Copper could be the solution for displaced coal miners on the Navajo Reservation – by Ryan Randazzo (Arizona Republic – March 15, 2018)

With the impending closure of the Navajo Generating Station coal-fired power plant near Page in December 2019, hundreds of power plant workers and coal miners will need new jobs. Arizona’s copper mines could offer them opportunity.

Thanks to rebounding copper prices, copper mines across Arizona have hundreds of job openings today. The major companies, Freeport-McMoRan Inc., Resolution Copper and Asarco, all said they would be interested in hiring displaced workers from Peabody Energy’s Kayenta Mine should it close.

“Increasing copper prices, from $2 in January 2015 to $3.20 in February, has driven increased production and exploration, and additional employment is sure to follow,” said Steve Trussell, executive director of the Arizona Mining Association. Continue Reading →

Cape Breton Miners’ Museum to install simulator to recreate mining experience (CBC News Nova Scotia – March 14, 2018)

Museum will receive $1.5M from federal government for upgrades

The Cape Breton Miners’ Museum has received just over $1.5 million for upgrades to recreate the mining experience. “This is like a dream come true,” said museum executive director Mary Pat Mombourquette.

“This is going to help us create a vital, dynamic museum that will immerse our visitors in the coal-mining experience. I can’t wait to start making it happen.”

The money from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and Heritage Canada will pay for the construction of a briefing room and a lamp house, recreating a miner’s daily trip to and from the mine. The museum in Glace Bay, N.S., already famously features a guided tour of an actual underground coal mine. Continue Reading →

Gold mine of potash sits beneath Michigan, could be worth $65 billion – by Keith Matheny (Detroit Free Press – March 16, 2018

About a mile-and-a-half underground in north-central Michigan, an almost-forgotten reserve of the potassium-rich mineral salt potash could be worth $65 billion to the Michigan economy.

A widely used agricultural fertilizer, Michigan’s potash may be some of the purest found anywhere in the world. It’s spurring a Colorado engineer and geologist’s plan for a more than $700-million mining and processing facility in Osceola County.

“This is a transformative, generational opportunity for Osceola County,” said Michigan Potash CEO Theodore Pagano. “One of the world’s tightest-controlled commodities sits in Evart Township, and it’s the highest-graded ore by a factor of two. And it sits in a location better than anybody else’s in the world.” Continue Reading →

Don’t let mining companies kill plan to help coal miners, families through land reclamation – by Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox (Louisville Courier-Journal – March 16, 2018)

The Rev. Mitchell C. Hescox serves as President/C.E.O. of The Evangelical Environmental Network. Before his call to ordained ministry, he served the coal and utility industry as Director of Fuel Systems for Allis Mineral Systems.

In the book of Micah, the Bible tells us “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Nowhere is that more needed than the coal towns of Appalachia, where jobs have withered, including over 13,000 lost in Kentucky alone.

Many in my family are among the millions who supplied America’s energy needs for the past century. From Harlan County, Kentucky, to Cambria County, Pennsylvania, coal dust runs in my blood.

Both my grandfathers suffered black lung disease, my dad suffered a mine-related serious back injury, and I spent the first decade and a half of my career in the coal industry before becoming an evangelical pastor. Continue Reading →

Electric car dreams may be dashed by 2050 on lack of cobalt, lithium supplies – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – March 16, 2018)

Supplies of cobalt and lithium, key for making the batteries that power electric cars and mobile phones, are likely to be limited by 2050, German researchers have warned.

According to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) study, published this week in the journal Nature Reviews Materials, a shortage and price increase of cobalt are likely to occur in about thirty years, especially since demand for the metal is expected to be twice as high as today’s identified global reserves.

The authors are not so pessimist when it comes to lithium, as there are several companies rushing to explore and produce the so-called white petroleum. They do warn production will have to be strongly boosted — more than ten times, they predict — to match future demand. Continue Reading →

Sault steel mill prepares to build new $55-million alternative port – by David Helwig (Northern Ontario Business – March 16, 2018)

Essar Steel Algoma Inc. is seeking regulatory approvals for a new $55-million alternative port facility, apparently prepared to pull the plug on its existing arrangements with Port of Algoma Inc.

Recently filed court documents disclose that the Sault steelmaker started looking into building a port of its own last August.Early concepts included floating structures, fixed structures or a combination of both.

A prefeasibility investigation conducted for Algoma by a design and construction company concluded earlier this year that a fixed structure for docking ships and unloading raw material was feasible as an alternative to the existing Sault port, subject to securing necessary regulatory approvals. Continue Reading →

China’s iron ore mountain may only be a molehill – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – March 14, 2018)

LAUNCESTON, Australia (Reuters) – The relentless climb in China’s port inventories of iron ore may not be as worrying to the market as they appear, more a reflection of a change in dynamics than anything else.

Port stockpiles stood at 158.6 million tonnes of the steelmaking ingredient as of the end of last week, close to the prior week’s record of 159.1 million, according to data from consultancy SteelHome. That’s up from 148 million tonnes at the end of last year, and almost double the 79 million-tonne starting point of the climb in June 2016.

Journalists love comparative superlatives and in recent weeks Reuters has described the inventories as enough to build Australia’s Harbour Bridge almost 1,900 times over or Paris’s Eiffel Tower 19,000 times, even to construct enough cars to reach from Earth to Moon if lined up nose to tail. Continue Reading →

‘Ironic twist’: #MeToo strikes mining industry in its own way after PDAC scraps panel on women – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – March 16, 2018)

The biggest mining conference of the year cancelled its session on “tackling gender bias” in the sector

Maria Ezpeleta was planning to fly to Toronto earlier this month to speak about the impact of mining projects on women when she heard the news: The panel session, on “tackling gender bias” in the mining sector, was called off.

In an ironic twist, the discussion of gender bias had been ensnared by #MeToo — the growing movement to stop sexual harassment — because new accusations were surfacing against men linked to Ezpeleta’s organization, Oxfam.

The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, which hosts one of the oldest and largest mining conferences in the world, scrapped the session from this year’s agenda, citing negative news surrounding panel organizer Oxfam, a U.K. charity, which faces allegations it covered up for ex-workers in Haiti accused of using prostitutes. Continue Reading →

Mine Accident Shows a Potash Market Nervous About Outages – by Jen Skerritt and Aliaksandr Kudrytski (Bloomberg News – March 16, 2018)

(Bloomberg) — The news, when it came late Friday night from a government ministry in Minsk, was grim: the ceiling of a potash mine in Belarus had collapsed more than half a kilometer underground, trapping two workers.

Halfway around the world, the reaction to the headlines was swift and dramatic. Shares of some of the largest potash producers soared in New York and Toronto on speculation that the accident could knock out a large chunk of global production capacity.

The March 9 episode vividly illustrates that after a decade of gluts, the industry is suddenly nervous again about supply shocks. Demand has been constantly increasing and any change in production from the world’s top suppliers in Canada, Belarus and Russia has the potential to impact the market dramatically, said Daniel Sherman, a senior analyst for Edward Jones in St. Louis. Continue Reading →

A Ground-Breaking Opportunity: Mining Critical Minerals in America – by Ned Mamula and Stephen Moore (National Review – March 15, 2018)

Domestic mining could supply most of our mineral needs, if only environmentalists would allow it.

Energy, minerals, and metals are indispensable for our American standard of living. But unlike the case with energy, the U.S. is chronically import-reliant on other nations for the minerals and metals that are needed for our country’s economy, infrastructure, and military.

Mineral imports have steadily increased for at least the past two decades because draconian permitting requirements and environmental opposition have made it hard to supply those needs from sources within the U.S. Now there is not enough domestic mining to meet robust manufacturing demand.

However, the real problem is that more and more mineral imports are coming from China, Russia, and third-world dictatorships. Continue Reading →

RNC’s Mark Selby dispels myths regarding nickel demand as new EV markets beckon – Henry Lazenby ( – March 14, 2018)

VANCOUVER ( – Tightening long-term fundamentals for nickel are sketching a rosy picture for the stainless steel-making ingredient, as increased dependence from the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market adds a growing new demand stream in an already constrained supply scenario.

RNC Minerals president and CEO Mark Selby recently told an audience in Toronto that the nickel market has surprised many commentators with continued strong demand, with the recent market focus shifting to forthcoming demand from EVs in the 2020s expected to support an already robust medium and long-term picture.

According to him, stainless steel underpins an already robust nickel demand scenario. Demand for the metal had grown 5% over the last ten years, intensifying in 2016 and 2017 to more than 7% a year and creating a significant supply deficit in 2017 of more than 150 000 t, or 7% of global supply. Continue Reading →

Progressive Conservatives outline plan for northern Ontario (CBC News Sudbury – March 16, 2018)

Ford says Ring of Fire project comparable to Alberta oilsands

The leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is promising to move the Ring of Fire mining project forward immediately if elected. Doug Ford and Nipissing MPP Vic Fedeli outlined the party’s plan for northern Ontario on Friday.

Ford was voted as the head of the party last weekend, after former leader Patrick Brown stepped down amid sexual misconduct allegations.

Ford is promising to develop infrastructure to access the remote mining area in the James Bay lowlands. “If I have to hop on that bulldozer myself with Vic on the other one, we’re going to start building the roads to get to the mining,” he said. Continue Reading →

$2M for Sudbury Laurentian engineering school – by Staff (Sudbury Star – March 18, 2018)

The Bharti School of Engineering at Laurentian University has received $2 million from the Canadian mining firm, IAMGOLD Corporation Inc. The money will fund the creation of a collaboration space for engineering students in the newly constructed Cliff Fielding Research, Innovation and Engineering Building. To honour this contribution, the space will be named the IAMGOLD Student Engineering Junction.

In addition, money will support engineering lab refurbishment, upgrades to technology and equipment, research, scholarships as well as student activities and field trips.

“We are grateful to IAMGOLD for their continued support of Laurentian students. This investment will further enhance our students’ learning experience at the Bharti School,” Markus Timusk, director of the Bharti School of Engineering, said in a release. “Engineering students from across disciplines will have a place to gather, collaborate and share ideas and knowledge. Students will also have access to leading-edge technology and additional experiential learning opportunities.” Continue Reading →

Historic mining facility in Copper Cliff to be demolished by year’s end – by Benjamin Aubé (CBC News Sudbury – March 15, 2018)

The Copper Cliff iron ore recovery plant was built by INCO in 1953

It was an iconic part of Greater Sudbury’s mining history to some, and a decaying eyesore to others, but the former Copper Cliff iron ore recovery plant is finally coming down.

Starting in the mid-1950s, the facility was used to separate remaining traces of iron ore and sulphur from waste produced by nickel mining operations. Vale spokesperson Angie Robson said there should be no trace of the facility by the end of 2018.

“Obviously it was a very historically significant part of our operations. It employed many in the community over the years, so it’s quite significant that the plant is now being decommissioned,” said Robson. Continue Reading →

How Congo faced down some of the world’s biggest mining firms – by Aaron Ross (Reuters U.K. – March 15, 2018)

DAKAR (Reuters) – In an ornate room in Democratic Republic of Congo’s presidential palace last week, some of global mining’s most powerful men faced off against government officials over proposed changes to the country’s mining code.

Facing the officials, including President Joseph Kabila, the executives at times threatened to pursue arbitration or close mines if the government went ahead with changes including royalty increases, according to one of the president’s top advisers, Barnabe Kikaya bin Karubi, who attended the meeting.

But there was no mistaking the sense of defeat as executives from Glencore, Randgold, Ivanhoe and other firms descended the red carpeted stairs after six hours to accept before the media a mining code that hikes taxes and removes exemptions for cobalt and other minerals. Continue Reading →