Greta Thunberg detained during German mine protest

Climate campaigner Greta Thunberg was detained alongside other activists on Tuesday during protests against the demolition of a village to make way for a coal mine expansion but was released after an identity check, according to police. Thunberg was held while protesting at the opencast coal mine of Garzweiler 2, some 9 km (5.6 miles) from the village of Luetzerath, after police warned that the group would be removed by force if they did not move away from the edge of the mine. The village in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia is being cleared to allow for the expansion of the mine.

— source | Jan 17, 2023

Nullius in verba


US Mining law has barely changed since 1872

This year has already brought some unusual setbacks for mining companies, thanks to the Biden administration. On January 26, the administration dealt a possibly fatal blow to Twin Metal Minnesota’s decades-long effort to reopen a nickel and copper mine near the Boundary Waters, the most visited wilderness area in the country. A few days later, the Environmental Protection Agency vetoed the proposed Pebble Mine, invoking the Clean Water Act to halt a gold and copper mine near one of the world’s largest spawning grounds for salmon in Alaska.

The rejections were rare for the industry — in the case of the Pebble Mine, it was the first time that the Clean Water Act was used to stop a hardrock mine. While tribes and environmental organizations welcomed the news, mining companies and their allies in Congress criticized the Biden administration for standing in the way of its own clean energy goals.

Metals like copper, nickel, and lithium are all used in electric vehicle batteries as well as for wind and solar energy storage; as such, they’ve been dubbed “critical” to getting the United States off fossil fuels. The landmark Inflation Reduction Act that Biden signed into law last summer aims to bolster domestic production of these minerals, with billions for mine development and tax credits for cars that use materials mined in the United States (or supplies from free-trade agreement partners). At the moment, there’s

— source | Blanca Begert | Feb 09, 2023

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Are Green Resource Wars Looming?

Much of the excitement over the Inflation Reduction Act, which became law this summer, focused on the boost it should give to the sales of electric vehicles. Sadly, though, manufacturing and driving tens of millions of individual electric passenger cars won’t get us far enough down the road to ending greenhouse-gas emissions and stanching the overheating of this planet. Worse yet, the coming global race to electrify the personal vehicle is likely to exacerbate ecological degradation, geopolitical tensions, and military conflict.

The batteries that power electric vehicles are likely to be the source of much international competition and the heart of the problem lies in two of the metallic elements used to make their electrodes: cobalt and lithium. Most deposits of those metals lie outside the borders of the United States and will leave manufacturers here (and elsewhere) relying heavily on foreign supplies to electrify road travel on the scale now being envisioned.

Adventurers and Opportunists

In the battery business, the Democratic Republic of Congo is referred to as “the Saudi Arabia of cobalt.” For two decades, its cobalt — 80% of the world’s known reserves — has

— source | Priti Gulati Cox, Stan Cox | Oct 13, 2022

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Mining companies threatening Indigenous people

Josefina Tunki, the first woman to preside over the Shuar Arutam People (PSHA), an Indigenous association in Ecuador, faces death threats due to her opposition to mining on Indigenous lands. The Ecuadoran government has granted 165 concessions to mining companies — for copper, gold and molybdenum — that covers 56% of PSHA territory in the Condor mountain range in southeastern Ecuador. According to the NGO Amazon Watch, the Ecuadoran government has granted 165 mining concessions that occupy 56% of the 230,000 hectares (about 568,000 acres) of PSHA territory. Since the 1990s, these concessions have been granted to Solaris Resources of Canada, SolGold (Australia), ExplorCobres S.A. (EXSA, a Chinese-Canadian joint venture), and Aurania Resources (Canada) to extract copper, gold, and molybdenum. several waterways originate in these mountains, and if they’re contaminated by mining activity, they could set off a chain reaction of environmental damage.

— source | 5 Jan 2022

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From dangerous tunnels in Congo to consumers’ mobile tech

The sun was rising over one of the richest mineral deposits on Earth, in one of the poorest countries, as Sidiki Mayamba got ready for work.

Mayamba is a cobalt miner. And the red-dirt savanna stretching outside his door contains such an astonishing wealth of cobalt and other minerals that a geologist once described it as a “scandale geologique.”

This remote landscape in southern Africa lies at the heart of the world’s mad scramble for cheap cobalt, a mineral essential to the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries that power smartphones, laptops and electric vehicles made by companies such as Apple, Samsung and major automakers.

But Mayamba, 35, knew nothing about his role in this sprawling global supply chain. He grabbed his metal shovel and broken-headed hammer from a corner of the room he shares with his wife and child. He pulled on a dust-stained jacket. A proud man, he likes to wear a button-down shirt even to mine. And he planned to

— source | Todd C. Frankel | Sep 30, 2016

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Coal mine auction opens up vast stretches of forests in central India for mining

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday launched the auction of 41 coal mines for commercial mining, saying the market for the commodity is now open and the sales will help turn the Covid-19 crisis into an opportunity. But the list of 41 mines showed several are located in biodiversity-rich forest areas in central India, including a few in one of the largest contiguous stretches of dense forest called Hasdeo Arand that spans 170,000 hectares. Brief descriptions of the mines up for auction on the website of state-run MSTC Limited showed several do not have the required forest clearance and are located amid protected forests.

— source | Jun 18, 2020

Nullius in verba