First Cobalt’s man with the marketing plan – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – April 8, 2021)

Michael Insulan appointed by cobalt processor to advance offtake strategy

First Cobalt wants to hit the ground running by the time its refurbished northeastern Ontario refinery is fired up by the fall of 2022. The Toronto cobalt processor has appointed Michael Insulan as its vice-president, commercial.

Based in Europe, his strategic priority will be to key in on major battery suppliers, the automotive sector and all things to do with the lithium-ion battery supply chain sector.

Insulan has nearly 20 years of experience in oil and gas, bulk commodities, base and minor metals, working for Royal Dutch Shell, CRU, and Eurasian Resources Group. The last four years, he’s become known as an industry expert on cobalt. Continue Reading →

Opposition Wins Greenland Election After Running Against Rare Earths Mine – by Isabella Kwai (New York Times – April 7, 2021)

Greenland’s left-wing environmentalist party, Inuit Ataqatigiit, won a victory in general elections on Tuesday after campaigning against the development of a contentious rare earths mine partly backed by China.

The party, which had been in the opposition, won 37 percent of the vote over the longtime incumbents, the center-left Siumut party.

The environmentalists will need to negotiate a coalition to form a government, but observers said their election win in Greenland, a semiautonomous territory of Denmark that sits on a rich vein of untapped uranium and rare earth minerals, signaled concerns from voters over the impact of mining. Continue Reading →

Cigar Lake uranium mine to restart this month ( – April 10, 2021)

Canadian uranium major Cameco on Friday announced that the Cigar Lake mine, in northern Saskatchewan, would be reopened this month, but that the timing would depend on how quickly the workforce could be remobilised.

Operations at the high-grade uranium mine were halted in December. At the time, the company said it had difficulty in accessing qualified operational personnel to operate Cigar Lake.

CEO Tim Gitzel said that, in recent months, Cameco had implemented several enhanced safety protocols for Cigar Lake, including increased distancing between passengers on flights, mandatory medical-grade masks for all workers and increased sanitisation and physical barriers in the eating areas. Continue Reading →

Mine Tales: Oracle Ridge drew Buffalo Bill Cody, provided tungsten for Edison’s lights – by William Ascarza (Arizona Daily Star – April 11, 2021)

The northeastern slope of the Santa Catalina Mountains has a long history of sporadic gold production. The country is rugged, cut by deep canyons including Southern Belle, Campo Bonito and Pepper Sauce, all running parallel and eastward to the San Pedro Valley.

Gold and silver have been found in the veins along the contacts of dikes in the granites. Veins carrying gold, silver and tungsten have been found in sedimentary rock between the contact points of granite and sedimentaries comprised of slates, sandstones, limestones, quartzite and conglomerates.

Located at the northern end of the Santa Catalina Mountains, the town of Oracle was founded in 1880. It was christened after the nearby Oracle Mine, so named by its claimant, Canadian prospector Albert Weldon, who sailed around Cape Horn on a ship named “The Oracle” in 1875. Continue Reading →

Coal production from mining’s top ten set to increase – by Daniel Brightmore (Mining Global – April 11, 2021)

GlobalData analysis points to increased coal production of up to 6.6% in 2021 from the likes of Glencore, Peabody, Coal India and BHP

Coal production from the top ten mining companies (Coal India, China Shenhua, Yanzhou Coal, Peabody, China National Coal, Glencore, Siberian Coal, PT Bumi, BHP and Arch Resources) fell from a collective 1,704Mt in 2019 to 1,633Mt in 2020, which is a 4.2% decline.

The most significant declines were observed from Arch Resources (28.6%), PT Bumi (24.9%), Glencore (23.9%), and Peabody (21.8%), according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

GlobalData expects production from the top ten companies to be between 1,683-1,740Mt in 2021, which is an increase of up to 6.6% compared with the collective output in 2020 (1,633Mt). Operating activities, backed by the rollout of vaccine and strict COVID-19 protocols on-site, returning to normal is expected to be a key production driver for companies in 2021. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: MAC Updates Tailings Management Guidance to Align with Global Standard (Mining Association of Canada – April 7, 2021)

TSM Tailings Standard Now Meets or Exceeds the Majority of the Standard’s Requirements

OTTAWA, ON, April 7, 2021 /CNW/ – Today, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) announced updates to its world leading guidance on responsible tailings management.

The Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) standard, first developed by MAC in 2004, is a globally recognized sustainability program that supports mining companies in managing key environmental and social risks. TSM was the first mining sustainability standard in the world to require site-level assessments and is mandatory for all companies that are members of implementing associations. Through TSM, eight critical aspects of social and environmental performance are evaluated, independently validated, and publicly reported against 30 distinct performance indicators.

For over 20 years MAC has led the way in responsible tailings management, a significant focus of the association’s work, including through TSM, specifically the Tailings Management Protocol and supporting guidance documents. TSM provides an established system for credible performance measurement and reporting, including rigorous standards to help ensure that tailings facilities are being responsibly managed. Continue Reading →

‘No community should suffer this’: Florida’s toxic breach was decades in the making – by Paola Rosa-Aquino (The Guardian – April 11, 2021)

It’s been a week since a significant leak at a long-abandoned fertilizer plant in the Tampa Bay area threatened the surrounding groundwater, soil, and local water supplies.

Last weekend, officials ordered more than 300 families living near the 676-acre Piney Point plant site in Manatee county to evacuate. The sheriff even emptied out his jail’s first floor of inmates in case a “20-foot wall of water” came rolling their way.

By Monday, local officials said they thought the crisis had been averted; they lifted evacuation orders on Tuesday afternoon. But what they meant was that imminent catastrophe had been postponed. Continue Reading →

Anglo American to Spin Off South African Coal Mines in June – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – April 8, 2021)

(Bloomberg) – Anglo American Plc outlined plans to separate its South African coal mines into a new business, hastening its retreat from mining thermal coal.

Anglo has been plotting an exit from the most-polluting fuel for more than a year and has always said separating its South African business was the most likely outcome.

Anglo will still own a coal mine in Colombia that it’s also planning to sell and coking coal mines in Australia, used to make steel rather than burned for power. Continue Reading →

Pro-foreign investment Lasso wins Ecuador presidential election – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – April 12, 2021)

Guillermo Lasso, a 66-year-old conservative former banker, has won Ecuador’s presidential election with 52.5%of votes, beating out Andrés Arauz, a 36-year-old leftist handpicked by former President Rafael Correa.

While neither candidate had declared himself anti-mining, Lasso vowed since the beginning of its campaign to promote foreign investments in the mining and oil sectors, while cutting tariffs on agricultural and other heavy equipment.

Lasso also warned he would emphasize the enforcement of environmental protection rules and larger involvement from indigenous communities in deciding projects’ future. Continue Reading →

U.S. Faces Uphill Climb to Rival China’s Rare-Earth Magnet Industry – by Alistair MacDonald (Wall Street Journal – April 11, 2021)

West lags China on both supply and processing of materials key to electric cars and wind turbines

Businesses and governments across the West are gearing up to counter China’s dominance in a key component of modern technology: the magnet.

But the dozens of companies jostling for government support will struggle to establish a supply chain to rival China’s rare-earth magnet industry, which has a decadeslong head start and steadfast state support, analysts and executives say.

Powerful magnets made of rare-earth minerals are essential components in electric-vehicle motors, wind turbines and other technology. China mines over 70% of the world’s rare earths and is responsible for 90% of the complex process of turning them into magnets, analysts say. That dominance gives Beijing sway over makers of various fast-growing technologies. Continue Reading →

Washington lawmakers, conservationists push B.C. on mining regulations – by Derrick Penner (Victoria Times Colonist/Vancouver Sun – April 10, 2021)

A group of Washington state legislators is calling on Premier John Horgan to better protect the headwaters of cross-­border rivers from the threat of ­pollution from mining in B.C.

The 25 state senators and house representatives, led by Senator Jesse Salomon, sent a letter to Horgan last week urging the premier to “undertake needed reforms to improve British Columbia’s financial assurance system,” related to mine reclamation and cleanup.

“We’re just concerned that there could be a tailings spill,” upstream of his state on critical salmon rivers such as the Skagit, Similkameen and Columbia, said Salomon, who represents Shoreline in suburban Seattle. Continue Reading →

Agromining: Farming of metal-extracting trees and plants could replace mining (RNZ News – April 11, 2021)

When scientist Alan Baker made a cut in the side of an exotic plant in the Philippines jungle, the sap that bled out had a jade-green glow.

The shrub was a newly discovered species, soon to be known as Phyllanthus Balgooyi, one of a rare variety of plants that naturally suck high amounts of metallic elements from the soil. The fluorescent sap turned out to be 9 percent nickel.

It was a welcome finding, but not a surprise, as Professor Baker’s research into so-called “hyperaccumulators” had already uncovered species that seemed to thrive on everything from cobalt to zinc, and even gold. Continue Reading →

History in Focus: The atomic age – by James Neton (Craig Daily Press – April 10, 2021)

In November of 1953, a small Cessna 179 piloted by Russell Cutter, a geologist for Arrowhead Uranium Corporation, flew in low over the area just north of Lay and Mabyell.

The readings from his on board portable Halross Scintillation Counter, a device used to measure radiation and the presence of uranium, confirmed Cutter’s hopes. The atomic age had arrived in Moffat County.

After the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended WWII, the Soviet Union detonated their first bomb in 1949. The ensuing arms race set off a scramble to discover and mine uranium, the crucial fissile material for nuclear weapons and energy. As demand skyrocketed, attention quickly focused on previously known deposits in our local Brown’s Park sandstone. Continue Reading →

Profit-sharing deal with Barrick gives Papua New Guinea majority stake in Porgera gold mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – April 10, 2021)

Barrick Gold Corp. has hammered out a new profit-sharing agreement with the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government for its Porgera gold mine in which it makes major concessions in return for being able to restart operations after a year-long shutdown.

Under the pact announced on Friday, PNG’s ownership in Porgera will rise to 51 per cent from 5 per cent. Barrick and China’s Zijin Mining Group Ltd., which previously owned a combined 95 per cent stake, will see their shares fall to a combined 49 per cent. Toronto-based Barrick, the operator of the mine, will front the entire cost of reopening the site.

John Ing, analyst with Maison Placements Canada Inc., said while the new ownership agreement appears “draconian” at first sight for Barrick, being able to reopen the mine again at a time when the price of gold is elevated is a big positive. Continue Reading →

This land is sacred to the Apache, and they are fighting to save it – by Dana Hedgpeth (Washington Post – April 12, 2021)

Just as his Apache ancestors have done for centuries, Wendsler Nosie — the former chairman of the San Carlos Apache Tribe — led a traditional ceremony on a mountaintop at Oak Flat, about 60 miles east of Phoenix, overlooking a landscape of basins covered in tall grasses, boulders and jagged cliffs.

The tradition, called a sunrise ceremony, is a rite of passage for a teenage girl in which she goes through a series of rituals to recognize her transition to womanhood.

The girl had collected plants from Oak Flat that have the “spirit of Chic’chil Bildagoteel,” the name of the sacred spot in the Apache language. Plants from anywhere else cannot be used — they don’t have the spirit that resonates from Oak Flat. Continue Reading →