Archive | United States Mining

Time to restore America’s nuclear energy leadership – by Dan Brouillette (Casper Star Tribune – June 7, 2020)

https://trib.com/

Dan Brouillette is the United States Secretary of Energy.

From the moment the United States split the atom more than seven decades ago, America has led the world in nuclear energy and advancements in nuclear technology.

From safely powering our homes to treating cancer, nuclear technology has undoubtedly improved our lives. Regrettably, this critical advantage, with all the economic and national security implications it brings with it, has been unmistakably slipping away.

Around the world, American nuclear companies face increasingly fierce and unfair competition from state-owned enterprises, including those of China and Russia. Continue Reading →

Arizona tribes fearful after losing court battle over uranium mine near Grand Canyon – by Debra Utacia Krol (Arizona Republic – June 5, 2020)

https://www.azcentral.com/

Havasupai Vice Chairman Matthew Putesoy is worried that a federal court decision regarding a uranium mine could lead to environmental catastrophe for his community and surrounding lands.

A U.S. District Court judge ruled May 22 against the tribe and two environmental groups in a seven-year-old lawsuit that sought to close the Canyon Mine, a uranium mine located about 10 miles south of the Grand Canyon’s south rim. Putesoy said the tribe is not prepared to abandon its fight.

“From Havasu Baaja’s point of view,” he said, using the traditional name of his people, “the Guardians of the Grand Canyon will continue to battle the mining companies and someway, somehow, stop the mine from happening. Once the water is gone there’s no replacing it.” Continue Reading →

U.S. opens national security probe into vanadium imports (Reuters U.S. – June 2, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department said on Tuesday it was opening an investigation into whether imports of vanadium, a metal used in aerospace, defense and energy applications, impair U.S. national security.

The “Section 232” probe is similar to ones that resulted in broad tariffs on steel and aluminum in 2018 and a probe underway into imports of titanium sponge.

The department said the domestic producers that petitioned the agency, AMG Vanadium (AMG.AS) and U.S. Vanadium LLC, assert that they are hurt by unfairly priced imports, value added tax regimes in other vanadium-producing countries and “the distortionary effect of Chinese and Russian industrial policies.” Continue Reading →

House Republicans introduce bill to speed mining projects for critical minerals – by Rebecca Beitsch (The Hill – May 28, 2020)

https://thehill.com/

House Republicans have introduced a measure that would speed up permitting for mining projects in the U.S. in order to avoid importing critical minerals from countries like China.

The bill would require agencies to set strict timetables for reviewing permitting requests for new projects mining critical minerals used in products ranging from batteries to medical supplies to electronics.

“The status quo that we are dealing with is relying on really horrible environmental and labor standards in China and other places. Continue Reading →

U.S. Falters in Bid to Replace Chinese Rare Earths – by Keith Johnson and Robbie Gramer (Foreign Policy – May 25, 2020)

https://foreignpolicy.com/

“Each F-35 fighter, for instance, needs 920 pounds of rare earths;
each Virginia-class nuclear submarine requires 9,200 pounds. Tomahawk missiles, guidance  systems, and jet engines all need different combinations of alloys and specialized products using some of the 17 different rare-earth elements.”

Rising tensions with China and the race to repatriate supply chains in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic have given fresh impetus to U.S. efforts to launch a renaissance in rare earths, the critical minerals at the heart of high technology, clean energy, and especially high-end U.S. defense platforms.

But it’s not going well, despite a slew of new bills and government initiatives aimed at rebuilding a soup-to-nuts rare-earth supply chain in the United States that would, after decades of growing reliance on China and other foreign suppliers, restore U.S. self-reliance in a vital sector.

“I think the light bulb has gone on, but we are still in a muddle about exactly what to do about it,” said David Hammond, an expert on rare earths at Hammond International Group, a consultancy. Continue Reading →

OPINION: The United States is going back to space. But we have some things to figure out on Earth first – by Michael Byers (Globe and Mail – May 23, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Michael Byers holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Politics and International Law. Aaron Boley holds the Canada Research Chair in Planetary Astronomy. They teach at the University of British Columbia and co-direct the Outer Space Institute.

“That is a spacecraft, sir. We do not refer to it as a capsule,” said astronaut Alan Shepard, as portrayed by Scott Glenn in The Right Stuff.

Mr. Shepard was a pilot, not a passenger. In 1961, he became the first American to reach space; 10 years later, he walked on the moon.

This month, the United States returns to human spaceflight after a nine-year hiatus. There is much to celebrate, including in Canada, where the Canadian Space Agency works closely with NASA. Yet these celebrations should be tempered with caution, as the Trump administration seizes the moment to challenge long-standing rules of international space law – and demands acquiescence from Canada. Continue Reading →

US political heat puts Lynas defense contract on ice – by Colin Kruger (Sydney Morning Herald – May 25, 2020)

https://www.smh.com.au/

Rare earths group Lynas Corp has received a setback to its expansion plans after warning the US Department of Defense contract it was awarded last month may be on hold while the political debate heats up on whether the country should source its rare earths onshore.

In a statement to the ASX on Friday evening, Lynas confirmed media reports in the US – debating the merits of sourcing rare earths locally versus from allies or other sources – have impacted on the contract that could help fund its plants to set up a processing plant in Texas.

“Lynas remains one of two companies selected for Phase 1 of the project, however Lynas understands that the US government’s progress on Phase 1 is currently on hold those political issues are addressed,” the company said. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Pentagon halts rare earths funding program pending ‘further research’ – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – May 22, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

HOUSTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Department of Defense last month reversed its decision to fund two projects to process rare earth minerals for military weapons, one of which has controversial ties to China, according to a government document seen by Reuters and three sources familiar with the matter.

The Pentagon decision is a step backward for President Donald Trump’s plan to redevelop the U.S. rare earths supply chain and reduce reliance on China, the world’s largest producer of the strategic minerals used to build a range of weapons.

Australia’s Lynas Corp (LYC.AX) and privately held U.S. firm MP Materials both said on April 22 they had been awarded funding by the Pentagon for rare earths separation facilities in Texas and California, respectively. Continue Reading →

Steve Earle’s new album considers coal miners’ perspective – by Steven Wine (WJLA.com/Associated Press – May 20, 2020)

https://wjla.com/

Contemplating the treacherous political landscape of West Virginia, Steve Earle decided to build a bridge.

The singer-songwriter known for his liberal views undertook a project that would speak for the other side on the issue of coal mining. Earle’s empathetic attempt to address the divide has resulted in one of his best albums: “Ghosts of West Virginia.”

The set draws material from the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine explosion that killed 29 men. Earle wrote folk songs for a play about the disaster, and has used them as the foundation of a concept album that considers coal’s role in the life of West Virginians from their perspective. Continue Reading →

Alcoa CEO Sees No Certainty a Definitive Recovery Is Coming – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – May 14, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Alcoa Corp. Chief Executive Officer Roy Harvey isn’t ready to declare that the world is on the road to recovery yet.

Speaking at a virtual metals and mining conference, the head of the aluminum producer said there remains too much uncertainty in global economies to feel comfortable saying the situation is improving from the coronavirus crisis. Aluminum gluts are now growing outside China, which Harvey said is already oversupplied, and this will further weigh on prices.

“I don’t think we’ve yet got the clarity, nor do we have the orders on the books, to signal that there is a definitive recovery coming,” he said. Continue Reading →

Ted Cruz Seeks to End U.S. Dependence on China for Rare Earth Metals – by Daniel Flatley (Bloomberg News – May 11, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

(Bloomberg) — Senator Ted Cruz said he plans to introduce legislation on Tuesday that aims to end U.S. reliance on China for rare earth elements used in the manufacturing of products including consumer electronics, electric vehicles and fighter planes.

The bill is part of a push in Congress to shift supply chains, particularly in industries critical for national defense, away from China and back toward the U.S.

“Much like the Chinese Communist Party has threatened to cut off the U.S. from life-saving medicines made in China, the Chinese Communist Party could also cut off our access to these materials, significantly threatening U.S. national security,” Cruz, a Texas Republican, said in a statement. Continue Reading →

U.S. demands explanation from province over river pollution from B.C. mines – by Bob Weber (CBC News British Columbia – May 11, 2020)

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/

Contamination from Teck coal mines in waterways of Elk River watershed is a long-standing problem

CANADIAN PRESS: The U.S. government is increasingly concerned about pollution from British Columbian mines, following new research that shows contaminants in a river south of the border came from Canada.

In a letter obtained by The Canadian Press, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is demanding the provincial government hand over data explaining why Teck Resources coal mines in southern B.C. are being allowed to exceed guidelines for a toxic heavy metal.

“The EPA … finds it unacceptable that the province has accepted [a treatment plan] that will allow seasonal exceedances of water quality objectives into the future,” says the Feb. 4 letter to B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman. Continue Reading →

Some see promise in Wyo’s critical minerals. But are they viable? – by Patrick Dawson (Laramie Boomerang – May 10, 2020)

https://www.laramieboomerang.com/

Wyoming’s current coal market decline coincides with a sudden national awareness of the serious shortage of certain critical materials, including several with deposits located in the state.

With residents and lawmakers scrambling for new economic avenues, could Wyoming be the nation’s new go-to source for rare earth elements that now come mainly from China?

Last week, U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barasso sent letters to the Secretaries of Defense and Interior urging the Department of the Interior “to support the full range of domestic rare earths supply chain development, from extraction through separation and purification into the magnets, metals and alloyed forms of rare earths that are critical to our advanced weapons platforms.” Continue Reading →

The rise and fall of mining in the Patagonia Mountains – by Clara Migoya (El Inde – May 9, 2020)

https://arizonasonoranewsservice.com/

In a lot on Harshaw Avenue, off-road trucks line up in neat rows. The small town of Patagonia is seeing new activity in the nearby mountains now that South32, an Australian mining company, is running round-the-clock mineral drilling operations at the Hermosa-Taylor mine.

“The Taylor deposit, just by scale, is probably the largest undeveloped zinc deposit in the world,” said Pat Risner, president of the Hermosa project. “It’s a very strategic resource for this country.”

The Hermosa operation started more than a decade ago, when it was owned by Arizona Mining Inc., which did initial explorations and pre-feasibility studies. In 2018, South32 bought the company and all its mining claims for $1.3 billion. Continue Reading →

“Get the Hell Off”: The Indigenous Fight to Stop a Uranium Mine in the Black Hills – by Delilah Friedler (Mother Jones – March/April 2020)

https://www.motherjones.com/

Can the Lakota win a “paper war” to save their sacred sites?

Regina Brave remembers the moment the first viral picture of her was taken. It was 1973, and 32-year-old Brave had taken up arms in a standoff between federal marshals and militant Indigenous activists in Wounded Knee, South Dakota, on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

Brave had been assigned to guard a bunker on the front lines and was holding a rifle when a reporter leaped from a car to snap her photo. She remembers thinking that an image of an armed woman would never make the papers—“It was a man’s world,” she says—but the bespectacled Brave, in a peacoat with hair pulled back, was on front pages across the country the following Sunday.

Brave had grown up on Pine Ridge, where the standoff emerged from a challenge to the tribal chair, whose alleged offenses included scheming to accept federal money for Paha Sapa, also known as the Black Hills. Continue Reading →