The Sri Lankan Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Azim Thassim says his mission has chalked out a 20/20 plan to promote bilateral relations with the Kingdom and to work for the welfare of the island’s 500,000 workers in Saudi Arabia, Arab News reported.The envoy was addressing the Sri Lankan community on the occasion to mark Sri Lanka’s 68th anniversary of its Independence Day. The envoy called upon his community members to build up the various projects earmarked during the next five years.“We need professional help in social, cultural, economic and educational fields from our countrymen in the Kingdom,” he said, stressing that the expatriate community can help the country as well as the host country in their march toward national development.He also announced that in addition to the two community schools in Riyadh and Jeddah, the mission has received a license to operate another school in Dammam. “Arrangements are being made to open this school during the new academic year,” he added. Around one-third of the Sri Lankan population of 1.5 million overseas workers are concentrated in the Kingdom. Speaking further, the ambassador noted that the new government under the leadership of President Maithripala Sirisena, supported by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, is working hand-in-hand to create a new political culture, economic system and communal harmony in the country.“Good governance (Yahapalanaya) is the motto of the present government. Following the end of the war, we had massive development drives and projects. Around half a decade later, now the country is led toward the marvelous goals of good governance and social justice where significant paradigm shifts in social, economic and political arenas are at their dawn,” he concluded.In Jeddah, acting Consul General M.S.M. Ansar, hoisted the national flag at the consulate. More than 100 expatriates in the western province were present at the morning function to meet and greet fellow Sri Lankans. (Colombo Gazette) A large gathering of the Lankan community, including schoolchildren and Saudi businessmen, graced the colorful ceremony organized by the mission. To begin the day’s event, the ambassador unfurled the national flag amidst the beat of drums (Magul bera). Then community members joined the choir of the Sri Lankan International School in Riyadh to sing the national anthem. It was followed by the recital of Jayamangala Gatha and observance of two-minutes silence in memory of fallen heroes. “This was done as a mark of respect to all those, who sacrificed their lives for the sake of the nation,” the envoy said. Expatriates from all walks of life were present at the morning function to meet and greet one another on this auspicious occasion.Thassim, who also re-launched the mission’s website with new features, said the website will give an insight into the activities of the mission. “It provides a portal to learn about the facilities and services rendered by the mission for the welfare of workers.”
Recent project rejections call into question both the system and the understanding of that system by British Columbia’s mining companies. If these rejections stand, a great deal of money has been wasted.The most recent problem arose this week, on September 25. Imperial Metals reports that the Federal Court of Canada ruled that the Federal environmental assessment of the Red Chris project was procedurally incorrect and should have been carried out by way of a comprehensive study review and not as a screening level review. The Court found the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Natural Resources Canada, as the ‘Responsible Authorities’ did not have the authority under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA), to re-scope the project to a screening level review after the Responsible Authorities had determined they would proceed by comprehensive study review. The judgment sets aside the Federal environmental assessment completed in May 2006 which determined the Red Chris project was not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. As a result of this judgment, the Responsible Authorities will be required to revisit the environmental assessment of the project under CEAA. The decision of the Federal Court does not affect the Environmental Assessment Certificate issued by the Province of British Columbia in August 2005 following a thorough environmental assessment that concluded the Red Chris Project is not likely to cause significant adverse impacts. Imperial says it “sees this decision as a setback for environmental review of projects in Canada by significantly limiting the ability of Federal and Provincial authorities to harmonize their respective review processes and avoid costly duplication and uncertainty. The company will be conferring with the Responsible Authorities to determine how they wish to proceed.”Imperial acquired bcMetals Corporation in February 2007 at a cost of about $68.4 million. bcMetals’ main asset was the Red Chris property, located in northwest British Columbia, 18 km southeast of the village of Iskut and 80 km south of Dease Lake on the north facing Todagin Plateau. The Red Chris project had received Federal and Provincial environmental approvals for mine development. A 2004 feasibility study on the property indicates a 25 year mine life at 30,000 t/d with reserves of 276 Mt grading 0.349% Cu and 0.266 g/t Au. Not long ago, Northgate had its plans to develop a second pit to the north of its existing Kemess Mine, located more than 400 km northwest of Prince George, rejected. Northgate was proposing to dump its tailings beneath a local lake, and that seems to have been the major stumbling block. The Kemess North project is of significant importance to Northgate because it has the potential to increase the productive life of its existing infrastructure by over 11 years. Since 2000, Northgate has invested almost $8 million in exploration and development to expand its resources base by over 800%. On the basis of a feasibility study completed in the third quarter of 2004, Northgate moved 4 Moz of the resources at Kemess North into the Proven and Probable reserve category. Northgate reported on September 17 that the Panel was “satisfied, taking into account its commitments and proposed mitigation and compensation measures, that the project would not likely result in significant adverse environmental effects. The panel also concludes that Duncan (Amazay) Lake is the only waste disposal alternative which is environmentally effective, and technically and economically feasible. In spite of these conclusions, the panel has recommended to the Federal and Provincial Ministers of the Environment that the project not be approved as proposed, but also acknowledges that the Ministers could disagree with the Panel’s advice and approve the Project. Over the next several days, Northgate will be reviewing the details of the report and speaking with the federal and provincial authorities in order to more fully understand the Panel’s decision and determine how to proceed.