China And Russia Make Critical Mineral Grabs in Africa While the U.S. Snoozes – by Ariel Cohen (Forbes Magazine – January 13, 2022)

Countries across the globe are pursuing zero-emission goals, which have created a bottleneck of critical rare earth elements (REE) such as cobalt, copper, and lithium. These are essential components in producing renewable energy technology, from electric vehicle batteries to wind turbine blades. REEs also play a key role in manufacturing semiconductors and other electronics.

Access to these resources – both in raw and refined forms – has never been more important. Much like oil was throughout the 20th century, critical minerals are the primary inputs of future economic growth. Governments and private companies are increasingly acknowledging this, resulting in a global “gold rush” for these strategic minerals.

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Conservatives call on Trudeau government to conduct formal security review on Chinese takeover of Canadian lithium firm – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 14, 2022)

The Conservative Party of Canada is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government to conduct a formal national security review on the pending acquisition of Canadian lithium development company Neo Lithium Corp. by Chinese state-owned Zijin Mining Group Ltd.

In October, Zijin announced its intention to buy Toronto-based Neo Lithium for $960-million. Neo Lithium is developing a mine in Argentina and hopes to eventually supply the silvery white mineral to the electric-vehicle industry for batteries.

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Federal government must regulate Canadian mining companies operating overseas, says activist (CBC The Current – January 13, 2022)

For 13 years, Angélica Choc has been fighting to stop alleged abuses carried out on Indigenous peoples in her native Guatemala by Canadian mining companies and their subsidiaries — and she wants the Canadian government to do its part.

“It’s exhausting. I am so tired. And I continue persevering, seeking justice in the Canadian courts,” she told The Current’s Matt Galloway. In 2009, Choc’s husband, Mayan Q’eqchi’ community leader Adolfo Ich Chamán, was killed by security personnel working at a Guatemalan mine that he opposed. The mine was owned by a subsidiary of Canadian mining company Hudbay Minerals.

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Brazil fines Canadian miner Great Panther for cyanide leak at gold mine – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – January 2, 2022)

A Brazilian state environmental regulator has fined Canadian precious metals producer Great Panther Mining Ltd.GPL-A -3.41%decrease $11.4-million, after ruling a cyanide leak at the company’s gold mine in Brazil polluted local rivers and killed a large fish population.

Vancouver-based Great Panther operates the open-pit Tucano gold mine in Amapa state in northern Brazil. Until a few days ago, the company’s chairman was well-known Canadian mining executive David Garofalo, who is also the former head of Goldcorp Inc., a onetime high flier in the gold mining industry.

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Chile’s new Left-wing leader fuels fears of disruption to global copper supplies – by Matt Oliver (The Telegraph – December 22, 2021)

Cheered by legions of young Chilean supporters waving flags and banners, Gabriel Boric vaulted over a metal barricade and leapt on to a stage to address his victory rally on Sunday night.

“I receive this mandate with humility”, the leftist former student politician said solemnly. “I know that the future of our country is at stake.” Aged just 35, he will be the youngest elected leader in Chile’s history after a barnstorming election win against right-wing rival José Antonio Kast.

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Chile’s mining industry unfazed by leftist Gabriel Boric’s victory – by Camille Erickson and Kip Keen (S&P Global Market Intelligence – December 21, 2021)

The mining industry brushed aside risks posed by left-leaning politician Gabriel Boric’s resounding victory in Chile’s runoff presidential election Dec. 19, despite the president-elect’s campaign promises to rein in the sector and raise fees.

After winning roughly 56% of the vote in the second round of elections, 35-year-old Boric underscored his opposition to Minera Andes Iron’s Dominga iron-copper-gold project, and on the campaign trail, Boric promised to create a state-run lithium company and supported mining tax hikes and royalties. Boric is looking to squeeze miners to bring in cash for public services while protecting the environment.

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Young environmentalists plan a rewrite of Chile’s copper mining rules – by James Attwood and Alvaro Ledgard (Bloomberg News – December 22, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Environmental activists like Constanza San Juan have been peripheral figures at best in Chile’s emergence as the dominant supplier of copper over the past few decades. Now, she and others like her are rewriting the rules, with tens of billions of dollars in investments riding on the outcome.

The 35 year old, who’s been fighting mining ever since Barrick Gold Corp. arrived to her region two decades ago, is on a committee that will decide how the environment and natural resources will figure in a new constitution to replace the one that dates back to the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

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Peru reportedly loses 150,000t of copper production due to social conflicts ( – December 17, 2021)

Social unrest in Peru this year led to lower production of about 150,000t of copper, according to estimates by mining-energy association SNMPE.

In a conference organized by the Peruvian Institute of Mining Engineers, association head Raúl Jacob said that if 100,000t are not produced, the State loses 1.45bn soles (US$363mn) in taxes.

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Amazon tribe suffers mercury contamination as illegal mining spreads – by Fabio Zuker (Reuters – December 17, 2021)

Illegal gold mining in the north Amazonian territory of Brazil’s indigenous Munduruku people has led to more than half of several hundred people tested showing unsafe mercury levels in their bodies, including children, health researchers say.

That is a particular worry to human rights defenders, as the country’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro pushes plans to introduce or expand mining and farming in protected areas of the world’s largest rainforest. That would include into indigenenous territory, where mining is currently forbidden by Brazil’s constitution.

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Green-Energy Race Draws an American Underdog to Bolivia’s Lithium – by Clifford Krauss (New York Times – December 16, 2021)

SALAR DE UYUNI, Bolivia — The mission was quixotic for a small Texas energy start-up: Beat out Chinese and Russian industrial giants in unlocking mineral riches that could one day power tens of millions of electric vehicles.

A team traveled from Austin to Bolivia in late August to meet with local and national leaders at a government lithium complex and convince them that the company, EnergyX, had a technology that would fulfill Bolivia’s potential to be a global green-energy power. On arriving, they found that the conference they had planned to attend was canceled and that security guards blocked the location.

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Under Leftist President, Peru Faces Pitched Battle Over Mining – by Maria Cervantes, James Attwood and Alvaro Ledgard (Bloomberg News – December 10, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — In the endless jousting between global mining conglomerates and many Peruvians, Julio Guillermo had long been considered pretty marginal — an anti-government rabble rouser fighting not for a bigger share of the spoils but to shut mines down in his south-central highlands.

Like his fellow local activists, Guillermo, 49, bases his demands on pollution of waterways, which miners dismiss, and on an argument that’s harder to counter: his land in Ayacucho is sacred, no place to be gouging for silver and gold. “It’s like undoing your temple, your beliefs,” he says in an interview.

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Tailings pond collapse affects world’s highest human settlement – by Staff ( – December 3, 2021)

The collapse of a tailings facility in Peru’s Ananea district has destroyed a segment of the main road that connects the area with the neighbouring La Rinconada district, the highest human settlement in the world located in the southeastern Puno region.

According to local media, the San Antonio mining cooperatives are responsible for the maintenance of the tailings storage facility that collapsed on November 26.

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Capstone Mining, Mantos Copper to merge – by Cecilia Jamasmie ( – November 30, 2021)

Canada’s Capstone Mining (TSX: CS) and Chile-focused Mantos Copper, run by British investment firm Audley Capital Advisors and Orion Mine Finance, are merging to form a new, Americas-focused copper producer called Capstone Copper.

The new miner, which will trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange, will have a combined 2021 copper production base of more than 175,000 tonnes of the metal and joint reserves of 4.9 million tonnes, the companies said.

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‘It’s as if we’re in Mad Max’: warnings for Amazon as goldmining dredges occupy river – by Tom Phillips (The Guardian – November 24, 2021)

Environmentalists are demanding urgent action to halt an aquatic gold rush along one of the Amazon River’s largest tributaries, where hundreds of illegal goldmining dredges have converged in search of the precious metal.

The vast flotilla – so large one local website compared it to a floating neighbourhood – reportedly began forming on the Madeira River earlier this month after rumours that a large gold deposit had been found in the vicinity.

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Vale unit to invest US$800mn in dry iron ore processing technology ( – November 9, 2021)

Brazilian iron ore mining giant Vale, through its tech subsidiary New Steel, signed a protocol of intent with southeast state Minas Gerais to invest 4.4bn reais (US$795mn) in technology that eliminates the need for tailings dams.

The funds will be used to implement an innovative dry iron ore processing technology that drastically reduces the environmental impact and extends the life of mines, the state government said in a release. The process also will also create jobs and more revenue for three municipalities, it added.

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