Archive | United States Mining

The forgotten factor in Donald Trump’s quest to buy Greenland — rare-earth elements – by Genna Buck (National Post – August 22, 2019)

Do you have a drawer — or perhaps a whole garage — piled with old or broken electronic devices left to languish after you’ve upgraded? You’re not alone. And you are sitting on a gold mine, or maybe something even more valuable.

Rare-earth elements are an essential component of smartphones, computers and tablets, as well as many industrial, defence and energy applications, especially wind turbines.

There are 15 or 17 of these elements, depending on how you count, and they’re not actually all that rare — just complicated, expensive and environmentally destructive to mine. The vast majority come from China. This has led to worries they could become a trump card, so to speak, in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. Continue Reading →

Into Africa: the US’s drive for African rare earth minerals – by JP Casey (Mining Technology – August 22, 2019)

The international mineral trade is becoming increasingly fractured. An escalating trade war between the US and China is threatening to deprive the former of a number of key commodities, including scandium, graphite and gallium, all of which are not produced domestically in the US and all of which are imported, predominantly from China.

Rare earth minerals are among the commodities most threatened by these increasingly hostile foreign policies. According to 2018 data from the US Geological Survey, the US is entirely reliant on imports for its supply of rare earth minerals, with 78% of all such imports coming from China, orders of magnitude ahead of the second-largest importer to the US, Estonia, which is responsible for 6% of imports.

Demand for these minerals is also increasing dramatically due to their use in the construction of devices such as mobile phones and rechargeable batteries, and in military hardware. The global production of rare earth minerals increasing from less than 20,000 metric tons in 1970 to close to 140,000 metric tons in 2017. Continue Reading →

Trump calls Danish PM’s rebuff of Greenland idea ‘nasty’ as trip cancellation stuns Danes – by Jeff Mason and Nikolaj Skydsgaard (Reuters U.S. – August 21, 2019)

WASHINGTON/COPENHAGEN (Reuters) – President Donald Trump declared Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen’s dismissal of his idea to buy Greenland “nasty” and an affront to the United States on Wednesday, a day after shocking Danes by canceling a Copenhagen visit over the rebuff.

Danes voiced disbelief at Trump’s decision to forgo the trip, although Frederiksen said she believed relations with the United States, a NATO ally, would not be affected.

Trump, who built his career as a businessman dealing in real estate, had mused openly in recent days about a U.S. purchase of Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory rich in natural resources, raising eyebrows in Europe and in the United States. Continue Reading →

NGS coal train operators will miss ‘best job in the world’ – by Krista Allen (Navajo Times – August 22, 2019)

DA’DEESTL’IN HÓTSAA and DZILYÍJIIN, Ariz. – When Thomas Long Jr.’s family asks him what he does for a living, he tells them, “I drive the train.”

“They think I drive a little train,” Long said, “but it’s a big train! It’s the best job in the world and it’s the best job I’ve ever had. That’s what I always say. That’s what we (employees at the Navajo Generating Station) say.”

Long, along with an assistant, operates locomotives on the Black Mesa and Lake Powell Railroad that hauls coal in hopper cars from Peabody Western Coal Company’s Kayenta Mine 78 miles to NGS near Page, Arizona. He works 10-hour shifts. Continue Reading →

GWYNNE DYER: Greenland’s gamble and modernization – by Gwynne Dyer (Cape Breton Post – August 20, 2019)

From his purchase of New Jersey casinos to his proposed acquisition of Greenland, Donald Trump’s real estate deals have always been plagued by bad timing. The United States could probably have bought Greenland from Denmark in 1917 (when it did buy the U.S. Virgin Islands from the Danes), but he’s a century too late now.

Nevertheless, his latest bad idea does give us an incentive to catch up with what’s been happening in Greenland, and it’s quite interesting. Trump may not know this, since he rarely reads intelligence reports, but in November 2017 Greenland’s premier Kim Kielsen led a government delegation to Beijing to seek Chinese investment.

Greenland, the world’s biggest island, is not yet fully independent, but it is autonomous from Denmark in everything except foreign affairs and defence. Kielsen was looking mainly for Chinese investment in mining enterprises, but he was also interested in attracting a Chinese bid to build three modern airports in the island, which currently depends on Second World War-era airstrips. Continue Reading →

4 Investigates: Abandoned uranium mines continue to threaten the Navajo Nation – by Colton Shone ( – August 19, 2019)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — There are hundreds of abandoned uranium mines scattered across the Navajo Nation.

The clean-up process has been slow for those who live right in the heart of them. For many, it’s been a decades-long fight for the removal of “hot dirt” and there’s still no real end in sight. Red Water Pond Road Community Association is home for Edith Hood. She and her family have lived there, a few miles east of Gallup, for generations.

“We had a medicine man living across the way,” she said. It’s a remote village on Navajo land surrounded by beauty and radioactive waste. There is tons of “hot dirt” left behind from the nearby abandoned Northeast Churchrock Uranium Mine and the abandoned Kerr-Mcgee Uranium Mine Complex. Continue Reading →

OPINION: Donald Trump is thinking of buying Greenland. That’s not necessarily a bad idea – by Barry Scott Zellen (Globe and Mail – August 19, 2019)

In the context of his broader foreign policy, U.S. President Donald Trump’s reported musing about purchasing Greenland from Denmark may not seem all that unnerving.

After all, the former real-estate magnate has already made bold diplomatic moves, such as developing a personal friendship with North Korea’s hitherto reclusive leader and negotiating with the Taliban for nearly a year to try to bring an end to the U.S.’s longest war.

Indeed, buying the island isn’t as wild an idea as it might first seem to some. It may in fact be an example of the U.S. President considering forward-looking, if complex, policy that might strengthen the continent and Greenland itself. Continue Reading →

Trump’s plan to buy Greenland, explained – by Matthew Yglesias ( – August 16, 2019)

He’s not even the first president who’s tried, but the island is not for sale.

President Donald Trump would like to buy Greenland, according to an entertaining Wall Street Journal collaboration by reporters Vivian Salama, Rebecca Ballhaus, Andrew Restuccia, and Michael C. Bender.

Specifically, they report that “in meetings, at dinners and in passing conversations, Mr. Trump has asked advisers whether the U.S. can acquire Greenland, listened with interest when they discuss its abundant resources and geopolitical importance and, according to two of the people, has asked his White House Counsel to look into the idea.”

They also report that “some of his advisers have supported the concept,” though others dismiss it as an unrealistic flight of fancy. The truth is that though it sounds kind of silly, it makes perfect sense if you happen to share Trump’s indifference to environmental issues and indigenous rights. Continue Reading →

Increased uranium mining proposal carries environmental concerns – by Calvin Cutler (News – August 13, 2019)

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OSHOTO, WYO. — A uranium mining company is looking to shift operations at their mine north of Moorecroft, Wyoming. Strata Energy, the US subsidiary of Australian Peninsula Energy is looking to ramp up operations at the Lance Projects.Strata hopes to bolster domestic uranium production.

The Lance Projects lie in Crook County. Inside the area are the Ross, Barber, and Kendrick projects. At the Ross Project, Strata Energy is in the process of testing a different type of uranium mining.

In Situ uranium mining allows companies to extract the product from the ground without digging an open pit. Strata recently shut down their alkaline leaching mines, and are focusing on their experimental acid leaching operation. They’re currently in the process of demonstrating to the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality that they can effectively conduct operations at the site without effecting the groundwater. Continue Reading →

Arizona copper mine ruling expected to have national impact (San Francisco Chronicle – August 13, 2019)

Associated Press – TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — A federal court ruling against a planned Arizona mining project is expected to have national repercussions if upheld by higher courts, experts said.

The mining industry has decried the ruling against the proposed $1.9 billion Rosemont Mine, The Arizona Daily Star reported .

The U.S. Forest Service’s approval of plans for the new copper mine in southeastern Arizona was overruled July 31 by U.S. District Court Judge James Soto. Conservation and tribal groups praised the ruling, saying it recognized the Forest Service’s failure to protect public land and resources. Continue Reading →

Idaho tribe sues mining company over pollution at idle site – by Keith Ridler (Associated Press/Times Union – August 9, 2019)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Nez Perce Tribe has filed a lawsuit to force a Canadian company to clean up an idle central Idaho mining area — which the company says it plans to do if it gets approval from U.S. officials to restart mining at the site.

The tribe contends in the federal lawsuit filed Thursday that British Columbia-based Midas Gold is illegally allowing arsenic, cyanide and mercury to remain in the area where the tribe has had hunting and fishing rights since an 1855 treaty with the U.S.

Midas Gold itself has never mined in the area about 40 miles (65 kilometers) east of McCall, but in the past decade has acquired existing mining claims and developed a plan it says will clean up the mess left by a century of mining by other companies. The tribe in the lawsuit said it’s time for the company to act. Continue Reading →

Trump’s quest to quit China’s rare earths hits outback Australia – by David Stringer (Bloomberg/Minneapolis Star Tribune – August 7, 2019)

The remote Outback region of northern Australia would seem an unlikely outpost in the simmering global trade war, but the mining hot spot may help solve a critical issue for the U.S. — the supply of rare earths.

Last October, two U.S. Geological Survey scientists visited a newly recognized type of rare earths deposit about 100 miles southeast of Halls Creek in Western Australia. Rare earths, a group of 17 vital elements needed in components for missile systems, consumer electronics and electric vehicles, have become a more important battleground after China signaled it may restrict shipments to the U.S.

“All of a sudden, you’ve got the U.S. government realizing they have a problem,” said George Bauk, chief executive officer of Northern Minerals Ltd., who has held talks in Washington and hosted the U.S. scientists at the company’s remote Browns Range project. Continue Reading →

China’s rare earth producers say they are ready to weaponise their supply stranglehold, pass any tariff as cost to US customers – by Eric Ng (South China Morning Post – August 7, 2019)

China’s rare earth producers, who control the lion’s share of the world’s output of the elements, said they are ready to use their dominance of the industry as a weapon in the country’s year-long trade war with their customers in the United States.

Chinese producers will pass any tariffs on their exports to customers, in a move that would almost certainly add to the cost of the magnets, motors, light-emitting diodes and hundreds of other devices, according to an industry guild that represents almost 300 miners, processors and manufacturers of rare earth-based products.

The industry “resolutely supports the nation’s counter measures against US import tariffs on Chinese products,” the Association of China Rare Earth Industry said in a statement yesterday citing the consensus from an August 5 meeting. “US consumers must shoulder the costs from US-imposed tariffs.” Continue Reading →

Deals by foreign buyers near $40-billion, set to eclipse last year’s pace – by Jeffrey Jones (Globe and Mail – August 6, 2019)

Acquisitions in Canada by foreign buyers are already approaching the dollar value for all of 2018, as confidence in the economy trumps rising global trade tension and a dearth of deals in the oil patch.

Deals announced in the first half of 2019 topped $39.3-billion, only slightly less than the $40.2-billion worth of deals in all of 2018, a year considered to have been brisk for deal-making by foreigners, according to figures from the law firm Torys LLP.

Based on announced transactions and those the firm knows are being discussed, it is shaping up to be a strong year, though it is too early to predict a record, said Cornell Wright, co-head of Torys’ mergers and acquisitions practice. Continue Reading →

Federal judge bars Rosemont Mine construction – by Tony Davis (Arizona Daily Star – Aug 1, 2019)

A federal judge stopped the planned Rosemont Mine in a ruling Wednesday evening, halting plans to start building the $1.9 billion project in August.

U.S. District Judge James Soto’s ruling in Tucson overturned the U.S. Forest Service’s 2017 decision approving the mine and its 2013 final environmental impact statement clearing the way for that approval.

His ruling, if it survives expected appeals to higher courts, would drive a stake into longstanding federal policies that say the Forest Service virtually can never say “no” to a mine if it would otherwise meet federal laws. It calls into legal question how the Forest Service has used the 1872 Mining Law to justify its approval of Rosemont — and by extension other mines on its land. Continue Reading →