Arizona town bitterly split over copper mine – by Paul Waldie (Globe and Mail – January 19, 2012)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

Florence, Ariz., isn’t the kind of place that usually gets a lot of attention. After all, its main claim to fame is being home to nine prisons.

But these days Florence is up in arms over plans by a Canadian company to build a copper mine right in the middle of town. The proposed mine, by Vancouver-based Curis Resources Ltd., has garnered national attention and brought out some heavy hitters, including Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and developer Robert Sarver, who owns the Phoenix Suns basketball team.

Ms. Brewer has expressed support for the project, saying it will spark badly needed economic development in the area. Mr. Sarver, whose company has a housing project in town, is backing a campaign to stop the mine, arguing it will ruin the water supply.

The city’s 10,000 residents are bitterly divided over the proposed mine. A recent survey by city officials found 39 per cent of locals support the mine, 32 per cent don’t and 28 per cent aren’t sure.

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The War Against Us [Coeur d’Alene silver region] – by David Bond ( – January 16, 2012)

This commentary is by editor David Bond

Wallace, Idaho – Just when was it that the United Snakes of America declared war on the Coeur d’Alene Mining District, and why?

We were ruminating, fulminating on these weighty questions last week. Pretty clearly, the opening salvo was fired in the final decade of the 19th Century, when Federal troops were dispatched under a declaration of martial law to lock up 600 miners here who were striking for decent wages.

Then of course during World War II there was the undeclared conscription of lead and zinc miners here who were prevented from taking better paying jobs in the shipyards of Puget Sound to keep wresting rocks from our earth that could be smelted into bullets and cartridges to kill Germans and Japanese.

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A Mining Law Whose Time Has Passed – by Robert M. Hughes and Carol Woody (New York Times – January 11, 2012)

Op-Ed Contributors Robert M. Hughes and Carol Ann Woody are fisheries scientists based in Corvallis, Ore., and Anchorage, respectively.

IN 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed a mining law to spur the development of the West by giving hard-rock mining precedence over other uses of federal land. But the law has long since outlived its purpose, and its environmental consequences have been severe.

Mining claims for copper, gold, uranium and other minerals cover millions of those acres, and the law, now 140 years old, makes it nearly impossible to block extraction, no matter how serious the potential consequences. Soaring metal prices are now driving new mine proposals across the West.

Oregon’s Chetco River is one example. The river’s gin-clear waters teem with wild trout and salmon, including giant Chinook salmon tipping scales at more than 60 pounds. In 1988, Congress designated the Chetco a national wild and scenic river “to be protected for the benefit of present and future generations.”

But the river is now threatened by proposals to mine gold along almost half of its approximately 55-mile length. Suction dredges would vacuum up the river bottom searching for gold, muddying water and disrupting clean gravel that salmon need to spawn.

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Minerals mining in Arizona can help spur U.S. economic growth – by Senator Al Melvin, R-Tucson, and Joe Hart, Arizona State Mine Inspector (The Arizona Republic – September 26, 2011)

The explosion in worldwide demand for minerals is good for Arizona’s mineral producers, including the state’s copper mines, which produce more copper than all the other 49 states combined and account for more than 60 percent of the nation’s total copper production. Arizona’s mineral mines have also made a positive contribution to our state and national economy.

According to a recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers, mineral mining in Arizona supported more than 62,000 jobs, contributed roughly $7.5 billion to the state’s GDP and generated $1.8 billion in taxes to local, state and federal governments in 2008.

And that’s just Arizona. More than 1.1 million jobs are supported nationwide by mineral mining, and last year U.S. manufacturing used minerals to make products or provide services that added more than $2 trillion to the economy – approximately 14 percent of the nation’s GDP.

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Mining firms in Arizona seek riches – by Ryan Randazzo (The Arizona Republic – December 24, 2011)

Investors face long odds in quest for mineral profits

Arizona is the top copper producer in the U.S., but several small-time geologists and entrepreneurs combing the rocky desert in hopes of finding the next bonanza don’t produce any minerals at all.

Many exploration companies prospecting in Arizona hope to raise money through the stock markets to take investors along on their risky hunt for mineral profits.

They might have historical maps of their mines, ore samples, assay reports and other data, but almost none have a shovel in the ground.

Exploration companies face extremely long odds of finding minerals that big firms have overlooked and raising the money to dig for them, but they persist on the small chance they could strike it rich.

“It is definitely a risky form of investment,” said Daniel Bleak of Mesa, who has been involved in several exploration ventures, most recently Silver Horn Mining Ltd., which has stock traded on the over-the-counter market. “It is a long shot. It is just like the old oil fields.”

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California Gold Rush from 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America

This series is from 10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America.

10 Days that Unexpectedly Changed America: The Gold Rush chronicles the
trials and tribulations of settling the west and the stories of the people who were obsessed by the notion of imminent success on the American frontier. The quest for gold transformed America, bringing in over 500,000 people into the California territory and is responsible for the eventual industrialization of the west.

Using primary sources, reenactments, expert historians’ analysis and dramatic imagery, the program explains the premises for moving west and dissects the myths that were entrenched in the idea of the 19th century American frontier. This History Channel® program is a moving and
informative link to the events of great American expansion, thereby fulfilling your curiosity and providing in-depth explanations of life on the trail westward.

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Laying pipe and drilling shale [in U.S.] – by Clifford D. May (National Post – December 13, 2011)

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

My country, America, is in economic distress. The crisis threatens our national security because a nation that is weak economically cannot be strong in other ways. If only we had an untapped source of wealth, a nest egg we could crack and use to grow the economy, create jobs, raise Americans’ standard of living while providing the resources needed to defend the nation from its enemies.

Oh wait: We do.

Much of it is under our feet, in the ground, in deposits of shale – sedimentary rock rich in both oil and natural gas. Large shale fields have been found in South Dakota, Montana, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and elsewhere in both the U.S. and Canada.

Until recently, this energy was expensive to access. Now, however, revolutionary new technologies have changed the cost equation. In particular, there is hydraulic fracturing: pressurized water is used to free the oil and natural gas.

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Wisconsin Reps. seek to ease mining regulation, fast track iron ore project – by Dorothy Kosich (December 9, 2011)

The desperate need for jobs in northern Wisconsin has generated increased momentum among state lawmakers to create a favorable regulatory environment for the Gogebic Taconite iron ore project.

RENO, NV – The state–which rejected the proposed Crandon gold mining project in the 1990s and engaged in a series of protests from February to June of this year that all but shut down the Wisconsin Legislature– now says it desperately needs a change in mining regulations to generate the 700 jobs a US$1.5 billion iron ore mining project would bring.

On Thursday, Republican lawmakers of the Wisconsin Assembly introduced a measure that will require Wisconsin’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to act on a mining permit application within 360 days after application.

The bill also eliminates so-called citizens’ lawsuits against iron ore mining, as well as contested case hearings.

The measure is specifically aimed at helping Gogebic Taconite open an iron ore mine in the Penokee Hills south of Lake Superior.

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Big [Nevada gold] discovery by Barrick Gold gets industry attention – by Rob Sabo (Northern Nevada Business Weekly – December 5, 2011)

Northern Nevada Business Weekly:

Barrick Gold Corporation’s two new gold discoveries in Nevada represent the biggest mining story in the state for 2011, says Alan Coyner, administrator for the Nevada Division of Minerals.

In September, Barrick said it had found estimated resources of nearly 3.5 million ounces of gold at its Red Hill and Goldrush claims a few miles southeast of the company’s flagship Cortez mining operations 75 miles southwest of Elko.

Barrick is conducting further drilling on the claim area to determine the full scope of the discovery and to move the estimated, or inferred, resource amount into proven reserves.

“It is the story of the year because of its size,” Coyner told a standing-room crowd of top-level mining executives last week at the annual Northwest Mining Association conference at John Ascuaga’s Nugget.

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Will mines get [Michigan] state’s riches for a paltry sum? – by Tina Lam (Detroit Free Press – November 28, 2011)

Detroit Free Press

Part 2 of 2

Critics — and even a key state agency — say the state isn’t getting enough in exchange for the wealth of minerals about to be extracted from the Upper Peninsula.

The state has no severance tax on minerals, as it does on oil, gas and iron mines. The tax is a way to repay Michigan citizens for the value of underground resources removed forever from the state. The state also doesn’t auction mineral leases, as it does for oil and gas.

And finally, the state is getting only paltry sums from its future mines in fees and bonds for permits, potential cleanup costs and oversight.

Financial loopholes in mining are costing the state, some say

When Kennecott Eagle Minerals applied for a permit for its new mine near Big Bay, it paid what state law requires for its application fee: $5,000.

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[Michigan mining] U.P. mines seeing a resurgence as companies hope to cash in – by Tina Lam (Detroit Free Press – Novmeber 27, 2011)

Detroit Free Press

Part 1 of 2

BIG BAY — In Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, it’s drill, baby, drill. The drilling that began there in September is not for oil, but for gold, silver, copper and nickel. In a resurgence of mining in the region whose mineral heyday was more than a century ago, foreign companies are finding rich bodies of ore they hope to mine for billions of dollars.

New technology and higher prices for metals are making mining profitable again, spurred by increases in demand for high-tech gadgets such as smartphones, kitchens full of stainless steel appliances and hybrid cars — all of which use the metals that can be found in the U.P.

Three new mines are either under way or planned, with more possible. Also, an abandoned mill to process ore is expected to reopen. Mineral rights on more than 1 million of the U.P.’s 7 million acres have been leased by companies prospecting for metals.

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The Dark Lord of Coal Country – by Jeff Goodell (Rolling Stone Magazine – November 29, 2010)

One balmy night this fall, a black BMW 750LI — a German luxury sedan that costs more than a typical coal miner makes in a year — pulls into the parking lot of the shaggy country club in Bluefield, West Virginia. Bluefield is a fading coal town in a state that is full of fading coal towns. Seventy-five years ago, when the Pocahontas coal seam was one of the richest veins in America, and tooling up for the 20th century required massive tonnage of coal, there was money here, and hope. But now the coal is mined out, the buildings downtown are vacant, and shiny new Beemers are about as common as flying saucers.

The driver — a young, tan, L.A.-surfer-boy type — jumps out and opens the rear door. A tall man, 60, with a thin mustache and a double chin emerges: Don Blankenship, the CEO of Massey Energy, the largest and most powerful coal company in central Appalachia. He grabs his dark-blue suit jacket, which is folded on the tan leather seat beside him, and slips it on. He wears a red-and-yellow silk tie and tasseled leather loafers. His hands are chubby and white — no calluses, not a speck of coal dust. Accountant’s hands. His eyes are black and inexpressive.

Unless you live in West Virginia, you’ve probably never heard of Don Blankenship. You might not know that he grew up in the coal fields of West Virginia, received an accounting degree from a local college, and, through a combination of luck, hard work and coldblooded ruthlessness, transformed himself into the embodiment of everything that’s wrong with the business and politics of energy in America today

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A New Addiction the US Can’t Afford: [Vanadium] Foreign Batteries – by By Ron MacDonald

Based in Vancouver, Canada, Ron MacDonald is Vice Chairman & Director, Senior Council Global Markets of American Vanadium Corp.

The US government’s commitment to supporting both the renewable energy and electric vehicle industries underlines the need for the rapid development of the automotive and mass storage batteries, and has thrown the spotlight on domestic vanadium supplies.

In the not-too-distant future, will America find itself exchanging an addiction to foreign oil with an addiction to foreign batteries? Or will it create a successful battery market policy through its current efforts to bolster manufacturing while securing strategic materials? Either way, it seems certain that playing a critical role will be a little known element: vanadium.

It’s easy to connect the four dots involved: (1) US government policy is focused on reducing reliance on foreign oil and lowering CO2 emissions; (2) As a result, renewable energy investments and electric vehicles production will capture an increasingly large part of the American economy; (3) Since renewables such as wind and solar require mass storage batteries to effectively integrate with the grid, and since electric vehicles require higher performance batteries to compete with gas-burning cars; then (4) new battery solutions are vital to the US hitting its policy targets.

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There’s still gold in them there hills: Experts spark [South Carolina] second rush after discovering 3.1million oz at disused mine – by Simon Tomlinson (Daily Mail – October 17, 2011)

Reserves at Haile Gold Mine could yield more than $5 billion
Company chief: ‘Sits on one of the most significant trends of gold in U.S.’
Mining companies scramble to Carolina Slate Belt for more

A mining company has triggered a modern gold rush in the U.S. after discovering 3.1million ounces of the precious metal near a small South Carolina town. Canadian firm Romarco Minerals Inc expects to pour its first gold bar in early 2014 after re-opening the historic Haile Gold Mine this year near Kershaw.

At today’s prices, the mine could yield more than $5 billion if estimates of the mine’s reserves are proven correct. Once environmental impact studies and permits are complete, Haile will be the only modern gold mine operating east of the Mississippi River.

It will also be the first since the Kennecott Minerals mine closed in Ridgeway, South Carolina, in 1999, Romarco’s chief executive Diane Garrett told Reuters this week. Based on the gold reserves found in samples, the Toronto company estimates it has 3.1million ounces of the metal at Haile.

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Alaska Votes for Gold, Not Fishing – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. This week the voters of Alaska were asked to decide whether or not they favour prohibitive clean water regulations for new mines in that state. Ballot Measure 4 was aimed specifically at stopping Vancouver’s NORTHERN DYNASTY MINERALS (50%) and South …

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