Premature Bonanza: Standoff at Voisey's Bay


222 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-896357-17-2
DDC 338.7'6223485'097182






Reviewed by Melvin Baker

Melvin Baker is an archivist and historian at Memorial University of
Newfoundland, and the co-editor of Dictionary of Newfoundland and
Labrador Biography.


Premature Bonanza is the story of how two communities, the industrial
town of Sudbury in Northern Ontario and the Innu and the Inuit of
northern Labrador, have been affected by International Nickel Company
(Inco) and the huge nickel discovery at Voisey’s Bay in Labrador.

The author asks what Newfoundlanders and Labradorians in general and
the Innu and the Inuit in particular can reasonably expect from Inco,
which owns the nickel resource. The answer is not too much, given that
Inco’s purpose, not surprisingly, is to maximize its profit margin
through an expeditious development of Voisey’s Bay. Lowe’s
sympathies clearly lie with Inco’s labor force at Sudbury and with the
Labrador Innu and Inuit whose permission Inco failed to seek before it
began exploratory work to develop the mineral site. The Innu’s
successful (and peaceful) efforts to stall work at the site are well
documented; indeed, it would be premature to declare the Voisey’s Bay
riches a bonanza for Inco until the claims and needs of the Innu and
Inuit (and the Newfoundland government) are met.

Lowe’s book forcefully demonstrates that Inco has failed to grasp the
changing reality of industrial development in northern Canada today;
labor and corporate practices that meet with little or no resistance in
the Third World are clearly not acceptable in Canada.


Lowe, Mick., “Premature Bonanza: Standoff at Voisey's Bay,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 12, 2024,