OPINION: Down to rare earth: Canada ignores China’s resource power grab at its own peril – by Steven Fletcher (Globe and Mail – November 28, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Steven Fletcher was the member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia from 2004 to 2015 and Canada’s first permanently disabled federal cabinet minister. He resides in Manitoba and is the principal of Fletcher Focus International.

Every day, amid the wilderness of boreal forest, Canadians driving along Manitoba’s Provincial Road 315 pass by Bernic Lake, just 165 kilometres outside Winnipeg.

They have nary a clue that they’ve driven past the world’s largest mining operation for a rare and highly valuable resource – one that’s worth more than gold, yet is little-known in the world at large.

Cesium – a soft, alkali metal that is element 55 on the periodic table – is categorized as a “rare earth mineral,” one of the vital elements for the technology we use today and will use tomorrow, from solar panels, wind turbines, electric vehicles and fast-charging batteries that could be the key to a clean-energy future to cutting-edge military tech and weapons. Continue Reading →

Rare earth riches in the mine waste pile – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – November 25, 2020)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Avalon Advanced Materials looks to clean up, extract value from tailings dumps

Shuttered mine sites with legacy environmental issues pose a unique opportunity for Avalon Advanced Materials to recover rare earth minerals.

Don Bubar, CEO of the Toronto-based lithium and rare earth producer, talked strategy last week in a web call to shareholders, a day after announcing a partnership with Rock Tech Lithium on a possible processing plant for Thunder Bay.

Avalon is carving out a space in the clean and green tech economy with a diverse mix of Northern Ontario exploration properties in lithium, rare earth metals, cesium, tantalum and other non-traditional minerals that the company hopes to advance over the next couple of years. Continue Reading →

U.S. Rejects Controversial Alaska Pebble Gold, Copper Mine – by Jennifer A. Dlouhy and Steven Frank (Bloomberg News – November 26, 2020)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg) — The Pebble mine in Alaska was dealt a potentially lethal blow after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers rejected an essential permit for the project.

The proposed mine in southwestern Alaska, which would tap one of the world’s largest undeveloped copper and gold deposits, has been dogged by protests for years, as conservationists warn industrial mining operations near Bristol Bay threaten a flourishing sockeye salmon fishery.

The Army Corps issued a record of decision Wednesday denying Pebble’s permit, after determining the project “is contrary to the public interest,” said Col. Damon Delarosa, the agency’s Alaska district commander. Continue Reading →

Put a forever wish of ethical, environmental hope on her finger – by Amy Oberlin (KPC News – November 25, 2020)

https://www.kpcnews.com/

For those who may be thinking about popping the question around the holidays, there is an ethical dilemma to consider. Where did that diamond come from?

Blood diamonds — also called conflict diamonds, brown diamonds, hot diamonds or red diamonds — are diamonds mined in a war zone and sold to finance an insurgency, an invading army’s war efforts or a warlord’s activity. This is a pronounced problem in African states.

Alex G. Stewart, a public health physician and researcher at the University of Exeter in South West England, wrote an essay describing how all kinds of mining are dangerous to human health. Continue Reading →

The electric car won’t get us very far – by Bjorn Lomborg (Financial Post – November 26, 2020)

https://financialpost.com/

Electric cars will achieve only tiny emissions savings at a very high price

In a move to jump-start the market for electric cars in Quebec, the government of Premier François Legault this month announced a ban on the sale of new gas-powered cars from 2035.

Similarly, leaders across the rich world, including U.S. president-elect Joe Biden and U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who just announced an even more ambitious deadline of 2030, promise lavish carrots along with sticks to outlaw gasoline cars.

Unfortunately, electric cars will achieve only tiny emissions savings at a very high price. Electric cars are certainly fun, but almost everywhere cost more across their lifetime than their gasoline counterparts. Continue Reading →

Videogames have a conflict mineral problem – by Jini Maxwell (Arts Hub.com.au – November, 24 2020)

https://www.artshub.com.au/

On 28 November 2019, a post on the subreddit r/showerthoughts went viral: ‘lamps in video games use real electricity.’ The line quickly made the rounds of the internet, perfectly and whimsically expressing a hard truth around which there is a growing consciousness: while playing videogames might be a form of escapism for some, they are still part of the real world, use real resources, and are impacted by the unequal social structures of human societies.

It’s an uncomfortable but important thing to acknowledge: consumer technologies, including gaming consoles, do rely on real resources, and the specific minerals they require to function can stoke real-world conflicts.

This issue is so prevalent that the major consumer tech companies release annual reports on their conflict mineral supply chains. We’re going to examine those reports here. Continue Reading →

New Brunswick: Gold prices drive new exploration at Cape Spencer – by Connell Smith (CBC News New Brunswick – November 24, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/new-brunswick/

There are barely a dozen homes at Cape Spencer on the Bay of Fundy coast. But people here are not surprised when strangers quietly appear in their community, about 20 kilometres southeast of Saint John.

The arrivals are often preceded by an upward trend in gold prices. “We’ve always had people looking for gold out here,” said Kimberly Burry, whose home sits atop a hill looking out toward the ocean.

The latest newcomers, a small crew of geologists, caused barely a ripple this fall when they took up residence in a rented house and began their daily trips into the woods to explore the many rock outcrops and other geological features. Continue Reading →

Canadian mining can supply the metals for a clean energy future – by Cody Battershill (Northern Miner – November 24, 2020)

Global mining news

If leadership on climate action and environmental best practices are worthwhile pursuits, then the Canadian mining sector is an industry that’s deserving of Canada’s – and the global market’s – full support.

And if a strong regulatory framework for environmental performance, growing Indigenous support and a superior record on human rights are equally important benchmarks, then our country’s mining sector is on the right track.

Beyond the metals that contribute to so much of our modern world, let’s focus for the moment on electric vehicles (EVs). They’re viewed by a growing number of consumers here and abroad as an important way to help reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and improve air quality in many developing cities. Continue Reading →

China’s control of rare earth minerals another challenge for President-elect Biden – by Tom Jurkowsky (Capital Gazette – November 22, 2020)

https://www.capitalgazette.com/

Tom Jurkowsky is a retired Navy rear admiral who served on active duty for 31 years.

In a recent presentation, Secretary of the Navy Kenneth Braithwaite said he thought “China is probably the greatest threat to our country that Americans do not understand.”

He added he believes what we are seeing emerge is a threat beyond any comparison ever in the history of our country.

Braithwaite was addressing the military threat that China poses. We have addressed the exponential growth of the Chinese military on these pages, along with other issues such as our dependency on China for pharmaceutical products; our reliance on China for countless consumer products, due in part to our diminished manufacturing base; and even Wall Street investing in Chinese companies. Continue Reading →

US coal miners call on Trump to move on – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – November 24, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

Support from coal miners helped Donald Trump win the US presidency four years ago. Now, the leader of the nation’s top mining union is calling on Trump to “move on”, adding that ongoing efforts to challenge vote counts and pressure state elections officials are a “threat to our entire form of government and the American way of life.”

While the US General Services Administration — the federal agency that allows the transition process to begin — said late on Monday President-elect Joe Biden’s team could get in touch to begin changeover, Trump continues to hold on to power.

Trump tweeted on Tuesday he would soon present evidence of widespread ballot fraud and other wrongdoing in “great detail” in a “big lawsuit”. Continue Reading →

High-profile mining investors pay lavish severance to take control of Caldas Gold – by Tim Kiladze and Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – November 24, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Veteran Canadian mining investors are joining forces to purchase an obscure junior gold company, agreeing to lavish severance packages in exchange for control of a Colombian mining project.

The group of buyers includes former Goldcorp chair Ian Telfer, former Goldcorp chief executive officer David Garofalo, current Yamana Gold Corp. executive chair Peter Marrone and mining financier Frank Giustra.

Together, the group will buy $38-million in new shares of Toronto-based Caldas Gold Corp. as part of an $85-million private placement, and they will also assume operational control. Continue Reading →

There’s $500 million of coal on anchored ships off China’s coast – by Aaron Clark and Kevin Varley (Bloomberg News – November 24, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

More than $500 million worth of Australian coal is on ships anchored off Chinese ports, as a diplomatic spat between the two countries cuts into trade, idles a portion of the world’s dry bulk carriers and threatens to spiral into a humanitarian crisis.

More than 50 vessels have been waiting a month or longer to offload coal from Australia, according to separate analyses of shipping data conducted by Bloomberg and data intelligence firm Kpler.

There’s about 5.7 million tonnes of coal and approximately 1,000 seafarers on the anchored vessels, which are mostly Capesize and Panamax-sized vessels, according to Kpler. Continue Reading →

Ottawa replaces federal bureaucrat working with Neskantaga First Nation during state of emergency – by Olivia Stefanovich (CBC News – November 23, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/

Indigenous Services Canada has replaced the top federal bureaucrat working with Neskantaga First Nation, which has the longest boil water advisory in the country, during its current state of emergency at the community’s request.

Assistant deputy minister Joanne Wilkinson has taken over from Ontario regional director general Anne Scotton as the liaison between department officials and Neskantaga, a fly-in community about 450 km north of Thunder Bay, Ont.

“Joanne has significant experience in regional operations and is well placed to leverage the resources necessary to complete this work,” senior assistant deputy minister Lynda Clairmont wrote in an email to Chief Chris Moonias late Monday. Continue Reading →

Along Russia’s ‘Road of Bones,’ Relics of Suffering and Despair – by Matilda Coleman (UpNewsInfo.com – November 22, 2020)

https://upnewsinfo.com/

The Kolyma Highway in the Russian Far East once delivered tens of thousands of prisoners to the work camps of Stalin’s gulag. The ruins of that cruel era are still visible today.

The prisoners, hacking their way through insect-infested summer swamps and winter ice fields, brought the road, and the road then brought yet more prisoners, delivering a torrent of slave labor to the gold mines and prison camps of Kolyma, the most frigid and deadly outpost of Stalin’s gulag.

Their path became known as the “road of bones,” a track of gravel, mud and, for much of the year, ice that stretches 1,260 miles west from the Russian port city of Magadan on the Pacific Ocean inland to Yakutsk, the capital of the Yakutia region in eastern Siberia. Continue Reading →

Sherritt International CEO David Pathe stepping down after completing restructuring – by Andrew Willis (Globe and Mail – November 23, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Nickel miner Sherritt International Corp. is looking for a new CEO, and the ideal candidate must be willing to forgo ties to the United States for the foreseeable future.

Sherritt chief executive David Pathe announced on Monday that he will step down next year, and the Toronto-based company has began a search for his successor.

Mr. Pathe, 50, ran Sherritt for the past eight years, steering the company through a wrenching restructuring that concluded in August. The company is now seeing increasing demand for its metals from electric-vehicle battery makers. Continue Reading →