Archive | United States Mining

China’s raw materials strategy: The next chapter in the US-China rivalry? – by Bashar Malkawi (Policy Forum – January 24, 2020)

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“Without a domestic supply, the United States must rely on Chinese
sources of rare earths to build ‘Made in America’ military equipment.
It makes little sense to rely upon a security competitor for access to essential
military materials. Rare earths are not the only strategic

metal. Lithium, chromium, cobalt, graphite, copper, and manganese
are also essential for industrial purposes.”

The United States cannot rely upon products that originate in, or supply chains that run through, a potential adversary, Bashar Malkawi writes.

China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), publicly released in 2013 and formerly named ‘One Belt, One Road’, would, at first look, seem to be a force for good. China views the BRI as a way to enhance its trade connectivity, reduce surplus domestic industrial capacity, develop poorer interior provinces, promote energy security, and internationalise Chinese industrial and financial standards.

The BRI builds China’s commercial ties abroad by financing, constructing, and developing major transport, energy, technology, and other infrastructure projects in the Indo-Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, and the Americas. Continue Reading →

Freeport Looks Poised to Turn Corner After Five-Year Bumpy Road – by Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – January 22, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — It’s been a rough haul for Freeport-McMoRan Inc., but the future may be looking up.

In the past five years, the world’s largest publicly traded copper miner was forced to sell assets and shares to manage debt as it weathered fall-out from the collapse of the commodity super cycle. It emerged from multiyear talks over its Indonesian mine to secure long-term rights, and hung on as production at the flagship operation tumbled during the switch from open pit to underground mining.

And in the past year, it has been buffeted by global trade winds and hit by crossfire from demonstrations against a competitor in Peru. Continue Reading →

China to buy rare earths from U.S. as part of trade pact – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – China has agreed to buy two types of rare earth metals from the United States as part of an initial trade deal inked on Wednesday, a move likely to boost U.S. production of the strategic minerals.

The agreement, signed in Washington by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald Trump, gives China two years to ramp up purchases of hundreds of U.S. products, including scandium and yttrium, two of the 17 rare earths commonly used in lighting and computers.

It was a surprising about-face for China, whose status as the top global producer of the specialized minerals used to make electronics, military weapons and other high-tech equipment was seen as giving it leverage in its trade war with Washington. Continue Reading →

Joe Biden Thinks Coal Miners Should Learn to Code. A Real Just Transition Demands Far More. – by Mindy Isser (InTheseTimes.com – January 15, 2020)

https://inthesetimes.com

As of 2016, there were only 50,000 coal miners in the United States, and yet they occupy so much of our political imagination and conversation around jobs, unions and climate change. During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump ran on bringing coal jobs back to the United States, and Joe Biden said on December 30 that miners should learn to code, as those are the “jobs of the future.” His comments, made to a crowd in Derry, New Hampshire, were reportedly met with silence.

While coal miners aren’t the only workers in our society, coal miners’ voices do matter, and we can’t leave anyone behind. And it’s clear that they are hurting, a point illustrated by the coal miners currently blocking a train carrying coal in eastern Kentucky, demanding back pay from Quest Energy.

The coal industry is in decline, and mining jobs are disappearing. And the science shows that the vast majority of coal needs to stay in the ground if we want to have a shot at stemming climate change. But does that mean miners need to learn to code in order to earn a living? Coding isn’t necessarily bad or unimportant, and it could potentially be one of many retraining opportunities. Continue Reading →

Freeport-McMoRan Isn’t Looking for Strategic Deals in Coming Years, CEO Says – by Alistair MacDonald (Wall Street Journal – January 13, 2020)

https://www.wsj.com/

U.S. mining company Freeport-McMoRan Inc. FCX 4.90% has no interest in major strategic deals over the next three years, its chief executive said Monday, potentially stymieing informal overtures from Barrick Gold Corp. GOLD -2.24% to merge.

Barrick Gold Chief Executive Officer Mark Bristow has told reporters that there is logic in merging with Freeport. That has stoked expectations among some investors and bankers that the two sides could get together. Alongside copper, Freeport’s massive Indonesian mine, Grasberg, is also one of the world’s largest gold producers.

But Freeport is too focused on the engineering challenge of turning Grasberg from open pit mining into an underground operation to think about mergers and acquisition deals, said the company’s veteran CEO, Richard Adkerson. Continue Reading →

Canada and US finalise critical mineral collaboration plan – by Mariaan Webb (MiningWeekly.com – January 10, 2020)

https://www.miningweekly.com/

Canada and the United States have finalised their joint action plan to collaborate on minerals they deem critical – including uranium and rare-earth elements – delivering on the June 2019 commitment by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump.

The US last year stepped up efforts to ensure it relies less on rare earth minerals from China, after the Asian giant suggested using them as a leverage in trade negotiations.

With a rich minerals sector, Canada is well positioned to supply the US with rare-earth elements and already supplies about one-quarter of its southern neighbour’s uranium needs. Continue Reading →

Can a Coal Town Reinvent Itself? – by Eduardo Porter (New York Times – December 6, 2019)

https://www.nytimes.com/

A coal town in southwestern Virginia has been trying for years. Hope is running thin.

GRUNDY, Va. — Jay Rife surveys the landscape — hundreds of flat, grassy acres reclaimed from a spent mountaintop mine once operated by the Paramont Coal Company. A few handsome homes stand on one end of the project.

An 80,000-square-foot shell, to house some future manufacturing operation, is being built on another. For the intrepid, there are trails for all-terrain vehicles. There’s an R.V. park. The whole site has been wired for broadband. Elk have been imported from Kentucky for tourists to look at.

Buchanan County, where Grundy sits, has spent $35 million to $40 million on the development, called Southern Gap, some seven miles from town along U.S. 460. Mr. Rife, the head of the county’s Industrial Development Authority, says the project “is going to be the salvation of Buchanan County.” Few places have had as many shots at deliverance. None, so far, have succeeded in stemming Grundy’s inexorable decline. Continue Reading →

[Arizona Mining] A Sacred Place And A Sacred Quest To Save It – by Osha Gray Davidson (HuffPost US – December 27, 2019)

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/

The Oak Flat land in Arizona is holy to the Apaches. A mining company wants to blow a two-mile-wide hole in it.

Some of Wendsler Nosie Sr.’s earliest memories are set in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest. “I was about 3 or 4 years old,” the now 60-year-old Apache man recalls on a sparkling fall day, sitting beside his granddaughter at a picnic table under a tall oak tree. “We used to stop here at Oak Flat and my mother would pray.”

The Oak Flat area, which lies within the national forest, is sacred to the Apache people and central to the tribe’s origin story. For centuries before European settlers came, young girls gathered at this place ― called Chi’chil Bildagoteel in Apache ― for their coming-of-age ceremony. Apaches still visit in the spring to collect medicinal plants and in the fall to harvest Emery oak acorns, a protein-rich staple.

But if Resolution Copper, a subsidiary of international mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, gets its way, a large part of the site will disappear forever, sinking into a hole two miles wide and deep enough to hold three Statues of Liberty stacked on top of one another. Continue Reading →

How rare earth shocks lifted an upstart Australian mining company – by Melanie Burton, Yuka Obayashi and Aaron Sheldrick (Reuters Canada – December 17, 2019)

https://ca.reuters.com/

MOUNT WELD, Australia/TOKYO (Reuters) – Sprawled across a spent volcano on the remote edge of the Great Victoria Desert in Western Australia, the Mount Weld mine seems a world away from the U.S.-China trade war.

But the dispute has been a lucrative one for Lynas Corp (LYC.AX), Mount Weld’s Australian owner. The mine boasts one of the world’s richest deposits of rare earths, crucial components of everything from iPhones to weapons systems.

Hints this year by China that it could cut off rare earths exports to the United States as a trade war raged between the two countries sparked a U.S. scramble for new supplies – and sent Lynas shares soaring. Continue Reading →

Nevada Copper starts production at mine in western U.S. – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – December 16, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Nevada Copper Corp said on Monday it has started production at its Pumpkin Hollow mine in the western United States, one of the first new mining projects to open in the country in decades.

The mine is opening just as copper prices are projected to rise due to increasing demand from the electric vehicle industry. Once seen as a laggard in the global mining industry, U.S. copper deposits have drawn nearly $3 billion in recent investments from small and large miners alike.

Nevada Copper spent about $200 million to develop the underground mine, less than 60 miles (100 km) from Tesla’s massive Gigafactory in the state’s northern edge. The mine is expected to produce about 27,000 tonnes of copper concentrate annually. Continue Reading →

Texas rare earths mine developers to build U.S. refinery – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – December 16, 2019)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – Developers of a Texas rare earths mine said on Monday they will build a pilot plant to refine the strategic minerals, the latest domestic processing project announced at a time when more Americans are voicing concern about China’s control over the sector.

China is the largest global processor of rare earths, a group of 17 minerals used to make a range of electronics and military equipment.

Texas Mineral Resources Corp (TMRC.PK) and privately held USA Rare Earth said they will spend $10 million to $12 million to build the pilot plant in Colorado, near industry consultants and academics. Continue Reading →

Seeking a second gold rush: Five companies drilling, or hoping to, in Black Hills – by Staff (Rapid City Journal – December 15, 2019)

https://rapidcityjournal.com/

There may be more gold in those hills. So say at least five companies that are either currently drilling holes in the Black Hills to search for gold, or could soon start. Representatives from several of those companies and other industry experts say the price of gold is a primary factor driving the renewed interest in exploratory drilling. After being below $1,400 per ounce for several years, the price of gold has been above that level for several months.

“When a down market hits, the exploration sector is the first one to suffer,” said Rob Bergmann. “When the market comes back up, then the money finally starts funneling down into the exploration sector.”

Bergmann is a partner in F3 Gold, of Minneapolis, which is funding an environmental assessment that it hopes will culminate in approval of its plan to drill on Black Hills National Forest Service land near Silver City. Continue Reading →

A cheer for the Trump uranium plan – by Stephen Moore and Katie Tubb (Washington Times – December 15, 2019)

https://www.washingtontimes.com/

Our sources are telling us that President Trump is nearing a decision on how to revive the all-but-dormant American uranium industry. This proposed plan would create a reserve of domestically-mined uranium and stored in a “Federal Uranium Security Stockpile.” One option on the table is for the Department of Defense to purchase uranium through the 1950 Defense Production Act.

The president concluded in July that: “The United States requires domestically produced uranium to satisfy DOD requirements for maintaining effective military capabilities,” including the Navy’s nuclear fleet.

Uranium is used for America’s nuclear arsenal as well as domestic nuclear power plants. The U.S. reactor fleet purchased about 40 million pounds of uranium last year. Continue Reading →

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

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

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)

https://business.financialpost.com/

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 →