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Extension of stay-at-home order in North Bay-Parry Sound met with mixed reaction – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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The extension of the stay-at-home order in North Bay-Parry Sound appeared to have caused some division within the region as some officials support the move while others are opposed.

The province announced on Friday that Toronto, Peel Region, and North Bay-Parry Sound will not be rejoining the colour-coded reopening framework and remain shut down until March 8.

Despite having low case numbers, concerns over a variant of concern (VOC) linked to an outbreak at an apartment building in North Bay prompted the province to delay the reopening in that area in northern Ontario.

According to the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit, 38 people have tested positive for COVID-19 at an outbreak at the Skyline-Lancelot Apartments. Of those cases, 20 have tested positive for a coronavirus variant, including one confirmed to be the B.1.351 variant that originated in South Africa.

Speaking to CP24 Saturday morning, the mayor of North Bay said he supports Dr. Jim Chirico, the region’s medical officer of health and the decision to extend the stay-at-home order.

“He’s trying to stamp down the spread of the variant, and I support his steps and his recommendations. “If we allow this variant to spread, it can be devastating to our community as it would all other communities. So, it is the right steps to take to make sure that we control the VOC.”

With that said, McDonald admitted that many residents and local businesses are disappointed as many wanted to get life back to normal.

“We’re really concerned about our local businesses, and we’re trying to do everything we can for them. It really is a hardship. We do have businesses doing very well, but we have some businesses that are completely shut down. And we have some very limited, open,” the mayor said.

“This was a setback. And there’s no question our caseload is really really low. But we’re trying to explain it’s the VOC. That’s the concern, and that’s why we need to stay locked down.”

While McDonald agrees with the extension, the mayor of Parry Sound is not happy about the move.

In an interview with CP24 Saturday afternoon, Mayor Jamie McGarvey said that he is shocked with the decision, saying that he hoped the region would be moved back into the red-control category.

The mayor noted that the extension does not make sense, given that there are only five active cases in the Parry Sound District. According to data from the health unit, there are two cases of a variant of concern in the district.

“The issue seems to be in North Bay, which is an hour and a half from Parry Sound, and on a different corridor of traffic compared to this side of the district,” McGarvey said.

“Businesses are hurting. We’d like to get back open. People are quite willing to put in the proper protocol to make sure that customers are safe and that sort of thing.”

Before the Ontario government put the province in lockdown, the North Bay Parry Sound District Health Unit was in the least-restrictive green-prevent zone.

The mayor said they have asked to split the health unit into areas so that some can reopen and move forward, but “they’re not willing to divide it up.”

“I will say that, yeah, they need to deal with those cases in North Bay. It is different over here in west Perry Sound, with the number of cases that that we’ve had,” McGarvey said.

“Everybody’s wondering why we’re still in lockdown over here. But it’s because we get lumped in with the overall health unit area.”

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Pearson airport won’t sort arriving passengers based on COVID-19 vaccination status – CityNews Toronto

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Canada’s largest airport is no longer splitting arriving international passengers into different customs lines based on their vaccination status.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport announced last week it may be sorting travellers arriving from the U.S. or other international locations into vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated queues.

But a spokesperson for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority says the practice has been discontinued as of Monday.

Beverly MacDonald says in a statement that the airport has determined separating vaccinated and partially or non-vaccinated travellers into different customs lines “results in minimal operational efficiencies.”

She says entry requirements related to vaccination status will now be enforced once a passenger reaches a customs officer.

Fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents are now able to forgo a 14-day quarantine when arriving in Canada from abroad.

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Fight over nickel assets heats up with BHP's $258m Noront bid – MINING.COM – MINING.com

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Noront is recommending that shareholders accept the bid, which comes through BHP Lonsdale, a subsidiary that already owns 3.7% of the Canadian nickel producer.

“BHP has the financial strength, world-class mining expertise, and commitment to work in partnership with stakeholders to advance Eagle’s Nest and the Ring of Fire, which has the potential to deliver benefits to local communities, First Nations and, and Ontario for years to come,” Noront’s chief executive Alan Coutts said.

BHP is speeding up its push into future-facing commodities, including nickel, lithium and copper, which are poised to benefit from the green-energy transition.

BHP is speeding up its push into future-facing commodities, including nickel, lithium and copper, which are poised to benefit from the green-energy transition

Last week BHP sealed a nickel supply deal with Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) and is expected to decide on the giant Jansen potash project in Canada next month.

“Noront represents a growth opportunity in a prospective nickel basin capable of delivering a scalable, new nickel-sulphide district,” the Melbourne, Australia-based mining giant said in the statement.

The company is also in the process of exiting thermal coal and is considering exiting the oil and gas sector as part of its commitment to reduce emissions.

Wyloo Metals, which is Noront’s top shareholder with a 23% stake as of December, had in May offered C$0.315 per share for the stock it did not already hold in the company. Noront had adopted a poison pill strategy to stop the takeover.

BHP’s offer comes on the heels of its decision to move the exploration team headquarters to Toronto, Canada’s most populous city.

The company plans to almost double exploration spending for base metals within five years.

Noront owns the early-stage Eagle’s Nest nickel and copper deposit in the Ring of Fire of northern Ontario. It has been billed by Wyloo as the largest high-grade nickel discovery in Canada since the Voisey’s Bay nickel find in the eastern province of Newfoundland and Labrador.  

Eagle’s Nest is expected to begin commercial production in 2026 with the mine running initially for 11 years.

The mine’s start date has repeatedly been pushed back by Noront due to successive federal and provincial governments’ inability to consult and reach unanimous agreement with First Nations in the area.

Nickel production would need to increase nearly fourfold to meet expected demand for electric and hybrid vehicles, the company estimates. Likewise, copper output would also need to grow exponentially to meet demand from renewable power generation, battery storage, electric vehicles, charging stations and related grid infrastructure.

Tesla’s boss Elon Musk has expressed worries about a looming nickel shortage. He pleaded with miners last year to produce more nickel, promising a “giant contract” for supply produced efficiently and in an “environmentally sensitive way.”

The EV maker became involved in March in the development of the conflict-ridden New Caledonia nickel mine, as part of the company’s attempt to secure enough supply.

BHP’s offers coincides with Canada’s push to position the country as a hub for clean-tech metals.

The bid is conditional on the acceptance of shareholders that own more than 50% of Noront’s common shares, excluding the small stake that BHP already owns.

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Global Investors Blindsided by China – Bloomberg Markets and Finance

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