Archive | United States Mining

Black Lung and COVID-19 in Appalachia: A Lethal Mix – by Staff (Nature World News – April 6, 2020)

https://www.natureworldnews.com/

Black lung is prevalent in Appalachia. Vulnerable coal miners are wary that the rapid spread and the devastating effects of the COVID-19 can easily wipe their community out.

Jimmy Moore, a 74-year old black lung patient in Shelby Gap, Kentucky, does not know when the coronavirus gets to their area. However, if it does, ” It’s probably just going to wipe us out.” he said. Moore worked in the mines for 22 years and retired in 2000. His 51-year-old son also has a more severe case of black lung.

Two workers in Pennsylvania were tested positive for the coronavirus. The population has an increased risk of getting COVID-19 due to those already inflicted with a black lung. Continue Reading →

Ex-Coal Man Flips the Script By Rallying Appalachians to Plant 187 Million Trees on Abandoned Mines – by Andy Corbley (Good News Network – March 30, 2020)

Good News, Inspiring, Positive Stories

Although the Appalachian Mountains are often only thought of as coal country, the ecosystem as a whole is one of the richest and most biodiverse seasonal deciduous forests on earth.

In addition to the mountains boasting rich populations of freshwater mussels, a corridor for migratory birds, and more species of salamanders than any other range, Appalachia is also home to National Parks like the Shenandoah and the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee—a park that may have as many as 100,000 species just on its own.

However, Appalachia also has a darker, decades-long history of toxic coal-mining tactics such as mountaintop removal, surface reclamation, and blasting and tunneling that had done almost irreparable damage to local ecosystems, leaving hundreds of barren and bald hills throughout eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. Continue Reading →

US ‘far too reliant’ on Chinese lithium: American Battery CEO – by Nick Lazzaro (S&P Global Platts – March 30, 2020)

https://www.spglobal.com/

Pittsburgh — The coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent impact on the global lithium supply chain emphasizes the US’ damaging overreliance on lithium from China, American Battery Metals CEO Doug Cole said Monday.

“If coronavirus has shown us anything, it’s that we are far too reliant on China and other countries for key minerals like lithium, cobalt and nickel,” Cole said in a statement. “The United States is rich in these key metals, and we must quickly increase domestic investment to bring these resources into the supply chain.”

The US is only mining and producing about 1% of the world’s lithium despite having access to large domestic lithium resources, Cole added. Continue Reading →

Pandemic could be final nail in US coal industry coffin – by Cecilia Jamasmie (Mining.com – March 30, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

The spreading coronavirus pandemic may too heavy of a burden for the already struggling coal miners in the United States, with three companies announcing operations halts due to measures to contain the spread of the disease.

Australia’s Coronado Global Resources (ASX: CRN) announced on Sunday it had idled its US thermal and metallurgical coal mines due to covid-19-induced global economic downturn.

The company, which operates the Buchanan, Logan and Greenbrier mine complexes in Virginia and West Virginia, will keep its Curragh mine in Australia open. Continue Reading →

Coronavirus slows U.S. push to produce electric vehicle minerals – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters Canada – March 26, 2020)

https://ca.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – The coronavirus pandemic is hobbling U.S. efforts to produce lithium, rare earths and other materials used in electric vehicles and high-tech equipment, dealing a blow to President Donald Trump’s plan to curb Chinese control of the strategic minerals sector.

As the pandemic has killed nearly 20,000 across the globe, U.S. junior miners have slowed engineering work, environmental reviews and loan applications. “We can just hit pause,” said Keith Phillips, chief executive of North Carolina’s Piedmont Lithium Ltd.

Piedmont, Lithium Americas Corp and ioneer Ltd, both of which have Nevada projects, have said they now face engineering or regulatory setbacks that could push back mine construction. Continue Reading →

Copper price meltdown sinks mining stocks – Freeport down 24% – by Frik Els (Mining.com – March 18, 2020)

https://www.mining.com/

The decline in the copper price accelerated on Wednesday as pandemic fears grip global markets and mining companies announce a raft of production halts and project construction suspensions.

Copper trading in New York fell by 8.8% to $2.111 a pound ($4,650 a tonne), the weakest level since early October 2016. The copper price is now down 27% from its 2020 high, struck near the end of January.

Across South America, where the bulk of the world’s copper is produced, countries including Argentina, Peru and Chile have closed borders or imposed restrictions to contain the outbreak on the continent. Continue Reading →

Environmentalists fear more uranium mining near Grand Canyon may be impending – by Debra Utacia Krol (Arizona Republic – March 17, 2020)

https://www.azcentral.com/

Environmentalists and tribal leaders are gearing up to address a long-anticipated recommendation to reopen the Grand Canyon region to uranium mining.

The Nuclear Fuel Working Group, established by President Donald Trump in July 2019 to explore domestic uranium production, is expected to release its findings and recommendations soon. And those recommendations are almost certain to include increasing the domestic supply of uranium, which was named one of the U.S.’s critical minerals in 2018.

That puts uranium on the same footing with minerals like cobalt and lithium, used in the electronics industry, and rare earth elements like titanium and tin. These minerals are so designated because they are essential to the U.S. economy and, because many of these minerals are heavily imported, the supply of one or more may be disrupted, according to the American Geosciences Institute. Continue Reading →

OPINION: To lead on climate, Canada should invest in the next generation of nuclear reactors – by Robert Bryce (Globe and Mail – March 14, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Robert Bryce’s latest book is A Question of Power: Electricity and The Wealth of Nations, from which this essay is adapted.

Coal use in Canada continues to decline. In 2018, the amount of electricity produced from coal was about 59 terawatt-hours, or roughly half as much as the country’s utilities were producing in 2000.

Canada was able to slash its coal use thanks to its reliable nuclear plants, an increase in natural-gas-fired generation and growth in renewables. But if you think the rest of the world is going to quit using coal, think again. A total of nearly 200 gigawatts of new coal-fired capacity is now under construction around the world in places such as China, India, Turkey, Vietnam, Pakistan, Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Furthermore, and perhaps most surprisingly, Japan, the birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, the world’s first international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions, is also building new coal plants, up to 22 of them. Continue Reading →

Lithium startup backed by Bill Gates seeks a breakthrough at the Salton Sea – by Sammy Roth (Los Angeles Times – March 16, 2020)

https://www.latimes.com/

David Snydacker knew going in that California’s Imperial Valley was a “graveyard for lithium-extraction technologies.”

For years, companies had tried and failed to find a cost-effective way to pull the valuable mineral — a key ingredient in the batteries that power electric cars — from the naturally heated fluid deep beneath the Salton Sea. One of the most recent busts was Simbol Materials, a much-hyped startup that collapsed in 2015 shortly after Elon Musk’s Tesla Inc. offered to buy the firm for $325 million.

But several deep-pocketed investors think Snydacker’s technology may finally launch a new domestic clean-energy industry. His Oakland startup, Lilac Solutions, recently announced a $20-million funding round led by Breakthrough Energy Ventures, which funds startups working to reduce planet-warming emissions. Continue Reading →

COLUMN-U.S. looks beyond tariffs to secure critical titanium supply – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – March 13, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON, March 13 (Reuters) – First there was steel. Then there was aluminium. Now titanium joins the list of metals found to be threatening the national security of the United States.

The U.S. Commerce Department launched a so-called Section 232 investigation into titanium sponge imports in March last year and submitted it to the White House in November.

Commerce found that U.S. import dependency, amounting to 68% of the country’s consumption in 2018, threatens the viability of the last U.S. producer of this intermediate form of a metal critical to both civilian and military aircraft manufacturers. President Donald Trump agrees. Continue Reading →

Black-Lung Coal Miners Facing Serious Threat from Virus Spread – by Will Wade (Bloomberg News – March 12, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — The biggest labor union for U.S. coal miners is warning that members are at “significant risk” from the rapidly spreading coronavirus.

Mines are enclosed spaces where the highly contagious virus can easily spread, according to Phil Smith, a spokesman for the United Mine Workers of America. The trade group is developing guidelines that it plans to issue to members soon, he said by email Thursday.

Miners also face greater health risks. As many as 20% of long-time miners may have black lung in central Appalachia, a historic bastion of U.S. coal production that includes parts of West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Continue Reading →

Researcher: Uranium cleanup should be No. 1 priority – by Rima Krisst (Navajo Times – March 12, 2020)

https://navajotimes.com/

CROWNPOINT, N.M.: “Illness due to uranium is no longer just the story of the miners. It’s the story of their children and grandchildren,” said Southwest Research and Information Center Environmental Health Specialist Chris Shuey. Shuey, who studies contaminants in the environment and their potential health effects, calls the legacy of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation an atrocity.

“Hopefully, these hearings will result in new and better policy to speed up the cleanup, fund addition health studies, and get reparations and compensation for the people,” said Shuey, who presented at a hearing in Crownpoint on a proposed Navajo Nation position statement on uranium.

Because of the shroud of secrecy and superstition surrounding uranium as a weapon of war, health studies and continuing education about the impacts did not occur as soon as they should have, he said. “Not knowing and not talking is equivalent to a death sentence because you can’t do anything about it,” said Shuey. Continue Reading →

U.S. Launches Tool to Stake Claim to World’s Rare Earth Minerals – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – March 1, 2020)

https://finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — In a high-tech twist on hammering pickets into the ground, the U.S. State Department has helped launch an online tool aimed at staking America’s claim to many of the world’s rare-earth minerals.

The U.S. has become increasingly concerned about securing a stable supply of critical minerals used in car batteries, solar panels and wind turbines. Many of those resources are located in emerging markets that may be seen as too risky by American investors looking for “best-in-class” standards.

That raises the potential for “two really bad outcomes,” Francis Fannon, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for energy resources, said in an interview. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Aluminum smelter resurrected on Trump tariffs may close as losses mount – by Tim McLaughlin (Reuters U.S. – February 28, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

MARSTON, Missouri (Reuters) – A bankrupt aluminum smelter that re-opened in 2018, after U.S. President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on imported metals, is losing money at such a rapid clip that it could close within 60 days, the top executive at the Missouri plant said on Thursday.

Trump’s trade policies protect the generic aluminum product made by Magnitude 7 Metals LLC, a 50-year-old smelter on the banks of the Mississippi in southeastern Missouri. But the tariffs often do not cover the value-added aluminum products being shipped to the Unites States by foreign competitors, undercutting the company’s position.

“The rest of the world has gamed the tariffs, in our opinion,” Magnitude 7 Metals chief executive Charles Reali told Reuters in an interview. “The Commerce Department tried to help, but missed the mark.” Continue Reading →

Freeport’s Adkerson does not want to sell Grasberg mine to Barrick – by Jeff Lewis (Reuters U.S. – February 24, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. (Reuters) – Freeport McMoRan Inc (FCX.N) is not interested in selling its Grasberg copper and gold mine in Indonesia, Chief Executive Richard Adkerson said on Monday, tamping down speculation of a deal with Canadian miner Barrick Gold Corp (ABX.TO).

Barrick CEO Mark Bristow in recent weeks has expressed interest in buying Grasberg. Earlier this month Bristow said he sees no competition for the asset from global or state-backed Chinese miners.

That back and forth from two of the mining industry’s most-powerful executives comes as investors are expecting a wave of buyouts this year, especially for copper assets. Continue Reading →