Mark Carney ‘absolutely’ opposes oil divestment – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – January 15, 2020)

https://business.financialpost.com/

One of Fink’s sentences is worth repeating: “The technology does not
yet exist to cost-effectively replace many of today’s essential uses
of hydrocarbons.” It may be even more complicated than lack of
technology. Some scientists say the physics and essential properties
of energy production make any known fossil fuel substitutes — such
as wind and solar — unrealistic alternatives.

I have some welcome news for Canada’s fossil fuel industry. Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, soon to be the UN envoy on climate finance, will not be joining the fossil fuel divestment movement. “I absolutely disagree with divestment campaigns,” Carney said in an email to an FP Comment column reader in Calgary.

Carney’s categorical rejection of divestment clarifies what has appeared to some as the central banker’s ambiguous position on the global campaign to get investment firms, pension funds and other financial institutions to remove carbon-emitting energy corporations from their portfolios.

Many in Canada’s energy sector have expressed concerns about Carney’s views, which will play a key role in policy circles when he returns to Canada this year to take up his new UN role. Continue Reading →

UPDATE 1-Ecuador exports first copper concentrate from Chinese-owned Mirador mine – by Alexandra Valencia (Reuters Africa – January 16, 2020)

https://af.reuters.com/

QUITO, Jan 16 (Reuters) – Ecuador made its first export of 22,000 tonnes of copper concentrate from the Chinese-owned Mirador mine, the energy ministry said on Wednesday, marking a new milestone in the country’s effort to develop a large-scale mining industry.

Ecuador, an Andean country neighboring No. 2 copper producer Peru, has large mineral reserves but is only beginning to establish industrial-scale mining projects.

Mirador is run by Ecuacorriente, a subsidiary of the Chinese consortium CRCC-Tongguan, which has a 30-year concession. It started production in July 2019. Continue Reading →

Get ready for round two of gold’s cash-spinning rally – by Aoyon Ashraf (BNN/Bloomberg News – January 15, 2020)

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/

Gold’s blistering rally isn’t over, according to fund managers who see another leg up for the precious metal.

Lower-for-longer interest rates, a weaker U.S. dollar and the U.S. presidential election will provide multiple catalysts for gains, even as tentative trade peace breaks out between China and the U.S. Gold has surged by about a third since August 2018 and is up more than two per cent this year, hovering near the highest in almost seven years.

The price increase, combined with capital discipline among the larger miners, is generating a bonanza of free cash flow while mergers could spark share gains among smaller players, according to five precious metals fund managers interviewed by Bloomberg. Continue Reading →

Adani’s coal mine plans, and why coal is still so lucrative – by Jeannette Cwienk (Deutsche Welle – January 16, 2020)

https://www.dw.com/en/

According to the MCC, there are 256 coal-fired power plants with a
capacity of 246 gigawatts being built worldwide, as well as another
359 power plants with a capacity of 311 gigawatts in the planning phase.

Siemens’ support for Adani’s coal mine in Australia has outraged environmentalists, but it’s not a unique case. Hundreds of companies and countries around the world are planning to expand their coal activities. But why?

An estimated 500 tankers a year will travel back and forth between Australia and India in the future. Fully loaded with coal, they’ll sail right through the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef in the world, which is already under threat.

And that’s just one reason why environmental activists are outraged by Indian Adani Group’s plans for mining coal. Once completed, its Carmichael mine in the northeastern Australian state of Queensland will be one of the largest in the world, emitting 705 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere each year, according to climate protection alliance Fridays for Future. Continue Reading →

Exclusive: Bolivia’s new lithium tsar says country should go it alone – by Adam Jourdan (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

LA PAZ (Reuters) – The new chief of Bolivia’s state-owned lithium company YLB plans strict limits on foreign investment in extraction and processing of the white metal key to electric vehicle batteries, he told Reuters in his first interview with international media since taking the reins this month.

Juan Carlos Zuleta, a lithium expert who has worked in Chile and Bolivia, said a deal with a German firm that was aborted last year would remained shelved, while another with a Chinese partner was being reassessed.

“It is important for the international community to know that Bolivian law says lithium should be extracted and processed by Bolivians,” he said in an hour-long interview at YLB’s headquarter in La Paz. “Now we are here to comply with the law.” Continue Reading →

Pickering’s false alarm has raised false fears about nuclear power. The fallout from global warming is the bigger threat – by Martin Regg Cohn (Toronto Star – January 16, 2020)

https://www.thestar.com/

There’s every reason to find out why an emergency alert wrongly went out early Sunday over the Pickering nuclear plant. But a great deal of the alarmist rhetoric over that false alarm simply rings false.

Yes, the screw-up surely rattled many in the eastern GTA. Fear, followed by anger, was to be expected from families wondering if they had enough protective potassium iodide tablets on hand — even if the erroneous alert stressed no abnormal release of radioactivity in the unspecified “incident” that never was.

The reaction from residents was understandable. More predictable, perhaps, was the response from anti-nuclear critics who warned anyone awakened by Sunday morning’s alerts that it was a wake-up call of a higher order. Continue Reading →

South Africa’s mining production falls for a fourth month – by Tasneem Bulbulia (MiningWeekly.com – January 16, 2020)

http://www.miningweekly.com/

Mining production decreased by 3.1% year-on-year in November, data from Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) shows. In a statement, financial services provider Nedbank’s Economic Group Unit said this represented the fourth consecutive month of yearly decline, with non-gold activity remaining the main drag.

Stats SA data shows that the largest negative contributors to the decline were platinum group metals (PGMs) (-13.5% and contributing -3.6 percentage points); iron-ore (-7.5% and contributing -0.7 of a percentage point); and coal (-2.8% and contributing -0.7 of a percentage point).

Other nonmetallic minerals, however, made a significant positive contribution (20.5% and contributing 1.2 percentage points). Further, seasonally adjusted mining production decreased by 3.5% month-on-month in November. This followed month-on-month changes of 1.7% in October and 0.8% in September. Continue Reading →

China to buy rare earths from U.S. as part of trade pact – by Ernest Scheyder (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – China has agreed to buy two types of rare earth metals from the United States as part of an initial trade deal inked on Wednesday, a move likely to boost U.S. production of the strategic minerals.

The agreement, signed in Washington by Chinese Vice Premier Liu He and U.S. President Donald Trump, gives China two years to ramp up purchases of hundreds of U.S. products, including scandium and yttrium, two of the 17 rare earths commonly used in lighting and computers.

It was a surprising about-face for China, whose status as the top global producer of the specialized minerals used to make electronics, military weapons and other high-tech equipment was seen as giving it leverage in its trade war with Washington. Continue Reading →

Tesla in Talks to Buy Glencore Cobalt for Shanghai Car Plant – by Mark Burton and Thomas Biesheuvel (Bloomberg News – January 15, 2020)

https://ca.finance.yahoo.com/

(Bloomberg) — Glencore Plc is negotiating a long-term contract to ship cobalt to Tesla Inc.’s new electric-vehicle factory in Shanghai, according to people familiar with the matter.

A deal would help Tesla avoid a supply squeeze on the key battery metal as it pushes into the world’s largest car market, and mark a win for Glencore after a tough spell for its cobalt business.

Executives from both companies hammered out terms of the deal before an official ceremony to mark the first sales from the Shanghai plant earlier this month, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified discussing commercial negotiations. They declined to give details about the size and value of the supply deal. Continue Reading →

Will B.C.’s new UNDRIP law block the province’s natural gas megaproject? Good question – Editorial (Globe and Mail – January 16, 2020)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

In the Canadian Venn diagram of Indigenous reconciliation, resource development and climate change, British Columbia’s Coastal GasLink pipeline lands smack in the hot centre of three political issues.

After a long period of debate and negotiation, major construction on the pipeline is set to begin this summer. There may, however, be one final roadblock: The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

B.C. last year became the first province to enshrine UNDRIP into law. At the federal level, the Trudeau government plans to do the same. That is even though it remains unclear exactly what UNDRIP means, and how it may change Canadian law. The document pledges governments to secure the “free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous people in a number of situations, including before giving the green light to resource projects. Continue Reading →

Barrick Gold forges ahead on Papua New Guinea mine in face of local backlash – by Jeff Lewis and Melanie Burton (Reuters U.S. – Janaury 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Barrick Gold Corp is set to elevate its troubled Papua New Guinea mine to its top-tier assets, despite landowner and government demands to cede a larger stake and deteriorating security at the joint venture with China’s Zijin Mining.

With a 20-year lease renewal application in the balance, Barrick has faced backlash from Papua New Guinea (PNG) landowners and residents. Critics say the Porgera mine has polluted the water supply and created other environmental and social problems, with minimal economic returns for locals.

Seven people have died at the Porgera mine since September, including three so-called illegal miners last month in clashes that prompted Barrick’s local entity to appeal for government intervention. Continue Reading →

Minnesota court rejects major permits for PolyMet mine – by Steve Karnowski (Washington Post – January 13, 2020)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/

Associated Press – ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Monday rejected some of the most important permits for the planned PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota, giving a major victory to environmentalists.

A three-judge panel ruled that the state Department of Natural Resources erred when it declined to order a proceeding known as a “contested case hearing” to gather more information on the potential environmental impacts from the mine. The court also said the agency erred when it issued PolyMet’s permit to mine without imposing a fixed term on that permit.

So the court sent the dispute back to the DNR with orders to conduct the potentially lengthy hearing, during which an administrative law judge would take testimony and sort out conflicting evidence. Continue Reading →

What is artisanal gold and why is it booming? (Reuters U.S. – January 15, 2020)

https://www.reuters.com/

(Reuters) – A rapid rise in the price of gold since 2000 has driven millions of people to deposits in Africa, South America and elsewhere where they dig for gold using basic technology.

Such informal digging – known as artisanal or small-scale mining (ASM) – has been around for centuries, and gold offers cash to communities that may lack alternatives. There are now around 15-20 million artisanal miners, and millions more depend on them, Delve, a global platform for ASM data, estimates.

More and more people are trying to bring this fast-growing trade into the formal economy. But it has generated toxic waste and fed labor abuses, organized crime and prostitution, according to groups including the United Nations and the OECD. Continue Reading →

Joe Biden Thinks Coal Miners Should Learn to Code. A Real Just Transition Demands Far More. – by Mindy Isser (InTheseTimes.com – January 15, 2020)

https://inthesetimes.com

As of 2016, there were only 50,000 coal miners in the United States, and yet they occupy so much of our political imagination and conversation around jobs, unions and climate change. During the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump ran on bringing coal jobs back to the United States, and Joe Biden said on December 30 that miners should learn to code, as those are the “jobs of the future.” His comments, made to a crowd in Derry, New Hampshire, were reportedly met with silence.

While coal miners aren’t the only workers in our society, coal miners’ voices do matter, and we can’t leave anyone behind. And it’s clear that they are hurting, a point illustrated by the coal miners currently blocking a train carrying coal in eastern Kentucky, demanding back pay from Quest Energy.

The coal industry is in decline, and mining jobs are disappearing. And the science shows that the vast majority of coal needs to stay in the ground if we want to have a shot at stemming climate change. But does that mean miners need to learn to code in order to earn a living? Coding isn’t necessarily bad or unimportant, and it could potentially be one of many retraining opportunities. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-China’s commodity appetite robust in 2019, undimmed by trade dispute – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.K. – Janaury 14, 2020)

https://uk.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Jan 14 (Reuters) – China’s imports of major commodities ended last year with a bang, with strong gains showing the appetite of the world’s largest importer of natural resources remains robust despite the trade dispute with the United States.

The exception was coal, but December’s paltry imports of the polluting fuel were the result of cargoes not being cleared by customs in response to Beijing’s wishes to put a cap on purchases from overseas.

Once again the standout was crude oil, with December imports coming in at 10.78 million barrels per day (bpd), down slightly from November’s record 11.13 million bpd. The total for the year was 10.2 million bpd, up 9.5% from 2018 and the 17th straight year that annual imports have set a record high. Continue Reading →