Evidence of meeting #27 for Natural Resources in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was going.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Wes Hanson  President and Chief Executive Officer, Noront Resources Ltd.
  • Kirk McKinnon  President and Chief Executive Officer, MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.
  • Ian Brodie-Brown  President and Chief Executive Officer, AurCrest Gold Inc.
  • Elijah Moonias  Marten Falls First Nation
  • David Kilgour  Councillor, City of Greater Sudbury

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

They want to be equity owners.

9:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.

Kirk McKinnon

—what our obligations are. I am the president of a company that has shareholders and trades on the stock exchange, so I have an obligation to follow the rules as outlined there. For me to just give away part of the asset to the community because that's going to facilitate something.... How much do I give, and how does it all work?

Somebody has to say what the rules are. Once we understand the rules and we all sign on to them, whatever they may be, we can move this thing forward.

I know we're out of time, but I just would like to say that if we can facilitate more discovery.... We keep carving up things we don't have. Let's find it first. I've asked you to help us find more of it. If you create great wealth up there, you know, money solves all the problems; there will be enough of it to go around for everybody.

9:50 a.m.

Liberal

David McGuinty Ottawa South, ON

Thanks.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Leon Benoit

Thank you very much, Mr. McKinnon and Mr. McGuinty.

We'll go now to the five-minute round, starting with Mr. Trost. Then we'll go to Mr. Anderson and Mr. Rafferty.

Go ahead, please, Mr. Trost.

February 16th, 2012 / 9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As was noted, these are five-minute rounds, so please try to keep your answers concise.

My first question is for both Mr. Hanson and Mr. McKinnon, in whatever order they care to share it. It's on lessons learned.

Mr. McKinnon, you've been referring to Quebec. I did mineral exploration in Quebec before I got into politics, so I have some experience of what you're talking about.

Mr. Hanson, your project seems to be the most developed. What lessons can you apply from each of those two varied experiences that would help us? What has helped in the Noront development in Ontario and what have been your major bottlenecks as it has been developed? I'm not talking about geological bottlenecks, of course; I'm talking about governmental ones.

Then, Mr. McKinnon, perhaps you could answer from your experience in Ontario and Quebec.

9:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.

Kirk McKinnon

I'll be very quick. We have working agreements with Kasabonika, Webequie, and Summer Beaver. We don't have any working agreements with Marten Falls because I'm not sure whether they think we fall into their territory. Maybe we do and maybe we don't.

The issue is very simple: just tell us the rules. There are no rules. Each community has its different desires and negotiations, so—

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

Is that a lack of clarity by the provincial government, the federal government, or the local—

9:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.

Kirk McKinnon

It's whoever is responsible for sitting down with the natives and saying to them, “Okay, this is how it's going to be.”

If that means that there is an equity position in our companies and those are the rules.... I have other companies that operate in Madagascar. At some point, we're going to have to maybe give up a piece of that.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

That's the main problem. You mentioned Quebec. What works particularly well in Quebec?

9:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, MacDonald Mines Exploration Ltd.

Kirk McKinnon

There are rules.

9:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Noront Resources Ltd.

Wes Hanson

I think the Quebec advantage is largely that the provincial government has taken over the duty of consultation with the first nations communities in northern Quebec. It's become a very tried-and-true process. It was led by the development of the James Bay hydro projects, and it's evolved. It has 25 or 35 years of history.

That's what's missing in Ontario. Right now, Noront is working individually with communities and negotiating with the individual communities separately, and that's just not efficient. That's probably the least efficient aspect of the whole process.

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

You have navigated your way through, or you're very close to it, so what has worked for you?

9:50 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Noront Resources Ltd.

Wes Hanson

You have to just keep going. You can't—

9:50 a.m.

Conservative

Bradley Trost Saskatoon—Humboldt, SK

You have sufficient capital. The ore body is of such a quality that it overcomes the bureaucratic obstacles. What have been the successes? We've already identified the one major problem.

9:55 a.m.

President and Chief Executive Officer, Noront Resources Ltd.

Wes Hanson

It's that focus on continuing to go back to the communities, time and time again, even though you've been rejected for meetings, or refused meetings, or meetings have been delayed. You have to just keep going back and exercising some patience.

I think we do that better than anybody.