Archive | United States Mining

Coal slump not impacting Navajo Mine, officials say – by Noel Lyn Smith (Farmington Daily Times – April 26, 2017)

NENAHNEZAD — Despite a nationwide slowdown in coal production and increased competition from inexpensive natural gas, the owners and the operators of Navajo Mine say they expect to continue doing business as usual.

Bisti Fuels Co., a subsidiary of the North American Coal Corp., has been operating the open-pit mine since Jan. 1, when it completed the transition in management from previous owners and operators, BHP Billiton.

The Navajo Transitional Energy Co., an enterprise of the Navajo Nation, purchased the mine and its equipment from BHP Billiton in 2013 and picked Bisti Fuels to run it. Among the plans to sustain coal mining operations, NTEC and Bisti Fuels are investing in new equipment and upgrading hardware. Continue Reading →

Fight softwood duties with U.S. coal shipment ban, premier urges – by Andrew Duffy and Lindsay Kines (Victoria Times Colonist – April 27, 2017)

If the United States refuses to come to the negotiating table, and the legal wrangling over the softwood lumber dispute drags on, Canada may want to consider retaliatory action, according to the man tasked with representing British Columbia in the matter.

A day after the U.S. imposed duties averaging 20 per cent on lumber shipments to the U.S, David Emerson, B.C.’s special trade envoy to the U.S., said there might be means of getting the Americans to move off their stance that Canada’s lumber industry is unfairly subsidized.

Asked if there’s anything beyond the legal route Canada could do to push for a negotiated settlement, Emerson suggested retaliation is an option. “There’s always a big debate as to whether a country wants to link one trade issue with another. It’s a slippery slope and while it often happens quietly and implicitly, very seldom is it done in an open and transparent way,” Emerson said. Continue Reading →

U.S. launches national security probe into aluminum imports – by David Lawder (Reuters U.S. – April 27, 2017)

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Commerce Department launched an investigation on Wednesday to determine whether a flood of aluminum imports from China and elsewhere was compromising U.S. national security, a step that could lead to broad import restrictions on the metal.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the investigation was similar to one announced last week for steel imports into the United States, invoking Section 232 of a national security law passed in 1962 at the height of the Cold War.

Ross told reporters the probe was prompted by the extreme competitive pressures that unfairly traded imports were putting on the U.S. aluminum industry, causing several domestic smelters to close or halt production in recent years. Continue Reading →

Freeport cuts copper production targets after Indonesia spat – by Neil Hume (Financial Times – April 25, 2017)

Freeport-McMoRan, the world’s largest publicly traded copper company, has cut its production forecasts following a stand-off with the Indonesian government stop exports from its Grasberg mine banned.

The Arizona-based miner company had previously expected to sell 4.1bn pounds of copper this year, a figure it has now revised to 3.9bn after Jakarta banned shipments from Grasberg, the world’s second biggest copper mine.

The new guidance was revealed in a trading update that saw Freeport report adjusted net income of $220m for the three months to the end of March, against a loss of $196m a year ago when commodity prices were much lower. Continue Reading →

Alcoa’s stock surges in its first full quarter as standalone company – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg/Globe and Mail – April 25, 2017)

Alcoa Corp.’s first full quarter as a standalone company vindicates investors’ faith and signals even better times may be ahead.

Profit excluding one-time items was 63 cents a share, New York-based Alcoa reported after the close of regular trading Monday, exceeding all seven estimates of analysts tracked by Bloomberg. Shares jumped as much as 7.1 per cent on Tuesday.

Shares have surged since the company separated from its jet– and car-parts business in November, helped by a jump in aluminum prices. Investors have also rewarded Alcoa for its thrift, as Chief Executive Officer Roy Harvey merges units and drives efforts to simplify operations. The results come as Arconic Inc., the downstream business that split from Alcoa, contends with a proxy battle fueled in part by concern over corporate spending. Continue Reading →

Alcoa Swaps New York for the City of Steel – by Joe Deaux (Bloomberg News – April 20, 2017)

Alcoa Corp. is giving up the glamour of New York City and going back to Pittsburgh, as new Chief Executive Officer Roy Harvey steps up efforts to streamline the aluminum maker.

Changing headquarters and closing seven locations across the U.S., Europe and Asia is part of a push to lower costs after the producer of the light-weight metal split from its jets- and auto-parts business last year. Alcoa called Pittsburgh, known as the steel city, home for decades until it moved to New York in 2006.

At an industry conference in February, Harvey said his key priorities for the company moving forward would sound like “apple pie and ice cream” to Americans in the audience: “simplify, simplify, simplify.” Continue Reading →

Blood on the Mountain: Blood on Their Hands – by Michael Berkowitz (Huffington Post – April 18, 2017)

Mari-Lynn Evans and Jordan Freeman’s “Blood on the Mountains” is a searing indictment of the coal industry’s war on the people of Appalachia. But beyond its story of regional devastation, this stirring documentary is a template of class struggle across America.

Evans and Freeman track the development of the coal industry, nicely framing the main issues and players as they roll out their woeful tale. In the late 19th century, cheap abundant coal fueled the United States’ industrial growth. Because this resource was located in rural areas, nascent coal companies were able to steer development.

They could structure every aspect of the companies’ composition and of their workers lives. Coal barons were able to shape this system in part because of the remoteness of mines from population centers and the failure of corrupt local and weak, remote federal governments. Continue Reading →

[Arizona Mining] Abandoned mines going unmarked; agencies pull support from GV group – by David Rookhuyzen (Green Valley New – April 9, 2017)

For nearly 30 years, an informal group of local desert rats has traipsed across Southern Arizona on a mission to find and mark dangerous abandoned mines. While that group is still around and eager to work, the government has backed off on its support, hampering efforts.

The Hazardous Abandoned Mine Finders, a group of nine men founded by Fred Fielder, has gone out nearly weekly since 1989 to pinpoint mine shafts across Pima, Santa Cruz and Cochise counties and erect warning signs. In nearly three decades, the Green Valley crew has posted about 10,000 signs at shafts that were once mining operations. They’ve marked up to 14 in one day, and in 1996, the group put up 667 signs.

“If you are out there and see one of these signs, the odds are 90 percent that we put that there,” according to Marlin White, the group’s current leader. Continue Reading →

Freeport Expects to Reach Indonesia Export Deal `Imminently’ – by Laura Millan Lombrana and Danielle Bochove (Bloomberg News – April 6, 2017)

(Bloomberg) — Freeport-McMoRan Inc. expects to have permits in place “imminently” to resume exports of semi-processed copper from Indonesia for the next six months, allowing the miner to focus on fleshing out a long-term agreement to stay in the country.

“We have been working with the government on this approach, but it has not yet been formally documented,” Chief Executive Officer Richard Adkerson said in an interview in Santiago on Wednesday. “We understand that’s to happen immediately and that there are no areas of controversy in the documentation.”

Indonesian authorities said on Tuesday they issued a mining license, that will allow Phoenix-based Freeport to resume exports of copper concentrates once the trade ministry signs off, which Adkerson said is a administrative matter that doesn’t involve additional negotiation. Continue Reading →

The burrowers: copper mine’s fate hints at light at the end of tunnel for Michigan – by Josh MacIvor-Andersen (The Guardian – April 5, 2017)

Greenland, Michigan – The old copper mine entrances dotting the hills of Michigan’s remote Keweenaw peninsula suggest a geological precariousness. It’s the balancing act of all that ancient basalt. You sense the testing of angles and weight.

The pushing of limits. You see the hubris in the dynamited tunnels braced with wooden support beams that seem impossibly feeble. The word “splintered” comes to mind if ever the ceilings were to fail.

At the cold mouth of this particular entrance, gouged into a hill in Greenland, Michigan, there is a robust, grille-like cage cemented into the opening’s circumference, slatted for the bats to go echolocate their dinners, yet stout enough to dissuade the local “copper rats” – the name given to human scavengers searching for mineral scraps to sell for quick cash. The gate is impressive, seemingly impenetrable. But Dave Sarazin, my guide, has the key. Continue Reading →

Tribes That Live Off Coal Hold Tight to Trump’s Promises – by Julie Turkewitz (New York Times – April 1, 2017)

CROW AGENCY, Mont. — The pale yellow halls of the Crow government building here are nearly empty these days, with 1,000 of this tribe’s 1,300 employees recently laid off.

Across the way, Rebecca Ten Bear Reed and her children have no running water. And past the nearby grassy hills, families live a dozen to a home, playgrounds have fallen to tatters and this tribe of roughly 13,000 people is now turning to President Trump’s promise to revive coal for its future.

“This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. Ever,” said the tribe’s chief executive, Paul Little Light, explaining that revenue had dwindled as the Crow’s main resource fell from favor. “A lot of people are not Trump fans here. Very few. But we would be his best friends if he brought back coal.” Continue Reading →

Canadian aluminum caught between China’s rise, U.S. protectionism – by Ian McGugan (Globe and Mail – April 1, 2017)

By his calculation, about 150,000 manufacturing jobs in the United States depend on imported Canadian aluminum. “Few people realize how connected and complementary the industries have become,” he says. “Both economies are very, very interlinked in terms of aluminum.”

Aluminum, one of the world’s more mundane metals, has suddenly turned into a dramatic case study in how global trade tensions can cast clouds of uncertainty over a swath of the Canadian economy.

Part of the challenge to Canadian manufacturers of the metal is nothing new. It consists of a seemingly endless wave of low-cost aluminum from Chinese smelters. Over the past decade, the Asian giant’s surging production has clobbered competitors around the world and dragged down prices of the metal by nearly a third.

But now, the relentless rise of Chinese aluminum is being met by a surge of protectionism, particularly in the United States. Continue Reading →

Environmental groups vow to fight Trump climate actions – by Tammy Webber (Detroit News – March 29, 2017)

ASSOCIATED PRESS – Chicago — Environmental groups that have hired scores of new lawyers in recent months are prepared to go to court to fight a sweeping executive order from President Donald Trump that eliminates many restrictions on fossil fuel production and would roll back his predecessor’s plans to curb global warming. But they said they’ll take their first battle to the court of public opinion.

Advocates said they plan to work together to mobilize a public backlash against an executive order signed by Trump on Tuesday that includes initiating a review of former President Barack Obama’s signature plan to restrict greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired power plants and lifting a 14-month-old moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands.

Trump, who has called global warming a “hoax” invented by the Chinese, said during his campaign that he would kill Obama’s climate plans and bring back coal jobs. Even so, “this is not what most people elected Trump to do; people support climate action,” said David Goldston, director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council, who said Trump’s actions are short-sighted and won’t bring back the jobs he promised. Continue Reading →

Trump all talk when it comes to return of coal – by Gwynne Dyer (London Free Press – March 30, 2017)

“My administration is putting an end to the war on coal,” said Donald Trump, surrounded by the usual gaggle of officials and (in this case) coal miners, as he put his supersized signature on the “energy independence” executive order. But coal is dying as a major energy source in the United States for reasons far beyond the reach of executive orders.

“The miners are coming back,” Trump boasted at a rally in Kentucky last week, but no less an authority than Robert Murray, founder and CEO of Murray Energy, the biggest U.S. coal company, promptly rained on his parade. “I suggested that (Trump) temper his expectations,” he said. “He can’t bring them back.”

Trump’s latest executive order is not just about coal, of course. It’s a frontal assault on all the Obama-era regulations aimed at curbing climate change. But while it will slow the decline in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, it will not have a major impact on global emissions. Continue Reading →

Trump signs order dismantling Obama-era climate policies – by Valerie Volcovici and Jeff Mason (Reuters U.S. – March 28, 2017)

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an order to undo Obama-era climate change regulations, keeping a campaign promise to support the coal industry and calling into question U.S. support for an international deal to fight global warming.

Flanked by coal miners and coal company executives, Trump proclaimed his “Energy Independence” executive order at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency. The move drew swift backlash from a coalition of 23 states and local governments, as well as environmental groups, which called the decree a threat to public health and vowed to fight it in court.

The order’s main target is former President Barack Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants – a key factor in the United States’ ability to meet its commitments under a climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015. Continue Reading →