Archive | United States Mining

Moab uranium tailing cleanup still going after 13 years – by Max Roth (Fox 13 Salt Lake City – May 12, 2021)

MOAB, Utah — Before Moab was a Mecca for outdoor recreation in Utah, it was the hub of cold war uranium mining; and in the rush to process the ore for nuclear weapons, officials made a terrible decision we’re still paying for.

That decision made in 1956 was to build a uranium processing mill along the banks of the most important river in the American Southwest: the Colorado River.

“When they established a mill, there wasn’t very much thought given to protecting the river,” said Russell McCallister, the director of the federal cleanup. Continue Reading →

Cleanup efforts of mining-polluted streams prove effective over time – study – by Valentina Ruiz Leotaud ( – May 9, 2021)

A new study based on long-term monitoring data shows that cleanup efforts can allow streams affected by acidic runoff drainage from abandoned mines to recover to near-natural conditions within 10 to 15 years after the start of abatement work.

In detail, the authors of the paper analyzed monitoring information over periods of 20 years or more for four mining-impacted watersheds—located in mountain mining regions of California, Colorado, Idaho, and Montana.

The sites were all designated as Superfund sites under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, which helps fund the cleanup of toxic-waste sites in the United States. Continue Reading →

White House Backs Nuclear Power Subsidies, Despite Green Qualms – by Ari Natter (BNN/Bloomberg News – May 5, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — The Biden administration is backing federal subsidies to keep U.S. nuclear power plants in operation as part of its infrastructure proposal, a move that is sure to set up a clash with environmentalists who have qualms with the carbon-free fuel source.

White House officials have told supporters in the industry and on the Hill it would like to see a nuclear production tax credit included in the $2.25 trillion infrastructure package it proposed in March, according to a person familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private conversations.

The support comes as the industry, which provides about 19% of the nation’s electricity, has been beset by a wave of reactor closures as it struggles to compete with electricity produced from natural gas. Continue Reading →

Biden’s Road to Clean Energy Meets West Virginia Coal Country (Bloomberg News – May 4, 2021)

Gerald Lucas, 69, is a former coal miner and federal mine inspector who now gives public tours underground at the Beckley, W.Va., Exhibition Coal Mine, a working mine that ceased operations in 1953. He describes it as a fun job that allows him to share his decades of experience with visitors.

Lucas’s career change is becoming more common among West Virginians as the rural state of 1.8 million moves toward a new economy in which coal is no longer king. The state, which had a poverty rate of 16% in 2019, has long felt the effects of coal’s decline.

West Virginia lawmakers occupy key perches on Capitol Hill as President Joe Biden introduces a sweeping infrastructure and climate package—the $2.25 trillion American Jobs Plan—and pledges to revitalize coal country. Continue Reading →

Cleaning up abandoned mines can help environment, create jobs in Appalachia – by Joseph Pizarchik ( – April 29, 2021)

Thousands of miles of streams across the country are running orange, contaminated by highly acidic water draining from abandoned coal mines.

Rather than supporting local economies, these abandoned sites and their pollution render water supplies and more than 850,000 acres of land unusable, while posing a risk of flooding and mudslides that could devastate entire towns.

All told, abandoned mine lands are an American infrastructure crisis. But, like many infrastructure problems, we can turn these liabilities into job-creating opportunities with investment at the scale of the problem. Continue Reading →

US Department of Energy provides funds for First Cobalt’s Iron Creek project – by Staff (Northern Miner – April 2021)

Global mining news

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Critical Materials Institute is giving Toronto-based junior First Cobalt (TSXV: FCC; US-OTC: FTSSF) US$600,000 over two years for research on mineral processing techniques for the company’s Iron Creek copper-cobalt project in Idaho.

The funding, matched by the company, will be spent on “identifying more efficient and environmentally friendly methods to process cobalt ore from pyrite material,” First Cobalt announced in a press release, and will be part of a “collaborative research effort” with the Colorado School of Mines’ Kroll Institute for Extractive Metallurgy (KIEM).

Trent Mell, First Cobalt’s president and CEO, said the company plans to build an underground mine and processing facility at Iron Creek and “can take advantage of new and emerging technologies that reduce waste material coming out of the mine and reduce the amount of energy required to process the ore.” Continue Reading →

The West needs to level the playing field to compete with China – by Anthony Milewski (Northern Miner – April 23, 2021)

Global mining news

Access to the raw materials of the new green economy is increasingly a high-stakes chess match along geopolitical lines dividing the East and the West. China controls access to the bulk of raw and midstream materials that the world needs for its transition to a low-carbon intensity economy. This control has become a critical vulnerability in the Western world’s emerging Industry 4.0 supply chains.

The mechanics of the emerging green economy rely on carbon friendly modes of transport such as electric vehicles, as well as mobile technology, energy storage, rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies fueling increased computing power, and renewable power sources — all made from mined materials such as nickel, cobalt, manganese and lithium.

China’s drive to become the dominant commodity superpower started in the 1990s when it started opening up its economy to the world. The central government mandated unprecedented infrastructure spending, prompting the start of the commodity supercycle that lasted until late in the 2000s. In turn, the enormous demand for raw materials sparked a mining investment boom. Continue Reading →

Freeport beats copper estimates in relief to tight supplies – by James Attwood and Daniela Sirtori-Cortina (Bloomberg News – April 22, 2021)

Freeport-McMoRan Inc., the biggest publicly traded copper miner, produced more than expected last quarter and raised its annual sales projection in a much-needed boost to tight global supplies of the metal.

The Phoenix-based company is on schedule with the ramp-up of underground operations at its flagship Grasberg mine in Indonesia and is stepping up output from North America just as copper surges toward the highest price in almost a decade. At its Cerro Verde mine in Peru, Freeport plans to get back to pre-pandemic levels next year.

At a time of robust demand and production disruptions elsewhere, Freeport’s expansion provides some relief for smelters and consumers of the metal used in wiring. Continue Reading →

Battery Rush Is 21st Century’s New Gold Rush — And Tesla’s Big Future Revenue Source? – by Johnna Crider (Clean Technica – April 25, 2021)

In 1848, gold was first discovered in California. In 1859, the U.S. oil industry began when the first well was drilled in Pennsylvania. Back then, oil from animals (think whale blubber) was typically used, until a patent for creating kerosene from coal oil was patented in 1854.

Once Pennsylvania shale oil was analyzed and determined to be a great source of kerosene, others began looking for “rock oil.” Petroleum soon replaced whale oil and a new term was coined: “black gold.” This is not to be confused with the alloy black gold, which is created by mixing gold with cobalt.

Fast forward into the 21st century and I believe we are about to enter into another gold rush of a sorts. Batteries. In a recent article by Yahoo! Finance, the author pointed out that the real money may not lie in Tesla’s cars, but in its battery business. Continue Reading →

Uranium Miners Seeking a Foothold Take Unorthodox Approach: Buying Uranium – by Joe Wallace and Rhiannon Hoyle (Wall Street Journal – April 26, 2021)

Aspiring uranium miners are buying the metal like never before, a sign the market for nuclear fuel is heating up after a decade in the cold.

The market for uranium, used largely to fuel nuclear power plants, has been glutted since the Fukushima reactor meltdowns in 2011. Miners and some investors say that is changing after years of OPEC-like discipline by the two biggest producers.

Adding to their optimism, governments including the Biden administration and Beijing see a role for nuclear power in global efforts to mitigate climate change.

Investors have been sending shares in companies including Canada’s Denison Mines Corp. and Corpus Christi, Texas-based Uranium Energy Corp. higher starting late last year. The Global X Uranium ETF , which tracks shares of companies with operations linked to uranium and nuclear components, has surged 76% since the end of October. Continue Reading →

Opinion: More U.S. mineral mining would blunt electric vehicle makers’ dangerous reliance on China – by Robert W. Chase ( – April 25, 2021)

MARIETTA, Ohio — In the 1970s, the harmful effects of an oil embargo shocked Americans. The sudden realization that we needed to take responsibility for our own energy future had quite an impact. Politicians responded accordingly.

Now we must address a huge new concern — the danger of becoming hostage to China for critically important industrial materials.

It’s only a matter of time. China is our leading supplier of minerals and metals, giving it great leverage over our supply chains for advanced technologies. Consider the possibility of waking to the news that China has cut off exports of electric-vehicle battery metals — lithium, cobalt, nickel, graphite and rare earth minerals. Continue Reading →

Toxic legacy of uranium mines on Navajo Nation confronts Interior nominee Deb Haaland – by Mary F. Calvert and Andrew Romano (Yahoo Finance – February 23, 2021)

If, as widely expected, New Mexico Rep. Deb Haaland survives her U.S. Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday and is sworn in as secretary of the interior, she will make history as the first Native American ever to serve in a presidential Cabinet.

But representation is only half the battle. From day one, Haaland will also be expected to address a festering backlog of problems left behind by predecessors who lacked her perspective as a citizen of the Laguna Pueblo, one of America’s 574 federally recognized tribes.

Among the most daunting: how to finally help shield indigenous people from the hundreds of inactive yet still toxic uranium mines that have been scarring their lands and poisoning them for decades. Continue Reading →

Florida Toxic Waste Crisis Could Be Key to China Rare Earths Fight – by David Fickling (Bloomberg News – April 6, 2021)

Leaks of wastewater at a former phosphate mine prompted evacuation orders and a state of emergency near Tampa recently amid fears that a pile of radioactive mine tailings could collapse. Believe it or not, U.S. President Joe Biden should have seen an opportunity wrapped in this crisis.

That’s because cleaning up the vast and neglected phosphogypsum stacks that dot Florida and other parts of the southeastern U.S. could help solve U.S. dependence on imported critical materials, all while removing the looming threat of environmental disaster from local residents.

Phosphogypsum is a byproduct of producing fertilizer from phosphate rock, with more than five metric tons produced for every ton of useful phosphoric acid. It’s worthless in its raw form thanks to concentrations of uranium, radium and other heavy metals that make it too radioactive for use as a soil improver or construction material — purposes for which it would otherwise be well-suited. Continue Reading →

Phosphate mine collapse ‘imminent’ as DeSantis issues state of emergency in Florida county – by Mark Young and Ryan Callihan (Miami Herald – April 21, 2021)

PALMETTO, Fla. — Less than a day after Manatee County issued an emergency evacuation order for nearby residents of the troubled Piney Point industrial site, public safety officials have announced new and immediate evacuations around the phosphate mine, declaring the collapse of the gypsum stack is “imminent.”

Several hours later, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a State of Emergency for the county. “Due to a possible breach of mixed saltwater from the south reservoir at the Piney Point facility, I have declared a State of Emergency for Manatee County to ensure resources are allocated for necessary response & recovery.”

The public safety alert told residents: “Evacuate the area NOW. Collapse of Piney Point Stack is imminent. Immediate evacuation of Chapman Road to Airport Road and US 41 to O’Neill Road. Leave area IMMEDIATELY.” Continue Reading →

Talon Metals wants US nickel refinery – by Craig Guthrie (Mining Magazine – April 21, 2021)

Talon Metals has said a US-based nickel refinery will be needed to create a “Green Nickel” US supply chain for electric vehicles (EVs).

The proposed US refinery would accept feedstock from its Tamarack Nickel Project as well as recycled materials, said Talon Metals.

“I believe that there is enough nickel in the United States for nickel independence – what’s missing is a USA-based refinery that could be used to convert nickel into a final product that can be used for batteries,” said Henri van Rooyen, CEO of Talon. Continue Reading →