Editorial: The coming US mining renaissance – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – January 3, 2017)

The Northern Miner

While for much of past twenty years there has been a slow withering of the mining industry in the U.S., with the notable exceptions of a few bright spots such as gold mining in Nevada, things are starting to look much more optimistic thanks to a combination of rising commodity prices, an easing of regulatory burdens and a new pro-business atmosphere punctuated by the deep corporate cuts in the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act pushed through by Republicans as 2017 drew to a close.

One of the first signs of recovery came in the early months of 2017 as coal mines in Appalachia started to reopen and hire new employees in response to the doubling of metallurgical coal prices — reversing a brutal 5-year decline in Big Coal that saw the bankruptcies of most of the country’s largest coal miners in the mid-2010s.

Year-over-year, U.S. coal production increased 8.9% in the 52 weeks ending Dec. 23, according to the Energy Information Administration’s weekly estimates.

The number of working miners in the U.S. is not yet available for 2017, but the figure hit an all-time low of 52,000 in 2016, compared to 92,000 in 2011 when met and thermal coal prices were both strong.

The Trump administration’s early appointment of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head up the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency signaled a new direction for the EPA that would see it narrow its regulatory focus and take a more pragmatic approach to resource development.

For the rest of this editorial: http://www.northernminer.com/news/editorial-coming-us-mining-renaissance/1003792668/

 

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