Tesla plans to buy lithium for Gigafactory from nearby Nevada mine – by Katie Fehrenbacher (Fortune Magazine – September 16, 2015)



The electric carmaker may get some of the lithium it needs for its Nevada battery factory from a local mining project.

Tesla plans to buy lithium, a critical ingredient in its batteries, from a mining project that’s under development 200 miles from its battery factory near Reno, Nev.

Pure Energy Minerals, which is leasing the Nevada land for mining, announced the supply agreement with the electric car maker on Wednesday.

The deal is highly unusual in the world of battery manufacturing. Much of the world’s lithium comes from Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Australia and eastern China, and is shipped long distances to battery makers in Asia.

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Tesla and the mining business – by Don Brunell (The Star – September 16, 2015)

http://www.grandcoulee.com/ Grand Coulee Dam Community

Tesla is the premium entry in the electric car market, with a starting price of $75,000. According to the Wall Street Journal, the high-end “Signature” model costs $132,000, slightly more than the base price for Porsche’s AG’s 911 GT3.

Even with a $7,500 federal tax credit, an assortment of state tax credits, and $10,000 in fuel saving over five years, the driver’s investment is over $110,000 – far beyond the reach of the average family.

However, Tesla’s luxury styling and impressive performance give high-end buyers the best of both worlds – luxury transportation and the satisfaction of environmental stewardship. In that light, it might surprise some that Tesla’s success depends, in large part, on lithium mining.

Tesla cars are made of carbon fiber and powered by racks of lithium-ion batteries. Strong, light, and cost-efficient, carbon fiber is being used increasingly by commercial airplane manufacturers. On board Boeing’s 787, the batteries are lithium-ion as well.

Like Boeing and Airbus, auto manufacturers are under economic and regulatory pressure to produce more fuel-efficient products.

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Once booming, Nevada gold output falls to 1988 level – by Sean Whaley (Las Vegas Review Journal – September 12, 2015)


CARSON CITY — Gold production in Nevada fell to less than 5 million ounces in 2014, the first time since 1988 that output of the precious metal has dipped so low.

A new state Division of Minerals report shows 4.94 million ounces of the precious metal was taken from 30 Nevada mines in 2014. There was about 5.5 million ounces of gold produced in Nevada in 2013.

The peak year in recent memory was 1998, with just under 9 million ounces.

Richard Perry, administrator of the Division of Minerals, said it appears production has leveled off in the 5 million ounce range over the past five years. While production has fallen, Nevada mines still throw of gold valued at $5.5 billion, at $1,100 per ounce, he said.

“We need better gold prices to see more projects and new mining,” Perry said. The lower gold production is due largely to the price of gold, which hit a high of nearly $1,800 per ounce in 2012 but has dropped to about $1,100 as of Friday.

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Tesla interest could spark new Nevada gold rush for lithium – by Andy Colthorpe (Storage-PV Tech.com – September 07, 2015)


A gold exploration and mining company has agreed to purchase a potential site for excavating lithium in Nevada, citing the “great deal of attention” brought onto the state by Tesla’s decision to locate its mammoth manufacturing facility there.

The EV-maker’s decision to go into stationary storage, officially confirmed at the end of April, followed a period in which Tesla was supplying its partner SolarCity with battery-based energy storage in a number of pilot projects for houses and for the installer’s DemandLogic commercial solution.

The confirmation brought high-profile attention onto the energy storage industry, sparking mainstream media interest. By that point, it was already well known that Tesla was building a “Gigafactory” in Nevada and the announcement of the launch of Powerwall, for houses, and PowerPack for the commercial and utility-scale markets merely confirmed the company’s ambitions beyond EVs. The Gigafactory’s planned “500,000 battery packs by 2020” of production would be soaked up by stationary storage too.

In the final week of August this year, Tesla signed a conditional long-term lithium hydroxide supply deal with Canadian company Bacanora and British company Rare Earth Minerals.

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[History] How Silver Wrecked China – by Stephen Mihm (Bloomberg View – August 25, 2015)


China’s devaluation of the yuan last week surprised many market observers. The yuan, which is pegged to the dollar, had been rising in tandem with the U.S. currency — in part because of expectations the Federal Reserve will increase interest rates soon. With China’s economy slowing, currency markets were pressing for the yuan to depreciate, and the Chinese government, seeking to boost competitiveness in export markets, gave in to the pressure and moved the peg.

This isn’t the first time the two countries’ monetary policies have been closely intertwined. In the Great Depression, China found itself vulnerable to the price of silver, thanks to the misguided moves of U.S. policy makers.

The Great Depression was a global crisis — almost. Every significant economy was devastated, with one notable exception: China. The reason was simple. In 1929, the U.S. and every other major nation pegged their currencies to gold. As the economic historian Barry Eichengreen has described, adherence to this standard punished countries by imposing “golden fetters” that led to crippling deflation. The fixed exchange rates of the gold standard helped transmit the monetary shocks around the world.

China, alone among the world’s major economies, operated under a silver standard in which the currency was pegged to a specific weight of that metal.

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Barrick Poised to Sell More Gold Mines as It Whittles Down Debt – by Danielle Bochove and Scott Deveau (Bloomberg News – July 16, 2015)


Barrick Gold Corp., nearing a deal for its Zaldivar copper mine, is likely to consider three other mines as leading candidates for sale as it works to cut the biggest debt in the gold industry.

Among the remaining non-core mining operations that Barrick would examine selling are its 50 percent stake in Australia’s Kalgoorlie mine, Canada’s Hemlo and Bald Mountain in Nevada, according to analysts and investment bankers.

The world’s largest producer of the metal has pledged to raise at least $3 billion this year to reduce its $12.9 billion debt. The Toronto-based company is in advanced discussions to sell a 50 percent stake in its Zaldivar mine in Chile with final bids submitted last week by China Molybdenum Co., BHP Billiton Ltd. and others, people familiar with the matter said last week.

While Barrick has said it only wants to sell a 50 percent stake in the mine, some of the bidders were expected to have submitted bids for the whole operation, which is valued at more than $2 billion, the people said.

If completed, Zaldivar would mark the last of three deals Barrick has pledged to complete this year.

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Barrick Gold makes big changes to become a smaller company – by Joe Castaldo (Canadian Business Magazine – July 3, 2015)


Long-suffering shareholders see potential as the company focuses on shedding debt and getting back to gold

It’s quiet at the headquarters of Barrick Gold in Toronto. On a Wednesday afternoon in May, all that can be heard is the soft hum of the ventilation system. A few years ago, around 500 people filled the office, overseeing mining operations that spanned the globe. Today, there are just 140 employees responsible for a much smaller geographical footprint. And that footprint might shrink over the coming year.

For long-suffering Barrick shareholders, this is welcome news. “We’re taking Barrick back to the way it was 15 years ago,” says Kelvin Dushnisky, the company’s co-president. Back then, Barrick was not a bloated organization that had lost investor confidence, nor was it facing a mountainous $13-billion debt in a depressed gold market. Since 2012, Barrick’s share price has fallen by roughly 70%.

While gold prices are a long way from where they were at the height of the 2000s commodities boom—a reality that’s hurt many miners—Barrick’s wounds are mostly self-inflicted. In 2011, founder and chairman Peter Munk pushed the company to spend billions on an underperforming copper mine in Zambia. Barrick also botched the development of what was to be a monster gold mine on the border of Chile and Argentina called Pascua-Lama. These two headaches have cost Barrick about $15.9 billion over the past few years, according to an analyst at Macquarie Group.

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Gold Versus Water In The Western Drought [Nevada] – by Chris Sieroty (Nevada Public Radio – June 23, 2015)


With Nevada going through a prolonged drought, water use is a hot topic in urban areas.

The issue of drought is also being heavily debated in rural parts of Nevada because of the impact of current and future pit lakes left by mining operations.

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada recently released a hydrology study of the impacts of mining on the Humboldt River.

The study finds the largest gold mining companies use an enormous amount of water and are pumping record amounts. Will Nevada soon have to decide if water is more precious than gold?

Nevada Mining Association president Dana Bennett, Ph.D., had the following to say in response to an interview request from KNPR’s State of Nevada:

“Nevada’s mining industry has been sensitive to Nevada’s limited water resources since long before this drought began. Water is a precious resource and the drought is something all Nevada industries should take seriously.

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New mine in an old pit: Barrick begins mining at Arturo – by Marianne Kobak McKown (Elko Daily Free Press – June 4, 2015)


CARLIN – An old mine site has been reborn.

Barrick Gold Corp. began mining in its Arturo Mine this year. The new operation is located in the former Dee Pit, which is about 45 miles northwest of Elko. Barrick owns 60 percent of the project and Goldcorp owns the other 40 percent.

The Bureau of Land Management issued the mine’s record of decision May 9, 2014 and construction on the project began the end of 2014.

The mine will be mined in three phases, but it is starting in Phase 2 first, said Jerry Johnson, open pit technical services superintendent. Phase 2 is predominantly refractory ore and it will be sent to Goldstrike’s roaster and autoclave.

“It is about 90 percent refractory and about 10 percent oxide mill,” Johnson said. “It’s a smaller pit. It’s about 107 million total tons. It will be about 800 feet deep when we are done with it and about a half a mile in diameter, so significantly smaller than the Goldstrike Pit.”

He said the phases were named before all the drilling was completed, which is why Phase 2 will be mined before Phase 1. Mining with the 4100 shovel started on March 26. “The active shovel bench is just a wee bit of a highwall,” Johnson said.

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Nevada mining innovates and endures – by Dana R. Bennett (Elko Daily Free Press – June 1, 2015)


Dana R. Bennett is the Nevada Mining Association President.

Nevada mining is dynamic—an evolving industry that changes over time. From our 21st century perspective, after many years of solid gold production numbers, it can be hard to imagine a time when gold was not the preeminent mineral in Nevada. There was a time – a long period of time – when gold mining was essentially dying in this state.

In 1942, the U.S. War Production Board ordered the closure of non-essential gold mines in order to concentrate the production of minerals needed for the war effort. Some Nevada mines closed completely, but some, such as the Getchell Mine in Humboldt County, were able to remain open by focusing on the production of industrial minerals.

After World War II ended and gold mines were allowed to open, Nevada’s gold industry was slow to recover. Production continued to decline. Nearly 20 years after the federal government order, Nevada’s gold production dropped to the second-lowest point in all of Nevada history.

Instead, Nevada’s mining industry focused on industrial minerals, producing iron, lead, manganese, tungsten and zinc in the early 1950s. Lander County produced world-renowned turquoise. By 1957, however, even the industrial mineral industry began to slide.

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Sierra history: Nevada Comstock miners had guts, grit on their side – by Mark McLaughlin (Tahoe Daily Tribune – May 15, 2015)


Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin is a nationally published author and professional speaker.

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — It took skill, brains, brawn and endurance to work underground in a Nevada Comstock mine day after day and survive.

Air temperatures at the deepest depths nearly 3,000 feet beneath the surface ranged from 100 degrees Fahrenheit to nearly 130 degrees due to heat emanating from volcanic rock. Contemporary geologists considered Nevada’s 19th century silver mines to be the hottest in the world.

A labyrinth of clay seams throughout the Comstock matrix sealed off the flow of geothermally heated groundwater that riddled the subterranean rock.

Much of this exceptionally hot water was under considerable pressure and would suddenly flood a mine if a clay seam was breached by a drill hole or cut by excavation.

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Sierra history: Big risk, big money came with Comstock mining – by Mark McLaughlin (Tahoe Daily Tribune – May 15, 2015)


Tahoe historian Mark McLaughlin is a nationally published author and professional speaker.

TAHOE-TRUCKEE, Calif. — If you haven’t been to Virginia City, Nev., recently you’re in for a surprise, but probably not a pleasant one.

For several years now, Comstock Mining Incorporated has run a massive open pit excavation operation on the old Comstock Lode in the Virginia Range.

The resumption of large-scale mining adjacent to the Virginia City Historic District has upset residents and businesses alike. The federal government has designated the integrity of the nationally recognized landmark as “threatened.”

Nevada has had a close relationship with mining since its first days as a territory in the early 1860s and it is a major component of its economy.

Although the primary ore in the 19th century Comstock bonanza was silver, today the state produces about 80 percent of all the gold in the United States.

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Barrick Beyond Borders: There’s a first time for everything [Cyanide free gold]


Barrick produced the first of millions of ounces of gold at its Goldstrike mine using patented technology that will save jobs and allow it to continue to contribute funds to the state of Nevada

In late November 2014, the Goldstrike mine poured a small but significant bar of gold. At 107 ounces, the pour amounted to just one-eighth the size of a typical doré gold bar, but it marked the first time the mine had produced gold using its patented thiosulfate processing method. In fact, it marked the first time any company in the western world had successfully produced gold using thiosulfate.

Long viewed as a potential alternative to cyanide, which is typically used to recover gold that is trapped inside ore, thiosulfate is a difficult chemical to master. Barrick spent more than two decades perfecting its thiosulfate processing method and relied on an unmatched level of scientific and technological expertise.

“It’s the culmination of years of hard work and a good example of how our partnership culture is manifesting itself on the ground,” says Goldstrike General Manager Andy Cole. “This was a huge initiative, and it would not have succeeded if it weren’t for the collaboration, trust and accountability that developed between our project team, the construction group and the Goldstrike operations team.”

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History of the Carlin Trend (Elko Daily Free Press – May 1, 2015)


CARLIN — On May 4, 1965, with little fanfare, Newmont poured its first bar of gold from the Carlin Mine. The pomp and circumstance of the official commissioning of the mine would have to wait a few more weeks. That first bar marked the start of one of the largest and longest-lived mining districts in the world.

In summer 1961, geologists John Livermore and Alan Coope arrived in Carlin to visit the Blue Star mine and the Gold Quarry prospect. Livermore had recently heard a talk by U.S. Geological Survey geologist Ralph Roberts about an area in northern Eureka County that had the potential for hosting gold deposits.

The type of deposit they were searching for was similar to Getchell, Gold Acres and Bootstrap, deposits in which the gold was dispersed as microscopic particles that could not be found using a gold pan. After visiting and examining the local deposits, Livermore and Coope began exploring an area approximately 2¾ miles south of Blue Star on Popovich Hill. They postulated that gold would be found in the limestone rocks below a regional fault known as the Roberts Mountains Thrust.

Drilling on the project began in 1962 and on the third hole intersected 100 feet of mineralization averaging 1.03 ounces of gold per ton, marking the discovery of what would become the Carlin Mine. Drilling to outline the orebody progressed quickly and by the end of 1963 had identified 11 million tons of ore averaging 0.300 ounces of gold per ton, a grade sufficient for mining when gold was selling for $35 per ounce. Construction of the mine and mill began in 1964.

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(Nevada Mining) Editorial: The Romance of Mining (Elko Daily Free Press – May 1, 2015)


(This editorial from 50 years ago is being republished in honor of Newmont Mining Corp.’s celebration of 50 years on the Carlin Trend.)

Historically, Nevada has been a mining state. The great Comstock Lode, which helped to bring this state into the Union, Tonopah’s silver and Goldfield’s gold are part of the romantic heritage which has come down through the years. The great copper mines of Ely and Weed Heights have added to the lustre, to say nothing of the wealth of this state and the nation.

There have been numerous other finds in the state’s history leading to the building of mining towns, some passing into oblivion almost overnight. Mountain City, the great Rio Tinto copper mine, Pioche, Austin, Eureka and such other romantic names as Tuscarora, Cornucopia, the Divide near Tonopah, Gold Aces and many others have passed in review.

As Dr. John Hulse said in his recently written “The Nevada Adventure”, “Nevada was basically unwanted and unloved in those days (before mining). It was a barrier to a promised land, rather than an asset in itself. But this soon changed.”

Yes, it changed with Virginia City and the mining finds which followed throughout the state. James Finney, whose real name may have been James Fennimore, according to Dr. Hulse, was exploring the hills at the head of Gold Canyon in the winter of 1858-1859 when he found a mound, soon to be named Gold Hill.

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