New center in Ely will fight copper mining – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – April 21, 2013)

Just down the road from the offices of the Twin Metals copper mining company, a group of Ely business people are about to open a new “action center” on the city’s main street aimed at persuading those who drop in to take action against copper mining.

Just down the road from the offices of the Twin Metals copper mining company, a group of Ely business people are about to open a new “action center” on the city’s main street aimed at persuading those who drop in to take action against copper mining.

A fundraiser last week for the new “Sustainable Ely” center drew 65 people, mostly area residents and business people who say that the risk of environmental damage caused by copper mining in the Boundary Waters watershed isn’t worth the promised jobs and economic boost.

“We’ve got a good start. We raised $4,500 already for this grass-roots effort,” said Steve Piragis, an Ely canoe outfitter who’s helping organize the effort. “This is an idea we’ve had for a couple years. Now we have the energy and the building to do it.”

The new center underscores the chasm in Ely and across the Northland between residents who support copper mining jobs coming to town and those who want to keep the new kind of mining out of northern Minnesota.

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UPDATE 2-Rio Tinto unit says Bingham Canyon slide worse than expected – by Reuters U.S. (April 12, 2013)

April 12 (Reuters) – A landslide at Rio Tinto’s Bingham Canyon mine in Utah extended further into the pit than predicted, and there was greater damage to equipment than previously estimated, Rio’s Kennecott unit said on Friday.

Kennecott Utah Copper, which operates the mine that is near Salt Lake City, said it had not yet determined the impact of the slide, which occurred late on Wednesday, or a time frame for resuming mining operations.

Photos published by Salt Lake City’s Deseret News show debris extending from the top of the massive pit mine to its floor, slicing through terraced roads and burying trucks.

“The size of the slide was significant,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We don’t have information yet regarding the magnitude or impact. We do know that the flow into the pit extended beyond the scenarios we forecasted, having a greater impact on equipment.”

The company said on Thursday that all employees were accounted for and safe. In its latest statement, Kennecott said there had been some damage to equipment and to a building structure in the mine. It said experts had not been granted access to the mine.

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Kennecott to keep refining after huge slide in Utah copper mine – by Bob Mims and Steven Oberbeck (The Salt Lake Tribune – April 11 2013)

Company has enough ore to refine for right now, will decide when it’s safe to work in the pit later, but visitors center will remain closed. Kennecott Utah Copper said Thursday its Bingham Canyon Mine experienced a large landslide, but no injuries were reported.

The slide occurred about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday along the pit mine’s northeast wall, said Rio Tinto-Kennecott spokesman Kyle Bennett. The landslide, however, was anticipated and all employees had been evacuated ahead of time.

“We started noticing movement in that part of the mine in February,” Bennett said, indicating at that time the mine’s wall was slipping a fraction of an inch each day.

As the slipping continued and began to accelerate in the following weeks, Kennecott moved workers out of the area, utility lines were rerouted and the modular building that housed the mine monitoring equipment was relocated to safer ground. Kennecott also closed its visitors center for the rest of the year.

By early Wednesday, the northeast wall of the mine was slipping at a rate of 2 inches a day. “At 11 a.m. yesterday we moved everyone out, including those who were working in the bottom of the mine,” Bennett said, adding there were only 37 workers still laboring in the mine at that time. “All of our employees are safe and accounted for.”

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Swiss firm to invest $80M in PolyMet’s Iron Range mine – by Dee Depass (Minneapolis-Saint Paul Star Tribune – April 10, 2013)

PolyMet Mining’s long-awaited plans for a copper-nickel mine in Minnesota’s Iron Range received welcome news Wednesday when a Swiss-based commodity trading and mining firm pledged to invest $20 million and help raise another $60 million in new equity financing.

The involvement from Glencore AG, which includes $20 million in bridge loans and up to $60 million in new equity, is expected to be finalized in June, pending regulatory approvals in the United States and Canada.

The investment will allow PolyMet to complete the lengthy environmental review and permitting process that has already been six years in the making at a cost of $50 million to date. Environmental permits and state regulatory approvals are required before mill work and mine construction can begin.

“So this is a pretty exciting day for us,” said PolyMet CEO Jon Cherry. Glencore’s financing arrangement will involve the issuance of new stock to existing and new shareholders through a secondary offering process known as “a summary of rights offering.” It is not yet known how many PolyMet shares Glencore will ultimately own, but it will not exceed 49.99 percent.

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[Minnesota] Iron Range’s copper-nickel mining poses opportunity and possible threat – by Dan Kraker (Minnesota Public Radio – March 26, 2013)

HIBBING, Minn. — After more than a century in which iron mining has played a central role in the economy and culture of northeastern Minnesota, a new kind of mining is poised to join the taconite industry.

Generally known as copper-nickel mining, for the two main metals companies want to extract, the process is hailed for bringing much-needed jobs to the region. But opponents prefer to call it “sulfide mining,” for the kind of ore the metals are found in — and because unearthing sulfide can cause toxic water pollution.

It’s a matter of mere geologic chance that northeast Minnesota could hold world-class deposits of both iron ore and copper and nickel.

Geologists have determined the Iron Range formed in what had been a tropical sea two billion years ago. The Duluth Complex, where most of the copper-nickel deposits lie, took form nearby a billion years after that, when North America tried to split apart near present day Lake Superior.

Those deposits formed when molten rock deep in the earth called magma encountered rocks containing sulfur, said University of Minnesota – Duluth geologist Jim Miller.

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Could faster mining permitting help fuel future U.S. economic growth? – by Dorothy Kosich ( – March 25, 2013)

A bill introduced by Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nevada, a former Nevada Mining Association president, aims to set timelines on U.S. mining permits and limit citizen lawsuits against projects.

RENO (MINEWEB) – The National Mining Association and its long-time loyal opposition, the environmental NGO Earthworks, recently sparred before a congressional subcommittee as whether the U.S. mining really needs HR 761, The Critical and Strategic Minerals Production Act of 2013.

Hal Quinn, CEO of the National Mining Association, told the House Subcommittee on Energy and Minerals Resources that the measure “addresses a key issue for the country’s future economic growth and manufacturing revival: the painfully slow permitting process for the miners that supply metals and minerals essential for our basic industries, our national defense and the consumer product we use.”

“The value added by major industries that consume the $77 billion of minerals produced in the U.S. was an estimated $2.4 trillion in 2012, or 15% of our GDP,” Quinn noted. “In addition, domestic mining generated $50 billion in tax payments to federal, state and local governments.”

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Finding the Truth: Facts Behind Cyanide Beach Film – by Levi Rowe (March 22, 2013)

Levi Rowe is a Santa Barbara college student majoring in Entrepreneurship with a minor in Philosophy.

The recent film produced by John Dougherty, called Cyanide Beach, attempts to link Augusta Resource – and thereby Rosemont Copper – to a closed mine – the Furtei mine, in Sardinia, Italy. The producer aims to incite public fear and raise alarm over the proposed Rosemont Copper mine outside of Tucson, Arizona, with the goal of delaying and ultimately stopping the project.

The trouble with Cyanide Beach is that, like many “investigative” pieces, Mr. Dougherty started with a conclusion and worked backwards. When one starts research with a clear goal, or hypothesis, one must be extremely careful to adjust the hypothesis as their research disproves the original hypothesis. The investigator, or researcher, must resist the urge to become personally invested in their hypothesis lest they begin to distort facts and findings to fit the intended (hoped) result.

When these flawed, distorted findings are shared with the public as a means to inform, what we end up with is a grossly misinformed public.  And that’s the case with Cyanide Beach.

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Tempers flare at hearing on Central Arizona copper mine – by Michelle Peirano (Arizona Daily Star – March 22, 2013)


WASHINGTON – Cronkite News Service – A four-hour congressional hearing grew testy Thursday as House members considered a bill to swap thousands of acres of private and federal land to make way for a massive copper mine in Central Arizona.

The bill to trade land near Superior with Resolution Copper Mining passed the House last year but stalled in the Senate, and is back now for its eighth year.

Supporters said the deal, which would give Resolution access to a copper-rich piece of government land, would bring thousands of jobs and more than $6 billion in new taxes to the state over 40 years of operation. “The economic benefits are staggering,” said Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, who co-sponsored the bill with Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick, both of Arizona.

The company says the mine would be the largest copper producer in the country and would account for 25 percent of the world’s copper, turning out 1 billion pounds or more a year.

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Ageing baby boomers, few replacements threaten U.S. mining sector—NRC Report – by Dorothy Kosich ( – March 22, 2013)

The retirement of the baby boomers who comprise the bulk of the mining-related workforce could mean problems for mining, academia, and even the American life style, says a new report.

To read the report, “Emerging Workforce Trends in the Energy and Mining Industries: A Call to Action,” go to

RENO (MINEWEB) – A new report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Engineering is concerning that the loss of a large number of experienced energy and mining workers in industry, academia, and government may actually impact the high standard of living and importance of the United States in the global economy.

For example, the Mine Safety Health Administration (MSHA) expects that 46% of the coal-sector workforce will be eligible to return in five years.

“Not only are there too few younger workers in the pipeline to replace them, but there is little time to capture the knowledge of experienced employees before they leave,” said the NRC’s Committee on Emerging Workforce Trends in the U.S. Energy and Mining Industries.

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There’s lots more iron ore to mine, says DNR expert – by Anna Kurth (Hibbing Daily Tribune – March 18, 2013)

HIBBING — Iron Range residents have been mining iron ore on the Mesabi Range since 1892. And before that, iron ore was mined from the Soudan Underground Mine near Tower since 1884.

And Peter Clevenstine believes they could be doing so for another hundred years. Clevenstine, manager of engineering and mineral development for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Division of Land & Minerals, spoke Thursday about iron ore resources to area residents at a Lunch and Learn session put on by the Hibbing Area Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration.

The iron mining business is booming in Minnesota. In 2001, the state took in $10 million in mineral revenue for the first time. Last year, the state collected just more than $50 million in mineral income. About 98 percent of it came from iron ore.

“Will resources continue to support this higher level of activity?” he asked. “… I think we could end it right now and say ‘yes, there’s more ore and things are looking very bright for the communities.’”

The Minnesota mining business is benefiting from three factors — an increase in world demand, industry consolidation and the Mesabi Range’s competitive advantage.

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Support for Minnesota copper mines drops in poll – by John Myers (Duluth News Tribune – March 14, 2013)

Opponents of copper mining in Minnesota might be winning over more state residents, according to a new poll that shows more people oppose the new kind of mining here than support it.

Opponents of copper mining in Minnesota might be winning over more state residents, according to a new poll that shows more people oppose the new kind of mining here than support it.

The poll, paid for by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership and released Wednesday, found that 48 percent of state residents polled opposed copper mining while 39 percent favor the projects.

It’s the first time in five years the poll has been taken that more people opposed than supported copper mining. The coalition of 75 environmental groups conducts the survey annually to gauge public opinions on several key conservation issues.

The results show support for mining slipping from a high of 66 percent in 2009 to 62 percent in 2010, 52 percent in 2012 and 39 percent this year. Statewide, opposition increased from 19 percent in 2009 to 48 percent this year.

The telephone poll was conducted Jan. 6-8 by the team of California-based Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates along with Alexandria, Va.-based Public Opinion Strategies.

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Excerpt from “The History of Mining: The events, technology and people involved in the industry that forged the modern world” – by Michael Coulson

To order a copy of The History of Mining please click here:


For most of its history the most important economic activity of the state of Wyoming has been farming and ranching, although coal was first discovered in the early 1800s and the first coal mined in 1859. Anthracite was the main coal product for many years. The coal seams of Wyoming, including those of the Powder River Basin, were formed from huge peat bogs that over millions of years have been compressed and altered to become coal. The first commercial mines in the state established in 1868 were at Carbon near Medicine Bow and nearby Rock Springs.

These were owned by Wyoming Coal and Mining which was taken over in 1874 by Union Pacific Railroad which already controlled the company as well as transporting the coal. By the turn of the century the mines had closed but not before severe labour disputes had led, as seems always the way in the coal mining industry, to tragedy. This came in the form of the 1885 massacre of low-wage Chinese miners by white miners at Rock Springs following a wages dispute with Union Pacific.

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NEWS RELEASE: Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Announce Plans to Idle Wabush Pointe Noire Pellet Plant

March 11, 2013

CLEVELAND, March 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLF) (Paris: CLF) announced today that it expects to idle its Wabush Pointe Noire pellet plant within the city of Sept-Iles in Quebec by the end of the second quarter of 2013. The Company indicated that its decision to idle its iron ore pellet operation is due to high production costs and lower pellet premium pricing which is expected to persist in certain markets during the year.

“Due to the dynamics in the marketplace, we are taking measures to adjust our iron ore pellet production at our Wabush operation while continuing to meet our customer commitments,” said Joseph A. Carrabba, Cliffs’ chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Unfortunately this decision will impact approximately 165 employees. We understand this is a hardship for our employees and their families. During this transition, we will be working with them including exploring other opportunities at Cliffs.”

The Company’s current product mix in its Eastern Canadian Iron Ore business segment is comprised of iron ore pellets and concentrate. Cliffs expects to idle production at its Pointe Noire iron ore pellet plant and transition to producing an iron ore concentrate only product from its Wabush Scully mine in the Province of Newfoundland and Labrador by the end of the second quarter in 2013.

“We are taking a long-term view of our investments in Canada. These measures address current market conditions and we look forward to advancing our work at Bloom Lake which is key to Cliffs’ future,” added Mr. Carrabba.

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[Wisconsin] Gov. Scott Walker signs iron ore mining bill – by Noah Goetzel (The Badger Herald – March 12, 2013)

Gov. Scott Walker signed a controversial iron ore mining bill which streamlines the permit process into law Monday, more than a year after the legislation was first introduced.

The bill, supported solely by Republican legislators, will allow Gogebic Taconite LLC to create the largest open-pit iron ore mining operation in the world, according to a statement from the Wisconsin John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club.

Walker said in a statement he was grateful to legislators statewide for moving forward a bill that will be deadline-oriented and environmentally friendly. He signed the legislation into law in Rhinelander and later in Milwaukee.

“Wisconsin’s seal and the state flag both depict mining in our great state,” Walker said. “In light of our mining tradition, I’m thrilled to sign legislation into law protecting environmental safeguards, while providing certainty to the mine permitting process.”

The governor added he is optimistic his endorsement of the bill will create thousands of private sector jobs in the future.

However, Sen. Bob Jauch, D-Poplar, criticized Walker in a statement for signing the bill at Oldenburg Group Company and P&H Mining Engineering manufacturing plants because both locations are more than 100 miles away from the proposed mining site.

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Documentary: Gold Mining: “South Dakota Saga” 1941 Homestake Mining Company


“Gold mining and the life of gold miners in South Dakota, as seen by the mining company.”

Public domain film from the Library of Congress Prelinger Archive, slightly cropped to remove uneven edges, with the aspect ratio corrected, and mild video noise reduction applied.
The soundtrack was also processed with volume normalization, noise reduction, clipping reduction, and equalization.

Gold mining is the removal of gold from the ground. There are several techniques and processes by which gold may be extracted from the earth.

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