Archive | United States Mining

Lithium from proposed NC mine could power Teslas. But not everyone supports digging. – by Daniel Egitto (Durham Herald Sun – July 20, 2021

A company’s plan to enter the fast-growing global market for lithium faces local fears that a proposed new mine in Gaston County will hurt residents’ health, environment and quality of life.

As Keith Phillips, CEO of the mining company Piedmont Lithium, prepares to meet with county commissioners for the first time on Tuesday evening, here’s what you should know about lithium and the mine proposal:


Lithium is a key component of batteries used in electric cars, bikes, wheelchairs, scooters and personal electronic devices. The global lithium-ion battery market was projected to more than triple over eight years, from $36.7 billion in 2019 to $129.3 billion in 2027, according to a study published by market research firm Valuates Reports. Continue Reading →

China frictions steer electric automakers away from rare earth magnets – by Eric Onstad (Yahoo Finance/Reuters – July 19, 2021)

LONDON (Reuters) – As tensions mount between China and the United States, automakers in the West are trying to reduce their reliance on a key driver of the electric vehicle revolution – permanent magnets, sometimes smaller than a pack of cards, that power electric engines. Most are made of rare earth metals from China.

The metals in the magnets are actually abundant, but can be dirty and difficult to produce. China has grown to dominate production, and with demand for the magnets on the rise for all forms of renewable energy, analysts say a genuine shortage may lie ahead.

Some auto firms have been looking to replace rare earths for years. Now manufacturers amounting to nearly half global sales say they are limiting their use, a Reuters analysis found. Continue Reading →

GM Will Suck Lithium From the Salton Sea to Make Batteries – by Mark Vaughn (Autoweek – July 15, 2021)

Critics of electric cars would like you to believe that all of the mining for all of the minerals needed in EVs is performed by environmentally destructive means. This may not be an entirely accurate representation of the actual mining and extraction process that gets the lithium necessary for your Li-Ion battery. And the processes are getting cleaner all the time.

Lithium is needed to make batteries for electric cars. Right now, most lithium comes from Australia—51,000 tons of it in 2019. Second-highest producer of lithium is Chile with 16,000 tons.

The list drops off precipitously from there. But the world is going to need a lot more very soon, especially carmakers such as GM, which, along with many if not most of the world’s carmakers has pledged to go all-EV very soon, GM by 2035. Continue Reading →

Crist unveils clean water plan that calls for tougher regulations on pollution – by Zac Anderson (Sarasota Herald-Tribune – July 14, 2021)

SARASOTA — With Florida’s nagging environmental woes flaring up to crisis levels in some areas, Democratic candidate for governor Charlie Crist unveiled a clean water plan Wednesday that was light on details but promised tougher regulations.

A red tide algae bloom is causing extensive fish kills in the Tampa Bay area, Florida is experiencing a record number of manatee deaths and a large blue-green algae bloom covers much of Lake Okeechobee.

Crist touched on all three issues Wednesday, but also drew a rebuke from a prominent local environmentalist about what he didn’t include in his plan — phosphate mining. Continue Reading →

Report: Appalachian states face billions in mining cleanup (Associated Press/Lexington Herald Leader – July 15, 2021)

The cleanup and reclaiming of coal mines in seven Appalachian states will cost billions, and Kentucky and West Virginia have the largest bills coming due, according to an environmental group’s new report.

Total reclamation liability for the two states is between $4.1 and $5.8 billion, with less than half of that covered by existing bonds, according to estimates in the report by Appalachian Voices.

Pennsylvania’s estimated liability is roughly identical to Kentucky’s, at $1.9 billion to $2.25 billion, although it has an advantage in that up to two-thirds of that liability is covered by bonds. Continue Reading →

It’s not just mining. Refining holds U.S. back on minerals – by James Marshall (E&E News – Greenwire – July 14, 2021)


Republicans are sensing a vulnerability in the White House’s avowed allegiance to renewable energy, questioning whether the Biden administration will embrace mining projects to ramp up the United States’ access to the minerals vital to building electric vehicles, wind turbines and solar panels.

They have taken aim at a Biden administration decision to delay a land swap that would facilitate copper mining on sacred Apache land and another to postpone orders to open Alaskan land to mineral development (E&E Daily, April 29).

But experts say mining expansion isn’t a silver bullet in the United States’ quest to become competitive with China on critical minerals during the energy transition. Instead, they argue that the key problem the Biden administration must swiftly address is farther up the supply chain: the dearth of U.S. mineral processing plants and refineries. Continue Reading →

Black lung, a scourge of the past, still plagues Illinois mines – by Kari Lydersen (Energy News Network – July 14, 2021)


When Robert Cohen learned about black lung disease as a medical student, he assumed it was a relic of the past. “I thought it was something that happened in the times of Émile Zola” — whose 1885 book “Germinal” chronicled the horrors of France’s coal industry. “I didn’t think I’d see it in my practice.”

Almost four decades later, he still treats miners from downstate Illinois, their lungs scarred from breathing coal dust. They trek up to Chicago, sometimes looking out of place in the sleek hospital waiting room on Chicago’s ritzy Gold Coast, where Cohen sees patients.

“The nurses love them, they are so down to earth,” said Cohen, who also founded a black lung clinic at Chicago’s public county hospital, serving miners from around the region, including many who had migrated to Chicago from Appalachia after mines there closed. Continue Reading →

Coal aversion by Biden, environmentalists threatens transition to electric vehicles – by Haris Alic (Washington Times – July 8, 2021)

Coal — the longtime nemesis of the green movement — stands to play a significant role in America’s transition from gas-powered to electric vehicles by supplying rare-earth elements for high-tech batteries. The big question is whether President Biden and environmentalists will acquiesce.

Coal and its byproducts contain many of the critical minerals necessary to produce electric vehicle batteries. For instance, the top layer of rock and sediment under which coal lies contains rare earth minerals, such as neodymium, europium and terbium.

Those minerals are vital for manufacturing electric vehicle batteries and other household electronics, including iPhones and computer tablets. Even though the minerals are crucial for technology production, the sediment containing the minerals is often disposed of as refuse after coal is excavated. Continue Reading →

FBI hunt for Civil War gold detailed in unsealed affidavit – by Chris Dolmetsch (Bloomberg News – June 28, 2021)

Was a ton of vanished Union gold stolen by a secret group of Confederate sympathizers and hidden in a rural Pennsylvania cave at the height of the Civil War?

That’s what an FBI agent was seeking to find out in 2018 when he applied for a search warrant to dig at the site in Elk County, northeast of Pittsburgh, according to a court filing unsealed on Thursday.

In an accompanying 30-page affidavit, Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agent Jacob Archer cites tips from treasure hunters, old newspaper clippings and magazine articles as “probable cause” that a ton or more of gold mined in California and destined for the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia when it disappeared in 1863 was buried in cave located inside a 217,000-acre state forest. Continue Reading →

U.S. looks to Canada for critical minerals to support EV battery plans – by Riley Beggin (Detroit News/The Columbian – June 27, 2021)

WASHINGTON — U.S. policymakers hoping to power an electric vehicle boom acknowledge the country lacks a robust and reliable supply chain for the minerals needed to power next-generation cars.

That reality — exposed by the economic aftershocks delivered by the COVID-19 pandemic — looms as a national security risk the administration plans to remedy, in part, by working with like-minded nations. Increasingly, Canada appears to be among the first in line.

The White House is signaling plans to increase collaboration between the U.S. and Canada on critical minerals, according to a recent supply chain review that highlighted the country’s mineral assets. Continue Reading →

Biden seeks federal mining law overhaul – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – June 25, 2021)

From reinstating the Roadless Rule in the Tongass Forest to replacing the General Mining Law of 1872, federal regulations being proposed by President Joe Biden threaten to rain on a parade of strong metals prices, growing demand for critical minerals, and robust investments into mineral exploration and mining across Alaska.

“We recommend Congress develop legislation to replace outdated mining laws including the General Mining Law (GML) of 1872 governing locatable minerals (including nickel) on federal lands, the Materials Disposal Act of 1947 to dispose of minerals found on federal lands, and the Mineral Land Leasing Act of 1920 among others,” the Biden administration penned in a June 8 statement on battery supply chains.

“These should be updated to have stronger environmental standards, up-to-date fiscal reforms, better enforcement, inspection and bonding requirements, and clear reclamation planning requirements.” Continue Reading →

How the ‘Greens’ Could Upend the Green Dream – by William F. Shughart II (Independent Institute – June 24, 2021)

There is growing concern among some commentators and experts that the United States has become “dangerously dependent” on imported minerals and metals and that such dependence is hampering the development of clean energy technologies. The concern is real.

But the reason the U.S. is dependent on foreign producers, many of them competitors and adversaries, is not that many of the world’s mines are owned or controlled by China and Russia but that government policies supported by radical “green” interest groups have blocked the development of adequate domestic supplies of these raw materials, which are essential to the green dream of a “net zero” fossil fuel future.

Consider, for starters, lithium, one of the metals used in the lithium-ion batteries that power electric vehicles. As I write, environmental groups are blocking the development of a new lithium mine in a remote part of Nevada, arguing, among other things, that the mine would harm the habitat of an endangered desert plant, Tiehm’s buckwheat. Continue Reading →

History Of Phosphate Mining In Florida Fraught With Peril – by Steve Newborn (WUSF Public Media – June 16, 2021)

In our ongoing series on phosphate mines, WUSF reports on the long, tangled history of Florida’s phosphate mines and the environment.

At the construction entrance to the Piney Point phosphate plant – off Buckeye Road in northern Manatee County, just south of the Hillsborough County line – the smell of phosphate and gypsum hangs heavy in the air.

A bulldozer is busy pushing sand into a hole from which more than 200 million gallons of tainted water flowed into Tampa Bay. This isn’t the first time this has happened. Accidents like this fill the history books in Florida, including two here at this very site. Continue Reading →

U.S. must work with allies to secure electric vehicle metals -White House – by Trevor Hunnicutt and Ernest Scheyder (Financial Post/Reuters – June 8, 2021)

WASHINGTON — The United States must work with allies to secure the minerals needed for electric vehicle batteries and process them domestically in light of environmental and other competing interests, the White House said on Tuesday.

The strategy, first reported by Reuters in late May, will include new funding to expand international investments in electric vehicles (EV) metal projects through the U.S. Development Finance Corporation, as well as new efforts to boost supply from recycling batteries.

President Joe Biden’s administration will also launch a working group to identify where minerals used in EV batteries and other technologies can be produced and processed domestically. It was not immediately clear what that meant for existing EV minerals projects. Continue Reading →

Biden Administration Moves to Unkink Supply Chain Bottlenecks – by Katie Rogers and Brad Plumer (New York Times – June 8, 2021)

WASHINGTON — The Biden administration on Tuesday planned to issue a swath of actions and recommendations meant to address supply chain disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic and decrease reliance on other countries for crucial goods by increasing domestic production capacity.

In a call on Monday evening detailing the plan to reporters, White House officials said the administration had created a task force that would “tackle near-term bottlenecks” in construction, transportation, semiconductor production and agriculture.

The officials also outlined steps that had been taken to address an executive order from President Biden that required a review of critical supply chains in four product areas where the United States relies on imports: semiconductors, high-capacity batteries, pharmaceuticals and their active ingredients, and critical minerals and strategic materials, like rare earths. Continue Reading →