Archive | United States Mining

Freeport Indonesia copper mine access to resume after clashes – by Sam Wanda (Reuters U.S. – August 20, 2017)

TIMIKA, Indonesia (Reuters) – Limited access to the giant Grasberg copper mine in eastern Indonesia is expected to resume on Monday, its operator said, after hundreds of former workers blockaded the site and clashed with police.

Trouble erupted at the mine, which is operated by the Indonesian unit of Freeport McMoRan Inc, during a demonstration over employment terms on Saturday afternoon.

Three former workers were injured after police fired tear gas and warning shots to disperse the blockade, according to a union official representing the ex-workers. Freeport said at least four contractors were also injured. Continue Reading →

Artists, hippies, miners — Patagonia divided over hamlet’s economic future – by Lucas Waldron (Arizona Daily Star – August 13, 2017)

Patagonia has one bar, one coffee shop, one gas station. And customers at nearly all of them are divided between those in favor of a new mining project in this tiny southeastern-Arizona town and those against it.

Roughly half of Patagonia’s 900 residents support Arizona Mining Inc., a Canadian company that recently bought land near town for exploratory drilling. The rest oppose the mining company, seeking to preserve the region’s unique rare wildlife and steer the economy away from mineral extraction and toward environmental restoration.

Arizona Mining Inc. has vowed to create an estimated 500 jobs through a mine it plans to have up and running in 2020. In July, the company predicted the mine will extract 10,000 tons of minerals per day and could be viable for eight years. Continue Reading →

Cash-rich Newmont Mining mulls boosting dividend as peers pursue debt reduction – by Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – August 9, 2017)

TORONTO (Reuters) – With a plump $3.1 billion pile of cash, Newmont Mining Corp is mulling a sweeter dividend to attract a broader shareholder base, a move that makes it an outlier in the still recovering gold sector.

Although miners are no longer crippled by expansion-fueled debt loads, the priority for their cash is building and expanding mines to replace depleting gold reserves, and further reducing debt. Dividend increases are not on their immediate horizon, making Newmont, which has said it was considering doing so, stand out.

Like other producers, Newmont is also investing in expansion projects, but with the fattest purse among gold producers and no debt due until 2019, the Colorado-based miner may have excess cash to return to shareholders. Continue Reading →

Trump Moves to Increase Subsidy for Coal Mining on Federal Lands – by Eric Levitz (New York Magazine – August 7, 2017)

Donald Trump appears to set regulatory policy on a kind of reverse-utilitarian calculus, working diligently to do the greatest good for the smallest number. With the help of the congressional GOP, the president has made it easier for coal companies to dump mining waste in streams; given financial advisers the right to scam their clients; and made companies that routinely abuse their workers eligible for federal contracts again.

But with its latest deregulatory endeavor, the Trump administration has taken this governing philosophy to new heights: The White House appears to have found a way to put the profit margins of select coal companies ahead of not merely environmental conservation, climate sustainability, and federal taxpayers, but also coal miners in Appalachia.

Early in his tenure, Trump reversed the Obama administration’s moratorium on leasing federal lands to coal companies, and canceled its proposed study on the environmental impacts of the coal industry. But Trump’s Interior Department doesn’t merely want the public to blindly absorb the environmental costs of fossil-fuel extraction on public lands — it also wants us to subsidize the financial costs of such activity. Continue Reading →

Ukraine Coal Exports Part of Trump Bid to Counter Russia – by Ari Natter (Bloomberg News – August 1, 2017)

(Bloomberg) — A Pennsylvania company will send 700,000 tons of coal to Ukraine in a deal the administration of President Donald Trump heralded as an important tool to undercut the power Russia has over its European neighbors.

While Trump has pledged to improve ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, his administration says it’s trying to use more U.S. exports of coal, natural gas and oil to curtail Putin’s sway with Russian natural resources. Ukraine had been reliant on Russia for much of its oil and gas, and its domestic thermal coal supply collapsed because much comes from the rebel-controlled eastern part of the nation.

“In recent years, Kiev and much of Eastern Europe have been reliant on and beholden to Russia to keep the heat on,” Energy Secretary Rick Perry said in a statement announcing the coal-export deal. “That changes now. The United States can offer Ukraine an alternative, and today we are pleased to announce that we will.” Continue Reading →

Future of US mining: House minerals subcommittee looking for ideas to foster domestic mining – by Shane Lasley (North of 60 Mining News – July 2017)

U.S. House Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources sought input on how to foster a more robust domestic mining sector during a July 20 hearing, “Seeking Innovative Solutions for the Future of Hardrock Mining.”

“Hardrock mining on federal land in the United States has a storied past, a challenging present and multiple needs for reform,” Subcommittee Chairman Paul Gosar, R-Arizona, said. “From rocks to roads, rare earths to green technologies, and iron ore to wind farms, all infrastructure projects rely upon a mining operation.”

While everybody at the hearing agreed that the domestic mining sector is in need of reform, there were vastly different views about what needs to be done. Rep. Alan Lowenthal, D-California, ranking member of the subcommittee, made the case for modernizing the Mining Law of 1872, suggesting this law that allows the staking of mining claims on federal lands is outdated. Continue Reading →

U.S. coal exports soar, in boost to Trump energy agenda, data shows – by Timothy Gardner and Nina Chestney (Reuters U.S. – July 28, 2017)

WASHINGTON/LONDON (Reuters) – U.S. coal exports have jumped more than 60 percent this year due to soaring demand from Europe and Asia, according to a Reuters review of government data, allowing President Donald Trump’s administration to claim that efforts to revive the battered industry are working.

The increased shipments came as the European Union and other U.S. allies heaped criticism on the Trump administration for its rejection of the Paris Climate Accord, a deal agreed by nearly 200 countries to cut carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels like coal.

The previously unpublished figures provided to Reuters by the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed exports of the fuel from January through May totaled 36.79 million tons, up 60.3 percent from 22.94 million tons in the same period in 2016. While reflecting a bounce from 2016, the shipments remained well-below volumes recorded in equivalent periods the previous five years. Continue Reading →

Trump’s Already Spooking Buyers of Foreign Steel, Cliffs Says – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – July 27, 2017)

President Donald Trump’s pledge to safeguard U.S. steelmakers from cheap overseas shipments is already working even as hopes fade of an imminent announcement of measures.

At least that’s what Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. Chief Executive Officer Lourenco Goncalves says is happening as buyers shy away from imported steel in case the White House hands down restrictions that would invoke retroactive penalties. The ensuing increase in demand for domestic metal is allowing U.S. producers to push up prices, he said in a telephone interview.

“We are seeing that happening right now,” said Goncalves, whose company sells iron ore to U.S. mills. “Right now there’s a lot of people who are scared.” Continue Reading →

Dear President Trump, Afghanistan’s Minerals Aren’t Very Valuable, They’re Really Not – by Tim Worstall (Forbes Magazine – July 27, 2017)

This is almost amusing actually, Donald Trump is reported, in the New York Times, as thinking that Afghanistan’s valuable mineral deposits might be a good reason for the US to stay in that country. The humour here coming from the role of the New York Times in misreporting the value of the minerals in Afghanistan some 7 years ago. True, they weren’t the original source but they certainly propagated the mistake enthusiastically.

The point being that there are a lot of rocks in Afghanistan, those rocks contain metals and if the metals were out of the rocks and out of Afghanistan then they’d be valuable. But they’re not out and out, the metals are still in the rocks in Afghanistan and thus aren’t valuable. As we can tell from the fact that no one is lining up to pay for them.

Thus the idea that the US should stay there in order to aid in exploiting this value doesn’t really work out, there’s no value to be exploiting. This is the bit the NY Times just doesn’t get: Continue Reading →

Millions of Orchids Are Blooming in an Abandoned Iron Mine – by Michelle Z. Donahue (National Geographic – May 12, 2016)

The plants are thriving in a wetland that sprang up after the mine was shuttered in the 1970s.

A vacationer heading to Lake Placid on State Route 3 could be forgiven for barely glancing at a group of dilapidated buildings on the way through Star Lake, New York. Those structures are all that remain of what was once the world’s largest open-pit iron mine.

But hidden in a wooded marsh directly across the street, curious road trippers would find an even more startling deposit: Millions of orchids have been thriving for over 60 years on the blighted industrial waste site.

The colorful flowers are growing atop a wetland that formed at the base of a pile of tailings—crushed rock left over when iron ore is extracted from its surroundings. As part of her research, graduate student Grete Bader tallied up the plants within 20 predefined plots, and her work suggests wildflowers now cover the hundred-acre wetland. Continue Reading →

Freeport stock soars 15 percent on copper prices, permit progress – by Susan Taylor (Reuters U.S. – July 25, 2017)

TORONTO (Reuters) – Freeport-McMoRan Inc shares jumped to a 16-month high on Tuesday, as soaring metal prices and progress in a long-running, costly permit dispute with Indonesia buoyed the world’s biggest publicly traded copper miner.

Investors brushed aside quarterly results and full-year forecasts that were short of expectations, focusing instead on a two-year high for copper prices and Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson’s confidence in securing a new mining agreement by October for Freeport’s giant Grasberg mine.

Freeport’s stock surged nearly 15 percent on the New York Stock Exchange by mid-day Tuesday, making it the top performer on the S&P 500 Index as it outpaced gains by fellow copper miners. Continue Reading →

Trump Finds Reason for the U.S. to Remain in Afghanistan: Minerals – by Mark Landler and James Risen (New York Times – July 25, 2017)

WASHINGTON — President Trump, searching for a reason to keep the United States in Afghanistan after 16 years of war, has latched on to a prospect that tantalized previous administrations: Afghanistan’s vast mineral wealth, which his advisers and Afghan officials have told him could be profitably extracted by Western companies.

Mr. Trump has discussed the country’s mineral deposits with President Ashraf Ghani, who promoted mining as an economic opportunity in one of their first conversations. Mr. Trump, who is deeply skeptical about sending more American troops to Afghanistan, has suggested that this could be one justification for the United States to stay engaged in the country.

To explore the possibilities, the White House is considering sending an envoy to Afghanistan to meet with mining officials. Last week, as the White House fell into an increasingly fractious debate over Afghanistan policy, three of Mr. Trump’s senior aides met with a chemical executive, Michael N. Silver, to discuss the potential for extracting rare-earth minerals. Mr. Silver’s firm, American Elements, specializes in these minerals, which are used in a range of high-tech products. Continue Reading →

Trump’s Coal Revival Vow Emboldens Miners to Shun Career Change – by Daniel Flatley (July 20, 2017)

Retraining reticence for in-demand health care jobs is part economic and part cultural

West Virginia is so strongly associated with coal that the state flag features a miner with pickax over his shoulder. A nurse with a stethoscope might be more fitting.

Last year, WVU Medicine, a network of hospitals under the state’s flagship public university, dethroned Wal-Mart Stores Inc. as the top employer. What’s more, six out of the top 10 employers in the state were hospitals and health-care providers. Murray American Energy Inc., a large coal company operating in the region, dropped to 15th place from sixth.

That same story is told another way with labor-market data. Mining jobs in the state fell by 25 percent between 2012 and 2016. At the same time, West Virginia health-care jobs have been mushrooming, and account for one of every five private-sector positions in the state, according to the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy, a research group. Continue Reading →

Indonesia’s Neverending Freeport-McMoRan Saga – by Nithin Coca (The Diplomat – July 20, 2017)

The 50-year relationship between Indonesia and its largest taxpayer comes under scrutiny.

The drama started nearly two years ago, when Setya Novanto, the speaker of the Indonesian Parliament, was forced to resign after being caught trying to extort U.S. mining giant Freeport McMoRan, which was looking to extend its contract in Indonesia.

Things heated up again earlier this year, when, alongside nationalist-tinged protests, it looked like Freeport was on its way out. Then, unexpectedly, a deal seemed to be reached. It was too good to be true, and again, today, the situation is unsure. After years of on-again, off-again negotiations between the Indonesian government and its largest taxpayer and longtime partner, things look stuck right where they started, with both sides intransigent and blaming the other.

The relationship between Freeport, Indonesia, and the restive West Papua region where most of Freeport’s mines are located gives a glimpse into the development policies of Southeast Asia’s biggest country, and the still-ongoing challenge of moving on from the brutal legacy of resource extraction and militarism of the Suharto era. Continue Reading →

This CEO Wants Trump to Nationalize the Only Rare-Earth Mine in America – by Sally Bakewell and Steven Church (Bloomberg News – July 18, 2017)

The head of an advanced-materials manufacturer said he met with President Donald Trump’s chief strategist, Steve Bannon, on Monday to persuade him that the U.S. should nationalize the country’s only mine of rare earth minerals, which are used in military applications.

“The staff understood the urgency of the matter,” Michael Silver, chief executive officer of closely held American Elements Corp., said in a phone interview after his White House meeting, which he said was also attended by presidential deputy assistant Sebastian Gorka and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

The rare-earth mining operations in Mountain Pass, California, the last remaining assets of bankrupt Molycorp Inc., were bought in June by a group that drew objections from rival bidders, who said the winner has ties to the Chinese government. Continue Reading →