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

Ex-Coal Man Flips the Script By Rallying Appalachians to Plant 187 Million Trees on Abandoned Mines – by Andy Corbley (Good News Network – March 30, 2020)

Good News, Inspiring, Positive Stories

Although the Appalachian Mountains are often only thought of as coal country, the ecosystem as a whole is one of the richest and most biodiverse seasonal deciduous forests on earth.

In addition to the mountains boasting rich populations of freshwater mussels, a corridor for migratory birds, and more species of salamanders than any other range, Appalachia is also home to National Parks like the Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee—a park that may have as many as 100,000 species just on its own.

However, Appalachia also has a darker, decades-long history of toxic coal-mining tactics such as mountaintop removal, surface reclamation, and blasting and tunneling that had done almost irreparable damage to local ecosystems, leaving hundreds of barren and bald hills throughout eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Continue Reading →

Down on the Farm That Harvests Metal From Plants – by Ian Morse (New York Times – February 26, 2020)

https://www.nytimes.com/

Some of Earth’s plants have fallen in love with metal. With roots that act practically like magnets, these organisms — about 700 are known — flourish in metal-rich soils that make hundreds of thousands of other plant species flee or die.

Slicing open one of these trees or running the leaves of its bush cousin through a peanut press produces a sap that oozes a neon blue-green. This “juice” is actually one-quarter nickel, far more concentrated than the ore feeding the world’s nickel smelters.

The plants not only collect the soil’s minerals into their bodies but seem to hoard them to “ridiculous” levels, said Alan Baker, a visiting botany professor at the University of Melbourne who has researched the relationship between plants and their soils since the 1970s. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Top lithium miner seeks to monitor water scarcity in parched Chile salt flat – by Dave Sherwood (Reuters U.S. – February 9, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

SANTIAGO (Reuters) – With residents and courts ringing the alarm about depleted water supplies in Chile’s Atacama salt flat, the world’s top lithium miner Albemarle (ALB.N) quietly filed a proposal in December for a network to monitor flows beneath the parched desert floor.

The previously unreported move is an indication of how important it has become for miners to prove their supplies of the so-called “white gold” battery metal are sustainable as they court automakers preparing for the coming electric vehicle revolution.

Car companies have ratcheted up scrutiny in the Atacama, by far the biggest source of supply in South America’s so-called “lithium triangle,” where one lithium producer is locked in a court battle over pumping of brine and a copper miner has opted for pricey desalination over drawing water from local aquifers. Continue Reading →

All of Chile’s copper mines to run in ‘extremely high water-stressed’ areas by 2040 – by Michael McCrae (Kitco.com – January 29, 2020)

https://www.kitco.com/

Between 30 to 50 percent of production for copper, gold, iron ore, and zinc is concentrated in areas where water stress is already high, reported McKinsey in a recent study looking at climate change and miners.

With climate change, the consultancy warned that water shortages will get worse for miners leading to social and technical challenges. “In Chile, 80 percent of copper production is already located in extremely high water-stressed and arid areas; by 2040, it will be 100 percent.

In Russia, 40 percent of the nation’s iron ore production, currently located in high water-stressed areas, is likely to move to extreme water stress by 2040,” writes the study’s authors. Continue Reading →

Lake trout’s return reflects success of Sudbury’s regreening efforts – by Mary Katherine Keown (Sudbury Star – January 23, 2020)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

‘Sudbury is an example to the world of what can be done’

All herald the mighty lake trout. This cold-water, oxygen-loving fish is a sign that Sudbury’s regreening efforts have really taken root.

“We’re trying to educate people about local species and local biodiversity in ecosystems,” Tina McCaffrey, supervisor of the city’s regreening program, says. “For myself and my parents, growing up 40 years ago, we know the landscape was black and lifeless. But children today – they miss out on that. They don’t always know what we’re talking about when we say Sudbury used to be like a moonscape.”

Sudbury’s regreening efforts are impressive. There is a hill in the Little Britain area where you can climb and look out over the slag pours of Vale in one direction, and the expanse of leafy neighbourhoods and verdant woods in the other. Sudbury no longer resembles the moonscapes of past decades. Certainly, our rocks are still black, but now they are covered in mosses, lichens, trees and shrubs that speak to the pioneering efforts of the VETAC committee. Continue Reading →

Australia Is Dry as a Bone, and Miners Need Water to Stay Afloat – by David Winning (Wall Street Journal – January 16, 2020)

https://www.wsj.com/

SYDNEY—A crippling drought in eastern Australia is threatening production of commodities from coal to gold, sparking a scramble by companies for water to keep their operations going.

The affected mines and processing operations are in arid regions a hundred or more miles inland of most of the areas hit by unprecedented bush fires. The severe drought conditions are expected to persist despite rain falling or forecast in the region in coming days.

Eastern Australia is a major supplier of metals and minerals to global markets, with more coal leaving its ports for customers in Asia than anywhere else in the world. Continue Reading →

The world beats a path to Sudbury: International delegations dig the Nickel City for its mining expertise and regreening story – by Len Gillis (Northern Ontario Business – October 16, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

The City of Greater Sudbury has rolled out the red carpet no less than 10 times this year for international trade delegations coming to see the city’s expertise in mining and hear the story of the environmental remediation of its once-devastated landscape.

The payoff has been low-key but still very significant, according to organizers who have worked to entice these groups by teaming up with government, the mining and supply companies, and post-secondary educators.

“The key word is ‘partnerships’ because these are happening from many different partners from all levels of government,” said Scott Rennie, a business development officer with the city, who is also the project manager for Northern Ontario Exports. Continue Reading →

AMC fights to save South China tigers from extinction – by Laura Cornish (Mining Review Africa – August 29, 2019)

Mining Review Africa

According to the World Wildlife Fund, South China tigers area “critically endangered” species and considered “functionally extinct” having not been sighted in the wild for more than 25 years.

The non-profit Laohu Valley Reserve near Philippolis in the Free State, South Africa, has dedicated its resources to growing the South China tiger population, with the ultimate intention of re-wilding them in their origin home in China.

LAURA CORNISH visited the reserve to learn about the project which one of South Africa’s major crushing contractors, African Mining & Crushing (AMC) is supporting. Continue Reading →

Trains deliver water to drought-affected NSW coal mines to keep production going and save jobs – by Kathleen Ferguson (Australian Broadcasting Corporation – August 7, 2019)

https://www.abc.net.au/

Trains carrying 725,000 litres of water a day are the latest weapon to keep a drought-affected mine in inland New South Wales in production and keep jobs secure.

The Southern Shorthaul Railroad [SSR] company has started carting water between Centennial Coal’s Charbon and Airlie mines near Lithgow on a 40-kilometre route.

The unorthodox mode of water supply is not only securing coal production, but also jobs. “That would have meant that they would have had to cease coal production in the mine and, for them, that would have meant laying off 140 full-time staff.” Continue Reading →

Sudbury’s mining expertise, regreening success story attract Latin American delegations – by Ian Ross (Northern Ontario Business – August 2, 2019)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

Battery-powered mining equipment and Sudbury’s regreening efforts are attracting groups from Latin America to visit the Nickel City in August.

Sudbury’s growing mining expertise in the development and use of battery-powered electric vehicles (BEV) has attracted the interest of managers and engineers from Codelco, the world’s largest copper producer.

Representatives from Chile’s state-run mining company, arrive in Sudbury on Aug. 5 to begin a five-day tour of operations and suppliers in Sudbury and Kirkland Lake. The Aug 5-9 visit is organized by Sudbury and Area Mining Supply and Services Association (SAMSSA). Continue Reading →

How pulling frozen mud ‘Popsicles’ from N.W.T. lakes can help make mining cleaner – by Priscilla Hwang (CBC North – August 6, 2019)

https://www.cbc.ca/

An Ottawa researcher developing new technology to pull up and analyze frozen mud samples from N.W.T. lakes says it will give regulators and mining companies a better tool to do their jobs.

“It’s a technology that’s going to allow mining companies to … better plan how they’re going to use the area around the lake, and make sure that their work is done sustainably,” said Tim Patterson, professor of geology at Carleton University.

“That’ll allow them to do better to protect the aquatic ecosystems.” Currently, mining companies have to follow strict cleanup protocols when planning to mine in the N.W.T. Continue Reading →

Mineweb: Anglo’s seen the future of mining, and it looks a lot like farming – by Ciaran Ryan (Money Web.com – June 24, 2019)

https://www.moneyweb.co.za/

The sector has to clean up its act while still making a profit – and it’s a race the group intends to win.

Addressing analysts in London recently, Anglo technical director Tony O’Neill outlined a vision of the future where mines will be similar to farms.

Virtually all mining activity, including the extraction of minerals, leaching and processing will take place below ground. Rock cutting will be done without vibration and only material of value will be brought to the surface. No more convoys of trucks or surface conveyor belts delivering material to the processing plant, no more mechanical shovels scarring the countryside.

On the surface, you may see green fields, cows, and perhaps a wind turbine or two and some solar panels. Surplus power generated by the mines will be supplied to local communities. Exploration will be done by satellite and minimal use made of water. Perhaps even no water at all. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Vale Canada and Terrapure win Environmental Leader Award for innovative mine rehabilitation project

Teaming up to solve a municipal and mining problem with a sustainable, cost-saving approach has earned Vale and Terrapure recognition for Project of Year

SUDBURY, ONT., May 15, 2019 – Terrapure Environmental® (Terrapure) and Vale Canada received an Environmental Leader Award for Project of the Year for their new, sustainable option for managing biosolids during winter months, when farmland application is prohibited and storage is complicated.

Instead of incinerating or landfilling nutrient-rich organics, Terrapure worked with Vale to develop a program to apply treated biosolids to its Central Tailings Area for reclamation and revegetation. It was the first project of its kind in Ontario. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Nornickel invests $2.3 billion in cutting sulphur dioxide emissions (Tass.com – April 10, 2019)

http://tass.com/

ST. PETERSBURG, April 10. /TASS/. The Norilsk Nickel Mining and Metallurgical Company (Nornickel) plans to invest more than 150 billion rubles ($2.3 billion) in processing sulphur dioxide at its Polar Division’s facilities, the company’s Vice President Dmitry Pristanskov told the international Arctic forum on Tuesday.

“The Northern Project is absolutely non-commercial, it is a part of the national Ecology project,” the company’s representative said. “The company plans to attract more than 150 billion rubles in Russian technologies to cut sulphur dioxide emissions by 75%.”

TASS wrote earlier that under the Clear Air federal project, which is a part of the Ecology national project, Nornickel would invest in cutting emissions in Norilsk about 123 billion rubles ($1.9 billion). Continue Reading →

Canada failed at monitoring waste dumps from mining companies – by Carl Meyer (National Observer – April 2, 2019)

https://www.nationalobserver.com/

Canada’s federal environment and fisheries departments failed at monitoring unauthorized waste dumps by mining companies and did not always check if these firms were carrying out plans to save fish from lethal chemicals, Canada’s environment commissioner has found.

Julie Gelfand examined seven metal mine projects to figure out how Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) were fulfilling their duties to oversee the safe disposal and storage of the liquid sludge that comes from industrial chemicals used in mining to extract materials from crushed rock.

That process created a byproduct filled with harmful materials to fish like cyanide, zinc and selenium, which the industry calls “effluent.” Continue Reading →