Archive | United States Mining

Trump panel urges U.S. to buy more uranium from American miners – by Ari Natter (BNN/Bloomberg News – December 4, 2019)

A White House task force is recommending that President Donald Trump direct the federal government buy more uranium from domestic producers, according to two people familiar with the matter.

The purchase of uranium by the U.S. Defense Department is among the recommendations being made by the U.S. Nuclear Fuel Working Group, comprised of cabinet level and other high-ranking officials, according to the people, who requested anonymity to discuss non-public deliberations.

The task force was established to study ways to revive the U.S. uranium mining industry. Continue Reading →

Trudeau government does spadework on minerals crucial to future economy – by Jim Bronskill (Canadian Press/Financial Post – December 3, 2019)

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is digging for intelligence on the role Canada’s mining sector could play in providing the United States and other key trading partners with crucial minerals and metals — from cobalt to tellurium — considered building blocks of the new economy.

Natural Resources Canada plans to hire a British firm to provide pricing forecasts and analysis of global supply and demand between 2020 and 2030 for about two dozen vital minerals used in products like solar cells, permanent magnets and rechargeable batteries.

The move comes as Canada works on a joint plan with the United States to ensure reliable access to these minerals and foster future competitiveness of the U.S. and Canadian mining industries. Continue Reading →

U.S. copper frenzy grows as Rio Tinto plans $1.5 billion Utah mine expansion – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – December 3, 2019)

(Reuters) – Rio Tinto Plc said on Tuesday it would spend $1.5 billion to expand its Kennecott copper mine in Utah, part of a growing trend by miners to invest in strategic mineral projects across the United States.

The move more than doubles the mining industry’s recent investment in U.S. copper projects, as Tesla Inc and other automakers demand more of the red metal for electric vehicle motors and other components.

“We like copper. We like the U.S.,” Rio Chief Executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques said in an interview. “If we had not taken this decision, our position in the U.S. market would be shrinking.” Continue Reading →

UPDATE 7-Trump, citing U.S. farmers, slaps metal tariffs on Brazil, Argentina – by Andrea Shalal and Gabriel Stargardter (Reuters Africa – December 2, 2019)

WASHINGTON/RIO DE JANEIRO, Dec 2 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump ambushed Brazil and Argentina on Monday, announcing he would restore tariffs on U.S. steel and aluminum imports from the two countries in apparent retaliation for currency weakness he said was hurting U.S. farmers.

“Effective immediately, I will restore the Tariffs on all Steel & Aluminum that is shipped into the U.S. from those countries,” Trump wrote in an early morning tweet that sent officials from both countries scrambling for explanations from Washington. He added that Brazil and Argentina were “presiding over a massive devaluation of their currencies.”

In fact, the opposite is true: Both countries have actively been trying to strengthen their respective currencies against the dollar. The real and the peso have been buffeted by weakness partially linked to Trump’s trade battle with China. Continue Reading →

Coal Exports Choked by Green-Minded Towns on U.S. West Coast – by Will Wade (Bloomberg/Financial Post – December 3, 2019)

(Bloomberg) — Terms of Trade is a daily newsletter that untangles a world embroiled in trade wars. Sign up here. It’s about to get harder for America’s miners to ship coal to Asia.

On Tuesday, the city of Richmond, California, is expected to approve a ban on coal at a terminal that accounts for almost a quarter of exports from the U.S. West Coast. The prohibition will shut miners out of one of the few places in the region willing to handle the fuel and limit their access to one place in the world where coal demand is still growing.

That’s exactly what Richmond city officials want. “This is something we can do that will almost certainly result in less coal shipped from the U.S. to Asia, and maybe less coal burned in Asia,” Richmond Mayor Tom Butt said in an interview. Continue Reading →

US must counter China’s stranglehold on key minerals – by Matthew Kandrach (Casper Star Tribune – November 29, 2019)

Matthew Kandrach is the president of Consumer Action for a Strong Economy, a free-market oriented consumer advocacy organization.

The element cobalt isn’t something most people think of every day. And yet cobalt is critically important for the production of cell phones, wind turbines, and satellites. It’s also a key part of the lithium-ion battery — making it an essential resource for the emerging green revolution.

Right now, much of the world’s cobalt comes from one source — the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The DRC produces roughly two-thirds of the world’s cobalt. Unfortunately, much of that mining is done by child labor, with revenues that often end up in the hands of autocratic rulers and warlords.

As global competition for resources like cobalt continues to grow, one country has moved quickly to dominate the field. Thanks to heavy investment in the DRC, China now owns much of the world’s cobalt production. In fact, China’s heavy investment in both copper and cobalt has given it a strong stake in global metal and mineral supplies. Continue Reading →

Old King Coal: WV’s coal industry struggles for stability during continued decline – by Charles Young ( – December 1, 2019)

CHARLESTON — Anyone who grew up in the Mountain State or has spent any amount of time visiting can probably sing the West Virginia Coal Association’s ubiquitous jingle, “Coal is West Virginia,” from memory.

The succinct song has played over the airwaves for years, reminding all those who hear it of the hundreds of years of coal mining history in West Virginia and the important economic role the industry has played throughout the state’s growth and development.

While the song still can be heard daily on radio and television stations around the state, its message and meaning have started to ring less true as the coal industry struggles to maintain stability and much of the state’s attention remains focused on the oil and gas industry. Continue Reading →

Apache man moving ‘home’ to protest copper mine in Arizona – by Felicia Fonseca (Washington Post – November 27, 2019)

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Wendsler Nosie Sr. is drawn to a mountainous area in central Arizona where he and other Apaches have harvested medicinal plants, held coming-of-age ceremonies and gathered acorns for generations.

On Thursday, he’ll start a three-day journey to make a permanent home in the area known as Chi’chil Bildagoteel, or Oak Flat, in protest of a proposed copper mine made possible by a federal land exchange.

The Resolution Copper mine near Superior would be one of the largest such mines in North America, using techniques known as block-cave mining that call for digging underneath the ore body and setting off explosions to extract it. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Producing More Valuable Minerals in the U.S. – by J. Winston Porter (November 20, 2019)

A large majority of important minerals used in America are imported from other countries, but the United States needs to produce more minerals in our country. In addition, now some want to obtain minerals via recycling in America.

Although the idea of recycling has obvious appeal, it simply isn’t easy or inexpensive. As for this issue, about 85 percent of all used automobiles are recycled, providing large quantities of iron and steel. And other recycling comes from scrap lead, copper and aluminum.

But even with significant political and financial incentives, recycling’s contribution to the supply of critically important minerals like indium, manganese, cobalt, cesium and vanadium has not budged. The result is that we are heavily dependent on imports of key minerals from overseas locations. Continue Reading →

Appalachia’s Strip-Mined Mountains Face a Growing Climate Risk: Flooding – by James Bruggers (Inside Climate News – November 21, 2019)

VARNEY, West Virginia — Pigeon Creek flows through a narrow mountain hollow along a string of coal mining communities, its water trickling under the reds and yellows of the changing fall foliage.

The tranquil scene belies the devastation the creek delivered one night a decade ago as heavy rain fell on soggy soil and thousands of acres of nearby strip mines. Witnesses spoke of awakening in the dark of May 9, 2009, to the sound of rushing water like they had never heard before, entering their homes from underneath their doors.

“It was coming down out of the mountains bringing rock, trees, water and mud,” recalled Mildred Elkins, who became the lead plaintiff in a successful lawsuit with dozens of her flooded neighbors against several defendants, including Alpha Natural Resources, a coal mining company which has since gone through bankruptcy and merged with Contura Energy. Continue Reading →

United States sitting out race to mine ocean floor for metals essential to electronics (CBS News – November 13, 2019)

One of the most high-stakes races in history is underway, with colossal riches waiting for the winners. It’s a race to a little known frontier: the bottom of the sea. Around the world, thousands of engineers and scientists are in fierce competition to build the first undersea robot that can mine the ocean floor.

The explosion of interest in deep sea mining is driven by the demands of our high-tech economy. The deep ocean is the El Dorado that contains metals like nickel, cobalt and rare earth elements, essential for use in cell phones, supercomputers and electric cars. They’re also critical for a green future of solar and wind power.

Dozens of nations, including Russia and China, are racing to get there first. But not the United States. As Bill Whitaker reports, America must sit on the sidelines of this great treasure hunt. Whitaker’s report will be broadcast on the next edition of 60 Minutes, Sunday, November 17 at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT on CBS. Continue Reading →

Coal communities and the demonization of Thatcher and Obama – by John Kemp (Reuters U.S. – November 8, 2019)

LONDON (Reuters) – Mine closures and employment losses have left deep economic, social and political scars on the main coal-producing regions of the United States and the United Kingdom.

Britain’s former coal mining communities remain among the most deprived in the country decades after the pits closed as they have struggled to attract new industries.

Perhaps as a result, there was a close correlation between former coalfields and some of the highest percentage votes for Leave in the 2016 Brexit referendum. In the United States, the eastern coal regions have above well above average poverty rates and worse outcomes for health and mortality. Continue Reading →

Commentary: The collapse of American rare earth mining — and lessons learned – by Jeffery A. Green (Defense News – November 12, 2019)

Out in the Mojave Desert in California lies the Mountain Pass mine, once the world’s foremost supplier of valuable rare earth minerals — 17 elements deemed critical to modern society. In an age where China controls 80 percent of the global output of these minerals, it is strange to believe that a once-dominant source sits within the United States. Stranger still is the tale of how this mine came to supply the Chinese rare earths industry.

In 1952, Mountain Pass opened. First explored as a uranium deposit, it soon supplied rare earths for the electronic needs of the Cold War economy. Until the 1990s, it stood alone as the only major source of rare earths worldwide.

By 2002, however, the mine was defunct. In the eyes of the U.S. government and major manufacturers, it no longer made sense to acquire rare earths from a U.S. source subject to stringent environmental regulations. Continue Reading →

Hudbay takes $242m Rosemont impairment hit – by Mariaan Webb ( – November 12, 2019)

Canadian miner Hudbay has reported a third-quarter net loss of $274.8-million, reflecting an after-tax impairment loss of $242.1-million on the carrying value of its stalled Rosemont copper project, in the US.

The US District Court has blocked the company from constructing the copper mine in south-eastern Arizona, with the validity of mining claims that would allow for the disposal of waste on public lands adjacent to the operations at the heart of the matter.

Although Hudbay intends to appeal the court ruling, the company explained in its third-quarter results announcement on Monday that the recoverable amount of the Arizona cash generating unit was lower than its carrying value, resulting in an after-tax impairment loss. Continue Reading →

Barrick CEO Bristow Sees Long-Term Potential for Freeport Tie-Up – by Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – November 6, 2019)

Barrick Gold Corp.’s chief said there’s a logic to combining with Freeport-McMoran Inc. as a way to expand into copper, but isn’t committing to any deals yet.

A tie-up with Freeport could bolster Barrick’s U.S. presence, where it already operates gold mines in Nevada, said Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow, who cautioned that it’s not something currently being considered.

“Everyone has been fingered as a potential suitor of Freeport,” said Bristow, when asked if he was interested in a combination. “There’s a bit of work for us to do before we can get our head around broadening our scope.” Continue Reading →