British mining is now about a green future not its story-filled past – by Francesca Washtell (This Is Money – September 17, 2023)

Just a stone’s throw from picturesque hiking trails in the Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park lies Scotland’s only commercial gold mine. The Cononish project was embraced by the local community and championed by politicians – as well as investors who bought shares in its London-listed owner Scotgold Resources.

But hopes that for decades to come it could produce gold to be exported or crafted into fine jewellery have been thrown into question after Scotgold last week warned it could crash into administration. The warning was not the only news to rock the mining industry last week.

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Europe’s mining quest faces a hurdle: angry locals – by Catarina Demony, Pietro Lombardi and Simon Johnson (Reuters – September 13, 2023)

COVAS DO BARROSO, Portugal, Sept 13 (Reuters) – In Portugal’s northern Barroso region, Maria Loureiro weeps at the prospect of losing her family’s land to a mine that could become one of Europe’s biggest producers of lithium, used in electric vehicle batteries and other clean technologies.

“I don’t want them to take away what has been left to me by my parents and grandparents,” 55-year-old Loureiro said. “I don’t want the mine … I will fight it to the death.” She is among local activists in Portugal and elsewhere whose determination to halt mine developments – via protests, legal challenges or simply refusing to sell or rent the land needed – threatens to slow the European Union’s green transition.

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Japan and U.K. launch economic security dialogue – by Anna Nishino Nikkei Asia – September 7, 2023)

Ministers confirm cooperation on critical minerals for supply chain resilience

LONDON — Japan and the U.K. agreed Wednesday to establish a new ministerial dialogue on economic policy and trade, and affirmed plans for joint investment to secure rights to critical minerals in regions such as Africa.

Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura and British counterpart Kemi Badenoch issued a joint statement on the framework after their meeting here. The dialogue will be the first between Tokyo and London to cover economic security topics such as supply chain resilience.

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Does Europe need Niger’s uranium? – by Martina Schwikowski ( – September 4, 2023)

Will the lights go out in Europe if Niger were to prevent France from mining more of its uranium? DW asked experts in Niger and Europe about the energy supply chain in the wake of the coup.

Niger’s greatest treasure lies underground: Uranium is the most important commodity in the Sahel state. But coup plotters have been in charge for just over a month, fueling fears that the uranium supply to global markets is in jeopardy.

France, the former colonial power in Niger, is in a particularly tight spot. Around two-thirds of its electricity comes from nuclear power plants powered by uranium sourced in Niger. It also exports electricity to other countries in Europe that have no nuclear plants of their own.

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How More Sanctions on Russian Diamonds Could Affect the Global Market – by Elizabeth Paton (New York Times – August 31, 2023)

The Group of 7 and the European Union are expected to issue new rules in an effort to slow the flow of revenue into the Kremlin’s war chest.

Eighteen months have passed since Russia invaded Ukraine, sending shock waves around the world — and through the global diamond market. Russia is the world’s biggest diamond exporter by volume, with a state-owned company, Alrosa, mining almost one third of all diamonds produced in 2021.

To prevent funds from flowing into the Kremlin war chest, the United States — the world’s largest market for finished diamonds — took action last spring when President Biden banned the import of rough diamonds from Russia and the U.S. Treasury Department placed sanctions on Alrosa.

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Russia plundering Ukraine’s natural resources – by Eugen Theise ( – August 28, 2023)

Ukraine is known as one of Europe’s largest grain producers. But it also has valuable natural resources such as iron ore and coal that Russia is eager to exploit.

Dig into the earth near the Ukrainian city of Dniprorudne, and you will hit ore with an iron content of over 60%. Before the war, about 4.5 million tons of this high-quality iron ore were mined each year — with the lion’s share exported to Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Austria.

Selling this strategically important resources earned Dniprorudne mines the equivalent of €200 million ($216 million) per year. One-third of the ore was made into steel at a plant to the west, in the city of Zaporizhzhia, and also exported.

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Russia’s Coal Basin Struggles With Closed Mines, Pollution. And Now The Toll From Ukraine War. (Radio Free Europe – August 27, 2023)

PROKOPYEVSK, Russia — In the heart of the Russia’s coal-mining Kemerovo region, residents struggle with the harsh economic realities of declining wages, obsolete mine facilities, and chronic medical conditions that come from life below, and above ground.

Many are retired coal miners like Vladimir Miroshenko, 71, who recalls the halcyon days of the 1970s, when Prokopyevsk became a sister city with Horlivka, in the heart of Ukraine’s Donbas coal-mining region. Miroshenko also recalls his service in the Soviet Army in the early 1980s, during the decade-long invasion of Afghanistan.

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Is potash a critical mineral? It is in Canada, and could soon be one in the U.S. too – by Leslie Hook (Financial Times/Financial Post – August 22, 2023)

The Ukraine war thrust fertilizer minerals to the centre of the food security debate

The vital role of fertilizer minerals in food production has propelled a niche corner of the mining industry to the centre of a global debate about the security of supplies. Potash and phosphate rock surged in price after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year. In June, United States lawmakers even proposed adding them to the country’s list of critical minerals in new legislation in Congress.

“Our food security is our national security, so when we’re dependent on Russian and Chinese minerals for the fertilizer that grows our crops, we are putting ourselves at risk,” said Democrat congresswoman Elissa Slotkin, one of the sponsors of the bill.

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Sweden to lift ban on uranium mining – by Staff ( – August 22, 2023)

Sweden’s Climate Minister, Romina Pourmokhtari, has unveiled plans to lift the nation’s ban on uranium mining, thereby paving the way for an expanded nuclear energy capacity. Pourmokhtari told The Times that a majority within the t supports the ban’s removal.

The government has outlined the construction of a minimum of ten large reactors within the next two decades. In January, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson shared with reporters that the government is in the process of “altering the legislation,” which will encourage heightened nuclear investment within the country.

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Metal detectorists unearth 2,000-year-old gold coins in Wales – by Neils Christensen (Kitco News – August 16, 2023)

(Kitco News) – Three British metal detectorists are celebrating the find of a lifetime after unearthing a hoard of 2,000-year-old coins in North-Western Wales, which could provide new clues about commercial activity in the region during the Iron Age.

The treasure hunters found a total of 15 ancient gold coins known as staters in a field on the Isle of Anglesey between July 2021 and March 2022. These are the first Iron Age gold coins to have been discovered in Wales, said the Amgueddfa Cymru – Museum Wales in a press release.

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How Important is Niger’s Uranium For France? – by Elias Ferrer Breda (Forbes Magazine – August 16, 2023)

Since a military coup d’état took place in Niamey on July 23rd, there have been many commentaries on its strategic significance for the former colonial overlord. France sources a significant portion of its much-needed uranium from Niger, and also has a military presence in the Sahelian country. The political troubles in Niamey are undoubtedly of interest in Paris.

Soon after the military takeover, a rumor spread that Niger had banned uranium exports to France, although this has been proven false — the idea, however, may have been floated around. This allegation would also entail that Niger would have denied France its most-prized source of uranium ore. For a brief moment, let’s consider just how important is the resource for the government in the Élysée, and more broadly for the energy needs of the French.

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Wagner’s mercenaries swap Ukrainian trenches for natural resources in Africa – by Javier G. Cuesta (El Pais – August 14, 2023)

In Saint Petersburg, the gigantic PMC Wagner Center sign no longer hangs in the majestic building at 15 Zolnaya Street (or Ash Street, in English). The mercenaries’ short-lived mutiny against the Kremlin — which took place on June 23 and 24 — couldn’t be punished by Vladimir Putin, since the organization continues to be essential for his interests. However, he has forced its leader, Yevgeny Prigozhin, to alter the objectives of his private military company.

As the address of its public headquarters insinuates, only ashes remain from the memory of the paramilitary army, which made headlines in the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut. Now, the old Wagner — which was created by Moscow a decade ago to undertake covert operations in far-away lands — has been reborn. Following Ukraine, Africa and its natural resources have become the main objectives of the paramilitary group.

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Does the Niger Coup Pose a Threat to Nuclear Power Plants in France? – by Sebastiane Ebatamehi (African Exponent – August 14, 2023)

The recent coup in Niger has sparked concerns about potential disruptions to uranium supplies for France’s nuclear power plants.

The coup in Niger has raised concerns regarding potential disruptions to uranium exports from the West African nation, which could impact nuclear power generation not only in France but also elsewhere. Nonetheless, experts suggest that short-term challenges can likely be mitigated due to diversified sourcing and ample inventory levels.

France, uniquely reliant on nuclear energy for approximately 70 percent of its electricity, faces a situation of potential vulnerability. The country stands as the world’s largest net exporter of nuclear energy, contributing over €3 billion annually to its economy.

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Report: French nickel sector in danger of collapse – by Annabel Cossins-Smith (Mining Technology – August 3, 2023)

The report analyses the long-term negative results of three of France’s major metals corporations operating in New Caledonia.

France’s nickel production sector is at risk of collapse and must be refinanced and restructured to meet EU critical raw materials independence goals, a new government report warns.

The report, published on Tuesday, analyses the long-term negative performance of three of France’s most significant metals corporations operating in New Caledonia, a French territory off the east coast of Australia that is home to approximately 10% of the world’s nickel supply. Société Le Nickel, majority state-owned Koniambo Nickel and Prony Resources Nouvelle-Calédonie are all at risk of falling further behind their Indonesian and Chinese competitors.

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The Long Arm of the Kremlin and the Politics of Uranium – by Javier Blas (Washington Post/Bloomberg – August 3, 2023)

The town of Arlit, a desolate settlement on the southern fringes of the Sahara, is the improbable ground zero of a new geopolitical tussle: the fight for the control of uranium, the fuel that powers the nuclear industry. It was there, in the arid ranges of northern Niger, where French geologists found the radioactive mineral in the 1950s.

Since then, French state-owned companies have dug it out from their former colony, transforming Niger into the world’s seventh-largest producer. In 2022, the mines surrounding Arlit accounted for 25% of all European Union uranium imports. Now, a coup d’Etat in the impoverished west African nation has put that flow in jeopardy.

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