Canada is ‘missing the mark’ on remediation and reconciliation, says Yellowknives Dene chief – by Liny Lamberink (CBC News North – May 02, 2024)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

Environmental watchdog released audit on northern contaminated sites this week

A chief of the Yellowknives Dene First Nation says an auditor’s report about contaminated sites shows Canada is “missing the mark” when it comes to remediation and reconciliation in the North.

It’s one perspective northerners are sharing after the federal environmental watchdog released a report Tuesday that scrutinizes how Ottawa has managed contaminated sites in the North. A Yukon mining analyst has also agreed with its finding that longer-term plans are needed for some of the North’s big, abandoned mines.

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Cheap coal, cheap workers, Chinese money: Indonesia’s nickel success comes at a price – by Per Elinder Liljas (The Guardian – April 11, 2024)

https://www.theguardian.com/

Standing chest-deep in the Molucca Sea, just outside the billowing smokestacks of the world’s largest nickel industry, Upin adjusts his mask and dives. Members of his people, the Bajau, have been known to stay underwater for more than 10 minutes but Upin resurfaces shortly. He hauls a rugged disc of metal over the side of his dugout canoe.

“Since the factories arrived, there has barely been any fish to catch,” he says and grimaces towards the opaque water. “The ocean has become warmer and more polluted. It itches on my skin but I have no choice. Collecting scrap metal is the only way for me to survive.”

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Reckless mining oversight – by Editorial Board (Jakarta Post – April 8, 2024)

https://www.thejakartapost.com/

The government seems to care only about the revenue generated from the mineral sectors and ignores the environmental destruction and the plight of the people affected by the related industries.

A recent jaw-droppingly massive corruption case in the tin sector is yet another reminder that the government still lacks the capacity to manage the country’s vast natural resources.

The graft case occurred in the concession areas of state-owned miner PT Timah in Bangka Belitung, which holds the largest tin reserves in the country. The archipelagic province produces 90 percent of the country’s tin, which is mostly under the control of Timah.

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A Nuclear Power Revival Is Sparking a Surge in Uranium Mining – by Jim Robbins (Yale Environment 360 – April 4, 2024)

https://e360.yale.edu/

A push for nuclear power is fueling demand for uranium, spurring the opening of new mines. The industry says new technologies will eliminate pollution from uranium mining, but its toxic legacy, particularly in the U.S. Southwest, leaves many wary of an incipient mining boom.

After sitting dormant since the 1980s, the Pinyon Plain uranium mine began operating in January on the Kaibab National Forest in Arizona, about seven miles south of the Grand Canyon. Thanks to new interest in expanding nuclear power, the price of uranium is on a tear, making undeveloped and long-shuttered mines viable. Pinyon Plain, which has some of the highest-grade uranium ore in the country, is one of the first uranium mines to open in the United States in eight years.

It will not be the last. In the U.S. and around the world, uranium mining is experiencing a revival. At least five producers in the U.S. are reactivating mines in Texas, Utah, Wyoming, and Arizona, all of which closed after the 2011 disaster at Fukushima sent the price of uranium plummeting. Other projects are underway internationally, including new mines planned in Canada, India, and Mongolia.

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Cleanup for pollution from Teck coal mines will top $6.4-billion, assessment claims – by Wendy Stueck (Globe and Mail – March 19, 2024)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

It will cost at least $6.4-billion to tackle selenium contamination from Teck Resources Ltd.’s Elk Valley coal mines, according to a new report – far exceeding a $1.9-billion security bond required by the B.C. government to cover cleanup costs.

The report, commissioned by environmental group Wildsight, bases its price tag on calculations of what it would cost to implement Vancouver-based Teck’s current plan of building water treatment plants through to 2027 and then running them for 60 years.

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Gold mine with history of contaminating B.C. creek fined $276K – by Betsy Trumpener (CBC News British Columbia – March 15, 2024)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/

Barkerville Gold Mines’ penalty reduced in part because of COVID restrictions on business: report

A gold mining company that discharged contaminants into a B.C. creek more than a thousand times since 2017 has now been fined over $275,000 for its most recent violations of environmental rules, according to a March 2024 report from the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Barkerville Gold Mines, owned by Osisko Development since 2019, operates two gold mines and a processing mill east of Quesnel, B.C., in the mountainous Cariboo region about 440 kilometres north of Vancouver. The environmental violations took place at its underground Bonanza Ledge gold mine.

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Remediation project at Long Lake gold mine expected to finally begin to clean up arsenic tailings – by Angela Gemmill (CTV News Northern Ontario – March 13, 2024)

https://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/

An environmental cleanup project is expected to finally get going in Sudbury this year. It was in 2015 when arsenic was discovered in an old gold mine site near the extreme western part of Long Lake, but several delays prevented the project from moving forward until now.

The two tailings ponds above the glory hole are what will be remediated. “What they’re doing is scraping all of the tailings together and putting them together into a compound,” chair of the Long Lake Stewardship Committee, Scott Darling explained.

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B.C.’s multimillion-dollar mining problem – by Francesca Fionda, Jeffery Jones and Chen Wang (Globe and Mail/The Narwhal – February 24, 2024)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

The true cost of cleaning up mine pollution in B.C. is growing, a Globe and Mail-Narwhal investigation has found – and if disaster strikes, taxpayers could be stuck with an even bigger bill

When John Morris Sr. is asked where the sacred sites on the Taku River are, his answer comes easily. “This whole place is sacred,” the 84-year-old Elder says. In the spring, all five species of North American salmon fight the current to spawn. In the summer, bright orange salmon berries speckle the landscape.

Mr. Morris, a member of the Douglas Indian Association in southeast Alaska, said his grandparents, aunt, uncle and parents always reminded him that everything they needed was provided by the land there.

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First Nation warns of ‘ecocide’ as spring melt poses risk to tailings pond at Yukon mine site – by Julien Gignac (CBC News North – February 16, 2024)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/

Calling it an impending crisis, the Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation says problems have been in plain sight

The Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation is warning spring melt could cause the tailings dam at the abandoned Mount Nansen mine in central Yukon to overflow or breach, and send a toxic slurry into the environment. The company managing the site, however, says a dam breach is unlikely — though it could be at risk of overflowing.

Little Salmon Carmacks Chief Nicole Tom calls it an emergency, and compared it to the 2014 Mount Polley mine disaster in B.C. that saw roughly 25 million cubic metres of water and tailings effluent flow into surrounding waterways. It was the largest tailings spill in Canadian history.

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Quebec opposition attacks the CAQ on copper smelting plant’s future (Canadian Press/CTV News Montreal – February 14, 2024)

https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/

Opposition parties in Quebec City are urging the government to react to reports that Glencore is considering closing the Horne smelter if investments to meet air quality targets are too high.

Horne smelter issue in Rouyn-Noranda is once again taking a political turn after Radio-Canada revealed that Glencore’s board of directors was due to meet shortly to decide on the smelter’s future, despite the fact that the estimated cost of reducing arsenic emissions has risen by 50 per cent.

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Billions of litres of water are used yearly by Quebec’s mining and metal industry, data reveals – by Jaela Bernstien and Naël Shiab (CBC News Climate – February 2, 2024)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/climate/

Advocates hope more transparency will help towns struggling with water shortages

Quebec has lifted the veil of secrecy around the province’s biggest water users, revealing that billions of litres of water are withdrawn yearly by the mining and metal industry, along with pulp and paper manufacturing.

The data dump, which includes records going back a decade, also lists golf clubs, ski hills, water bottling plants and food processors among the companies that are withdrawing tens of millions — sometimes hundreds of millions — of litres in a year.

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Third Mine Disaster in a Decade Tests ESG Boundaries in Brazil – by Vinícius Andrade, Giovanna Bellotti Azevedo and Mariana Durao (Bloomberg News – January 29, 2024)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Investors were swift to dump debt of Braskem SA after the Brazilian petrochemicals maker’s salt mine partially collapsed in December — a situation that has forced tens of thousands to evacuate the city of Maceio since 2019.

The selloff lasted less than a month before the prices recovered. It was a rebound reminiscent of what happened in the wake of Samarco’s tailings dam collapse in 2015 and the rupture of a Vale SA dam in Brumadinho that killed 270 people in 2019: Any punishment levied by the debt markets was short lived.

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Mining giants told to pay $9.7bn over Brazil dam disaster – by Peter Hoskins (BBC.com – January 26, 2024)

https://www.bbc.com/news/

A federal judge in Brazil has ordered mining giants BHP, Vale and their Samarco iron ore joint venture to pay 47.6bn reais ($9.67bn) in damages over a deadly dam burst in 2015.

The collapse of the Fundão dam in the south-east of the country caused a giant mudslide that killed 19 people. It also severely polluted the Rio Doce river, compromising the waterway to its outlet in the Atlantic Ocean. It was not immediately clear how much each company is required to pay.

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Report outlines cost of Indonesia’s EV dream as Chinese-funded nickel plants linked to pollution, ‘land grabbing’ – by Resty Woro Yuniar (South China Morning Post – January 17, 2024)

https://www.scmp.com/

A new report accuses a massive China-funded nickel industrial complex in Indonesia’s Maluku province of causing “significant” environmental destruction and existential threats to indigenous peoples in the area, adding to the array of issues the nation faces in becoming a major player in the global electric vehicle (EV) supply chain.

Released on Wednesday by the US-based Climate Rights International (CRI) advocacy group, the report also alleges that the Indonesia Weda Bay Industrial Park (IWIP) in Halmahera, Maluku, worked with Indonesian police to protect the interests of some nickel miners by engaging in “land grabbing, coercion and intimidation of indigenous peoples”.

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How did Vale tailings dam burst and kills hundreds? – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Northern Miner – January 17, 2024)

https://www.northernminer.com/

Construction details in the tailings dam at Vale’s (NYSE: VALE) Corrego do Feijao iron ore mine in Brazil may have caused the burst that killed at least 270 people when 10 million cubic metres of sludge destroyed neighbouring settlements and took out a railway bridge, according to Swiss researchers.

Why the dam broke in 2019 specifically – three years after the pond was last loaded with new tailings – and why no significant displacements had been detected before the collapse, is the focus of a new paper by scientists at the university ETH Zurich.

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