Archive | Europe Mining

[Scotland] Looking back at the mining history of the Lothians and legacy of pit closures – by Alasdair Clark (Edinburgh Live – February 21, 2021)

A new book is shining fresh light on Lothians mining history, examining the impact of pit closures on local communities like those in Midlothian.

Written by Dr Ewan Gibbs, a historian from Glasgow, the book focusses on central Scotland and the communities that “owe their existence” to the rapid expansion of coal mining in Scotland.

It promises to examine the impact of the closure of Scotland’s coal mines, and the subsequent deindustrialization of communities which were once centred around coal mining. Continue Reading →

We need raw material diplomacy, not conflict – by Günther Maihold (IPS Journal – February 18, 2021)

Trade in valuable minerals often fuels violent conflicts. The EU’s new approach to raw material diplomacy could change that

While blood diamonds are certainly the most well-known ‘conflict raw material’, they are by no means the only one. The proceeds from their sale have, for example, been used to finance and prolong violent conflicts in Africa.

But if the European Commission should get its way, the banning of such raw materials would be expanded to strategic ones – through a new EU regulation on conflict minerals.

Raw materials are an indispensable part of modern economies and geopolitical competition. Naturally, that leaves them in high demand. However, mining and exploiting them is often linked to high social and environmental costs in many countries of the Global South. Continue Reading →

Germany concerned about Poland’s nuclear energy plans – by Monika Sieradzka (February 17, 2021)

Poland is working towards reducing its dependence on coal and forging ahead with plans to start producing nuclear energy. Its Polityka Energetczna Polski (PEP) strategy, which the government approved earlier this month and is set to begin in 2026, includes the construction of six reactors in two locations. According to the plan, the first reactor will begin operation in 2033 and all six should be up and running by 2043.

The EU member has to find new sources of energy in order to meet the bloc’s climate, energy and environmental targets. Poland currently depends on coal for 70% of its energy and is thus one of the most polluting EU states.

But Poland’s energy transition is not driven by external pressure alone. Brown coal mining in central Poland, which currently supplies 20% of the country’s energy, is set to be phased out by 2035. Continue Reading →

Poland plans USD40bn investment in new nuclear plants (World Nuclear News – September 9, 2020)

The new Poland’s Energy Policy for 2040 (PEP2040) is based on three pillars: a just transition; a zero-emission energy system; and good air quality.

The first 1-1.6 GWe nuclear unit is to be commissioned in 2033, with five more units, or 6-9 GWe, to follow by 2040. The investment expected to be required for this is PLN150 billion (USD39.7 billion). New jobs created by the country’s nuclear and renewable energy sectors are expected to total 300,000.

“The transition will cover many sectors, but it is energy that plays a particularly important role in the fight against climate change. The updated Poland’s energy policy for 2040 takes this into account in its assumptions, on an equal footing with the need to ensure energy security, a just transition, reconstruction after the coronavirus pandemic, a stable labour market, sustainable development of the economy and strengthening its competitiveness,” Kurtyka said. Continue Reading →

Nornickel fined $2 billion for massive Arctic fuel spill – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – February 5, 2021)

Norilsk Nickel (MCX: GMKN), the world’s largest producer of palladium and nickel, will have to pay a record fine of 146 billion rubles ($1.94 billion) in compensation for a huge fuel spill in the Arctic last May, a Russian court ruled on Friday.

The amount, while in line with a demand by the nation’s environmental watchdog Rosprirodnadzor, more than doubles what Russia is seeking to get in mineral extraction tax from mining companies this year.

“We won!!!” Rosprirodnadzor head Svetlana Rodionova, who was in the courtroom on Friday, said in an Instagram post. “Ecology is everyone’s business!!!” Continue Reading →

UK produces first-ever battery grade lithium carbonate in Cornwall – by Cristina Belda (Metal Bulletin – January 20, 2021)

Lithium carbonate has been produced for the first time in Cornwall in southwest England, the Li4UK consortium said this week.

Following an 18-month project, Li4UK confirmed that the purity of the lithium carbonate produced at Cornish Lithium’s Trelavour project Cornwall is “near battery grade,” the consortium said on Monday January 18.

“Li4UK (Securing a Domestic Lithium Supply Chain for the UK), is a consortium that comprises exploration firm Cornish Lithium, mining consultancy Wardell Armstrong International (WAI) and the UK’s Natural History Museum. Continue Reading →

Last open-outcry trading floor in Europe to fall silent for good – by Paul Waldie (Globe and Mail – January 20, 2021)

The London Metal Exchange plans to permanently silence its frenzied trading floor, known as the Ring, where nattily attired traders have helped set the price of everything from copper to zinc for more than 140 years.

The LME said on Tuesday that closing the Ring — a circle six metres in diameter with a red leather bench around the perimeter — was part of an effort to modernize the exchange and move toward fully electronic trading.

“The Ring is a greatly treasured aspect of the LME’s rich 144-year history, and its closure is not a decision we or our market will take lightly,” LME chief executive Matthew Chamberlain said. Continue Reading →

Lithium Miner’s German Smelter Plan Draws Billionaires – by Eyk Henning and Christoph Rauwald (Bloomberg News – January 11, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Rock Tech Lithium Inc. plans to raise $400 million to build a lithium refinery in Germany and has attracted support from billionaires including Peter Thiel investing in Europe’s push to create a local electric-vehicle battery industry.

The Canadian miner is in advanced talks with investors and sees the Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt regions as possible locations for the smelter, Chairman Dirk Harbecke said by phone.

Europe is expected to overtake China as the top EV market this year, spawning investment into the necessary infrastructure and local supply chains to reduce a dependence on Asian battery makers. Continue Reading →

Eramet faces continued challenges in New Caledonia, despite rescue plan success – by Simone Liedtke ( – Janaury 12, 2021)

Global mining and metallurgical group Eramet’s rescue plan, which aims to ensure the sustainable recovery of the group’s New Caledonian subsidiary, is achieving the expected impact under normal operating conditions, the company confirmed on January 12.

It noted that the subsidiary, Société Le Nickel (SLN), had, in particular, managed to achieve an improvement in production costs.

SLN’s rescue plan is based on three levers, which include implementing a new business model based on plant ferronickel production and low-grade ore exports, improving productivity and reducing energy prices. Continue Reading →

[Slovakia Mining History] Liptov’s gold rush: Magurka – by Gabriela Psotková and Valéria Polovková (Slovak Spectator – January 4, 2021)

On August 16, 1896, an American prospector named George Carmack and his Tagish wife Kate Carmack were travelling south of the Klondike River. Following a suggestion from Robert Henderson, a Canadian prospector, they began looking for gold on Bonanza Creek, then called Rabbit Creek, one of the Klondike’s tributaries.

And boy did they discover gold, which was present along the river in huge quantities. By the end of August, all of Bonanza Creek had been claimed by miners from all world.

In Slovakia, gold was already been mined by the Celts. The first mining towns of central Slovakia were established in the 13th century by the Germans. Continue Reading →

Inobat to create ‘green battery ecosystem’ in Europe – by Editor ( – December 14, 2020)

European battery producer InoBat Auto has announced its ‘green battery ecosystem’ for Europe, as the race to develop and produce the best and ‘greenest’ electric vehicle (EV) batteries heats up.

InoBat’s AI-driven R&D battery production centre, which was recently approved by the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), is the first stage of the company’s green battery ecosystem, which begins with discovering and developing better performing, and more environmentally friendly cell chemistries more efficiently.

Inobat said this can be achieved through a patented combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and high throughput (HTP) technology, which allows for large numbers of different battery cell chemistries to be tested and improved simultaneously under one roof in InoBat’s battery centre in Slovakia. Continue Reading →

Plan to Boost Big Swiss Firms’ Liability Fails in Referendum (Associated Press/US News – November 29, 2020)

GENEVA (AP) — A proposal that could have stiffened penalties against companies based in Switzerland if they violate human rights or harm the environment abroad failed in a Swiss referendum on Sunday.

The initiative titled “Responsible companies — to protect people and the environment” won a narrow majority of votes, with 50.7% percent backing it and 49.3% against, but failed because a majority of the country’s cantons, or states, came out against it. Support was strongest in urban areas, much of Switzerland’s French-speaking west and Italian-speaking Ticino. Continue Reading →

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

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 →

Do You Know Where Your Watch’s Gold Came From? – by Victoria Gomelsky (New York Times – November 19, 2020)

A mechanical timepiece is powered by clean kinetic energy and can run, at least theoretically, forever and a day. To support that image of inherent sustainability, many Swiss watchmakers over the past decade have partnered with conservation groups, implemented energy-saving measures at their at their factories and, more recently, experimented with recycled materials for things like packaging and straps.

When it comes to the gold and gemstones used to make watches, however, the industry lags behind other sectors such as electronics in understanding and communicating how its materials are obtained and ensuring their extraction has not harmed people and the environment.

“We always compare the watch industry here in Switzerland to the textile industry 20 years ago,” said Dario Grünenfelder, a consultant to WWF Switzerland and lead author of the WWF Watch and Jewellery Report 2018. “They’re not really tackling the big issues: the raw materials that go into their products.” Continue Reading →

Romania’s coal-black heartland embraces Europe’s Green New Deal – by Hans von der Brelie (Euro News – November 13, 2020)

Our drone reveals an apocalyptic landscape of industrial decline: abandoned mine buildings as far as the eye can see.

This is Jiu Valley, in south-western Romania, a six-hour drive from the capital Bucharest: it’s Romania’s famous coal heartland.

But it now finds itself at a crossroads, as Europe’s coal regions transition away from this fossilised fuel to more environmentally-sustainable energy sourcess. Continue Reading →