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News round-up in mining for climate tech #45
Might as well start numbering these mining news nuggets. In this one: US mines, activism in Ecuador, seabed mining, and *lodes* of reads.
Climate goes Metal
The US approved another mine for fast-tracked permitting under an infrastructure law, claiming its manganese and zinc will be useful for climate technologies.
The federal technical group that rejected the Pebble Mine in Alaska says it will reconsider some parts of the company’s proposals, even though a different decision won’t override the EPA’s rejection.
A court in Ecuador stripped a copper miner of a license, ruling that it had infringed on the rights of nature and communities’ right to consultation.
Despite a lot of conversation about expanding mining, a consultancy said many companies are opting to return money to shareholders rather than build new mines.
Vietnam has seen renewed interest in its rare earth elements reserves, which are among the world’s largest at half the size of China’s.
Indonesia has become the world’s second largest cobalt producer.
The board of third-largest gold miner Newcrest backed a takeover offer from the largest gold miner, Newmont.
An Indigenous group is reporting threats of violence as a company begins to build a potash mine.
Another major investor in deep-sea mining, shipping company Maersk, is selling its shares in seabed miner The Metals Company and getting out of the industry.
An Indigenous activist in Ecuador was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for her efforts to fight illegal and legal gold mining.
The private sector is worried about Chile’s plans to take some state control of lithium operations.
'Top uranium producer Kazakhstan’s Kazatomprom plans to develop a deposit of beryllium, niobium, and tantalum.
Malaysia granted Australian rare-earth processor Lynas an extension to fulfilling environmental requirements.
New Zealand’s environment minister opened an inquiry on mining the country’s seabed.
Glencore and Li-Cycle unveiled plans for Europe’s largest battery recycling plant, a repurposed zinc-lead processor in Italy.
A civil society report suggested that predictions of skyrocketing demand for minerals could lead Australia to mine too much material.
NGOs focused on private sector corruption raised concerns that mining companies could have too much power over ReSource, an initiative to track minerals and increase supply chain transparency.
Bougainville landowners are looking into pursuing legal restitution in the UK against Rio Tinto.
A recent study published global data of mining’s footprint, using satellite data to plot the scale of large-scale and artisanal mining.
A World Wildlife Fund report found that mining may contribute more to deforestation than previously thought, because mining also has vast indirect impacts to forests due to waste, processing, energy production, and storage.
A team of geologists surveyed rare earth elements projects, publishing a database of projects that includes estimated value and amounts.
A study assessing the strategies to electrify transportation concluded that policy options that shrink car use should be urgently considered.
Also, the Washington Post expanded its series on electric vehicle battery materials, although it didn’t quite impress. Their explainer could have been done 5 years ago; it didn’t include prominent materials like iron and sodium, and left out more than half the materials in batteries, not to mention the rest of the cars. I was, however, delighted to see the focus on the rush to scoop up bauxite in Guinea. (Green Rocks, with a much smaller budget, put together a two-parter in 2020 on aluminum players’ globe-trotting prospecting that ended in Guinea.) Earlier parts of the Post’s series are found at the bottom of each article.
Edit: Just before Green Rocks went out, they released another installment focused on nickel refineries in Indonesia. I had just been discussing the new for more reporting on this topic, and this lays out with deftness why questions about waste and space are crucial. Fantastic stuff that makes me think I should have been so harsh.
The Nickel Pickle (The Wire China)
US electric vehicle batteries poised for new lithium iron age (Financial Times)
To meet the booming demand for electric cars, should we start mining the world's largest ocean? (Al Jazeera Documentary)
California’s Lithium Valley could power electric vehicle industry (60 Minutes CBS)
How the EV battery boom could change Bécancour, a quiet corner of Quebec, forever (The Globe and Mail)
The “Electrify Everything” Movement’s Consumption Problem (The Intercept)
Friendshoring Critical Minerals: What Could the U.S. and Its Partners Produce? (Carnegie Endowment for Internationl Peace)
Lithium’s shale oil moment (Financial Times)
The Lithium Problem (Dissent Magazine)