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Civil society and rightsholders ask UNEP for a more meaningful multi-stakeholder engagement process and to keep polluters out of global plastics treaty negotiations

Break Free From Plastic - Sat, 11/26/2022 - 12:58

26 November 2022, Punta del Este, Uruguay – A United Nations Environment Programme-organized Multi-Stakeholder Forum on plastics concluded today, offering recommendations to the first Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee meeting on the Global Plastics Treaty. However, civil society groups, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders have pointed with concern to the problematic presence of those companies responsible for plastic pollution and hidden industry influence at the forum.

As a result, Break Free From Plastic members are reacting to the Multi-Stakeholder Forum:

Soledad Mella, Communications Secretary at Asociación Nacional de Recicladores de Chile, and President at ANARCH (Chile), said: 

“On behalf of the more than 20,000 waste pickers we represent, the equitable participation of civil society is critical to developing a treaty that addresses the human impact of plastic pollution. People on the frontline, such as waste pickers, are essential to identifying real solutions to this crisis, and it is critical that their participation is not symbolic. We need a participatory and accessible process where those most affected can access translation and interpretation, equitable participation in person, fewer communication gaps and have the opportunity to help shape the multi-stakeholder participation agenda so that this process is truly binding and not what we are seeing today.”

Kabir Arora, Asian Outreach Coordinator at International Alliance of Wastepickers (India), said: 

“Equitable civil society engagement, including representation of waste pickers and other workers in the plastic value chain, is key in developing a treaty that addresses the human impact of plastic pollution. Those at the frontlines of plastic production, recycling and disposal are essential in identifying real solutions to this crisis, and it is critical that their participation is not tokenized. We need a meaningful and accessible process where those most impacted can access translation and interpretation, have equitable access to in-person participation, and have the opportunity to help shape the agenda for future multistakeholder forums.”

Frankie Orona, Executive Director at Society of Native Nations (USA), said: 

“Indigenous people, original people of the lands, and communities of color must have an equitable voice and a seat in today’s discussions on how to deal with the negative impacts of “Plastics” in the Petrochemical industry. Inequality has existed in the UN for too long, and change needs to happen now if we truly want to ensure a healthy, suitable transition for the next generation. We are tired of having our communities deemed a sacrifice zone and having people make decisions for communities they never visit or know how to understand the hardship and suffering in indigenous and communities of color. The petrochemical plastic industry is killing our people, land, air and water. Our voices need to be heard before it’s too late for all of us.” 

Christina Dixon, Ocean Campaign Leader at Environmental Investigation Agency (UK), said:

“Allowing the very companies that are driving the harms caused by plastic pollution to have an equal seat at the table sets a concerning precedent for the negotiations to come. We cannot allow plastic producers to take control of this process while vulnerable communities struggle with equitable access and having their voices heard in these spaces. We’ve seen yet again challenges with access for this meeting while those companies bankrolling the plastics crisis are able to show up in force. We need to learn from other environmental processes where industry have been able to distract and derail the agenda while continuing business as usual. For the Global Plastics Treaty to be effective, we need meaningful engagement of impacted communities, rather than costly side-shows designed to restrict participation away from substance.” 

Neil Tangri, Science and Policy Director at Global Alliance for Incineration Alternatives (USA), said: 

“Greta Thunberg recently criticized the overwhelming presence of the fossil fuel industry at the climate talks: ‘If you are trying to solve malaria, you don’t give mosquitoes a seat at the table.’ The same can be said for the plastics treaty negotiations, now underway in Uruguay. The week’s first event, the Multi-Stakeholder Forum, is aimed at finding common ground between environmental justice groups, waste pickers, public health professionals, environmentalists, and the very companies that are the source of the problem: the petrochemical industry. That is a recipe for failure. Instead, the treaty process should follow the precedent of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which excluded the tobacco industry from its negotiations. The plastics/petrochemical industry is not part of the solution, it is the problem.”

Jane Patton, Campaign Manager for Plastics & Petrochemicals at Center for International Environmental Law (USA and Switzerland), said:

“The reaction we are seeing from expert civil society representatives is a reflection of our broader concerns about industry influence over governments negotiating a new legally binding treaty to address the plastics pollution crisis. The perpetrators of pollution from plastics should not be allowed to manipulate these negotiations in their favor, so these processes must be specifically protected from fossil fuels and chemicals companies and their NGO front groups.”

Christopher Chin, Executive Director at The Center for Oceanic Awareness, Research, and Education (COARE) (US) said:

“Proverbs exist in nearly every culture to address the absurdity of unmitigated conflict of interest. With the very industry creating plastic and plastic pollution weighing in so strongly regarding the discussion of possible solutions, the self-serving interest is painfully obvious. In order to consider, develop, explore, and begin deploying truly effective and encompassing solutions, the proverbial fox must be removed from the henhouse, and we must have industry and industry-sponsored entities excluded from the process.”

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About BFFP #BreakFreeFromPlastic is a global movement envisioning a future free from plastic pollution. Since its launch in 2016, more than 2,700 organizations and 11,000 individual supporters from across the world have joined the movement to demand massive reductions in single-use plastics and push for lasting solutions to the plastic pollution crisis. BFFP member organizations and individuals share the values of environmental protection and social justice and work together through a holistic approach to bring about systemic change. This means tackling plastic pollution across the whole plastics value chain – from extraction to disposal – focusing on prevention rather than cure and providing effective solutions. www.breakfreefromplastic.org.

 

Biden administration quietly approves huge Texas oil export project

Fuel Fix - Thu, 11/24/2022 - 15:24

 The proposed offshore terminal is one of four projects intended to expand oil export capacity.

Exxon Mobil rolls out plan to cut emissions in Permian Basin

Fuel Fix - Thu, 11/24/2022 - 15:24

This is the first tangible commitment the company has made to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

 

ConocoPhillips completes $9.5B acquisition of Shell’s Permian assets

Fuel Fix - Thu, 11/24/2022 - 15:24

Report: The majority of Shell’s Midland-based Permian employees and many Houston-based employees were offered jobs by ConocoPhillips, effective with the closing of the deal.

BFFP call on EU to be a voice for ambition ahead of INC Global Plastics Treaty negotiations

Break Free From Plastic - Thu, 11/24/2022 - 03:00

On Monday 28th November, delegations from across the world are convening at the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) in Uruguay to start developing an international legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. In response to the latest news that the EU has joined the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution just as INC negotiations kick-off, BFFP and members CIEL & EIA have responded by welcoming this news, but also calling on the EU to be a voice for ambition within the coalition and beyond and to staunchly advocate for measures that phase down overall production of virgin plastic.

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Coursing Through Gasland: A Digital Atlas Exploring Natural Gas Development in the Towanda Creek Watershed

FracTracker - Wed, 11/23/2022 - 11:15

This digital atlas exploring natural gas development in the Towanda Creek watershed is the fourth in a series of FracTracker Alliance watershed impact analyses in the Susquehanna River Basin.

The post Coursing Through Gasland: A Digital Atlas Exploring Natural Gas Development in the Towanda Creek Watershed appeared first on FracTracker Alliance.

Messy Winter Weather in Pacific Northwest, Rockies Drives Stout Forward Price Gains

NGI Shale Daily - Tue, 11/22/2022 - 13:11

Huge natural gas forward basis moves continued for pipeline capacity-starved New England, but hefty premiums also shifted further west during the short Nov. 17-21 period, NGI’s Forward Look data showed. With several inches of snow falling and a stormy outlook ahead, the Rockies and Pacific Northwest posted sharply higher forward prices.

Northwest Sumas December basis picked up 79.0 cents through the period to reach $3.465, according to Forward Look. Sumas prompt-month fixed prices hit $10.239, while January jumped 89.0 cents to $10.093. The balance of winter (December-March) picked up 83.0 cents to average $8.742/MMBtu, and the summer strip (April-October) moved up 22.0 cents to $4.410.

Similarly steep gains were seen at Opal, where December basis tacked on 67.0 cents to reach $2.320, Forward Look data showed. This represented a fixed price of $9.096 for the prompt month. Further out the forward curve, the January contract climbed 89.0 cents to reach $9.263 and the balance of winter added 82.0 cents to average $8.262. The summer strip, meanwhile, ticked up only 13.0 cents to average $4.560.

[LNG Offline: Get the latest on the Freeport LNG restart with NGI’s Hub & Flow podcast. Listen now.]

The National Weather Service (NWS) said a shortwave trough in the eastern Pacific was expected to arrive in the Pacific Northwest on Tuesday. It could bring low-elevation rain and mountain snow to the region before spreading over the Northern Rockies. 

The system is forecast to then shift over the Northern/Central Plains ahead of Thanksgiving. Snowfall was expected primarily over the northern Cascades, where up to one foot of snow and isolated higher amounts were expected, according to NWS. Freezing rain and some sleet also were likely to accumulate over portions of east-central Washington.

By Friday, the next storm is likely to be knocking on the doorstep of the Northwest, according to AccuWeather. The forecaster said this would be the start of a much stormier and colder pattern overall for the West heading into early next week.

Pipelines in the region already were being impacted by the frigid weather. Kern River Gas Transmission reported low linepack this week, with deliveries limited beginning over the weekend and remaining through the week so far.

Criterion Research LLC noted that Canadian imports into the Pacific Northwest have ratcheted up amid the bitter conditions, with regional demand remaining high even as overnight temperatures trended on the warm side. Storage facilities in the region also have boosted withdrawals.

Meanwhile, inventories at Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. (PG&E) are low. Maintenance along the PG&E pipeline, which began Monday, is set to continue through late November, adding to constraints, Criterion said. PG&E declared an operational flow order amid the tight conditions. Storage withdrawals extended into Southern California as well.

“PG&E’s storage was in especially bad shape as its net inventory dropped to only 3.8 Bcf,” Criterion Research’s James Bevan, director of research, said. “To put this in perspective, aside from 2019 (and this year), inventories have only been lower once, and that was 2018’s end of season. Not a promising look.”

Henry Hub Volatility

With a stretch of widespread chilly air finally showing signs of easing, Henry Hub forward prices continued to post mostly gains during the short trading period.

There are lots of potential reasons prices have risen close to $7.00 again. Some traders are pointing to the potential for a railroad strike that could limit coal deliveries and prop up gas demand. The possibility of cold weather returning in December also provided momentum for bulls, as has the typical volatility seen ahead of contract expiration.

NatGasWeather said the weather data are mixed. The Global Forecast System trended a little warmer for the next five days, a few heating degree days colder for Nov. 27-Dec. 2 and warmer again for Dec. 3-7.

There were major changes in the latest data related to the timing of swings in national demand, with demand easing for the next week as temperatures are forecast to climb into the 60s and 70s over the southern United States and into 40s and 50s over the northern states.

“Frigid air remains on track to arrive over Northwest, Mountain West and Northern Plains Nov. 29-Dec. 7 with lows of minus 10s to 30s for regionally strong demand,” NatGasWeather said. “However, recent weather data wasn’t as aggressive advancing cold air eastward Dec. 2-7, thereby keeping the southern and eastern U.S. mild most days with highs of 40s to 70s.”

Given the recent cold that’s blanketed much of the Lower 48, market observers expected a considerable decline in storage inventories. After all but erasing deficits to historical levels, storage deficits could widen over the next two weeks.

At noon ET on Wednesday, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) is set to publish its weekly inventory report. Estimates ahead of the report were wide ranging, from a draw as light as 60 Bcf to one as steep as 111 Bcf.

A Bloomberg survey of nine analysts had a range of draws from 74 Bcf to 111 Bcf, with a median pull of 86 Bcf. Estimates submitted to a Wall Street Journal poll also were within that wider range and averaged an 89 Bcf withdrawal. NGI estimated a lower-end draw of 65 Bcf.

EBW Analytics Group LLC said the cold December now favored by independent weather forecaster DTN could rapidly deplete the storage cushion and reintroduce upside price risks. These risks come into play particularly if Freeport LNG hits its updated guidance. The liquefied natural gas export facility said last week it is targeting mid-December for initial operations.

“Cold may have to prove enduring to sustain Nymex risk premiums on a seasonal basis, but renewed upside for the 30-45 day period remains possible,” EBW senior analyst Eli Rubin said.

The December Nymex gas futures contract inched higher Tuesday to settle at $6.779, up slightly from Monday’s close of $6.776.

The post Messy Winter Weather in Pacific Northwest, Rockies Drives Stout Forward Price Gains appeared first on Natural Gas Intelligence

Scientists develop high-density, all-3D printed Li-metal battery

Mining.Com - Mon, 11/21/2022 - 06:06

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences have developed all-3D printed lithium metal batteries (LMBs) with robust cycle stability and ultrahigh areal energy density.

In a study published in the journal Energy Storage Materials, the scientists explain that the new LMBs take a porous and conductive Ti3C2Tx MXene skeleton for dendrite-free and a stable Li metal anode and multi-dimensionally conductive LiFePO4 (LFP) lattice as an ultra-thick cathode.

LMBs are considered high-energy-density systems beyond current state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries. Nevertheless, the uncontrollable dendrite growth and huge volume change of Li-metal anodes create poor cycle life.

Yet, in the recent paper, the researchers report better results thanks to their all-3D printing approach.

As the new devices are comprised of a dendrite-free Li-metal anode with porous MXene lattices, they are able to regulate local current distribution, which homogenizes lithium nucleation. Their 3D conductive porous LFP framework cathode, on the other hand, achieves fast ion/electron transfer channels.

Due to the abundance of Li nucleation sites and large pore volume in the MXene lattices, the 3D-printed MXene scaffolds prevent the infinite volume change and dendritic formation of Li anodes.

Furthermore, by pairing ultra-thick LFP cathodes lattices with high-efficiency electron and ion networks, the all-3D printed LFP||MXene@Li batteries deliver unprecedented areal capacity (25.3 mAh/cm2) and energy density (81.6 mWh/cm2) under an ultrahigh mass loading of 171 mg/cm2, exceeding all reported 3D printed batteries so far.

Endeavour Mining finds potential new flagship gold project in West Africa

Mining.Com - Mon, 11/21/2022 - 03:52

Endeavour Mining (TSX, LON: EDV) said Monday it had made a major greenfield gold discovery in Côte d’Ivoire, which has the potential to become a new flagship asset for the company.

The miner, which has several gold operations and projects in West Africa, has outlined a major maiden resource at the Assafou target on its 100%-owned Tanda-Iguela property.

Indicated resource for Assafou sits at 14.9 million tonnes at 2.33 grams a ton (g/t) of gold for 1.1 million ounces. A further 32.9 million tonnes at a grade of 1.8g/t was discovered for an inferred resource of 1.9 million ounces of gold, Endeavour Mining said.

“It ranks as one of the most significant discoveries made in West Africa over the last decade and shows potential to be another flagship asset for the company,” chief executive Sébastien de Montessus said.

The site has a low discovery cost of less than $10 for every indicated ounce of gold discovered and preliminary tests show high gold recovery rates exceeding 95%, he noted.

The company said the new discovery and exploration success across its portfolio helps it to say on track to achieve a discovering target of between 15 to 20 million ounces for the five-year period ending in 2025.

The announcement comes only a month after it announced the beginning of construction at its 2.7-million-ounce Lafigué project, also in Côte d’Ivoire.

Endeavour has a large footprint in Burkina Faso where it has been subject to a number of terrorist attacks in the past three years.

This year, the London-based company expects to churn out between 1.32 million and 1.4 million ounces of gold at all-in sustaining costs of $880 to $930 per ounce.

Justin Trudeau asks Gabriel Boric for insights on Canadian miners’ behaviour in Chile

Mining.Com - Sun, 11/20/2022 - 15:41

Following a meeting with his Canadian counterpart at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit being held this week in Thailand, Chilean President Gabriel Boric said that Justin Trudeau asked him to provide information on the behaviour of Canadian mining companies when it comes to complying with Chilean environmental legislation. 

According to local media, Trudeau showed interest in the grievances that some communities in northern Chile have expressed regarding the way Canadian miners operate. He asked Boric for insights on firms that may not be “acting in accordance with the standard that he himself, as Prime Minister, has established as the proper behaviour of companies, which is to be in full compliance with the rule of law” Boric said.

The Chilean head of state also pointed out that his country maintains a trusting relationship with Canada and that all he asks from foreign investors is to act as they would in their countries of origin.

Hundreds of power plants in the US violate Coal Ash Rule – report

Mining.Com - Sun, 11/20/2022 - 14:59

A recent report by the Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) and Earthjustice found that seven years after US Environmental Protection Agency imposed the first federal rules requiring the cleanup of coal ash waste dumps, only about half of the 265 power plants that are contaminating groundwater agree that cleanup is necessary, and 96% of these power plants are not proposing any groundwater treatment plan. 

The report, which is based on an examination of public records and data from coal plants across the country, also found that out of the 292 power plants assessed in 43 states, only one is planning a comprehensive cleanup, while 10 are proposing incomplete cleanup plans.   

“The failure of the vast majority of power companies to follow the 2015 Coal Ash Rule has serious consequences for water quality and public health. Monitoring data shows that 91% of US coal-fired plants have ash landfills or waste ponds that are leaking arsenic, lead, mercury, selenium, and other metals into groundwater at dangerous levels, often threatening streams, rivers, and drinking water aquifers,” the document reads.

(Graph by Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice).

The dossier mentions that although coal consumption has declined across the US over the last decade, the power industry continues to generate about 70 million tons of coal ash annually.  It also notes that after 100 years of burning coal, power plants have generated about five billion tons of coal ash.

The Coal Ash Rule requires the cleanup of both the source of pollution (coal ash) and the groundwater. However, the report authors found that of the 142 plants with contaminated groundwater that agree that cleanup is necessary, only 38 plants have committed to at least one cleanup action and, of those, 27 are not treating groundwater. They are instead relying on the pollution naturally dispersing. 

“Because some power plants have multiple waste disposal sites, there are a total of 515 coal ash waste ponds evaluated in this report. Of these, there are 372 unlined ash ponds within five feet of groundwater, and many of these are sitting in groundwater,” the dossier states. “The majority (200) are being closed without removing the ash, despite being in or dangerously close to groundwater. Companies have closed 81 ponds by removing the ash and have scheduled the closure of another 91 by removal.” 

Worst sites

Looking at the top 10 most contaminated coal ash sites in the US, the report ranked the San Miguel Electric Plant in Texas as the worst one as the plant has two coal ash ponds, an ash pile and some of the most contaminated groundwater in the country, including with cobalt at 488 X safe levels.

Next is the retired Reid Gardner station, northeast of Las Vegas, Nevada. According to EIP and Earthjustice, despite having lithium concentrations in the groundwater at 161 X safe levels and arsenic and 121 X safe levels, the owners have failed to admit responsibility or select a remedy and continue to violate the Coal Ash Rule in a number of ways.  

The Naughton Power Plant in Wyoming ranks third on the list as the report authors found that the six ash waste ponds at this plant are leaking selenium into groundwater at 150 X safe levels, lead at 16 X safe levels, and arsenic at 10 X safe levels, while owners are pursuing an incomplete cleanup plan and have only selected a remedy for one of the six ponds.  

Also in Wyoming, the Jim Bridger Power Plant makes the list because it has two coal ash ponds and an ash landfill, and groundwater monitoring nearby shows lithium at 164 X safe levels and sulphate at 125 X safe levels. 

(Graph by Environmental Integrity Project and Earthjustice).

In North Carolina, the Allen Steam Station occupies the fifth spot because it has two ash ponds and a landfill and groundwater monitoring that shows cobalt at 466 X safe levels and lithium at 12 X safe levels. The owner is moving ash to a new landfill on the site but does not plan to treat the groundwater. 

Next is the New Castle Generating Plant in Pennsylvania, which has been closed since 2016 but still has a large, leaking ash disposal area. Groundwater monitoring shows arsenic at 372 X safe levels and lithium at 54 X safe levels. In addition to this, the report notes that the owner is not planning to take any cleanup action.

In Maryland, the Brandywine coal ash landfill, southeast of Washington, DC, also joins the group because it holds waste from three power plants in the area and is contaminating local streams and groundwater, with monitoring wells showing lithium at 222 X safe levels and cobalt at 47 X safe levels. 

Following Brandywine is the R.D. Morrow power plant in Mississippi, which had two ash ponds and a landfill and stopped burning coal in 2018. The owners closed the ponds and removed their ash in 2021, and capped the landfill without removing the ash. But the company has not treated the contaminated groundwater, even though monitoring wells show molybdenum at 176 X safe levels and lithium at 167 X safe levels. 

In the ninth spot is the Hunter Power Plant in Utah, which has an ash landfill and pond, and groundwater beneath them with lithium at 210 X safe levels and cobalt at 28 X safe levels. The owners installed groundwater collection wells to capture the leachate, but monitoring data suggest they are not working. 

The last plant on the list is the Allen Fossil Plant in Tennessee, which is now closed but has contaminated groundwater, including with arsenic at 294 X safe levels and is threatening the drinking water aquifer that serves Memphis. According to the dossier, the owners are removing the ash from two onsite ash ponds, but only treating the groundwater and conducting monitoring at one of the two ash ponds. 

Australia learns there’s no replacement for the Chinese consumer

Mining.Com - Sun, 11/20/2022 - 13:04

Australia has spent big to attract swathes of Indian tourists to its shores, signed a free-trade deal with post-Brexit Britain and uncovered new Middle East markets during its 30-month trade rift with China.

Still, outside iron ore and other key commodities, there’s been substantial pain for exporters. For a small and open economy like Australia’s, branching away from the emerging global superpower is easier to imagine than realize.

China’s inability to source its massive iron ore requirements outside Western Australia’s Pilbara region means that it’s still Australia’s biggest trade partner by a long way, despite the diplomatic freeze.

But for other key industries, there’s been no simple substitute for Chinese consumers of quality lobster and wine or its big-spending tourists and students, who’ve also been kept away by Covid-19 restrictions. 

While there are some signs tensions are thawing — new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese met President Xi Jinping last week, the first tete-a-tete between the countries’ leaders since 2019 — Australian businesses aren’t banking on restrictions easing anytime soon.

Here is how six key sectors — tourism, seafood, wine, education, barley and coal — at the heart of China’s trade reprisals have fared.  

Wine

Two years after China imposed tariffs ranging to more than 200% on Australia wine, vintners are still processing the messy breakup with what was its most lucrative export market, previously worth about A$1.2 billion ($802 million) a year.

Mitchell Taylor, who runs South Australia’s Taylors Wines, said the size of the adjustment required can’t be underestimated.

“While we’ve found new little opportunities, there was never anything that could replace a market of that size and scale, particularly at the luxury end,” he said. Taylors Wine previously used to get about a fifth of its annual export revenue from China alone.

“With some of the nibbles we’re getting, we’ve probably recovered about half of that.”

Taylor is looking at destinations including Singapore, South Korea and North America. While India might one day emerge as a big market, that’s probably at least a decade away due to access issues and tariffs, he said.

Meanwhile, the UK — o​​​​​nce seen as a prime market for cheaper product — has now surpassed China to become the top destination for higher-end Australian wine.

“We’re now getting our feet back on the ground,” he said. “It’s not all doom and gloom, there’s certainly these opportunities to build.”

Other luxury wine producers have taken a different approach to being frozen out of China. Treasury Wine Estates Ltd., best known for its Penfolds brand, in September started producing in China — a move that’s allowed it circumvent the restrictions on Australian-made tipples.

While Taylor hopes relations improve, banking on China alone is too risky a strategy in the long-term, he said.

“I think we’ve got to be very realistic and cautious about China,” he said. “We’d need a lot of reassurance and we’d want to hear a lot of positives.”

Tourism

The absence of high-spending Chinese visitors is still felt acutely by the tourism industry, with numbers down 92% in September compared with the same month in 2019, before the pandemic. Operators can’t afford just to wait and see when China’s Covid Zero policies will ease, so to try and bridge the gap, Tourism Australia is counting on a revival from other countries, including India. 

As part of its recent “Come and Say G’Day” campaign, it hosted Indian cricketers ahead of the 20:20 World Cup hosted in Australia.

The sports stars took a yacht to Rottnest Island, just off the coast from Perth, and posted their action-packed day on social media, from celebrating a birthday and a game of lawn ball to mingling with quokkas, a native marsupial the size of a domestic cat. The posts delivered a billion impressions, according to Tourism Australia.

While India has great potential as a market — the Indian diaspora in Australia has expanded 40% over the past five years opening-up huge opportunities for visits from friends or relatives — it’s nowhere near as lucrative.

Prior to the pandemic, visitors from China spent on average A$215 a night. That compares with just A$84 a night by Indians, according to figures from Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd.

“In terms of spending, or export revenue, the tourism sector needs almost twice as many visitors from India than from China to make the same revenue,” said ANZ economist Madeline Dunk.

Education

Australia’s international education system is also still struggling with the double whammy of tensions and the aftermath of border closures. 

Enrollments from China, Australia’s biggest source of international students, are still less than 70% of their pre-pandemic levels, according to government data. 

Offering some relief is a more robust return from Indian and Nepalese students, the next two leading countries. At the end of August, 110,000 Indian students were enrolled in Australia, down only about 15,000 on 2019’s numbers.

For the wider economy though, a permanent change in the composition of students would be significant, as Chinese students typically spend more money on consumer goods when they are in Australia than other nationalities.

Barley

The timing of China’s anti-dumping tariffs of over 80% on Australian barley in 2020 couldn’t have been worse. The move came just weeks after many growers put seeds in the ground, leaving farmers unable to tweak planting programs. 

Australia found a new home for the grain by diverting much of its bumper harvest to Saudi Arabia, which jostles with China for the position of the world’s largest barley importer.

But the pivot hurt. Saudi Arabia typically uses most of the grain for animal feed, meaning high-grade Australian malting barley, which previously fetched an attractive premium in China, was sold at a hefty discount.

Fortunately, there was a solution: plant something else. “Farmers already work on a rotation,” said Zach Whale, Policy and Advocacy General Manager at GrainGrowers.  “At the farm level, if there aren’t these malt premiums, you would just plant feed barley.”

Farmers are also now planting things like canola and wheat, both in high demand after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Seafood

Australia’s seafood industry, which exports nearly half of its production, has also been hunting the globe for new markets.  

While China is still the top single biggest destination, Hong Kong has picked up significant market share while demand from the US, Vietnam and Taiwan have surged, according to the Seafood Industry of Australia. 

“China is still our major trading market. It’s a relationship where we’re well known to each other,” said Veronica Papacosta, chief executive of SIA. “We’re finding really good purchase in other markets, but it does take some time.”

The trade body will take about 20 suppliers to a major show in Boston for the first time, said Papacosta, who is also the managing director of Sydney Fresh Seafood. Earlier this month it also collaborated with the wine and dairy industry to showcase a range of premium products in Thailand, she added. More events are planned from South Korea to Indonesia.

Coal 

By contrast with other industries, fossil fuel revenues are now booming. 

Coal exports to China plunged from almost 100 million tons in the 2019-20 financial year to about 20 million tons, a massive blow to the sector in its second-largest market. Yet from July 2020, coal purchases by Japan, South Korea and India rose, as exports intended for China were diverted to other markets.

By the end of 2021, the economic surge brought on by the end of covid-19 restrictions had pushed coal exports to new highs despite the ongoing embargo by China, according to government data.

The boom only grew in 2022, as the demand for fossil fuels sparked by the invasion of Ukraine put Australia’s coal industry on track for one of its most lucrative years ever. At the same time, China has reportedly been considering dropping its restrictions on Australian coal to ensure it has enough supply as demand for fossil fuels grows around the world.

Experts now suggest the biggest threat to Australia’s coal exports isn’t China’s lingering ban but the steady march towards renewable energy in some of the country’s biggest commodity markets. 

(Reporting by Swati Pandey, Sybilla Gross and Ben Westcott).

Shell Broadband Service drops out all the time. No customer service

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Sun, 11/20/2022 - 11:35

Shell Energy Broadband Reviews recently posted on broadband.co.uk

Reviewer D Gough: Location Hereford: Date 2022-11-12

Comments

Service drops out all the time. No customer service, almost impossible to make contact…then no help. it was fine with Post Office.

Reviewer V Galyer: Location GRIMSBY: Date 2022-11-12

Comments

My broadband account with the P.O was changed over Shell energy, the contract expired end of July 2022. I could not understand their charges to renew my contract so switched to BT, maybe not the cheapest provider but great service.
I returned the router ( supplied f.o.c by the P.O. )and received confirmation that I had sent them proof of postage. over 3 months later I am still receiving threatening e-mails demanding £35.00 for the router. I have spent hours on the phone and sending e-mails to try and resolve this matter but I am not going to waste any more time trying to reason with this useless bunch of morons, and will try to resolve this matter through the ombudsman.

Shell Broadband Service drops out all the time. No customer service was first posted on November 20, 2022 at 8:35 pm.
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US-based company plans to use microwaves to tap into deep thermal energy sources

Mining.Com - Sun, 11/20/2022 - 08:04

A US-based company is developing technology to blast rock with microwaves to potentially drill the deepest holes on earth. The end goal is to access sources of deep thermal energy.

According to Matt Houde, co-founder and project manager at Quaise Energy, the heat miles beneath our feet could provide more than enough clean, renewable energy to meet the global demand as the world transition away from fossil fuels.

“The total energy content of the heat stored underground exceeds our annual energy demand as a planet by a factor of a billion. So tapping into a fraction of that is more than enough to meet our energy needs for the foreseeable future,” Houde said at the inaugural TEDx Boston Planetary Stewardship Event.

The executive pointed out that at present, it is impossible to drill deep enough to unlock that energy.

“If we can get to ten miles down, we can start to find economic temperatures everywhere. And if we go even deeper, we can get to temperatures where water [pumped to the site] becomes supercritical, a steam-like phase that will allow a step change improvement in the power production per well and so cheapen the cost of energy,” he said.

So far, however, the deepest hole that’s been drilled, the Kola borehole near the Russian border with Norway, went 7.6 miles down. It took 20 years to complete because conventional equipment like mechanical drill bits can’t withstand the conditions at those depths. They break down.

“And the truth is we’ll need hundreds if not thousands of Kola boreholes if we want to scale geothermal to the capacity that’s needed,” Houde said. “Quaise is working to replace conventional drill bits with millimeter wave energy. Those millimeter waves literally melt then vaporize the rock to create ever-deeper holes.”

Not so new

He noted that the general technique was developed at MIT over the last 15 years. Scientists demonstrated that millimeter waves could indeed drill a hole in basalt. Further, the gyrotron machine that produces the millimeter wave energy is not new. It’s been used for some 70 years in research toward nuclear fusion as an energy source.
 
Houde said that the Quaise technique also takes advantage of the conventional drilling technologies developed by the oil and gas industry. The company plans to use these to drill down through surface layers, which is what they were optimized for, to basement rock. Meanwhile, millimeter waves will be used for the hard, hot, crystalline rock deep down that conventional drilling struggles with.

In the lab at MIT, engineers demonstrated the technology by drilling a hole in basalt with a 1:1 aspect ratio – two inches deep by two inches in diameter. Quaise has extended the MIT results by scaling up the power density of the microwave beam as well as the depth of the hole by a factor of ten to achieve a 10:1 aspect ratio. In parallel, the company is building the first field-deployable prototype millimeter-wave drilling rigs.
 
“Our current plan is to drill the first holes in the field in the next few years,” Houde said. “And while we continue to advance the technology to drill deeper, we will also explore our first commercial geothermal projects in shallower settings.”

Challenges

Quaise’s co-founder also mentioned that some challenges remain to make the technology fully operational. These include fundamental science, such as a better understanding of rock properties at great depths.

Also, the company believes that it is important to see progress in the supply chain for gyrotrons and the waveguides that carry their energy downhole. Currently, this equipment is optimized for specialized one-off projects in fusion research.
 
There are also engineering challenges that must be addressed. “Chief among them, how do we ensure full removal of the ash [created by the process and transport that ash up the borehole over long distances?”, Houde said.

Oil Change International experts respond to COP27: Lack of progress on fossil fuels mars key steps on loss and damage

Oil Change International - Sat, 11/19/2022 - 20:24

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November 20, 2022

Contact:
Collin Rees, collin@priceofoil.org
Matt Maiorana, matt@priceofoil.org

Oil Change International experts respond to COP27 climate talks outcomes

Lack of progress on fossil fuels mars key steps on loss and damage

SHARM EL-SHEIKH, EGYPT — The COP27 climate talks were supposed to be an “implementation COP,” “commensurate with the challenge based on science,” but the two weeks of UN climate negotiations have been dominated by fossil fuel industry presence and have seen countries make no progress on collective commitments on fossil fuels. 

Despite important progress on establishing a loss and damage fund, the COP has failed to acknowledge that a rapid and equitable phase-out of all fossil fuels — oil, gas, and coal — is the only chance at achieving climate targets, avoiding the worst of climate impacts, and avoiding fossil fuel lock-in and stranded assets. 

Outside the official UNFCCC process, we continue to see real momentum from the grassroots, the movement, leaders, and governments stepping up through strong action and commitments. 

In response to the conclusion of the COP27 climate talks, Oil Change International experts had the following responses: 

Elizabeth Bast, Executive Director, Oil Change International:

“In a critical year, this COP made no progress towards the just and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Despite important progress on the establishment of a loss and damage fund, the final outcome reiterated unambitious language on fossil fuels that will lead to catastrophic consequences. Even with this disappointing outcome, we’re seeing growing momentum from individual governments making meaningful commitments to phase out fossil fuels through initiatives like the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance and the Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition

“Most importantly, COP27 has showcased the growing power of the climate justice movement. Throughout these two weeks, civil society voices have demanded a phaseout of fossil fuels and called for rich countries to pay up for climate debt. Every day, we are seeing the power of communities resisting harmful oil, gas, and coal projects. We are seeing massive growth in the breadth and depth of the movement. With this people power, we will force an equitable end to fossil fuels and a just transition to clean energy.”

Thuli Makama, Africa Program Director and Global South Advisor, Oil Change International: 

“At COP27, wealthy countries have again done everything possible to shirk their climate debts — delaying discussions on funding for loss and damage, offering tiny sums, and proposing convoluted, market-based schemes as alternatives. Countries have also failed to agree to an equitable wind-down of fossil fuels — the most basic first step in slowing the threat to our climate and protecting communities facing devastating projects that destroy land, water, and biodiversity. Through people power, Global South movements made climate reparations and a fossil fuel phase out front-and-center issues of COP27. We will not stop fighting until we achieve climate justice for Global South communities.”

David Tong, Global Industry Campaign Manager, Oil Change International: 

“At this COP, some people turned up to negotiate for their futures, but oil and gas lobbyists turned up to negotiate for their wallets. The reality is that the only way to safely limit warming to 1.5ºC is to equitably phase out oil, gas, and coal. Instead, we are at risk of a major surge of new oil and gas production. New fields and shale wells approved from 2022-2025 could result in 70 Gigatonnes of additional climate pollution — and every single tonne of that would take us further beyond 1.5ºC, because burning just the oil and gas in already existing fields would exhaust our carbon budget for a 50% chance at 1.5ºC. 

“Although this COP failed to call for an equitable phase out of oil, gas and coal, momentum is growing. A remarkable group of countries across numerous negotiating blocs spoke up together, urging the phase out of fossil fuels.”

Collin Rees, United States Campaign Manager, Oil Change International: 

“COP27’s key steps toward a loss and damage fund are deeply marred by the lack of progress on fossil fuels. Despite unprecedented discussion of equitably phasing out oil, gas, and coal, the end result was yet another COP without formal recognition that Big Oil is driving the climate crisis and harming communities. 

“While it was welcome news to hear the United States call for a global phase-out of all fossil fuels, the truth is that the U.S. is planning to expand oil and gas production far more than any other country over the next few years. Positions taken at the climate talks can’t distract from the urgent need for major producers to begin a managed phase-out of oil and gas production. President Joe Biden must use his executive powers to block new fossil fuel projects and declare a climate emergency.”

Laurie van der Burg, Global Public Finance Campaign Co-Manager, Oil Change International:

“The science is clear: to protect lives, governments must put an immediate halt to investments in new oil, gas, and coal projects. Doing so frees up billions that are urgently needed for renewable energy, climate finance, and loss and damage support instead. At COP27 we did not see decisive action on this agenda, with Article 2.1(c) on aligning financial flows with a 1.5ºC future not even making it onto the negotiation agenda. 

“But a growing number of countries are showing that they will no longer wait on the UNFCCC to take action. In Egypt, France, Finland, and Sweden were among countries that presented policies to end their international public finance for fossil fuels and live up to the commitment they made in Glasgow last year. Civil society built pressure on Germany, Italy, the United States, and Canada, which have yet to deliver on this pledge and show concerning signals of backsliding as they eye investments in new gas projects. By the end of this year, they must do their part to get on track to stay below 1.5°C, or lose any climate credibility they have left.”

###

Notes to Editors

  1. A new report released by Oil Change International this week, Investing in Disaster, revealed that new oil and gas production approved to date in 2022 and at risk of approval over the next three years could cumulatively lock in 70 billion tonnes (Gt) of new carbon pollution. The United States and Saudi Arabia topped the list of largest expanders of oil and gas.
  2. Portugal upgraded its membership in the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance from associate to core member, while Washington (U.S. state) is the newest sub-national core member. Chile and Fiji joined the Alliance as “Friends of BOGA,” while Kenya and Tuvalu expressed their intention to join soon. See here for more detail.

The post Oil Change International experts respond to COP27: Lack of progress on fossil fuels mars key steps on loss and damage appeared first on Oil Change International.

Awful customer service and broadband doesn’t work!

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Sat, 11/19/2022 - 04:18

19 Nov 2022

The content below is sourced from current verifiable customer reviews of Shell Energy published on Trustpilot.

Awful customer service and broadband doesn’t work!

Broadband does not work intermittently.
30 minutes on hold every time I call them to resolve the issue, 30 minutes troubleshooting.
Then I get off the phone and it breaks again.
Customer service is awful, they treat you like an idiot and I cannot find anyone to help. This is a disgrace.

Huge mistake switching broadband to Shell

It appears Shell either has extremely poor or no customer service at all. Recently signed up for broadband which drops out twice daily.
After 1 day I’m still waiting for the call back I was promised and the email I sent has not been replied to.
I never had these problems with EE and will be going back to them asap. I will also be taking my gas and electric to a company that I can trust. Please get in touch Shell as I’d like to say my goodbyes.

If I could give -5 stars I would

If I could give -5 stars I would. Switched from talk talk and the worst decision I have ever made. Connection drops out multiple times a day, staff are impossible and completely unreliable and useless. DO NOT USE THIS COMPANY.

Just an absolute nightmare from utterly…

Just an absolute nightmare from utterly useless customer service to a useless complaints process. This company is run by morons who are thick as #£%@. The most stupid and tickest people I’ve ever encountered. I cannot stipulate how stupid they are. This company must be run by 5 year old but then this is probably an insult to 5 year old.

o dear where do i start took me three…

o dear where do i start took me three weeks to get any help with the cancel of my broadband had the router all packed up ready spent up to 3 hours trying to sort out plus a nightmare to get a label to send back,sent back the router but still got charged for a non send back i tried to explain that i would not pay for the time i was messed around as i was not using shell they then passed it on to a dept company poor poor service left a nasty taste never ever been treated so badly in all my 70 years i have now been forced to pay for a service i did not recd.

Appalling Customer Service

I have been a customer of Shell Energy for quite a few years for my broadband. While the broadband works pretty well I recently had to ask them to open some ports on my router, something they must do countless times each day, but despite numerous e-mails and wasting 1-2 hours on hold on several attempts to contact them on the telephone they neither acknowledged my request nor did anything about it.

We are now at DAY SEVEN and still the ports haven’t been opened!

I despair as to what I can do next.

Our dear Mum who is 90 is or was a…

Our dear Mum who is 90 is or was a customer of this terrible company. We went to switch her telephone today to another supplier to be told by that supplier that they had put a cancellation order on her telephone line. Mum has been left feeling anxious, upset and scared by what has happened. She dearly wants us to call her but we cannot get through. We also cannot change her supplier. She has a pendant alarm is a high risk of falling. Shame on you Shell energy you are a disgraceful company.

A not so Smart Meter…

Shell Energy and SMS-plc Installed a smart meter. Unfortunately it is not smart enough for the IHD display to work. Over a month now, and still nothing. Numerous phone calls to both companies and it is now clear that they do not care (or are not Smart either), but are simply fulfilling quotas in terms of installations. I would now encourage everyone in a similar situation to contact the ombudsman if it doesn’t work straight away – don’t waste your time waiting “48hrs” or “2 weeks” or “4 weeks” as they may suggest.

Smart meter not been commissioned after…

Smart meter not been commissioned after 17 days of installation. Rang them last week, was told wait 3 days then it should be fine. Nothing happened, still does not show on my account. Rang them just now, been given 3 more days. Clearly gas meters are not working on Shell’s side and they are not able to connect to them by the looks of it. This is an ongoing issue for all the companies. I will be logging a complaint to Shell next week if this does not get resolved.

The above are extracts from negative customer reviews about Shell Energy posted during the last few days on Trustpilot.  Visit the Shell Energy page on Trustpilot to view all reviews in their entirety, positive and negative (and Shell Energy responses). Watch out for any fake reviews. Note the reoccurring themes in the negative reviews, including difficulty in communicating with the company. Shell Plc CEO Ben Van Beurden openly admitted at the Shell AGM held in London on 23 May 2022 that all is not well at Shell Energy. 

Awful customer service and broadband doesn’t work! was first posted on November 19, 2022 at 1:18 pm.
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Shell Broadband not fit for purpose

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Sat, 11/19/2022 - 03:42

Shell Energy Broadband Reviews recently posted on broadband.co.uk

Reviewer Julie L: Location Newcastle upon Tyne: Date 2022-11-10

Comments

My broadband was transferred from the Post Office to Shell and I can only describe this company as not fit for purpose. Due to the area where I live I can only have the standard package, which was fine when I was with the PO, but not now. The download speed over the last month has averaged at just under 6mbps and the upload 3.5mbps. I cannot watch catch up on the tv without constant buffering, during work meetings I have to turn off my camera, or drop out altogether. I have spent hours trying to get to speak to them on the phone, but no luck, the online chat is not working more often than not. The whole experience is very frustrating. I wouldn’t recommend Shell as a broadband provider to anyone.

Reviewer Karol: Location Torquay, Devon: Date 2022-11-10

Comments

Useless. I am still being sent arrears statements when 3 months credit agreed for customer retention sb
Scheme. Take at least 45 mins to talk to anyone on phone.

Reviewer Imogen: Location London: Date 2022-11-09

Comments

Do NOT go with Shell. I have a small 2 bed flat and the wifi reaches 1 room, and disconnects with every device (and TV) that should be connected on a daily basis. I am now spending every day reconnecting things, resetting the router etc and I can no longer work from home. They also have terrible customer service and wouldn’t allow us to cancel despite the internet literally not working?

Our previous provider was Vodafone and we had no issues whatsoever.

Reviewer Keiran nolan: Location Wirral: Date 2022-11-09

Comments
Worst internet. Takes at least half an hour to talk to anyone. Had BT come out twice and charged both times for their issue even after I was told I wouldn’t be charged for the second call out. Charging me £35 for the rooter and ignored my cancellation requestion from October. The whole service is shocking and no thought about their customers. Their online chat service has been offline for months.

Shell Broadband not fit for purpose was first posted on November 19, 2022 at 12:42 pm.
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How the state of Wyoming could supply the US with rare earth elements 

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 13:51

Already a wind energy powerhouse, the state of Wyoming’s economy is 65% tied to mining — most of that coal mining. Wyoming has been the top coal-producing state since 1986, accounting for about two-fifths of all coal mined in the United States in 2020, but the industry has seen its reputation blackened.

Industry innovators, however, are tapping  coal and its waste streams to extract rare earths, 17 essential elements  to realizing an electrified economy. Mining them can be challenging as materials needed are either not yet mined, or are latent in old coal mines. 

Demand for rare earths is being driven mainly by electric vehicles, wind generators, smart phones, and aerospace and defense applications, but China refines most of the world’s rare earths. There is only one active rare earths mine in the US — Mountain Pass in California, but concentrate is shipped to China for processing. 

Related: Recycling plant aims to turn US coal country into rare earth powerhouse

Northeast Wyoming sits on top of one of the largest REE deposits in North America, and efforts are underway at the School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming to reach the day when REE extraction and processing can take place in North America. The school is focused on regulatory policy analysis, identifying where REEs can be found, how they occur, optimal ways for extracting and  processing, and what is required to establish an economically and environmentally viable industry in the US.

The end goal is to establish a full REE supply chain that consists of mining, processing, distribution, and supplying REE to meet advanced manufacturing needs of companies in the US.

Scott Quillinan, senior director of research, School of Energy Resources at the University of Wyoming tells MINING.com about developments and projects underway. 

MDC: What puts Wyoming at an advantage for a domestic supply chain? 

Quillinan: Wyoming is often called the energy state. If you were to draw a box around Wyoming and treat it as its own country, that would be the largest exporter of energy to the rest of the United States. And we export about 90% of the energy that’s extracted, and that all goes to other states. A lot of times, we are beholden to energy policies and regulations that are out of our control. But rare earth elements aren’t, if we mined them in the state —then we have our own in the state and within the country. A lot of what we’re dealing with is carbon intensity, so if you want to sell natural gas to California, it has to meet a certain carbon intensity level. That standard isn’t developed yet for rare earth elements. So everything within rare earth elements from a policy angle is within our control in the state. 

MDC: How is Wyoming going to become a domestic supplier of rare earths?

Quillinan: Mining is sort of in our DNA. [It’s] the largest coal producing state, the largest uranium producing state, largest bentonite producing state, largest trona producing state. So it makes sense to really transition some of the workforce, the knowledge, the know-how and the friendly mining policies over to other tracts of industries like rare earth elements. 

The way Wyoming is approaching this is we understand that about 90% of our rare earth elements are mined, processed, and manufactured overseas. And that’s a really difficult market to get into. If you want to stand up one mine that has a great resource, you’re going to be competing with global pricing, which is really tough to get into. And not only do you have to mine it, but you also have to ship it overseas for verification and processing. So our approach is really developing that wells to wheels type of program. We feel that that’s really the only way that we can get into the market. 

We’re really working on the exploration and production, the different extraction technologies, on the various infrastructure that needs to be put in place workforce development training. We’re working on commercialization plans – the business approach so we have the full value chain for the industry. And it’s going to take a decade, but that’s what we’re working on. 

MDC: How is the Inflation Reduction Act going to help the extractive industries and energy projects?

Quillinan: Policies are going to play a key role and the IRA is a good start. Having some guaranteed contracts with the Department of Defense would be another good start. Removing impediments that the industry is facing today would be another good start.

MDC: Can you tell us about the different feedstocks in Wyoming?

[We’re] working really closely with rare earth elements that are associated with coal… and the ash layers that are deposited within those. We’re also looking at flash at a coal fired power plant. We’ve got a Bear Lodge deposit, which is a lot of times called the largest unmined, rare earth element deposit and the Bear Lodge deposit just north of Sundance, Wyoming. 

Unconventional sources that we’re looking at are rare earth elements that are dissolved in water that’s produced alongside oil and gas, [and] we’re looking at rare earth elements that may be in phosphate deposits. So with phosphate mines, and uranium mines it’s really an above all approach looking at all these different feedstocks. And each one of them has its own advantage over the other on being able to extract them, we find different elements in each one. But probably the most promising is the ones that are associated with coal.

MDC: How can mining offer Wyoming’s coal industry new life?

Quillinan: They (rees and coal) are co mined, so they’re commingled and that really does add value to Wyoming’s coal. You might be able to sell the coal, but also sell the rare earth elements to help diversify the coal itself. The other thing we’re really working on is working on developing coal products. A mine that today is mining thermal coal, could also be mining coal that’s going to be developed into different different products, but then also provide rare earth elements. It really is about diversifying the economy.

MDC: Rare earth elements are through some chemical process extractable from coal waste?

Quillinan: They are, but what’s interesting is where they’re found within the seam. What we’re finding is they’re located on that top two to three feet of interface between when you switch from non coal, the coal strata, and then again on the bottom. What we see is this kind of ore deposit that’s on the top of the coal seam that’s already being mined. And it’s really kind of just put back into the pit. And that is where the highest concentration elements are. So it could be a really nice value-added product to coal mining. 

When you look at the different types of coal around the country, Powder River Basin coal has a high calcium content. And that allows for the rare earth elements to be extracted from the coal easier than other coals. So from Wyoming’s perspective, that’s fantastic, because we’re finding rare earth element concentrations that are pretty high, but then the chemistry is such that they can be extracted and you get a high yield recovery from the coal itself.

Then we’re also looking at the fly ash, and that same calcium concentration found in the coal that ends up in the flash also makes the flash easily digestible through acids, so that you can get the rare elements out. So that’s kind of the feedstock perspective, but it doesn’t really matter if we find the best feedstocks, we’ve got to be able to extract them economically. And then we’ve got to be able to do some of the processing and beneficiation here in the US. 

MDC: What are the next steps?

Quillinan: The next step is we’re looking at setting up research and development, once a demonstration in a pilot study looking at extracting these rare earth elements. The demonstration facility is being run by Rare Earth Resources, and that’s on the Sundance deposit. That’ll be located in Upton, Wyoming. And then the second is a Department of Energy sponsored project on a rare earth element. coal ash pilot, which will be stood up at the Wyoming Innovation Center just north of Gillette.

It’s being studied. It’s in the permitting phase, and they’re setting up the demonstration facility. They have a large pile of mine tailings that have been sitting there for a few years, and the demonstration facility will be working on what’s already been mined. And if [it’s] successful, then moving to full scale production.

MDC: What is UW doing to prepare the next generation workforce for rare earths?

Quillinan:  One thing that I think we all need to acknowledge is the expertise around rare earth elements has been developed overseas. It exists here, [but] it’s rare. You’ve got your normal disciplines like geochemistry, geomechanics, mining, but there seems to be a large knowledge gap around things like just general rare earth element geochemistry, the kinetics, the thermodynamics. At the University of Wyoming, we’re really focusing on where some of those research gaps are, so that we can develop the coursework to make sure that the students are prepared to go out and have professional careers around rare earth elements and critical minerals. 

The other thing we’re doing is working on a workforce development program with our community colleges,  being able to just kind of tap into the technical training that they do for their miners in the area, and beginning to supplement that with understandings of earth elements, element chemistry, and we are even are working on a batch program, where you go in and get trained on a piece of equipment, we’re doing the same thing with our community colleges where you can get in and get trained on a certain aspect of earth elements and earn a badge for example, or a certificate. 

MDC: What work is being done at the Wyoming Innovation Center? 

Quillinan: It was developed to take stuff out of the lab so products are worth element extraction. The project that’s in there is our rare earth element, coal ash pilot. They’re using feedstocks from two of the Wyoming coal fired power plants that are located next to that facility, and looking to extract rare earth elements from the coal ash. That project is going really well. It’s in its second year, so we hope to demonstrate that project at the facility in the first quarter of next year. And then that project will be looking to go to a much larger demonstration if it’s successful.

The resources have to be identified, the mining practices have to be identified,  the technologies need to be developed in order to extract them from the specific feedstock that we’re finding them in. And then it has to be a full value chain development. If it’s based on just mining and shipping the elements back overseas I don’t think any of the mines that are started will last very long at all. 

MDC: Why? 

There’s too many externalities. At that point, you’re really at the mercy of price control from areas that have 90% of the market.

The coal mines and rare earth element extraction, [are] working hand in hand. It’s another product that can come out of there. I often get asked [what] if we closed the coal mine just to mine rare earth elements out of it? The coal is such a tremendous resource. And if you can mine the coal and the rare earth elements at the same time and get them both out, then that makes a lot more sense.

MDC: What policies are needed at the federal and state levels to ensure that mining of rare earth elements in Wyoming are going to be economic and environmentally viable propositions?

Quillinan: The best thing we could do is develop standards, international standards around environmental sustainable practices and earth elements and environment and sustainable labor standards. That’s more of an incentive program, but perhaps the large companies that are buying rare earth elements would love to buy a rare earth element stamped with a certain standard that says it comes from an environmentally sustainable mining practice. I think from the federal level, developing department of defense contracts to guarantee domestic markets for earth elements would be incredibly helpful.

Rare earth elements are really the key to developing green energy technologies. And as we move through the energy transition, I think finding enough rare earth elements is key.

Auteco signs exploration agreement with Ontario First Nation for Pickle Crow gold project

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 13:08

Auteco Minerals (ASX: AUT) has signed an exploration agreement with the Mishkeegogamang Ojibway First Nation (MOFN) for its Pickle Crow gold project located 400 km north of Thunder Bay, Ontario.

This agreement replaces a previous memorandum of understanding signed in 2009 and now covers all Auteco claims in the traditional territories of the MOFN. In a sign of partnership, Auteco has also welcomed the MOFN as shareholders via the issuance of five million ordinary shares to the community fund.

The new agreement ensures support of exploration and advanced exploration activities at the Pickle Crow project and outlines a path forward for an impact benefit agreement should the company decide to pursue commercial development of the mine.

Originally discovered in the early 1930s, Pickle Crow was considered one of Canada’s highest-grade gold mines – historically producing 1.5 million ounces at 16 g/t gold – until its closure in 1966. Various operators have since held the property until the regional ground position was consolidated by then TSX-listed PC Gold in 2014. PC Gold was acquired by First Mining a year later.

Since September 2020, Auteco – having partnered with First Mining earlier that year – has added 1.2 million ounces of inferred resource at a discovery cost of A$17.58 per ounce. The speed and low cost at which the resource has grown highlights the quality and huge remaining growth potential of the Pickle Crow mineralized system, Auteco says.

The Pickle Crow project currently hosts a JORC 2012 mineral resource of 2.23 million ounces at 7.8 g/t gold, with a 50,000-metre drilling program underway to expedite resource growth.

Teck Resources named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/18/2022 - 11:44

Canada’s largest diversified miner, Teck Resources (TSX: TECK.A and TECK.B, NYSE: TECK), has been named one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers for the sixth consecutive year by Mediacorp Canada’s Top Employers program, which recognizes companies for exceptional human resources programs and innovative workplace policies.

“Our employees are the driving force behind Teck’s purpose of providing essential resources the world is counting on to make life better, while caring for people and the environment,” Teck CEO Jonathan Price said in the statement.

“We are committed to fostering a safe, healthy, diverse and inclusive workplace, while supporting our people to build rewarding and engaging careers.”

Editors at Mediacorp, Canada’s largest publisher of employment periodicals, grade employers on eight criteria, including health, financial & family benefits, community involvement, employee communications, and training and skills development.

Teck has also been named to the Forbes list of Canada’s Best Employers for the past two years and is one of Canada’s Top Employers for Young People.

Learn more about a career with Teck here.

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