in the latter half of 2025 and the capital expenditure budget for the project is valued at $470.7 million.  

Two of China’s biggest lithium producers, Tianqi Lithium Corp. and Ganfeng Lithium Group, are the latest miners to relay warnings about plummeting lithium profits after a sharp decrease in lithium prices, as reported by Bloomberg. Tianqi expects its annual profit to plunge as much as 73 per cent from its previous year, and Ganfeng estimated that its annual earnings will fall between 70 and 80 per cent. In the same week, it was reported that U.S.-based lithium producer Albemarle has laid off four per cent of its workforce, while last week we shared that Sayona Mining is conducting an operational review of its North American Lithium project in Quebec.


Mass-market jeweller Pandora has stopped using mined silver and gold, turning instead to using recycled precious metals for manufacturing its jewellery, as reported by Reuters. The company would typically buy around 340 tonnes of silver and one tonne of gold per year, and it stated that this shift will cut its indirect CO2 emissions by roughly 58,000 tonnes annually. In 2022, the company’s supply chain reportedly produced 264,224 tonnes of CO2. This follows Pandora’s decision in 2021 that it would only use lab-manufactured diamonds.  

A new program in B.C. focused on recovering critical minerals from mine waste was announced by Geoscience BC. The program will involve a province-wide study that will zone in on possible concentrations of critical metals and minerals located in mine tailings and waste rock around B.C. Geoscience BC will bring together government, mining industry and other partners for the first phase of its program.  

Highly educated immigrants to Canada with skills transferable to mining are hitting multiple barriers when trying to enter the workforce and require support with integration, according to a webinar hosted by the CIM Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Committee on Jan. 25. Panelists from the Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MiHR) and the Immigrant Employment Council of B.C. gave an overview of the support available to employers that could help boost the employment of newcomers in the Canadian mining industry, which would help to address its labour shortage.  

Nadia Mykytczuk, president of MIRARCO Mining Innovation, is pushing for the construction of a Centre for Mine Waste Technologies in Sudbury by the end of 2024, as reported by Northern Ontario Business. The $38 million project would see Mykytczuk utilize her field of research, related to the process of bioleaching, to potentially extract millions of dollars’ worth of valuable minerals left in tailings at abandoned mine sites, while also cleaning up environmental damage at these legacy sites. Mykytczuk stated she is expecting funding for this project to arrive this year but declined to give specifics 

Alamos Gold experienced a cyberattack last April that involved the public release of confidential corporate data, as reported by The Star. The leaked data, which was published online, consisted of sensitive information such as social insurance numbers, payroll reports and more. In a column from the Dec/Jan issue of CIM Magazine Rob Labbé, chief information security officer (CISO)-in-residence for the Mining and Metals Information Sharing and Analysis Centre (MM-ISAC), advised that as the number of cyber attacks increases, a change in how miners address security and security breaches is needed.  

The Nunavut Planning Commission has fully approved the licences needed to advance the permitting process for White Cliff Minerals’ Coppermine project near Kugluktuk, as reported by Mining Technology. The company stated that this will allow White Cliff Minerals to move forward with assigning contractors and wrapping up logistics planning for its 2024 exploration initiatives. Following this approval, the company will now be able to expand on historical exploration efforts that had highlighted copper and silver mineralization over a 100-kilometre structural trend. 

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