Climate crusaders have got lost in space – by Peter Foster (Financial Post – August 18, 2017)

http://business.financialpost.com/

Climate derangement has claimed another celebrity astrophysicist. Last month, Stephen Hawking, author of A Brief History of Time, declared that Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris agreement meant that earth could become like Venus, where it rains sulphuric acid and temperatures reach 250 C.

Now Neil DeGrasse Tyson, “science communicator” and host of the 2014 TV series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, has claimed that climate science is as certain and predictable as next week’s solar eclipse. DeGrasse Tyson tweeted: “Odd. No one is in denial of America’s Aug 21 total solar eclipse. Like Climate Change, methods & tools of science predict it.”

With regards to Hawking’s claim, Roy Spencer, a climate specialist at the University of Alabama, pointed out that Venus had 93 times as much atmosphere and 22,000 times as much carbon dioxide as earth, so we shouldn’t be too worried about it raining acid any time soon. Whatever Donald Trump’s flaws, he’s not threatening to repeal the laws of physics and chemistry. Continue Reading →

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

https://www.reuters.com/

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 →

FMG profits surge, Andrew Forrest books $445m in dividends as iron ore bounces back – by Graeme Powell (Australian Broadcasting Corportation – August 20, 2017)

http://www.abc.net.au/

Mining entrepreneur Andrew ‘Twiggy’ Forrest has pocketed a $445 million dividend cheque after his company Fortescue Metals Group posted a more than 100 per cent net profit jump on the back of stronger than expected iron ore prices.

Australia’s third-largest iron ore producer released its full year figures to the market this morning and reported a net profit of $US2.1 billion ($2.6 billion) — up 112 per cent on last year. The Perth-based company also reported a 19 per cent rise in revenue after shipping 170 million tonnes of iron ore for the year.

Fortescue chief executive Nev Power said the strong results reflected higher iron ore prices and a relentless drive to lower production costs. Continue Reading →

Electrifying everything: After electric cars, what more will it take for batteries to change the face of energy? (The Economist – August 12, 2017)

https://www.economist.com/

No need for subsidies. Higher volumes and better chemistry are causing costs to plummet

ABOUT three-quarters of the way along one of the snaking production lines in Nissan’s Sunderland plant, a worker bolts fuel tanks into the chassis of countless Qashqais—the “urban crossover” SUVs which are the bulk of the factory’s output. But every so often something else passes along the line: an electric vehicle called a Leaf.

The fuel-tank bolter changes his rhythm to add a set of lithium-ion battery packs to the floor of the Leaf. His movements are so well choreographed with the swishing robotic arms around him that he makes the shift from the internal combustion engine to the battery-charged electric vehicle look almost seamless.

Until recently, it was a transition that many found unthinkable. The internal combustion engine has been the main way of powering vehicles on land and at sea for most of the past century. That is quite the head start. Though Leafs are the world’s biggest-selling electric vehicle, the Sunderland plant, Britain’s biggest car factory, only made 17,500 of them last year. It made 310,000 Qashqais. And the Qashqais, unlike the Leafs, were profitable. Nissan has so far lost money on every Leaf it has made. Continue Reading →

Electric cars: The death of the internal combustion engine (The Economist – August 12, 2017)

https://www.economist.com/

“HUMAN inventiveness…has still not found a mechanical process to replace horses as the propulsion for vehicles,” lamented Le Petit Journal, a French newspaper, in December 1893. Its answer was to organise the Paris-Rouen race for horseless carriages, held the following July.

The 102 entrants included vehicles powered by steam, petrol, electricity, compressed air and hydraulics. Only 21 qualified for the 126km (78-mile) race, which attracted huge crowds. The clear winner was the internal combustion engine. Over the next century it would go on to power industry and change the world.

But its days are numbered. Rapid gains in battery technology favour electric motors instead (see Briefing). In Paris in 1894 not a single electric car made it to the starting line, partly because they needed battery-replacement stations every 30km or so. Today’s electric cars, powered by lithium-ion batteries, can do much better. The Chevy Bolt has a range of 383km; Tesla fans recently drove a Model S more than 1,000km on a single charge. Continue Reading →

Zinc on a bullish tear but just how high can it go? – by Andy Home (Reuters U.S. – August 21, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LONDON (Reuters) – Zinc on Monday morning hit a fresh decade high of $3,180.50 per tonne on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Zinc bulls have been waiting a long, long time for this moment. A slow-fuse narrative of a looming supply crunch has been simmering for years but has finally burst into explosive price action.

True, London zinc has been given a helping hand from Shanghai, where speculative froth seems to have spilled over from the iron ore and steel markets to the base metals complex.

And also true, a supply-side response to high zinc prices is already starting to build with old mines such as Thalanga in Australia being brought back out of mothballs and speculation mounting as to how long Swiss producer and trader Glencore will wait before reversing the production cuts it announced in 2015. Continue Reading →

World’s top 10 silver mines – by Vladimir Basov (Mining.com – August 20, 2017)

http://www.mining.com/

Often silver is outshone by gold, with most market participants paying attention to the yellow metal. At the same time, silver has many characteristics that makes the precious metal an attractive commodity and irreplaceable component in many applications – particularly for industry-related companies and their investors.

Silver boasts a multitude of properties that make it unique, including its strength, malleability and ductility, its electrical and thermal conductivity, its sensitivity to and high light reflectance, and its ability to endure extreme temperature ranges. Silver’s remarkable properties restrict its substitution in most applications.

Silver is used in the jewellery, electronics and electrical industries, energy, automotive as well as in medicine and optics. Silver is also an important investment instrument. Continue Reading →

“Major step forward,” says Ring of Fire developer: Noront looks to use north-south for chromite shipments – Staff (Northern Ontario Business – August 21, 2017)

https://www.northernontariobusiness.com/

The lead Ring of Fire mine developer is pleased with the Ontario government tabling a road plan to reach the deposits in the undeveloped James Bay mineral belt. “Today’s announcement by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Chiefs of Webequie, Marten Falls and Nibinamik First Nations is a major step forward that will re-energize development of the Ring of Fire region,” said Noront Resources president-CEO Alan Coutts in an Aug. 21 news release.

“Construction of all-season industrial and community access roads is one of the key things we’ve been working toward with the government and our First Nation partners. I am very pleased to see it moving forward.”

Noront officials were in Thunder Bay to attend the announcement by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Chiefs of Marten Falls, Webequie and Nibiminik First Nations, and the government’s commitment to providing funding for two industry and community road proposals to reach the Ring of Fire mineral belt. Continue Reading →

A Cosmic Theory and 2-Inch Lump of Gold Spur 500% Novo Surge – by Natalie Obiko Pearson (Bloomberg News – August 21, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

Quinton Todd Hennigh has spent 13 years scouring the Earth for clues to back a hunch: that the world’s biggest gold resource has lost siblings elsewhere on the planet.

Now the president of Novo Resources Corp. thinks he may have found a counterpart of South Africa’s Witwatersrand in the ancient red rocks near Australia’s northwest coast. In July, his company zeroed in on a gold find that’s confounded geologists and sparked a 500 percent surge in the explorer’s share price.

The first test on land south of the coastal town of Karratha looked good. Employing two men, a metal detector and a jack hammer, Vancouver-based Novo extracted gold nuggets as long as 4 centimeters (1.6 inches) from an exploration “trench” little more than a half-meter deep. That tiny sample hinted at ore grades that could be among the highest of any operating mine in the world. Continue Reading →

Funds to Go for BHP’s Jugular If Miner Doesn’t Deliver Goods – by David Stringer (Bloomberg News – August 20, 2017)

https://www.bloomberg.com/

BHP Billiton Ltd.’s truce with activist investors led by billionaire Paul Singer won’t last long if the world’s biggest mining company doesn’t pump up returns and deliver on strategic reform in the wake of its expected bumper profit report this week.

The naming in June of BHP’s youngest director Ken MacKenzie, 53, as chairman from next month has helped soothe disgruntled shareholders including Singer’s Elliott Management Corp., while continued demand growth in China for iron ore to coal is boosting prices, swelling earnings’ forecasts and raising expectations for higher payouts.

“They’ve got the most breathing space they’ve had in a long time,” Peter O’Connor, a Sydney-based analyst with Shaw and Partners Ltd., said by phone. “But if they mess up, the activists are going to be back on their jugular.” Continue Reading →

Vale reviewing Voisey’s Bay – by Staff (Sudbury Star – August 21, 2017)

http://www.thesudburystar.com/

Another of Vale Canada’s nickel operations in Canada is under review. CBC News is reporting that Vale’s plans to extend the life of the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in northern Labrador by moving operations underground are on hold.

Vale said a depressed market has led to a review of all projects, including Voisey’s Bay underground. “The nickel price has been depressed for some time now with no immediate or short-term relief in sight,” wrote Vale spokesperson Cory McPhee in an email to CBC News.

“During this period we are not approving any new project contracts.” Last month, Vale said it would seek out fresh copper mining options and stop expanding nickel production capacity after its second-quarter net income plunged on forex losses, rising costs and weaker iron ore prices. Continue Reading →

RPT-COLUMN-Coal price surge justified by China’s dynamics, for now – by Clyde Russell (Reuters U.S. – August 21, 2017)

https://www.reuters.com/

LAUNCESTON, Australia, Aug 21 (Reuters) – How much of the current surge in thermal coal prices in Asia is because of a fundamental shift in the supply-demand balance, and how much is down to speculative froth? This is a question often asked when a commodity experiences a strong gain – or drop – in price, especially when the fundamentals don’t appear to have shifted that much, at least on a casual view.

Virtually everybody in the coal industry can agree that the strong performance in seaborne thermal coal this year is being driven by market dynamics in top importer China. What’s harder to work out is whether this rally will run out of steam or whether there has been a structural change in the market.

The argument for a structural change in China is quite compelling. It goes a long way toward justifying some of the explosive 43.2 percent rally in spot cargoes from Australia’s Newcastle port in the past three months. Continue Reading →

NORONT NEWS RELEASE: PROVINCE OF ONTARIO TO FUND RING OF FIRE ROAD PROPOSALS LED BY MARTEN FALLS, WEBEQUIE AND NIBIMINIK FIRST NATIONS

http://norontresources.com/

TORONTO, ONTARIO—August 21, 2017—Noront Resources Ltd. (“Noront”) (TSX Venture: NOT) participated in a joint announcement today by Premier Kathleen Wynne and the Chiefs of Marten Falls, Webequie and Nibiminik First Nations, which formally committed provincial funding to two First Nations road proposals that will provide community and industrial access to the Ring of Fire Mining District.

Road Proposals

The provincial government agreed to support and fund the following road proposals which will connect First Nation communities to the Ring of Fire:

•An east-west road connecting Webequie and Nibinamik First Nations to the provincial highway network north of Pickle Lake (the “East-West Road”). This road will continue from the Community of Webequie to the Ring of Fire.
•A north-south community access road is being planned for construction by the Marten Falls First Nation with an option to expand the road to the Ring of Fire to support the development of chromite mining (the “North – South Road”). Continue Reading →

News Release: Ontario and First Nations Moving Ahead With Road to Ring of Fire (August 21, 2017)

Province Supporting First Nations Proposal to Build All-Season Access Road

Ontario is taking an important next step toward developing the Ring of Fire, working with Webequie, Marten Falls and Nibinamik First Nations to plan and construct a year-round access road into the proposed mining development site being pursued by Noront Resources Ltd. As part of this project, the province is also working with First Nations to build all-season access roads to their communities.

 

Premier Kathleen Wynne was in Thunder Bay today with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle, to announce that Ontario will support First Nations to plan and construct an east-west road connecting the Webequie and Nibinamik communities to the provincial highway network north of Pickle Lake. This project would provide all-season access to both First Nations communities as well as into the Ring of Fire development.

The province is also supporting Marten Falls First Nation to plan and construct an access road connecting the community to the existing provincial highway network at Aroland/Nakina. Communities are working to begin environmental assessments of these projects by January 2018 and plan to begin construction in 2019, pending all necessary approvals. Continue Reading →

Historicist: The Man the Rocks Talked To: A.P. Coleman uncovered Toronto’s prehistory, among other adventures – by Dennis Duffy (Torontoist.com – August 19, 2017)

http://torontoist.com/

Such a map as Coleman’s (and he drew many such, across Canada and elsewhere as he
took his geology students along on summer expeditions) was more than a guide to the
origins of the Sudbury Big Nickel that you can spy from the Trans-Canada. It helped
provide the kickoff for the exploitation of Northern Ontario’s mineral—as opposed
to timber—resources. It also promoted the growth of Bay Street, which has done so
much to reshape Ontario’s image and boost Toronto’s takeoff toward its present
position in the financial and commercial life of the country.

If you’re at the Evergreen Brick Works Market in the Don Valley, walk north along some 200 yards of lovingly created wetland. When you’ve gone about 50 yards past that, you will be on a little rise. Look behind over your shoulder for a view of the downtown skyline.

Then keep on walking until you get to a little cul-de-sac and look at the cliff face that you have been staring ahead at for the last while. It is overgrown. The small plaque in front of you states that you are facing one of the oldest geological formations in the Toronto region and that it was first “discovered” (let’s be more precise and call it “labelled”) in the 1890s by geologist A.P. Coleman (April 4, 1852–February 26, 1939), a scientist and public intellectual of great renown in his day and a figure still dimly remembered now. Coleman’s work on the traces of the last great ice age (the Pleistocene) enable us to view the Brick Works park within the broad perspective of the long history of our city. Continue Reading →