Homestake [South Dakota gold mine] grand dame’s body donated to science – by Dorothy Kosich ( – May 31, 2012)

One of the ultimate examples of the sustainability of mines-the nation’s first deep underground science lab-was formally unveiled deep in the caverns of the former Homestake gold mine.

RENO (MINEWEB) –  Nearly five years ago Mineweb told readers about plans to transform the former grand dame of U.S. gold mining, the Homestake gold mine in Lead, South Dakota, into the nation’s first national deep underground science laboratory.
On Wednesday, South Dakota’s Sanford Underground Research facility formally unveiled the new 4,850-foot deep Davis campus, which will seek to unravel the mystery of dark matter, and also search for a rare form of radioactive decay.
The Large Underground Xenon Dark Matter Search Experiment or LUX experiment, considered the world’s most sensitive and largest dark-matter detector–is the culmination of the work of 70 scientists and 14 institutions over the past four years.
LUX physicist Simon Fiorucci told a local TV station, “There is a lot of mass that does not emit light that we cannot account for.”

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‘Mining Truth initiative’ wants to ‘educate’ Minnesotans about mining – by Dorothy Kosich ( – May 24, 2012)

Minnesota environmental special interests say their latest initiative aims to engage all Minnesotans, including miners, “in a respectful, open, fact based dialogue” about sulfide mining.

RENO (MINEWEB) – A coalition of three environmental organizations Wednesday announced it has launched a statewide sulfide mining initiative in Minnesota. Two mining companies, PolyMet and Twin Metals, are developing two mines in Minnesota’s lake country.

“Today, there is little awareness about sulfide mining-it’s very different from the iron ore mining that is more familiar to Minnesotans,” said Paul Danicic, executive director of Friends of the Boundary Waters Wilderness and founding member of the initiative Mining Truth. “This is a complex issue with long-term economic and environmental implications. We need a broad conversation about this.”

“The evidence shows there is reason to be cautious about effects on our lakes, rivers and groundwater, but we also recognize that the immediate need for jobs in Northern Minnesota is real,” said Paul Austin, executive director of Conservation Minnesota and founding member of Mining Truth.

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The cost of moving Alaska’s Pebble mining project forward – by Marilyn Scales (Canadian Mining Journal – May 15, 2012)

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

I know an engineer who says anything is possible if you throw enough money at it. The costs associated with the development of the Pebble copper-gold-molybdenum project in Alaska come to mind when thinking in this vein.
The Pebble Partnership, a joint venture of Vancouver’s Northern Dynasty Minerals and Anglo American plc  of London, UK, is shepherding the US$5-billion project toward production. The deposit is estimated to contain 80.6 billion lb of copper, 107.4 million oz of gold, and 5.6 billion lb of molybdenum.
Pebble is a deposit worth going after even if it takes and investment of $400 million and more to conduct work programs, research and comparative studies so far. Move than $100 million has been spent on environmental and socio-economic studies, resulting in a 27,000-page environmental baseline document.
This year’s budget is $107 million to be spent on engineering studies to complete a project description.

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Let Them Eat – The Case for Phosphate Mining – by Brian Ostroff ( – May 8, 2012)

I will be attending the Hard Asset Conference in New York a little later this month where I am sure the topic of gold will be hotly debated.  For one, I believe that gold is relatively cheap and will make its way considerably higher.  As for gold equities, they are trading at valuations only seen once in the last thirty plus years and despite all those who argue that gold ETFs have killed gold stock investment, I would not be too quick to count these stocks out.
With that said, I would like to talk about a more important commodity for mankind.  Yes, gold is important for those who are concerned about purchasing power, currency devaluation and a general hedge against economic and political uncertainty but when push comes to shove, could anyone really argue that anything is more important than food?
All food is grown (crops, fruits, vegetables, etc.) or comes from animals that themselves survive on things that are grown and, in order to grow things, we need fertilizer.  Fertilizer in comprised of nitrogen, potash and phosphate and whether you realize it or not, North America has a problem when it comes to phosphate because North America is not self-reliant. 

Canada has only one operating phosphate mine (Agrium’s Kapuskasing Mine) which is scheduled to close within a year and Florida’s operations have had issues mostly brought on by environmental concerns.  The result is that North America’s deficit will continue to grow adding to our reliance on foreign countries to offset this shortage.

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Crisis in Mining – by Richard (Rick) Mills (Ahead of the – May 2012)

As a general rule, the most successful man in life is the man who has the best information

A combination of mass retirements and increasing natural resource demand from emerging economies has created a crisis in the resource extraction sector – one which is definitely not on investor’s radar screens. 

Currently there is a “massive talent gap” that is going to get worse because the global mining industry is experiencing the biggest wave of workforce retirements in 70 years – the oldest baby boomers turned 65 years old in 2011.

The Mining Industry Human Resources Council (MIHRC) has recently said that about 40% of the resource extraction industry’s workforce is at least 50 years old and one third of them are expected to retire by 2022. 

The organization also forecasts that the Canadian mining industry will face a shortage of 140,000 workers by 2021 – this number of workers being needed just to maintain current levels of production. 

The Petroleum Human Resources Council of Canada warned a severe oil patch labor shortage is looming and that the “patch” will need to hire 24,000 new employees by 2014. 

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Growing underground [in closed copper mine]: Canadian medicinal marijuana producer trys to put down U.S. roots – by Tom Blackwell (National Post – April 28, 2012)

 The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

The sprawling copper mine that stretches deep below White Pine once employed thousands of people, helping make the remote Michigan town a thriving outpost of the state’s northern hinterland.
Prices for the metal started to plummet, however, forcing the facility to shut down in 1996 and leaving White Pine a virtual ghost town. Suburban bungalows that once housed copper miners and their families now sell to vacationers for as little as $10,000.
Now a Canadian company is promoting an unorthodox form of salvation for the area, floating a plan to grow marijuana inside the cavernous mine to serve the state’s legion of 180,000 licensed pot users. Like a similar subterranean operation that Prairie Plant Systems (PPS) owns in Manitoba, the Michigan site would offer security from theft, natural climate control and little chance of contamination, its supporters argue.

Legislation expected to be introduced in both Michigan state chambers in the next week or two would set the stage for such industrial-scale production, outlining a series of standards that medical marijuana producers must meet. Michigan approved personal use of cannabis as a health product in 2008, but its somewhat chaotic implementation has undermined patient and public safety, said Brent Zettl, CEO of Prairie Plant.

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Company wants to grow quality medical marijuana in old [Michigan Upper Peninsula] mine – by Paul Egan (Detroit Free Press – April 22, 2012)

WHITE PINE — In this hard-luck town in Michigan’s western Upper Peninsula, rumors persist of a company growing pot deep in the bowels of a former copper mine nearby.

In 2010, the rumors got so bad, the State Police contacted the owners and asked to inspect the White Pine Mine sometime in the next couple of days.

“No, right now,” SubTerra official Mark Pierpont said he told them, not wanting lingering suspicions that he had spent a day hiding a stash of marijuana.

Trooper Timothy Rajala later reported how he “entered the mine in a vehicle which we drove approximately 1 mile underground” before reaching a sealed and brightly lit chamber he could only enter after washing down his feet and putting on clean clothes.

Inside, Rajala “noted several plants that were not narcotic,” he wrote. “There was no evidence of marijuana nor any signs of suspicious activity.”

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Duluth sets Bechtel parameters for 100 year copper-nickel-pgm mine PFS – by Lawrence Williams ( – March22, 2012)

Duluth Metals’ huge copper-nickel-pgm-gold resource on the Duluth complex in northern Minnesota moves on a stage with top engineering company Bechtel being given the parameters on which to base a PFS

HONG KONG (Mineweb) –  Talking to Duluth Metals Chairman and CEO, Chris Dundas at Mines & Money Hong Kong he remains extremely enthusiastic about his monster mining project in Northern Minnesota, USA which, if and when it comes to fruition, will become one of the world’s great underground mining operations with a mine life probably well in excess of 100 years.

Top engineering company Bechtel has been retained to undertake the preparation of the NI 43-101 Prefeasibility Study (PFS) on the initial project based primarily on the Nokomis section of this vast resource and the parameters under which Bechtel has been instructed give a great indication of the scale of operations envisaged.

Bechtel has thus been instructed to prepare its study based on the following:

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The Metallurgical Achilles’ Heel of the United States – by Richard (Rick) Mills (Ahead of the – March 2012)

“The United States has consistently maintained that a strong domestic minerals and metals industry is an essential contributor to the nation’s economic and security interests…The United States has a fundamental interest in maintaining a competitive minerals and metals sector that will continue to contribute significantly to the nation’s economic strength and military security. The industry represents an $87 billion enterprise that employs over 500,000 U.S. workers and provides the material foundation for U.S. manufacturing.” The 1980 National Academy of Sciences executive summary of “Competitiveness of the U.S. Minerals and Metals Industry” 

A concise summary of U.S. mineral vulnerabilities was presented to the Industrial Readiness Panel of the House Armed Services Committee as early as 1980 by General Alton D. Slay, Commander Air Force Systems Command. He pointed out that technological advances have increased the demand for exotic minerals at the same time that legislative and regulatory restrictions have been imposed on the U.S. mining industry. 

The 1981 report  “A Congressional Handbook on U.S. Minerals Dependency/Vulnerability” singled out eight materials “for which the industrial health and defense of the United States is most vulnerable to potential supply disruptions” – chromium, cobalt, manganese, the platinum group of metals, titanium, bauxite/aluminum, columbium, and tantalum – the first five have been called “the metallurgical Achilles’ heel of our civilization.”

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Matewan (Mining Movie – 1987)

This information is from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia:

Matewan (1987) is an American drama film written and directed by John Sayles, illustrating the events of a coal mine-workers’ strike and attempt to unionize in 1920 in Matewan, a small town in the hills of West Virginia.[1]

Based on the Battle of Matewan, the film features Chris Cooper, James Earl Jones, Mary McDonnell, David Strathairn, Kevin Tighe and Will Oldham.


It was 1920 in the southwest West Virginia coal fields, and, as the narrator recalls, “things were tough.” In response to efforts by miners to organize into a labor union, the Stone Mountain Coal Company announces it will cut the pay miners receive, and will be importing replacement workers into town to replace those who join the union. The new workers are African Americans from Alabama and are coming in on the train, but the train is stopped outside town and the black men are told to get off. Derided as “scabs”, they are then attacked by the local miners, but manage to get back on the train and continue their journey.

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West Virginia’s Mine Wars

This article is from the West Virginia Division of Culture and History website:

Compiled by the West Virginia State Archives

On March 12, 1883, the first carload of coal was transported from Pocahontas in Tazewell County, Virginia, on the Norfolk and Western Railway. This new railroad opened a gateway to the untapped coalfields of southwestern West Virginia, precipitating a dramatic population increase. Virtually overnight, new towns were created as the region was transformed from an agricultural to industrial economy.

With the lure of good wages and inexpensive housing, thousands of European immigrants rushed into southern West Virginia. In addition, a large number of African Americans migrated from the southern states. The McDowell County black population alone increased from 0.1 percent in 1880 to 30.7 percent in 1910.

Most of these new West Virginians soon became part of an economic system controlled by the coal industry. Miners worked in company mines with company tools and equipment, which they were required to lease. The rent for company housing and cost of items from the company store were deducted from their pay. The stores themselves charged over-inflated prices, since there was no alternative for purchasing goods.

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Harlan County, USA (Mining Documentary – 1976)

This information is from Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia:

Harlan County, USA is an Oscar-winning 1976 documentary film covering the “Brookside Strike”,[1] an effort of 180 coal miners and their wives against the Duke Power Company-owned Eastover Coal Company’s Brookside Mine and Prep Plant in Harlan County, Kentucky in 1973.[2] Directed by Barbara Kopple, who has long been an advocate of workers’ rights, Harlan County, U.S.A. is less ambivalent in its attitude toward unions than her later American Dream, the account of the Hormel Foods strike in Austin, Minnesota in 1985-86.


Kopple initially intended to make a film about Kenzie, Miners for Democracy and the attempt to unseat Tony Boyle. When miners at the Brookside Mine in Harlan County, Kentucky, struck in June 1972, Kopple went there to film the strike against Duke Power Company and UMWA’s response (or lack thereof). The strike proved a more interesting subject, so Kopple switched the focus of her film.

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FRASER INSTITUTE NEWS RELEASE: New Brunswick trumps Alberta as world’s No. 1 spot for mining investment;

February 23, 2012

TORONTO–New Brunswick is the world’s most attractive jurisdiction for
mineral exploration and development in the view of the international mining industry, according to the Survey of Mining Companies: 2011/2012, released today by the Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading public policy think-tank.

“New Brunswick shot to the top of the rankings as miners lauded the province for its fair, transparent, and efficient legal system and consistency in the enforcement and interpretation of existing environmental regulations,” said Fred McMahon, Fraser Institute vice-president of international policy research and coordinator of the survey.

“Combine that with a competitive taxation regime and minimal uncertainty
around disputed land claims and New Brunswick has emerged as a superstar in the view of the global mining community.”

New Brunswick vaulted to first place from 23rd last year, unseating Alberta
at the top of the global rankings as that province fell to third overall.
Quebec, which enjoyed a three-year reign at No. 1 from 2007 to 2010,
continued to lose support among mining executives as it fell to fifth place
from fourth in 2011.

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Molycorp’s $1 billion rare-earth gamble – by Richard Martin (Fortune Magazine – November 18, 2011)

How an American company is trying to break China’s monopoly on high-tech minerals.

FORTUNE — Few weekenders making the four-hour run from L.A. to Vegas notice the big mill works overlooking Interstate 15 at Mountain Pass Summit in California, near the Nevada line. Even fewer realize that the pale-pink buildings, gone patchy with age, are the focus of an extraordinary business drama that involves national security, China’s monopolizing the strategic market in rare-earth metals, and one company’s attempt to restore American preeminence in a crucial mining sector it once dominated.

Those sprawling buildings are owned by a Denver mining company called Molycorp (MCP), which is now spending nearly $1 billion to restart rare-earth-mineral production at Mountain Pass Summit and in the process revive a moribund U.S. industry. It won’t be easy. A decade ago the U.S. was the world’s biggest supplier of lanthanides, scandium, and other rare earths, and the Mountain Pass mine was the world’s largest producer of the minerals.

Rare-earth elements enable the creation of super-magnets, which operate at high temperatures and are also used for a range of high-tech applications, from missile-guidance systems to compact fluorescent light bulbs to wind power turbines to motors in electric vehicles.

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Obama budget again seeks hardrock mining royalty, new abandoned mine fees – by Dorothy Kosich ( – February 14, 2012)

The President’s proposed fiscal 2013 federal budget calls for a 5% gross mining royalty on federal lands, and a hardrock abandoned mined land fee on all private and public lands.

RENO – In his proposed $3.8 trillion budget for fiscal 2013 released Monday, President Barak Obama has once again called for creation of a hard abandoned mined land fund, as well as a hardrock mining royalty of not less than five percent of gross proceeds.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who hails from the mining state of Colorado, estimated creation of the Hardrock Abandoned Mine Reclamation Fund–applicable to private and federal, state, and tribal lands–would generate $500 million in savings over the next 10 years.

The Bureau of Land Management would distribute the funds through a competitive grant program to reclaim the highest priority hardrock abandoned sites on federal, state, tribal and private lands.

Salazar also intends to reform Coal Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation by terminating the unrestricted payments to states and tribes that have been certified for completing their coal reclamation work. Currently the money has been dispersed to states based on how much coal they produce.

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