Tennessee Refinery Could Break Chinese Chokehold on Two Critical Minerals – by Natalie Liu (Voice of Amercia – August 15, 2023)


A solution to potential shortages of two critical minerals used in making semiconductors and advanced military equipment — exports of which were restricted by China this month — may be lying in some waste storage ponds in central Tennessee.

Owners of a zinc processing facility in the southern U.S. state say they are developing a plan to extract the two minerals — gallium and germanium — from the ponds where for years the company has deposited the residue from its refining of zinc from five mines located in central and eastern Tennessee.

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One year on, how America’s Inflation Reduction Act has changed Canada – by Naimul Karim (Financial Post – August 16, 2023)


Look back at the impact of a bill that sent shock waves through the world’s supply-chains

The United States a year ago passed a 730-page piece of legislation that almost single-handedly paved the way for some of the world’s biggest manufacturing companies to change their supply-chain systems.

Signed into law on Aug. 16 by President Joe Biden, the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), contrary to its title, wasn’t just about bringing down inflation, which was at its peak a year ago. Instead, it promised more than US$300-billion worth of tax credits, grants and loans to fund clean-energy projects and address issues linked to energy security and health care.

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Tribes pressure Canada over Teck water concerns – by Rob Chaney (The Missoulian – August 14, 2023)


Acoalition of Indigenous tribes is increasing pressure on the Canadian government to respond to their concerns over transboundary water pollution coming from Teck Resources coal mines in British Columbia. The Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes in Montana, Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the transboundary Ktunaxa Nation sent reminders on Aug. 11 that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had pledged to meet this summer with U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration on reducing and mitigating the impacts of selenium and other mine-related contaminants getting into the Elk and Kootenai rivers.

Selenium in particular has been connected to significant declines in fish reproduction in the river system, along with massive fish kills near the mine site itself, although a disputed Teck study concluded that ice, not selenium was responsible for the 2017 die-off.

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Miners face ‘considerable challenges’ meeting demand from US climate law -study – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters – August 15, 2023)


Aug 15 (Reuters) – The mining industry faces “considerable challenges” meeting larger-than-expected demand for copper, nickel and other electric vehicle metals fueled by a U.S. climate law, S&P Global said in a report on Tuesday, ahead of the legislation’s one-year anniversary.

The landmark U.S. Inflation Reduction Act offers tax breaks for EVs, solar panels and other renewable energy products made from metals extracted in the United States or countries with U.S. free trade deals. Metals from “foreign entities of concern” including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran will be banned in 2025. That has sparked a race among manufacturers to lock down supply.

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Yellen warns of risks of over-concentration of clean energy supply chains – by Andrea Shalal (MSN.com/Reuters – August 14, 2023)


LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – The United States is working to build resilient, diversified clean energy supply chains to protect its economic security, while guarding against the risks posed by over-concentration in a handful of countries, U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in remarks prepared for an event in Las Vegas on Monday.

Yellen will touch on the challenges of transitioning away from fossil fuels in a major speech she will deliver after touring a union facility where workers are learning skills to work on clean energy projects.

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Joe Biden’s Uranium Problem – by Darragh Roche (Newsweek Magazine – August 12, 2023)


President Joe Biden may soon be facing a political headache involving uranium and Russian President Vladimir Putin after his decision to protect land around the Grand Canyon from mining.

Biden declared almost one million acres of land around the Grand Canyon in Arizona a national monument, called the Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni- Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument, on Tuesday in a move that has been criticized by mining firms and some conservatives.

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‘It’s not just Appalachia’s problem’: imagining a future without coal – by Adrian Horton (The Guardian – August 8, 2023)


The rhapsodic film King Coal blurs the lines of documentary and memorializes the coal culture that has shaped Appalachia

The film-maker Elaine McMillion Sheldon grew up roving around West Virginia. Like many children of Appalachia, her world was shaped by coal – her father worked for a mining company, and the family moved to seven coal fields in 12 years for his job. Her brother became a fourth-generation miner. “Everybody in my community worked in the coal mines,” she said. “If you were going to stay there and work, if you weren’t a doctor or a lawyer, that’s what you did.”

It wasn’t until she studied abroad as an undergraduate and asked people what they did for work that she realized the totalizing extent of coal. “Not everywhere has a king,” said Sheldon. “Not everywhere is completely dominated by this industry that controls everything from our rituals to the ways we live our life.”

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DEEP DIVE: Uranium Hunters in US West Face Partial Ban, Pollution Concerns – by Bobby Magill (Bloomberg – August 10, 2023)


Five weeks before President Joe Biden announced a historic new ban on new uranium mining around the Grand Canyon, Sarana Riggs approached the barbed-wire fence surrounding an inactive mine in an Arizona national forest, a Geiger counter in her hand. The Geiger counter didn’t detect any dangerous radiation that day from the Pinyon Plain mine, about two miles from the spot where Biden would sign the monument proclamation. But Riggs wasn’t convinced.

The activist grew up on the Navajo Nation near Tuba City, Arizona, where a uranium mill operated until 1966. It took another 24 years to clean up the site, and yet uranium was still found later in groundwater beneath the town dump.

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A Gift to Putin: No Uranium Mining Near the Grand Canyon – by Editorial Board (Wall Street Journal – August 8, 2023)


A new government land grab makes the U.S. more dependent on Russia.

With a stroke of his pen, President Biden on Tuesday walled off from development nearly a million acres of land that includes some of America’s richest uranium deposits. This is another monument to the Administration’s destructive energy policy.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 lets Presidents set aside federal land for national monuments to protect historic objects. Barack Obama used the law to remove millions of acres of federal land from oil and gas development. Yet even he resisted progressive calls to set aside uranium-rich land outside the Grand Canyon. Mr. Biden shows no such restraint.

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Biden Designates New National Monument to Protect Land Near Grand Canyon – by Talal Ansari (Wall Street Journal – August 8, 2023)


The mining industry and local Republican officials have opposed the move

President Biden designated a new national monument that would protect lands near the Grand Canyon, a move that has been opposed by the mining industry. The Baaj Nwaavjo I’tah Kukveni—Ancestral Footprints of the Grand Canyon National Monument in northern Arizona covers more than 900,000 acres of public land. Biden, who is in Arizona as part of a three-state tour, designated the monument on Tuesday in an announcement near the Grand Canyon.

Biden has designated five national monuments, including the Grand Canyon one, as part of his administration’s conservation efforts. Several tribes have long sought permanent protection of their ancestral homelands in the Grand Canyon region, as have environmentalists. The mining industry has opposed curtailing access to uranium deposits in the area, arguing it will undermine the effort to produce more energy in the U.S. and increase dependence on Russia for the critical nuclear-power fuel.

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Piedmont Lithium’s plans to supply Tesla face skeptical North Carolina officials (Mining.com/Reuters – August 8, 2023)


Piedmont Lithium on Tuesday drew skepticism and anger at a key meeting with local North Carolina officials about its plans for a lithium mine that would supply the electric vehicle battery metal to Tesla.

The open-pit mine, if approved, would be one of the few lithium-producing sites in the United States, but there has been little progress in gaining approvals for the project, which the company has been trying to get up and running for more than two years.

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Biden to Designate Monument Near Grand Canyon, Preventing Uranium Mining – by Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Lisa Friedman (New York Times – August 7, 2023)


Uranium extraction had already been restricted in the area, which Native tribes consider sacred, but the moratorium was set to expire in 2032. Mr. Biden’s designation will make it permanent.

President Biden will designate nearly a million acres of land near the Grand Canyon as a new national monument on Tuesday to protect the area from uranium mining, administration officials confirmed on Monday.

Mr. Biden’s visit to Arizona is part of a nationwide blitz by the White House to translate key policy victories to voters — including a law he signed last year to inject $370 billion in tax incentives into wind, solar and other renewable energy — as the 2024 campaign ramps up. Senior cabinet officials are also touring the country this week, highlighting his domestic agenda.

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A year after the IRA, industrial policy has gone global. Now what? – by David L. Goldwyn and Andrea Clabough (Atlantic Council – August 7,2023)

Atlantic Council – Shaping the global future together

The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) may prove to be one of the most transformative pieces of economic legislation in US history. The vast waves of investment coming to US shores throughout the last year bear out this possibility. One recent analysis estimated that between August 2022 and January 2023, over 100,000 clean energy jobs were created in the United States as a result of almost $90 billion invested in dozens of clean energy projects.

The domestic impacts of the IRA are undeniable. It is less certain what it means for the global energy transition. One year later, much work remains ahead to maximize the potential of the IRA. While US policymakers should consider the IRA’s long-term future and extend many of its provisions past 2032, officials must prioritize opportunities to align with like-minded allies overseas.

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Quest for rare earth elements and critical minerals in Central Appalachia gets new boost – by Matt Busse (Cardinal News – August 7, 2023)

Home – new

A project that aims to identify Central Appalachian sources of rare earth elements and critical minerals has received $500,000 in federal funding to continue for another six months.

The 17 rare earth elements — so called not because they’re uncommon, per se, but because they typically occur in such low concentrations that easily extracted deposits are rare — include scandium, yttrium and a group of 15 elements collectively called the lanthanides. The 50 critical minerals identified as such by the U.S. Geological Survey are considered essential to the economy and have no viable substitutes; they include aluminum, cobalt, graphite, lithium, nickel and nearly all of the rare earth elements.

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Deep Inside Mountains, Work Is Getting Much More Dangerous – by Drew A. Harris (New York Times – August 2, 2023)


Drew Harris is the medical director of Stone Mountain Health Services black lung program and an associate professor of pulmonary and critical-care medicine at the University of Virginia.

As a high school baseball star, Denver Hoskins led Kentucky in home runs and was invited to try out for the Cincinnati Reds. But when his father got sick (and later died) from black lung, a disease caused by inhaling mineral dust, the younger Mr. Hoskins gave up his Division I college scholarship offer to support his family.

Following in his father’s footsteps, he went to work as a coal miner. By the age of 44, Mr. Hoskins was diagnosed with his own case of the most severe form of black lung. He now breathes from an oxygen tank at night and watches his son’s batting practice from the sidelines.

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