Miners race for nickel as electric car revolution looms – by Henry Sanderson (Financial Times – September 12, 2021)


Western groups compete for assets to secure supplies of key battery metal

In remote northern Ontario, hundreds of kilometres from the nearest railway or paved road, the world’s largest mining group and an Australian metals tycoon are in a bidding war for a deposit containing millions of tonnes of nickel.

The battle between BHP and Andrew Forrest’s Wyloo Metals for the asset’s owner Noront Resources comes as miners race to meet surging demand for battery metals as electric vehicles go mainstream.

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Chile indigenous group asks regulators to suspend lithium miner SQM’s permits – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters – September 13, 2021)


SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Indigenous communities living around Chile’s Atacama salt flat have asked authorities to suspend lithium miner SQM’s operating permits or sharply reduce its operations until it submits an environmental compliance plan acceptable to regulators, according to a filing viewed by Reuters.

Chile’s SMA environmental regulator in 2016 charged SQM with overdrawing lithium-rich brine from the Salar de Atacama salt flat, prompting the company to develop a $25 million plan to bring its operations back into compliance. Authorities approved that plan in 2019 but reversed their decision in 2020, leaving the company to start again from scratch on a potentially tougher plan.

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Blood diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend – by Karen Attiah (Washington Post/Santa Fe New Mexican – August 28, 2021)


Diamonds, I’m sorry to say, aren’t Beyoncé’s best friend — even if the Grammy Award-winning artist and her new corporate partner, Tiffany and Co., would like to make it so.

Last week, Tiffany released a new campaign featuring Beyoncé, husband Jay-Z — and the famed 128.54 carat yellow Tiffany diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1877 at the Kimberley Mine by Charles Lewis Tiffany. His iconic company gleefully lauded the fact that Beyoncé is only the fourth woman — and first Black woman — to wear the glamorous necklace; her predecessors include Audrey Hepburn, who wore the stone in publicity photos for her 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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Cameroon Tries to Get Child Miners Back to School – by Moki Edwin Kindzeka (Voice of America – September 09, 2021)


KAMBELE, EASTERN CAMEROON – Authorities in Cameroon say they are attempting to remove thousands of children working in gold mines along the country’s eastern border. Some of the children were displaced from the Central African Republic because of violence there and dropped out of school to mine gold for survival.

The 2021-2022 school year in Cameroon started Monday, and Cameroon’s Ministry of Basic Education says thousands of children have not returned to class in areas along the border with the Central African Republic.

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Australia vows to keep mining coal despite climate warning (Straits Times – September 9, 2021)


SYDNEY (AFP, REUTERS) – Australia vowed on Thursday (Sept 9) to keep mining coal for export and said global demand was rising, rejecting a study that warned nearly all its reserves must stay in the ground to address the climate crisis.

Researchers warned in a study published in the journal Nature this week that 89 per cent of global coal reserves – and 95 per cent of Australia’s share – must be left untouched. Such restraint, they said, would still only offer a 50 per cent chance of limiting warming to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels – the current global goal.

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Political uncertainty clouds China Inc.’s Afghanistan ambitions – by CK TAN, SINAN TAVSAN and KIRAN SHARMA (Nikkei Asia – September 2021)


SHANGHAI/NEW DELHI/ISTANBUL — Foreign companies active in Afghanistan face prolonged uncertainty as the new Taliban caretaker government grapples with a financial crisis and international reluctance to offer help.

Since the Taliban seized power last month, at least 10 publicly listed companies in China have expressed hope that they will be able to participate in mining or infrastructure projects in Afghanistan, but they linked doing business to political and diplomatic developments.

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EPA Moves for Permanent Block on Pebble Mine Project in Alaska – by Timothy Puko(Wall Street Journal – September 9, 2021)


WASHINGTON—The Biden administration is proposing sweeping environmental protections for Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska, a plan that could permanently block the development of the controversial Pebble Mine copper-and-gold project.

In a decision announced Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said it would undo a decision under former President Trump in 2019 to withdraw a plan to protect the region that had been proposed under the Clean Water Act, according to the EPA.

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What is ultimately at stake in the Tiffany diamond row? It isn’t Beyoncé’s ethics – by Arwa Mahdawi (The Guardian – September 1, 2021)


It doesn’t matter how rich, grownup or successful you might be, sometimes your mum still feels the need to come to your rescue. Tina Knowles-Lawson, AKA Beyoncé’s mum, has just had a very sharp word on social media with critics of her daughters’ new advertising campaign.

Beyoncé, you see, has been getting some flak for wearing a 128-carat yellow diamond in a new campaign for Tiffany & Co. She is only the fourth person in the world to have worn this fancy diamond apparently, and she is the first black woman to wear it.

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West Africa’s political whirligig won’t keep investment dollars from its gold – by David McKay (MiningMX.com – September 10, 2021)


IN 1997, when Randgold Resources listed on the London Stock Exchange, about 2.5% of world gold production was being dug in West Africa, of which most was from Ghana. In contrast, South Africa produced more than 15% of total world production.

Two decades later, just as Barrick Gold absorbed Randgold Resources in a merger that left a gaping hole in London’s gold investment market, the picture could hardly be more different.

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125 years after gold was discovered in the Yukon, we ventured up to Dawson City. Here’s what it looks like now – by Brendan Kiley (Seattle Times – September 10, 2021)


DAWSON CITY, the Yukon Territory — The first tourists to Dawson City arrived in July of 1898, a few weeks before the boomtown’s second birthday.

Mrs. Mary E. Hitchcock (widow of a U.S. Navy officer) and Miss Edith Van Buren (niece of the former U.S. president) swept into the new gold-mining settlement, 170 miles south of the Arctic Circle, with opulent cargo: a zither, a parrot, canaries, a portable bowling alley, crates of fancy foods (pâté, truffles, olives), a movie projector, an exhaustive wardrobe (silks, furs, starched collars, sombreros), two Great Danes and a 2,800 square-foot marquee tent for their lodgings.

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Portugal: War over lithium behind the mountains – by Jochen Faget (DW.com – September 8, 2021)


Birds are chirping, and the corn stands tall ready to be harvested. A cow is grazing at the roadside while a shepherd is accompanying his sheep on their way to the pasture. There’s no cloud in sight, only endless forests and huge letters reading “HELP,” mown into flat broom shrubs and visible from a distance.

This idyllic landscape near the village of Covas do Barroso is in danger of having to make way for open-cast lithium mining, ironically in the name of environment protection. The mine would extract a crucial raw material for the batteries of electric cars and thus contribute to reducing global CO2 emissions and Europe’s dependence on lithium imports.

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Op-ed: It ain’t lying to say there’s more than one path to net-zero carbon – by Rod Walton (Power Engineering – September 8, 2021)


Nothing sobers you up like getting called a liar. Full confession: I’m almost invariably sober, as a general rule, if maybe tipsy on the joys of doing a job I love. I cover the energy industry and believe it to be the best (and most fun) job-creating element in business.

And another admission: I am part of the all-of-the-above crowd. In my mind, our power generation sector needs renewables like wind, solar and hydro—taking full advantage of the gifts of creation—but also natural gas, trash-to-energy, nuclear and, yes, coal.

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100 years since the Battle of Blair Mountain – by Andy Thompson and Jerry White (World Socialist Web Site – September 10, 2021)


This month marks the 100th anniversary since the end of the Battle of Blair Mountain in 1921, when as many as 20,000 coal miners in southern West Virginia waged armed combat against a private army of gun thugs hired by the coal operators.

The pitched battle lasted from August 25 to September 2, 1921, when US military forces deployed by President Warren Harding occupied the coalfields, disarming and arresting hundreds of miners under martial law.

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Column: Shanghai squeeze revitalises flagging nickel market – by Andy Home (Reuters – September 9, 2021)


LONDON (Reuters) – Nickel is making a comeback. London Metal Exchange (LME) three-month nickel hit a seven-year high of $20,225 per tonne on Thursday morning and has a new-found spring in its step after collapsing in February.

That is when Chinese steel group Tsingshan announced its Indonesian nickel operations would supply matte – a form of the metal used only for stainless steel production – to battery makers. That undercut a collective bet that only refined nickel would be sufficiently high grade for the electric vehicle sector.

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Nuclear fuel report sees positive long-term future (World Nuclear News – September 8, 2021)


Nuclear generation capacity is expected to grow by 2.6% annually, reaching 615 GWe by 2040 in the Reference Scenario of The Nuclear Fuel Report: Global Scenarios for Demand and Supply Availability 2021-2040, launched today at World Nuclear Association Annual Symposium 2021. Only 74% of 2020’s reactor requirements were covered by primary uranium supply.

The report is the latest in a series of reports published at roughly two-yearly intervals since 1975. Drafted with input from over 80 experts from across the global nuclear industry co-chaired by Alexander Boytsov of Tenex and James Nevling of Exelon Generation, the report uses publicly available information gathered from organisations active in the nuclear fuel cycle – both members and non-members of the Association – to produce projections for nuclear capacity and uranium production.

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