Archive | United States Mining

US nuclear, uranium mining industries hope for Trump bailout – by ELLEN KNICKMEYER, FELICIA FONSECA and MEAD GRUVER (Associated Press – October 9, 2019)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A plea from uranium mining companies and nuclear power plant operators for tax breaks and other federal financial boosts is going before President Donald Trump, as his administration studies reviving the U.S. uranium industry in the name of national security.

Trump is scheduled to receive recommendations Thursday from a task force of national security, military and other federal officials about ways to revive U.S. uranium mining, which has lagged against global competition amid low uranium ore prices.

Uranium is a vital component for the country’s nuclear arsenal, submarines and nuclear power plants. U.S. uranium users get about 10% of their supply from domestic sources, the federal Energy Information Administration has said. Most of the rest comes from Canada and Australia, followed by Russia and former Soviet republics. Continue Reading →

China And The U.S. Fight Over Australian Rare Earths – by Tim Treadgold (Forbes Magazine – October 9, 2019)

The U.S. hunt for future supplies of rare earths and other critical minerals has led Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to Australia this week where he might not get the reception he was expecting.

China is not only well entrenched in the Australian mining industry but an academic paper released to coincide with Ross’s visit suggest that China could be a more reliable source of project development capital for new mining projects.

Published by the United States Studies Center at the University of Sydney the paper’s theme was whether there was scope for government intervention in rare earths, an industry dominated by China but important to many countries because rare earth elements have unique properties. Continue Reading →

Stunning photos show what it’s really like to work deep underground in an American coal mine – by James Pasley (Business Insider – October 5, 2019)

Coal mining is dark, dirty, and dangerous work. It’s not for everyone — it’s for the few who love to descend into the bowels of the Earth to extract “black gold.” Even as they face the risk of mines collapsing, or catching on fire, or the long term health threats like black lung.

As Curtis Burton, who spent the last 17 years working in or for coal mines in Pennsylvania, told Business Insider, coal mining is a hard job, but it’s also entirely unique. “Every day you’re seeing a part of the earth nobody else is seeing ever,” he said.

Coal currently fuels just under 40% of the world’s electricity. It’s the most polluting fossil fuel, but it’s also cheap and relatively plentiful. In the US, natural gas and renewables are replacing it as the top energy sources, even as President Donald Trump has promised to bring coal mining back. Continue Reading →

High uranium levels seen in Navajo women decades after Cold war era mining by U.S. on their reservation (CBC News – October 8, 2019)

Albuquerque, New Mexico — About a quarter of Navajo women and some infants who were part of a federally funded study on uranium exposure had high levels of the radioactive metal in their systems, decades after mining for ingredients for Cold War weaponry ended on their reservation, a U.S. health official Monday. The early findings from the University of New Mexico study were shared during a congressional field hearing in Albuquerque.

Dr. Loretta Christensen – the chief medical officer on the Navajo Nation for Indian Health Service, a partner in the research – said 781 women were screened during an initial phase of the study that ended last year.

Among them, 26% had concentrations of uranium that exceeded levels found in the highest 5% of the U.S. population, and newborns with equally high concentrations continued to be exposed to uranium during their first year, she said. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-United States races to build critical minerals alliances – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – October 7, 2019)

LONDON, Oct 7 (Reuters) – President Donald Trump’s offer to buy Greenland didn’t go down well with either the inhabitants of the world’s largest island or with Denmark, which administers it as an autonomous territory.

The Danish prime minister Mette Frederiksen described the idea as “absurd”, triggering a diplomatic fall-out as Trump decided to cancel a planned visit to Denmark.

The idea may be many things but, from a U.S. perspective, it is not “absurd”. There are two completely rational drivers for eyeing up Greenland – its strategic location for North Atlantic shipping and its untapped mineral reserves. Continue Reading →

Newmont’s New CEO Plans to Dispense More Discipline Than Cash – by Vinicy Chan and Steven Frank (Bloomberg News – October 2, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Tom Palmer took the helm at the world’s largest gold miner shortly after bullion had its longest streak of quarterly gains since 2011. Now investors are looking to partake of that windfall.

But before shareholders get their piece of the pie, the new chief executive officer at Newmont Goldcorp Corp. will have to face the challenge of melding the assets from the recently completed mega-merger with Goldcorp Inc.

Newmont’s shares have trailed its peers, even with gold’s meteoric rise that took the metal to a six-year high of $1,557.11 an ounce last month. The stock’s rally this year is just less than a third of the pace of gains posted by its closest rival Barrick Gold Corp., which also sealed a massive merger deal. Continue Reading →

Republican lawmakers call for measures to spur new U.S. uranium mining – by Valerie Volcovici (Reuters U.S. – October 1, 2019)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican U.S. lawmakers this week urged President Donald Trump’s administration to ease restrictions on uranium mining on federal lands, as a Cabinet-level committee prepares recommendations this month for boosting domestic nuclear fuel production.

“We strongly encourage you to make improved access to federal lands with high-grade uranium deposits a top priority,” according to the Sept. 30 letter from 27 Western state Republican senators and Congress members to Trump’s national security and economic advisers Richard O’Brien and Larry Kudlow, both co-chairs on the uranium mining working group.

“Greater access to our own resources will help put Americans to work exploring for and responsibly producing the uranium that our country needs,” wrote the lawmakers from the western states from Alaska to Utah. Continue Reading →

Australia sees opportunity to boost critical minerals supply to U.S. – report (Reuters U.K. – September 30, 2019)

MELBOURNE, Oct 1 (Reuters) – Australia has a fresh opportunity to supply the United States with critical minerals after recent changes to U.S. regulation aimed at cutting its dependence on China, an Australian government report showed on Tuesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump in July signed five memoranda authorising U.S. Department of Defense funding to be directed to resources or technology “essential to the national defense” in a move aimed at shoring up domestic supplies.

That opens the door for the United States to offer project funding for rare earths, a group of 17 elements used in products ranging from lasers and military equipment to magnets found in consumer electronics, according to the report by Australia’s Trade and Investment Commission. Continue Reading →

A Brief History of the Nickel – by Daniel A. Gross (Smithsonian Magazine – April 28, 2016)

In honor of the coin’s 150th anniversary, read up on how the nickel came to be minted

The nickel wasn’t always worth five cents. In 1865, the U.S. nickel was a three-cent coin. Before that, “nickel cents” referred to alloy pennies. It turns out that even the name “nickel” is misleading. “Actually, nickels should be called ‘coppers,’” says coin expert Q. David Bowers. Today’s so-called nickels are 75 percent copper.

Those aren’t the only surprises hidden in the history of the nickel. The story of America’s five-cent coin is, strangely enough, a war story. And 150 years since it was first minted in 1866, the modest nickel serves as a window into the symbolic and practical importance of coinage itself.

To understand how the nickel got its name, you have to go back to an era when precious metals reigned supreme. In the 1850s, coins of any real value were made of gold and silver. In the event of a financial crisis—or worse, the collapse of a government—precious metal coins could always be melted down. They had intrinsic value. Continue Reading →

Canada ready to provide vital minerals to U.S., Trudeau says – by Robert Fife and Marieke Walsh (Globe and Mail – September 29, 2019)

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says Canada is ready and willing to supply the United States with strategically important minerals used in consumer and industrial products as Washington steps up efforts to cut its dependence on China.

At a White House meeting in late June, Mr. Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to negotiate a joint strategy on mineral collaboration. The United States is also seeking alliances with Australia, Japan and the European Union, which also fear relying too much on China for these minerals.

“I brought up this at the top of my conversation in my last meeting with Donald Trump, where I highlighted that Canada has many of the rare-earth minerals that are so necessary for modern technologies,” Mr. Trudeau told a news conference on Monday in Toronto. The rare earths are 17 minerals used in high-tech and military products such as smartphones, electric cars and fifth-generation fighter jets. Continue Reading →

Canada, U.S. drafting plans to curb China’s dominance in critical rare-earth minerals – by Robert Fife, Steven Chase and Daniel LeBlanc (Globe and Mail – September 30, 2019)

Canada and the United States are drawing up plans to reduce their reliance on China for rare-earth minerals that are critical to high-tech and military products, such as smartphones and fighter jets.

The “joint action plan” – now being drafted by senior Canadian and U.S. officials – will be presented to the political party that forms the next government after the Oct. 21 election, according to a federal briefing document obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The document says the action plan should include defence funding for critical-minerals projects and strategic investments in North American processing facilities, as well as greater research and development in extraction of these rare-earth materials. Continue Reading →

Miners push for U.S. Congress to vote on electric vehicle supply chain bills – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – September 23, 2019)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Mining executives eager to speed U.S. production of lithium and other metals for the burgeoning electric vehicle industry are frustrated that the U.S. Congress has yet to pass legislation designed to streamline mine permitting and fund geological studies, among other steps.

Earlier this year, Washington’s trade war with Beijing threatened to curb Chinese shipments to the United States of rare earth minerals used in defense equipment. China is also the world’s largest electric vehicle battery producer, processor of lithium and consumer of copper.

“We don’t have great clarity on what the legislative timelines are,” said Keith Phillips, chief executive of Piedmont Lithium Ltd (PLL.AX), which is developing a lithium mine in North Carolina. “This pending legislation would be a big positive” to help secure investment. Continue Reading →

U.S. Says Saudis Must Forgo Enrichment for Nuclear Sharing Deal – by Ari Natter (Bloomberg News – September 19, 2019)

Saudi Arabia will be required to forgo enriching or reprocessing spent uranium if it wants to secure a nuclear-technology-sharing deal with the U.S., Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a letter to the kingdom that addresses bi-partisan non-proliferation concerns about the proposal.

The U.S. has been in negotiations with the Saudis for an agreement that could benefit Westinghouse Electric Co. and other American companies that want to construct or sell nuclear reactor technology to the kingdom.

But that prospect has been met with increasing alarm by Congress and others concerned that the Saudis could enrich nuclear fuel into weapons grade material. Those concerns were heightened after the Trump administration said it might not insist on the so-called “Gold Standard” barring such activities. Continue Reading →

Laid off and owed pay: the Kentucky miners blocking coal trains – by Michael Sainato (The Guardian – September 18, 2019)

Harlan county, Kentucky, earned the nickname “Bloody Harlan” from a series of labor strikes and violent confrontations in the 1930s led by coalminers and union organizers against coal corporations and law enforcement. In 1973, Harlan’s coalminers went on strike for 13 months when contract negotiations with Duke Power Company broke down after miners voted to form a union.

There are no longer any unionized mines in Kentucky, but Harlan’s miners are currently continuing the region’s legacy of labor struggles against wealthy and powerful coal corporations: they are blocking the coal trains from leaving a mine that laid them off.

A collection of tents next to some rail tracks may not look like much compared to that rich legacy of labor struggle. A small group of families have occupied the site since 29 July, sitting on camp chairs, occasionally hosting live music and attracting sympathetic supporters from all over the US. Continue Reading →

Michigan, Wisconsin Could Face Mining Disaster – by Al Gedicks (Urban Milwaukee – September 18, 2019)


Regulators allowing open pit mine near Lake Michigan that could release catastrophic amount of toxic waste.

The willingness of top Michigan regulators to ignore their own scientific staff and approve a wetland permit for a controversial open pit mine next to the Menominee River on the Michigan-Wisconsin border has been reported by Urban Milwaukee, but is only the beginning of a dangerous decision-making process. The proposed Back Forty metallic sulfide mine is owned by Aquila Resources, a Canadian exploration company that has no experience with mining.

Despite steadily increasing scientific evidence of the danger of a tailings dam failure next to the Menominee River and the potential catastrophic release of toxic mine waste into Lake Michigan, the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) appears ready to approve the dam’s design.

That design is associated with the January 2019 Brazilian tailings dam disaster that killed at least 250 people in Brazil’s deadliest-ever mining accident. Brazil has already banned this design from further use and ordered the decommissioning of 88 existing dams employing this design. Continue Reading →