Can lithium be produced with a lower environmental impact? – by Javier Lewkowicz (Dialogo Chino – September 28, 2022)

Dialogo Chino

Lithium production is facing a transformation. Mining, automotive and chemical companies around the world are in a race to improve the efficiency of production processes and reduce the environmental impact of the dominant methods of lithium extraction, in order to meet the exponential growth in demand associated with the scale-up of electric vehicles.

“Traditional brine processes have a high environmental impact, due to high levels of water evaporation,” says researcher Michelle Lee Yin of the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. “There are different alternative technologies with the potential to replace and/or support the current production method, with the aim of achieving a more sustainable industry over time.”

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Southern cattail highly effective for rehabilitation of areas affected by iron mine tailings – by Staff (Mining.com – September 26, 2022)

https://www.mining.com/

A recent study conducted by Brazilian researchers and reported on by the São Paulo Research Foundation demonstrated the potential of Southern cattail for use in the sustainable rehabilitation of areas affected by iron ore mine tailings.

In a paper published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, the researchers explain that their experiments showed that the plant can scavenge up to 34 times more manganese from contaminated soil than other plants found in similar environments.

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Agnico Eagle’s CEO says Mexican copper investment strategic, not a sign he’s losing faith in gold – by Gabriel Friedman (Financial Post – September 22, 2022)

https://financialpost.com/

As soon as the Fed stops hiking rates, ‘gold is going to be unleashed’

The CEO of Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., the largest producer of gold in Canada, said he’s confident that gold prices will break out of a months-long slump, and characterized his investment in a Mexican copper project as opportunistic, not a pivot from precious metals.

Gold appears to be suffering because the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks have been raising interest rates so quickly in recent months, making fixed-income assets such as bonds more attractive.

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Torex Gold shares jump on positive assays from ELG underground in Mexico – by (Northern Miner – September 16, 2022)

Global mining news

Shares of Torex Gold Resources (TSX: TXG) jumped 3.1% by midday Friday following the latest drill results from its El Limón Guajes (ELG) underground mine in Mexico, where it is conducting a 27,000-metre drill program.

ELG underground is part of the El Limón Guajes mine complex that also includes three open pits and a processing plant. The mine complex, which began commercial production in 2016, is hosted within Torex’s 100% owned Morelos property located 180 km southwest of Mexico City.

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Chileans reject Boric’s new constitution which could have put Canadian mining operations at risk – by Marisa Coulton (Financial Post – September 6, 2022)

https://financialpost.com/

Business will continue as usual for Canadian mines based in Chile — at least for now

Chileans on Sunday overwhelmingly voted against President Gabriel Boric’s proposed constitution, which sought to implement environmental regulations that may have impacted Canadian mining operations in the region. Sixty-two per cent of Chileans voted to reject the constitution, and 38 per cent voted to accept it, with 99 per cent of ballots counted.

The proposal prioritized human rights and the environment in stark contrast to its market-focused predecessor that was written during the reign of Augusto Pinochet. Had the document been approved, it could have put Canadian mining interests in the region at risk, according to the 2022 Latin America Mining Risk Index by Americas Market Intelligence (AMI).

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Environmentalists Have Turned On The Lithium Industry – by Felicity Bradstock (Oil Price.com – August 25, 2022)

https://oilprice.com/

The world is preparing for a lithium boom, mainly due to the anticipated increase in EV production and uptake over the coming decades. Several celebrities and tech billionaires are backing lithium mining in a bid to support a green transition.

In addition, many countries are rapidly developing their mining capabilities to establish their place in the global minerals and metals market, which is expected to expand significantly over the next decade.

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Lithium Monopoly in the Making? Beijing Expands in the Lithium Triangle – by Daniel A. Peraza (Geopolitical Monitor – August 23, 2022)

https://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/

China aims to expand its influence in the “Lithium Triangle” as a component of a broader campaign to construct a near-monopoly in the global lithium market. The Lithium Triangle, comprising Argentina, Bolivia, and Chile, accounts for approximately 56% percent of global lithium supply.

Beijing’s acquisition of multiple Argentinian, Chilean, and Bolivia lithium mining operations enables China to dominate regional lithium operations. From 2018- 2020, China invested approximately $16 billion on mining projects in the Lithium Triangle and will likely continue to invest in the region.

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‘Overexploitation’ by Canada’s Lundin caused massive sinkhole near mine: Chile – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – August 22, 2022)

https://financialpost.com/

Lundin shares dropped on the news

A sinkhole near Toronto-based Lundin Mining Corp.’s copper mine in Chile was formed due to excessive mining, the nation’s investigative authorities said.

Chile’s mining minister Marcelo Hernando said in a press release that the initial investigation points towards “overexploitation” in the Gaby 4 cave — located in the vicinity of the 36.5-metre-wide sinkhole — by Lundin’s Chilean unit Ojos del Salado.

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Why Lithium Power Politics Are Playing Out Very Differently in Chile and Bolivia – by Vijay Prashad and Taroa Zúñiga Silva (Counter Currents.org – August 19, 2022)

https://countercurrents.org/

In late July, a large sinkhole appeared near the town of Tierra Amarilla in Chile’s Copiapó province in the Atacama salt flat. The crater, which has a diameter of more than 100 feet, emerged in one of Chile’s most lucrative regions for copper and lithium extraction.

The nearby Candelaria mining complex—80 percent of the property is owned by Canada’s Lundin Mining Corporation and 20 percent is owned by Japan’s Sumitomo Metal Mining Co Ltd. and Sumitomo Corporation—had to halt its operations in the area.

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Pope worried about pollution of rivers with mercury used by gold miners in the Amazon – by Bruno Kelly and Anthony Boadle (Mining.com/Reuters – August 9, 2022)

https://www.mining.com/

Pope Francis will install the first cardinal of Brazil’s Amazon region this month in a sign of his concern for the rainforest and its indigenous inhabitants, the man whom he picked for the role said.

Dom Leonardo Steiner, archbishop of the Brazilian city of Manaus, said in an interview that Francis, the first pope from Latin America, is worried about deforestation, threats to indigenous cultures and pollution of rivers with mercury used by gold miners in the Amazon.

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International support for miners rescue, including from Canada, ‘heartwarming,’ says company president – by Nojoud Al Mallees (CTV News/Canadian Press – August 14, 2022)

https://www.ctvnews.ca/

OTTAWA – The recent successful rescue of two miners trapped in a mine in the Dominican Republic for more than a week was made possible thanks to support from the international community including direct assistance from the Royal Canadian Air Force, according to the president of the company at the centre of the incident.

Paul Marinko, head of the Dominican Mining Corporation known as Cormidom, said Canada played a critical role in transporting equipment that was ultimately used to help liberate the men from the Cerro de Maimón operation.

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Trapped Mexico miners: Setback as water levels rise – by Vanessa Buschschlüter (BBC.com – August 15, 2022)

https://www.bbc.com/

Attempts to rescue 10 men from a flooded mine in Mexico have been delayed after the water levels in three shafts rose suddenly on Sunday. The miners became trapped on 3 August when a wall in a tunnel collapsed and water from an adjacent chamber gushed into the three shafts.

Officials say the water has to drop to a depth of 1.5m (5ft) to allow rescuers to enter the shafts safely. But on Sunday, it suddenly rose again to more than 20m.

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The Place With the Most Lithium Is Blowing the Electric-Car Revolution – by Ryan Dube (Wall Street Journal – August 10, 2022)

https://www.wsj.com/

A California-sized piece of South America is stifling production of the metal at a time when battery makers desperately need it

SALAR DE ATACAMA, Chile—Hailed as the Saudi Arabia of lithium, this California-sized chunk of terrain accounts for some 55% of the world’s known deposits of the metal, a key component in electric-vehicle batteries.

As the Chinese EV giant BYD Co. recently learned, tapping into that resource can be a challenge. Earlier this year, after BYD won a government contract to mine lithium, indigenous residents took to the streets, demanding the tender be canceled over concerns about the impact on local water supplies.

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Efforts intensify to reach trapped coal miners in Mexico (Associated Press/CTV News – August 4, 2022)

https://www.ctvnews.ca/

MEXICO CITY – Efforts to rescue 10 miners trapped in a collapsed and flooded coal mine in northern Mexico intensified Thursday with hundreds of people involved in the operation, authorities said.

The collapse occurred after the miners breached a neighbouring area filled with water on Wednesday, officials said. Authorities had not reported any contact with the trapped miners since the collapse.

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Giant sinkhole opens up near Lundin Mining copper mine in Chile – by Niall McGee (Globe and Mail – August 2, 2022)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

A giant sinkhole has opened up near a Lundin Mining Corp.copper mine in Chile, forcing the Canadian company to suspend some development work at the site. Authorities are investigating the cause of the sinkhole that appeared on the weekend in the vicinity of Lundin’s underground Alcaparrosa mine in northern Chile.

Chile’s geology and mining regulator, Sernageomin, posted a picture of the 32-metre-wide and 64-metre-deep sinkhole on Twitter on Monday. Sernageomin is analyzing the technical nature of the formation and plans to issue recommendations in due course.

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