Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Rio and Mongolia agree to replace $7bn plan to expand copper mine – by Khaliun Bayartsogt (Nikkei Asia – March 1, 2021)

ULAANBAATAR — After weeks of escalating tensions and leadership turmoil, Mongolia and Rio Tinto have agreed to work out a new arrangement to finance the costly expansion of the vast Oyu Tolgoi copper mine, Nikkei Asia has learned.

The rising cost of the new underground phase of the mine, one of the world’s biggest copper deposits, played a role in bringing down both Mongolia’s previous prime minister and Rio’s last chief executive. This appears to have helped set the stage for changing the terms of how the two co-owners of the project will share the expense.

Public irritation has been running high in Mongolia after new figures emerged late last year showing that the government could not expect to start receiving dividends from its 34% ownership of the mine in 2032 as originally expected. Continue Reading →

Irrational Nuclear Fear Puts Sweden In Danger Of Succumbing To Stupidity – by James Conca (Forbes Magazine – February 28, 2021)

No one has ever died because of Swedish nuclear power. Until recently, nuclear power provided about 40% of that country’s electricity, similar to hydro. Fossil fuels only generated about 1% of Sweden’s electricity.

But that’s about to change for the worse. As Sama Bilbao y Léon and John Lindberg at World Nuclear Association write, “[Starting in 1980] Sweden had proved to the world that it was possible to free itself from fossil fuels for electricity production in less than a decade.

One of the world’s cheapest and cleanest electricity systems was delivered, at the same time as Swedish life improved without sacrificing the environment.” Continue Reading →

Indonesia is poised for EV riches as Tesla circles, but a nickel rush could hurt the environment – by Jack Board (Channel News Asia – February 28, 2021)

BANGKOK: As American electric vehicle maker Tesla eyes up a hefty investment in Indonesia, concerns are growing over the potential environmental consequences of a nickel mining rush.

Tesla has reportedly tabled a proposal to establish a battery production facility in the country, though no official announcement has been made and government decision-makers remain tight-lipped about details.

Still, the prospects of Indonesia becoming a global hub for battery production in the electric vehicle (EV) revolution, and a key link in the global supply chain, has already seen mining and nickel processing ramp up across the country. Continue Reading →

Biden’s Hopes for Rare Earth Independence at Least a Decade Away – by Joe Deaux and Stephen Lee (Bloomberg News – February 26, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Joe Biden’s ambition to make the U.S. less dependent on other nations for rare earths and minerals critical to the clean energy transition will take years to accomplish.

A review of the U.S. critical minerals and rare earths supply chain that the president ordered this week is likely to show that even with sweeping changes the nation is at least a decade from becoming self sufficient.
That will mean turning to countries such as Canada, which has the the largest number of rare earth projects in the world, according to Gareth Hatch, managing director of Strategic Materials Advisors Ltd. Continue Reading →

Minnesota Supreme Court issues mixed opinion on PolyMet’s air permits – by Jimmy Lovrien (Duluth News Tribune – Feb 24th 2021)

Questions persist over a March 2018 report outlining potential expansion plans.

On one hand, the Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed a lower court’s decision that would have sent PolyMet’s air permits back to state regulators for further review.

But on the other, it instructed a lower court to review whether PolyMet, which is trying to open the state’s first copper-nickel mine, deceived the regulators by withholding a report outlining the potential for a much larger mine.

Both opponents and supporters of PolyMet claimed victory in Wednesday’s Supreme Court opinion written by Justice Margaret Chutich. Continue Reading →

GOLD MINES: Canadian miners dig deeper in West Africa – by Christophe Le Bec, Honoré Banda and Amadou Oury Diallo (The Africa Report – February 25, 2021)

In the underexplored and booming gold-mining areas of West Africa, Canadian miners are moving fast to expand their operations.

Mining firms large and small are exporting the expertise gained in their home market to Francophone West African countries where governments are keen to boost their revenue. Canada is home to gold giants like Barrick Gold, as well as minnows that are far from being household names.

“West Africa has more potential than any other region in the world. Its geology is similar to that of northern Ontario, Quebec or Western Australia – exceptionally prolific belts,” says Richard Young, head of the Canadian mining group Teranga Gold Corporation, which is active in Senegal and Burkina Faso. Continue Reading →

Geology is in the eye of the beholder – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – February 26, 2021)

The American Southwest is the best place in the world to find, permit, and build a mine, according to the mining executives that responded to the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies, 2020.

Nevada, which is a perennial top-5 contender when it comes to “investment attractiveness”, reclaimed the top spot from Western Australia in the latest edition of the Fraser mining survey. Arizona moved up from seven places to claim the No. 2 position in this category.

“Nevada continues to be a premier mining jurisdiction,” said the president of a mining company that produces more than US$50 million per year. Continue Reading →

A Dollar A Day: The Human Cost Of Abused Miners (Tennessee Tribune – February 25, 2021)

Tennessee News Paper, Latest Local News Tennessee Tribune

NYABIBWE, Congo — Justine Kamakura, gets up at 5 a.m. and walks about 10 miles from her village to work in a cassiterite mine in Nyabibwe in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s South Kivu province.

Though the 40-year-old mother of six has been working in these mines for 11 years, she can still only afford to send one of her children to school.

Cassiterite, from which tin is extracted, is one of the four conflict minerals mined in eastern Congo. It is used around the world by tech giants and other major corporations in the manufacture of phones, medical imagery devices and televisions. Continue Reading →

How High Can Copper Fly? This Metals Trader Expects $12,000 – by Jack Farchy (Bloomberg News – February 25, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Copper could surge above a record to $12,000 a ton in 18 months on new demand from green initiatives, a leading metals trader said, giving one of the most bullish forecasts yet for the metal.

The bellwether material has already doubled since a nadir in March to reach a nine-year high, and is roughly 7% below the record of $10,190 set in 2011 as bets on an economic recovery and tighter supplies entice investors.

But current prices would seem “far too low” if governments fulfill pledges for green infrastructure and electric-vehicle incentives, Concord Resources Ltd. said. Continue Reading →

Canada Used To Provide A Lot Of World’s Lithium, But Can It Revive That? – by Michael Barnard (Clean Technica – February 24, 2021)

Lithium used to be used to treat mania and mood swings, and now its availability or lack thereof is making market swings. In the 1950s, Canada was actually a player in the international lithium market, with a mine in Quebec providing tons of the salt, then failing as the market failed.

Fast forward to 2021, and lithium is a core component of the electrification of transportation, in all of our electronic gadgets and a lesser component for grid storage.

Canada actually has massive lithium reserves underground. Can it return to being, if not the king of lithium, at least a well-positioned pawn? Continue Reading →

Is Mining The Ocean Bottom For Metals Really Better Than Mining On Land? – by James Conca (Forbes Magazine – February 24, 2021)

It certainly looks like it. From almost any perspective, seabed mining of metals is better for the environment, social justice issues and economics.

A large continuous supply of special economic metals is essential for any high tech future. Building electric vehicles and wind turbines take a lot of resources, more than we can provide now, particularly special metals like Co, Li, Te and Nd, as well as just base metals like Fe, Cu, Pb and Zn, and other rare earth elements. Even other materials like graphite.

But their supply is generally an environmental and social nightmare. The waste from Li, graphite and high-purity-Si processing has destroyed whole villages and ecosystems in China, Indonesia and Bolivia, among others. Continue Reading →

China’s Weaponization of Rare Earths Is Bound to Backfire – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – February 23, 2021)

(Bloomberg Opinion) — There was a time when China could cause the world to tremble by threatening its supply of rare earths. It’s long in the past.

That’s reason not to worry too much about news that Beijing is planning to ban exports of technology for refining the suite of minor metals. Such a move, if taken, is likely to backfire even more spectacularly than its previous attempts to weaponize the trade in rare earths itself.

In 2010, a dispute between China and Japan over which country owns a group of islands off the northeast coast of Taiwan caused Beijing to impose export restrictions on all 17 rare earths. Continue Reading →

Electric cars are fueling the US’s lithium mining boom – by Michael J. Coren ( – February 21, 2021)

Lithium, a silvery metal so lightweight it floats on water, has been dubbed “white gold.” The element is key to the future of the automobile industry, increasingly powered by powerful batteries that require the metal, and meeting climate deadlines to decarbonize the global economy.

After decades relying on imports, countries are now scrambling to secure their own domestic supplies of the crucial ingredient, also used in ceramics, glass, lubricants, and polymers.

“Lithium supply security has become a top priority for technology companies in the United States and Asia,” according to the US Geological Survey (USGS) (pdf). The US Interior Department listed lithium as a critical mineral in 2018, fast-tracking mine permits. Continue Reading →

[History of Silver Mining] The Manila Galleon Trade: Events, effects, lessons – by Ma. Isabel Ongpin (Manila Times – March 3, 2017)


THE Manila Galleon Trade lasted for 250 years and ended in 1815 with Mexico’s war of independence. In terms of longevity alone, plus the trade that it engendered between Asia, Spanish America and onward to Europe and Africa, it brought in its wake events and movement of people among the various continents that are still apparent and in place today.

It made Mexico a world city. The Philippines, ostensibly a Spanish colony, was governed from Mexico which gave it an Asian extension. Population flows between Asia and Spanish America via Acapulco were, in terms of the times, huge.

About 40,000 to 60,000, maybe 100,000, mostly Chinese and in particular Filipinos, made up that flow. There is an existing Filipino presence in Louisiana and definitely in Mexico from those times. Some of the founders of California seem to be of Filipino descent. Emiliano Zapata, the Mexican revolutionary, was said to have Filipino ancestry. Continue Reading →

How silver changed the world – by Adolfo Arranz and Marco Hernandez (South China Morning Post – May 27, 2018)

The main objective behind the sea route plied by Spanish galleons was to establish trade with China. These European vessels became known as China Ships. They transported silver from the Americas to exchange for goods in Asia, mostly commodities of Chinese origin

It can be argued that when Spain instituted a common currency in the form of the Real de a Ocho, also known as Pieces of Eight, or the Spanish dollar, globalisation’s first chapter had been written. The acceptance of the dollar coins for commercial transactions throughout Asia, the Americas and much of Europe, resulted in a cultural exchange between nations, as well as the relatively free movement of people and goods between the three continents.

China had an appetite for silver …

When the Spanish tried to establish commercial ties with China they found little taste for goods from the outside world. However, it transpired the Chinese had a voracious appetite for silver. In fact, during the latter part of the 16th century, during the Ming Dynasty, Beijing ruled taxes should be paid in silver, and without domestic recourse to the precious metal, the demand for imported silver soared. Continue Reading →