Archive | Mining Environmental, Water Shortage and Land Reclamation/Revegetation Issues

Accent: Vale Enhancing Sudbury’s biodiversity – by Keith Dempsey (Sudbury Star – March 24, 2018)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Thousands of fingerlings, about an inch in size, entered two 4,500-litre rearing-like tanks at Vale’s Copper Cliff Greenhouse almost a year ago.

It’s where they were joyfully raised for 10 months by Vale staff, fed pelletized food, carefully having the water parameters in their tank monitored to make sure the water is being filtered.

“We want to make sure they’re happy in there,” said Quentin Smith, environmental engineer with Vale. Those fingerlings have now matured into healthy brook trout. Some of them have grown to 10-inches long. They’re ready for release into their natural environment. Continue Reading →

Anglo Says Cleaning Up Mining Will Earn It Billions in Profit – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – March 13, 2018)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Mining is a dirty business, but Anglo American Plc Chief Executive Officer Mark Cutifani says it doesn’t have to be. The miner of everything from copper to diamonds to iron ore is overhauling its sustainability targets, and predicts it can earn an extra $9 billion through 2030 by improving the way it mines and boosting relations with governments and communities.

In an industry that rips up massive areas of pristine landscape while consuming valuable water and pumping out dust and pollution, companies that don’t become better corporate citizens will face higher costs, mounting opposition and lose out on new deposits, Cutifani said in an interview.

“We need access to resources,” he said. “If you don’t have good relationships you don’t get access to ground; if you don’t have access to ground you can’t develop a mine.” Continue Reading →

British Columbia to reform Environmental Assessment Process in the fall – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Mining.com – March 7, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

The government of British Columbia revealed today the timeline that will guide the procedures to reform the province’s environmental assessment process.

Known by its initials, the EAP is a course of action to predict environmental effects of proposed initiatives, particularly mining and resource extraction projects, before they are carried out.

In general, an EAP should identify potential adverse environmental effects; propose measures to mitigate adverse environmental impacts; predict whether there will be significant adverse environmental effects after mitigation measures are implemented; and include a follow-up program to verify the accuracy of the environmental assessment and the effectiveness of the mitigation measures. Continue Reading →

Clear and clean: Monitor, share, innovate, reduce and repeat. This is the new water cycle for mines. – by Kylie Williams (CIM Magazine – February 26, 2018)

http://magazine.cim.org/

Access to water is a growing global humanitarian and environmental challenge. In the latest World Economic Forum Global Risks Report, water crises ranked fifth in terms of global impact. Competing demands for water will result in food crises, large-scale involuntary migration and environmental degradation.

According to the World Bank, 70 per cent of fresh water worldwide is used for agriculture and this sector will need to grow by 50 per cent to feed the expected 10 billion people on earth by 2050.

“The reality is that we all have to learn to live in a resource-constrained world,” said Resa Furey, market analyst at global design and engineering firm Stantec. “Water is life and a finite resource, so limited supplies of fresh water are putting the squeeze on everyone – mining, agriculture and society.” Continue Reading →

Protect the Amazon from big business and greed, Pope Francis urges – by Philip Pullella and Mitra Taj (Reuters U.S. – January 19, 2018)

https://www.reuters.com/

PUERTO MALDONADO, Peru (Reuters) – Pope Francis issued a ringing defense of the people and the environment of the Amazon on Friday, saying big business and “consumerist greed” could not be allowed to destroy a natural habitat vital for the entire planet.

Francis, who has made the environment and climate change a focus of his nearly five-year-old pontificate, made his appeal while visiting a corner of the Amazon in Peru where pristine rainforest and biodiversity is being blighted by mining and logging, much of it illegal.

“The native Amazonian peoples have probably never been so threatened on their own lands as they are at present,” the pope told a crowd of indigenous people from more than 20 groups including the Harakbut, Esse-ejas, Shipibos, Ashaninkas and Juni Kuin. Continue Reading →

Copper miners challenged by water supply – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud (Mining.com – January 18, 2018)

http://www.mining.com/

Wood Mackenzie sees copper demand increasing significatively over global supply in the next decade and, together with it, miners’ need for reliable sources of water.

“As constant and high demand for copper leads to resources running out, copper grades will progressively diminish. As a result, water demand will increase because it will be necessary to process more material to obtain the same amount of copper,” the consultancy group wrote in a report made public this week.

Aware of this, some miners with projects in Chile are already taking steps to guarantee the continuity of their operations. In the document titled The awakening of a dormant challenge: water management in the copper-mining industry, Wood Mackenzie says that companies in the world’s top copper producer are starting to minimise their use of underground and surface water, and are gradually increasing their use of seawater and recirculated water. Continue Reading →

Copper growth could be hampered by water resources (Mining Journal – January 2018)

http://www.mining-journal.com/

Falling grades and increased costs are often cited as reasons why there is not enough copper coming through the project pipeline, but water – or a lack of it – is another constraint holding back the industry’s growth, according to analysts from Wood Mackenzie.

The water issue is not as simple as being able to locate a captive source to start a development, it is much more complicated.

“From supply origin (surface, ground, sea or third-party water), management (recirculation and efficiency) to discharge (treatment and final discharge), there are political, environmental, economic and social repercussions,” the analysts said.

All of these have led to investors asking mining companies how they plan to manage water resources when evaluating potential investment projects. Continue Reading →

Can Markets Save the West’s Most Controversial Bird? – by Daniel Rothberg (Bloomberg News – November 30, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Agee Smith’s Cottonwood Ranch is tucked away in rural Nevada, about 450 miles from Las Vegas and not far from the Idaho border. The area is prime habitat for the greater sage grouse, an imperiled bird found in 11 western states. The male grouse is known for his eccentric mating dance—involving strutting, chest puffing and the inflation of two yellow air sacs on his neck.

Over the past two years, Smith worked to improve areas that are crucial habitats for sage grouse. He has planted sagebrush and improved the grass density in his meadows. If a new conservation method works as planned, Smith could make some money off his work.

Nevada, along with Colorado and Wyoming, has been working to create statewide markets for the conservation of the bird. In the simplest terms, these markets let developers—mining and energy companies, mainly—offset their impact on sage grouse by purchasing “credits” from ranchers who conserve an equal amount of habitat. Continue Reading →

Amazon rainforest deforestation: ‘Almost 10 per cent’ due to development around mines – by Nick Kilvert (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – October 18, 2017)

http://www.abc.net.au/

Almost 10 per cent of clearing in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest is being driven by unregulated development around mine sites, a new study has found. Researchers analysed satellite data from 2005 to 2015, contrasting areas within a 70-kilometre radius of mine sites, with areas not proximal to mines.

In the study published today in Nature Communications, they found that an extra 11,670 square-kilometres of Amazon rainforest had been cleared where mines were within that radius.

“This is an unregulated source of deforestation, we didn’t know it existed and we assumed it was much smaller than what our results have shown,” said lead author Dr Laura Sonter of the University of Vermont’s Gund Institute. Continue Reading →

Brazil abandons controversial bid to mine Amazon natural reserve after vehement criticism from conservationists (South China Morning Post – September 26, 2017)

http://www.scmp.com/

Agence France-Presse – The Brazilian government backed off a controversial proposal to authorise private companies to mine a sprawling Amazon reserve Monday after blistering domestic and international criticism.

President Michel Temer’s office will issue a new decree on Tuesday that “restores the conditions of the area, according to the document that instituted the reserve in 1984”, the Ministry of Mines and Energy said in a statement.

Last week, environmental activist group Greenpeace said at least 14 illegal mines and eight clandestine landing strips were already being used by miners in the Denmark-sized reserve known as Renca in the eastern Amazon. Continue Reading →

Tucson lawsuit seeks to protect jaguars from Rosemont Mine – by Curt Prendergast (Arizona Daily Star – September 25, 2017)

http://tucson.com/

A Tucson environmental group sued two federal agencies Monday in an effort to protect the habitat of jaguars in Southern Arizona from the proposed Rosemont Mine.

The Center for Biological Diversity asked a federal judge to rule the U.S. Forest Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service violated federal law in their analysis of the environmental impacts of the proposed copper mine in the Santa Rita Mountains.

The center alleges Fish and Wildlife violated the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act by issuing new regulations defining damage to habitat and by revising the critical habitat designation for the jaguar, according to the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Tucson. Continue Reading →

Water woes may leave green-car hopes high and dry – by Antony Currie (Reuters/Nasdaq.com – August 28, 2017)

http://www.nasdaq.com/

NEW YORK, Aug 28 (Reuters Breakingviews) – Water problems could leave the burgeoning market for green cars high and dry. Ford is the latest to ramp up its electrification efforts with a planned joint venture with China’s Anhui. Trouble is, the industry relies heavily on the Democratic Republic of Congo for cobalt to make electric vehicles’ lithium-ion batteries.

Players like BHP Billiton need secure water supplies for their cobalt-mining operations. They also are big consumers of electricity, which is produced mostly by hydropower. With the Congo River running near 100-year lows after two years of drought, blackouts are a big risk.

Wastewater – the theme of the World Water Week conference that kicked off in Sweden on Sunday – is another problem. Adding untreated industrial sludge back into the river basin would make a bad situation worse: the majority of Congolese already lack access to safe drinking water. Continue Reading →

Philippine lawmakers seek to ban mining in watershed areas, export of raw ore – by Manolo Serapio Jr (Reuters U.S. – August 25, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine lawmakers have filed a bill seeking to ban mining in watershed areas and exports of unprocessed ores and will require miners to get legislative approval before operating, in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s pledge to overhaul the sector.

The Philippines is the world’s top nickel ore supplier but Duterte says miners pay too little tax and not enough to compensate mining communities that suffer environmental damage.

“The challenge for government is to ensure proceeds translate into sustainable development, environmental protection, and greater transparency and accountability in the mining industry,” according to the bill authored by 22 congressmen led by Pantaleon Alvarez, the speaker of the House of Representatives and a strong ally of Duterte. Continue Reading →

‘A catastrophe’: Brazil looks to escape recession by opening Amazon reserve for mining – by Victor Ferreira (Financial Post – August 24, 2017)

http://nationalpost.com/

‘The decree is the biggest attack on the Amazon in the past 50 years,’ an opposition senator said. The reserve is said to be home to a massive gold deposit

Brazil’s government has opened a massive national reserve to vast commercial mining in a move critics dubbed the “biggest attack on the Amazon in the past 50 years.”

A decree from President Michel Temer published Wednesday announced that the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (RENCA) would immediately be abolished so that the area, thought to be rich in gold, could be explored. The reserve has been protected since 1984 and covers 47,000 square kilometres — nearly the size of the province of Nova Scotia. About one-third of the reserve will be opened to miners.

The move, proposed by the country’s mining and energy ministry in March, comes as the country has been struggling to escape a crushing economic crisis that has seen unemployment rise above 12 per cent. In a statement to Brazilian newspaper O Globo, mining and energy minister Fernando Coelho Filho suggested the move could help drag the country out of recession. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Mitsui, Cobra in talks with BHP over desalination plant – sources – by Gram Slattery (Reuters U.S. – August 10, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – A consortium made up of Mitsui & Co and Grupo Cobra is in exclusive talks with BHP Billiton Plc to build an $800 million desalination plant at its Spence copper mine in Chile, two sources with knowledge of the process told Reuters this week.

This means BHP, the world’s biggest mining house, is advancing the contracting process for a planned $2.5 billion expansion at Spence, a project that has been on ice for years.

A number of other companies bid on constructing the plant, including a consortium of Canada’s Brookfield Asset Management and Spain’s Acciona, but BHP has selected the Mitsui group to go ahead with bilateral negotiations, said the sources, who requested anonymity because the matter is private. Continue Reading →