Archive | International Media Resource Articles

Electric Vehicles: The Dirty Nickel Problem – by Cliff Rice (Clean Technica – September 27, 2020)

https://cleantechnica.com/

“Certainly, electric vehicle manufactures cannot live up to their
professed good intentions of using “environmentally friendly”
nickel if that nickel comes from laterite deposits.”

Electric vehicles are only a small part of the world vehicle market, but this is expected to change. While there are several competing battery chemistries which are likely to be used in this emerging market, many of them contain significant amounts of nickel.

This is a problem, and to understand why it is a problem, we need to understand the basics of where nickel comes from. It gets a bit complicated.

Nickel is mined from two types of deposits — sulphide and laterite. Sulphide nickel occurs in hard rock that has formed from crystallization of magma with the proper conditions and chemistry. Continue Reading →

The Sudbury model: How one of the world’s major polluters went green – by Sara Miller Llana (The Christian Science Monitor – September 24, 2020)

https://www.csmonitor.com/

When the Superstack was constructed in 1972, it was the tallest structure in Canada – and the tallest smokestack in the world. At 1,250 feet, it’s visible from every vantage point in the area. It can be seen from the bustling streets of downtown to the quiet cul-de-sacs of residential neighborhoods. It looms large in the distance from highways that feed into a city that is home to one of the largest mining complexes in the world.

Built by Canadian company Inco before it was purchased by Vale, the Superstack has long stood as a reminder of the environmental devastation that mining wrought here. But this year the chimney is being fully decommissioned.

Residents of Sudbury harbor mixed feelings about the Superstack. Some see it as a memorial to their rise as a center of nickel and copper mining globally. Others see it simply as a familiar landmark that signals they are home. Gisele Lavigne lives in the Copper Cliff neighborhood at the Superstack’s base. Continue Reading →

Europe’s Dirtiest Coal Plant Owner Told to Talk to Green Groups – by Marek Strzelecki, Jessica Shankleman and Ewa Krukowska (Bloomberg News – September 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — The owners of Europe’s dirtiest power plant were told to discuss the future of the facility with climate change activists who want it to close earlier than planned, part of a year-long legal dispute in Poland.

A judge at the district court in Lodz said Tuesday that the state-owned utility PGE SA should attempt to reach a settlement with climate activists within three months and, according to the activist group, said climate change is a crisis that requires the company’s attention.

The case highlights increasing pressure on Poland to shift away from its reliance on coal. For ClientEarth, which brought the suit, the ruling is a landmark because it puts environmental experts at the table with energy companies for the first time and sweeps away the utility’s effort to get the case thrown out at an early stage. Continue Reading →

How much gold is there left to mine in the world? – by Justin Harper (BBC.com – September 23, 2020)

https://www.bbc.com/

Last month the price of gold hit a record high, pushing above $2,000 (£1,575) an ounce. While this price rise was driven by gold traders, it begs the question about the supply of the precious metal, and when it will eventually run out.

Gold is in hot demand as an investment, a status symbol, and a key component in many electronic products. But it’s also a finite resource, and there will eventually come a stage when there is none left to be mined.

Peak gold

Experts talk about the concept of peak gold – when we have mined the most we ever can in any one year. Some believe we may have already reached that point. Continue Reading →

Indonesians turn to illegal gold mining as coronavirus pandemic hits economy (Agence France-Presse – September 24, 2020)

https://www.scmp.com/

With the coronavirus devastating jobs across the country, desperate Indonesians are flocking to illegal gold mines as the soaring price of the precious metal overrides the risk to their lives and the environment.

Spooked by the economic destruction wrought by the pandemic, consumers and investors around the world have been snapping up gold, which is seen as a hedge against volatility, sending its price to a record above US$2,000 an ounce last month.

The surge in demand has fuelled a boom in mineral-rich Indonesia’s illegal mining industry, with workers ignoring the threat of arrest, mercury poisoning or being caught in the middle of gun battles. Continue Reading →

Russian Plan to Dig Biggest Zimbabwe Platinum Mine Advances – by Godfrey Marawanyika (Bloomberg/Yahoo Finance – September 23, 2020)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — A project that aims to develop Zimbabwe’s biggest platinum mine has cleared a significant hurdle, with the African Export-Import Bank completing a due diligence study allowing it to proceed with a $500 million syndicated funding program.

While some work has started on the mine, with $100 million spent to date including exploration costs, a significant amount of investment will now be needed if Great Dyke Investments, owned by Russia’s Vi Holding and Zimbabwean investors, is to complete the $2 billion project. Continue Reading →

CANADIAN PENSION BOARD INVESTS $141M IN CHINESE COAL PROJECTS, UNDERCUTTING FEDERAL PHASEOUT POLICY – by Mitchell Beer (The Energy Mix – July 29, 2020)

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The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) is jeopardizing Canadians’ retirement savings, undercutting federal government policy, and making a mockery of one of the country’s few points of climate leadership on the world stage by investing C$141 million in Chinese coal companies, a leading pensions and climate advocate said this week.

“It’s completely offside with Canada’s commitments to the Powering Past Coal Alliance and its domestic goal to retire coal-fired generation,” said Adam Scott, director of Toronto-based Shift Action. “It’s completely offside with all of Canada’s climate commitments. And it’s a red flag for Canadians to be worried about their pension savings.”

That last should be the biggest flag of all for the CPPIB, whose declared mission is to “help provide a foundation upon which 20 million Canadians build their financial security in retirement.” Continue Reading →

Tesla’s hyped ‘Battery Day’ shows some kinks – by Dave Makichuk (Asia Times – September 23, 2020)

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Elon Musk had a lot to say on Tesla’s much-ballyhoed “Battery Day.” The day he said would revolutionize electric transport and get everybody excited. Well … it didn’t quite live up to expectations, to say the least.

According to Wired, this turned out to be a fat lithium-ion battery called a 4680 — a reference to its diameter, 46 millimeters, and its length, 80 millimeters — that is being produced in-house at Tesla.

To be sure, Tesla’s new battery appears to offer large performance gains in a few key areas, but it was unclear whether Tesla has actually achieved these upgrades or whether this is the projected performance for the finalized battery, Wired reported. Continue Reading →

The Secret to a Greener, Longer-Lasting Battery Is Blue – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – September 22, 2020)

https://www.bloombergquint.com/

(Bloomberg Businessweek) — A material that gave a vibrant blue to the foaming breaks of the famous Japanese print The Great Wave off Kanagawa and instilled the same color in works by Picasso and Monet is being used today for an entirely different but equally creative task: keeping energy-hungry U.S. data centers running.

Prussian blue, the pigment developed by a Berlin color maker in the early 18th century, is a key component in batteries made with sodium rather than lithium, which are intended for industries other than electric vehicles.

“It’s been used as a pigment, as a dyestuff, and has been a consumer product for centuries,” says Colin Wessells, chief executive officer of Natron Energy Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif., the battery maker behind the technology. Continue Reading →

Moving forward in a risky environment – by Nickolas Zakharia (Australian Mining – September 21, 2020)

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It would be an understatement to say that Australia’s mining sector has faced numerous challenges in 2020. From natural disasters, to COVID-19 and economic strain, the nation’s battle-hardened mining sector has continued to operate.

When mining’s risk trajectory is considered, COVID-19 is the obvious elephant in the room. A multitude of risks and challenges – both related and unrelated to the pandemic – are on the minds of the industry’s executives and the bodies that represent it.

In February, multinational firm KPMG highlighted several risks that industry was facing in its survey, KPMG Global Risks and Opportunities in Mining – 2020 Outlook. The survey was released months before the impact of COVID-19 was realised. Continue Reading →

The Taliban, at Least, Are Striking Gold in Afghanistan – by Lynne O’Donnell and Mirwais Khan (Foreign Policy – September 22, 2020)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

For decades, Afghanistan’s untapped mineral wealth has been touted as the country’s trillion-dollar El Dorado. But while the Afghan government has never been able to monetize mountains of copper, iron ore, gold, and gemstones, the Taliban have—and are ramping up their mining operations as just-started peace talks aim to shape the future of a postwar Afghanistan.

In recent years, the Taliban have deliberately moved to secure control over regions of Afghanistan rich in mineral deposits, from lapis lazuli mines in northern Badakhshan to gold, lead, and zinc in Helmand and vast talc and marble deposits in southern Nangarhar.

The Taliban, who already control most of the country’s mineral wealth, are banking on further developing the sector to make it the bedrock of the country’s postwar economy—or theirs, at least. Continue Reading →

Rio Tinto promised to respect indigenous people. It has a chance to in the U.S. – by Lauren Redniss (Washington Post – September 22, 2020)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Earlier this month, the Anglo-Australian mining conglomerate Rio Tinto announced its chief executive, Jean-Sébastien Jacques, and two other top executives would step down as the company reckons with its decision last May to bulldoze ancient rock shelters in Australia’s Juukan Gorge to gain access to iron ore.

For the Indigenous Puutu Kunti Kurrama and Pinikura people, the rock shelters were sacred sites. Archaeologists have found evidence of 46,000 years of human presence at the gorge.

In June, Rio Tinto issued an apology. But pressure from Indigenous groups and Rio Tinto’s shareholders pushed the company to take a stronger stand. Continue Reading →

Significant demand from China to boost Zinc prices – by Yash Sawant (Economic Times/India Times – September 22, 2020)

https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/

Yash Sawant is Research Associate, Angel Broking Ltd.

Zinc, the galvanizing metal, surged over 7 per cent and 5 per cent on the LME and MCX respectively since August’20 as the recovery narrative continues to be the solid expansion in China’s economy and massive liquidity infused by global central banks.

Another supporting element for the industrial metal prices was the plummeting US dollar. The accommodative stance adopted by the US Federal Reserve indicated a low interest environment for a prolonged period, which kept the greenback under pressure, making the industrial metals cheaper for other currency holders.

China: The recovery pillar

Zinc and the other industrial metals continued to post strong gains majorly reflecting the steady growth in China whilst the rest of the world struggled recovering from the pandemic led economic slump. Continue Reading →

More Than 20 Detained At Belarusian Potash Mine For Backing Worker’s Political Demands (Radio Free Europe – September 21, 2020)

https://www.rferl.org/

Belarusian police have detained more than 20 people at a potash mine for supporting a second worker who has refused to return to the surface in protest against the state company’s management and President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s government.

“Now [the miners] are being dealt with. Maybe some will be released. It will take time to find out who participated in the action and who did not. It is also possible that not all the miners have been detained,” Serhiy Chabatarov, a spokesman for the Minsk regional police, told RFE/RL.

The protesters were supporting Aleh Kudzyolka, who handed a protest note to his labor union co-workers at the Belaruskali mine at the end of his shift on September 21 saying he would remain hundreds of meters underground until his demands were met. Continue Reading →

Gold industry needs further consolidation, says Barrick’s Bristow – by Mariaan Webb (MiningWeekly.com – September 22, 2020)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

he gold industry still has a mismatch of assets in too many managers’ hands and is in need of further consolidation, says gold major Barrick CEO Mark Bristow.

Speaking at the virtual Gold Forum Americas conference, he said that the industry had come a long way in 18 months, but that the job was not yet finished.

“The industry could be better served if we could reallocate some of the assets into the right place, with managements that have proven track records to deliver value,” Bristow said. Continue Reading →