Archive | Nickel

World’s biggest nickel miner has a plan for its crisis-ridden border town: here could come a hub for Arctic tourism – by Atle Staalesen (The Barents Observer – January 23, 2020)

https://thebarentsobserver.com/en/

There is a sense of crisis in the small town of Nikel located on the border to Norway and Finland. Here, most men and women have for the past three generations had their lives closely connected with the local nickel smelter.

Now, the cornerstone industry is closing and several hundred people will be dismissed in the course of the year. Locals fear that Nikel will be abandoned and turned into a ghost town.

However, local authorities and the nickel company assure that there will be new industries created that locals can be re-trained and re-employed in new jobs. Continue Reading →

Editorial counterpoint: McCollum’s mining-ban bill shortchanges environment review – by Frank Ongaro (Minneapolis Star Tribune – January 21, 2020)

http://www.startribune.com/

It’s no surprise that the Star Tribune Editorial Board supports U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum’s bill banning copper-nickel mining (“Bill offers vital BWCA protections,” Jan 19).

Unfortunately, McCollum’s bill is a desperate attempt to pre-emptively sidestep rigorous review processes already well-established under federal and state statutes to determine the feasibility and safety of mining projects on public lands.

All mining projects in our state — including taconite, iron ore and other extractive industry developments that power our economy and were explicitly left out of this bill — must undergo extensive environmental and feasibility studies. The statutes were enacted to assure a fair, predictable process built on scientific and technical evidence, not the shifting winds of politics. Continue Reading →

The EV revolution will take batteries, but are they ethical? – by Adria Vasil (Corporate Knights Magazine – January 20, 2020)

https://www.corporateknights.com/

How automakers can clean up the dirty minerals that power them in the global race to electrify cars

Two thousand nineteen may go down as the year the auto industry started putting some muscle into electric vehicle sales. Amidst a steady stream of pledges to deliver more EVs than ever over the next five years, Ford filmed an electric prototype of its F-150 pickup truck (a favourite gas guzzler among Canadians) towing an entire freight train in a CN railyard in Montreal. Not to be outdone, the forthcoming Tesla Cybertruck then hauled the F-150 uphill in a tongue-in-cheek tug-of-war.

The brawny marketing stunts carried a simple message: electric cars aren’t just for tree-hugging Leaf, Prius and Bolt lovers anymore. The message is timely, with global leaders (including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) committing to carbon pollution targets of “net zero” by 2050, tough new emissions standards coming out of Europe, and a smattering of governments following Norway’s early lead on banning gas-powered-car sales as soon as 2025.

For the vast majority of automakers that have cautiously dipped their toes in the EV market, the race to net zero is officially on. But environmental and human rights advocates, along with international heavyweights at the World Bank and World Economic Forum, say there’s an elephant in the showroom. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-LME stock surge grounds high-flying nickel, but for how long? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – January 16, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Nickel, the best performer among the base metals last year, is currently getting a reality check in the form of surging exchange stocks.

London Metal Exchange (LME) inventory has more than doubled in the space of little more than a month, with almost 120,000 tonnes of metal flooding into registered warehouses.

The stock surge has dampened speculative spirits, with the London price hemmed in below the $14,500 per tonne level since the start of January, a long way off the five-year high of $18,850 per tonne seen as recently as last September. Continue Reading →

Minnesota court rejects major permits for PolyMet mine – by Steve Karnowski (Washington Post – January 13, 2020)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Associated Press – ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday rejected some of the most important permits for the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, giving a major victory to environmentalists.

A three-judge panel ruled that the state Department of Natural Resources erred when it declined to order a proceeding known as a “contested case hearing” to gather more information on the potential environmental impacts from the mine. The court also said the agency erred when it issued PolyMet’s permit to mine without imposing a fixed term on that permit.

So the court sent the dispute back to the DNR with orders to conduct the potentially lengthy hearing, during which an administrative law judge would take testimony and sort out conflicting evidence. Continue Reading →

Green Is The New Black For The World’s Biggest Mining Companies – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – January 14, 2020)

https://www.forbes.com/

The “greening” of the world’s biggest mining companies is accelerating with a rush into environmentally benign material, such as potash, a high-value fertilizer, matched by an exit from the most polluting of minerals—coal.

Global miner Anglo American flagged its renewed interest in fertilizer with a proposal last week to acquire a troubled British potash-project developer, Sirius Minerals, which is developing the Woodsmith mine in Yorkshire, in the U.K.

If successful, the $500 million takeover would mark a return to fertilizer three years after Anglo American sold a phosphate business as part of a company-wide clean up. Continue Reading →

Minnesota appeals court rejects three PolyMet permits, sends them back to DNR for hearing (Minneapolis Star Tribune – January 13, 2020)

http://www.startribune.com/

Environmental groups, Fond du Lac tribe cheer decision to require further state review.

Plans to build Minnesota’s first copper-nickel mine suffered a major setback Monday when the state Court of Appeals reversed three permits issued to PolyMet Mining Corp. and kicked them back to state regulators for additional review.

Chief Judge Edward Cleary said the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) erred in not holding so-called contested case hearings on the permits to fully vet objections by environmental groups and the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. In a decision released Monday, he ordered the DNR to hold such a hearing.

In addition, Cleary said, the DNR should have specified time limits for the mine’s entire life cycle in PolyMet’s all-important permit to mine. Although PolyMet says it intends to mine for 20 years, the permit isn’t clear about the time frame for activities such as mine reclamation and future maintenance of the huge tailings dam for mine waste that will be left behind, according to the court’s decision. Continue Reading →

Are mining companies jumping the gun on lithium? – by Umar Ali (Mining Technology – January 13, 2020)

https://www.mining-technology.com/

Lithium has skyrocketed on the back of huge demand created by the battery industry. While lithium demand shows few signs of slowing down, battery technology is changing at an enormous pace. Projects around the world are exploring alternatives to lithium, promising that a breakthrough is just around the corner. We ask the question: should miners be going all in for lithium?

The lithium rush

Global efforts to reduce emissions have driven demand for technology such as electric vehicles, which has increased demand for the lithium needed for batteries.

According to analysis from Benchmark Minerals, demand for lithium ion batteries has tripled since 2015 to 180 gigawatt hours (GWh), reaching the levels initially predicted for 2020. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-Unexpected bump on the EV road hits battery metals – by Andy Home (Reuters – December 18, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, Dec 18 (Reuters) – It’s been a tough year for electric vehicle (EV) metal bulls. The previous speculative heat surrounding any and every material that goes into an EV battery has dissipated over the course of 2019. Two years ago the spot lithium price in China was $26 per kilogram. Today it is assessed by Fastmarkets at below $8.

Cobalt, a key input for lithium-ion battery chemistry, has experienced a similar boom and bust cycle, the price of standard grade metal sliding from over $44 per lb in the second quarter of 2018 to a current $15.75.

Nickel has fared better but only thanks to strength in its traditional end-use sector, stainless steel, rather than any pull from the battery sector. Both lithium and cobalt are living with the consequences of previous price exuberance in the form of a supply surge that has swamped processing capacity and left an overhang of stock. Continue Reading →

OEMs ‘fail to understand need to source EV battery raw materials’ – by Steve Garnsey (Automotive Logistics – December 23, 2019)

https://www.automotivelogistics.media/

OEMs and companies in the automotive supply chain show a lack of comprehension of how serious the situation is in accessing key metals required for electric vehicle (EV) batteries, according to Scott Williamson, managing director of Australian mineral explorer and mine developer Blackstone Minerals.

“I don’t think they [the automotive industry] understand how critical and difficult it is to get hold of these metals,” he told Automotive Logistics.

“There’s a disconnect between the amounts of money at the automotive level and what comes down to us,” he added. “If the money doesn’t come down to the mining level, there will be no EV revolution.” Continue Reading →

Accent: Sudbury’s impact on Lake Huron (hint — it’s major) – by Joe Shorthouse (Sudbury Star – December 21, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

Sudbury is part of the Great Lakes Ecosystem. Water in toilets flushed in Sudbury, along with waters from mine tailings, flows into Lake Huron and pass under the swing bridge on Manitoulin Island

The new partnership of residents who live year-round on the islands in the Great Lakes, called the Great Lakes Islands Alliance (GLIA), held its third annual Summit on Mackinac Island in Lake Michigan in October.

As with previous gatherings, participants reminded themselves that the Great Lakes hold about 20 per cent of the world’s fresh water and living on islands comes with the responsibility of protecting the integrity of this critical resource.

Participants have come to visualize the five Great Lakes as gently sloping eastward from the west coast of Lake Superior to the east coast of Lake Ontario, and as a result, Great Lakes waters eventually flow into the St. Lawrence River and the Atlantic Ocean. Continue Reading →

Study of copper-nickel mining’s effect on Boundary Waters dropped from bill – by Jimmy Lovrien (Duluth News Tribune – December 17, 2019)

https://www.duluthnewstribune.com/

Language that would have required a study of the impact of copper-nickel mining on the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness was dropped from the Department of the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill this week.

It would have commissioned a report from the National Academy of Sciences “on the impacts on ecosystem services of the Superior National Forest and the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness resulting from a Twin Metals sulfide-ore copper mine located in the watershed of the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness” but it was removed from the final agreement by White House negotiators, a spokesperson for U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum, D-St. Paul, who authored the bill, confirmed to the News Tribune Tuesday.

Twin Metals, owned by Chilean mining conglomerate Antofagasta, is hoping to build a large underground copper-nickel mine near Ely, within the Rainy River Watershed and on the edge of the BWCAW. Critics say the project could send tainted runoff into the BWCAW while supporters say the mine would bring much-needed jobs to the region. Continue Reading →

Vale files $1-million lawsuit, CBC report says – by Staff (Sudbury Star – December 17, 2019)

https://www.thesudburystar.com/

A half-dozen people profited in a complex fraud scheme through a Vale mill, according to a civil suit filed in Ontario Superior Court in Toronto.

The document, which was obtained by CBC, alleges former Clarabelle Mill superintendent Lee MacIsaac, along with maintenance supervisor William Auger and parts coordinator Yvan Lecuyer, conspired to pocket at least $1 million through payments on maintenance work that was never performed.

None of the allegations have been proven in a court of law. The suit also names three men affiliated with contracting companies as collaborators in the scheme: Felix Vazquez of Metso Minerals, John Vasconcelos of E.S. Fox Ltd., and Jason Bettiol of ABS Manufacturing. Continue Reading →

The next mining boom? Rare earths and the rise of Australia’s ‘other’ minerals – by Nick Toscano (Sydney Morning Herald – December 13, 2019)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Lithium, cobalt, titanium, rare earths – expect to hear more about them as we transition to green technologies. But what are they, actually? And what are they for?

Coal and iron ore are the heavy hitters of minerals in Australia. They’re our two top mining commodities by far, together accounting for 30 per cent of national exports.

But a handful of other minerals have become rather fashionable in recent times. They account for a small fraction of our export earnings and it’s mostly small operators that dig them out of the ground, with just a couple of big names in the mix. Yet they are rapidly becoming more important and edging their way into common parlance as result.

The sci-fi-sounding rare earths is one. Titanium is another. “He’s a man of titanium,” US President Donald Trump declared of our Prime Minister Scott Morrison this year, adding a zeitgeisty, if incomplete, fast fact: “You know, titanium’s much tougher than steel.” Continue Reading →

OPINION: ‘Green’ energy relies on copper-nickel mining – by Jeremy Munson (Minneapolis Star Tribune – December 11, 2019)

http://www.startribune.com/

Jeremy Munson, R-Lake Crystal, is a member of the Minnesota House.

Gov. Tim Walz’s mandates on electric vehicles and his push for 100% “green” energy represent a government takeover of energy, furthering an agenda of science deniers.

Make no mistake, this is an admirable goal. However, I am a lawmaker who embraces both science and reason, and these proposals are rooted in neither. Unlike many of my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, I am not a science denier when it comes to green energy.

Last winter, I approached hundreds of green energy demonstrators in the State Capitol rotunda and spoke to a group carrying signs demanding electric vehicles mandates. I introduced myself and thanked them for supporting the PolyMet copper-nickel mine. Continue Reading →