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“The smell of death”: Gulf Coast communities speak out against Japanese-backed LNG development

Oil Change International - Tue, 11/28/2023 - 05:00

As we drove by the long chain of refineries and other petrochemical facilities that surround the small town of Port Arthur, Texas, noxious fumes wafted into our truck. The residents of Port Arthur, Groves and towns along the Gulf Coast are forced to inhale polluted air day in and day out. 

“Smell that? To some people it smells like money, but it’s death to us,” said John Beard III of the Port Arthur Community Action Network. “That’s the smell of death.” 

Colleagues from Friends of the Earth Japan and I traveled to Texas and Louisiana in early November for a week-long tour, organized graciously by Texas Campaign for the Environment, to witness and learn about the impacts of LNG development on local communities. We also discussed opportunities for our Fossil Free Japan coalition to collaborate to pressure the Japanese government and corporations to stop financing fossil fuel development in the Gulf South. 


“And people fish from these waterways”

Beard’s family has a long history of fighting against LNG and petrochemical development. Their community has been battered directly both by fossil fuel development and by the intense hurricanes and drought worsened by the climate crisis. The fracking boom in the Permian basin and the lifting of the crude oil export ban in 2015 spurred massive LNG and petrochemical development along the Gulf Coast.

Communities in Port Arthur, largely communities of color, once thrived off of the rich fisheries from the lakes and waterways. However, the proliferation of LNG projects and petrochemical facilities, coupled with regulatory failure to enforce environmental standards, have allowed the fossil fuel industry to severely pollute the air and water without consequence. When there is significant water runoff during storms, petrochemical facilities dump untreated wastewater into local waterways. “And people fish from these waterways,” said Beard. 

Communities bear the brunt of the suffering, particularly in terms of their health. Residents of Port Arthur and other communities on the Gulf Coast suffer from high rates of cancer, respiratory infections and migraines. Beard personally underwent kidney dialysis as a teenager and had a kidney transplant at the age of 22. 

Water security is also an issue. Industrial water use is prioritized over the needs of local residents. Pipelines and other water-related infrastructure was developed by local governments for LNG facilities which use huge amounts of water and are charged at the same rates as residential customers. These facilities are “just big water hogs,” said  Jeffrey Jacoby of Texas Campaign for the Environment. 

Credit: Greenpeace

Five LNG terminals are currently operating along the Gulf Coast with many more planned or under construction. The Port Arthur and Golden Pass terminals are currently under construction and the nearby Sabine Pass LNG terminal, the largest in the US, has been operating since 2016. 

The Japanese government is the largest global financier of LNG export terminals, providing 50 percent of international public finance, or $39.7 billion, for LNG export capacity built from 2012-2022, as well as projects under construction or expected to be built by 2026. In the Gulf South, Japan’s export credit agencies, the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance, provided $3.7 billion in financing for the Freeport LNG terminal and $4.5 billion for Cameron LNG in 2014.  The Japanese and Korean governments are also rolling out plans to develop new ammonia and hydrogen production and export facilities globally including in Lake Charles and Corpus Christi. These projects would worsen the climate crisis and subject communities to further exploitation and harm.


Explosion at Freeport

Before dawn on June 8 last year,  an explosion at the Freeport LNG export terminal sent a fireball 450 feet in the sky and released roughly 120,000 cubic feet of LNG, methane. The force from the blast thrusted a lifeguard off of their perch and prompted a toddler wandering on the nearby beach to fall face first onto a rocky outcropping, shared Melanie Oldham and Jenny Loehr from the frontline group Better Brazoria

The explosion happened after a safety valve on a pipeline was inadvertently left closed, causing the pipe to over pressurize and burst. The $14 billion plant was completely shut down for 8 months. Investigations by the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission found that the owner Freeport LNG violated a condition of the project’s approval. Instead of having over 200 employees working onsite, FERC found that Freeport LNG, was 94 employees short. They also uncovered that workers were suffering from “operator fatigue” from working 12-hour-long shifts and other hazardous conditions. 

This is a prime example of corporations prioritizing profits over environmental protection and the well-being of people. “We face all of the dangers and risks from this project every single day and receive very few benefits,” said Oldham. “The company makes billions of dollars and couldn’t invest enough to make the plant safe.”

In 2021, Freeport LNG, led by billionaire CEO Michael Smith, made $5 million per day in tolling revenues. The company only received federal approval a few weeks ago to restart full operations, over 16 months after the accident. 

The neglect and cutting corners of the operation of the Freeport LNG facility reflects its lack of care and respect for communities neighboring the facility. After the Freeport explosion, the company failed to show up to a public hearing to share what had happened.

The town of Freeport was once a thriving community that relied on the shrimp industry, historically one of the region’s top industries. However, fisheries have declined as LNG, refineries and other petrochemical facilities were developed and degraded the environment. Freeport resident Jenny shared that her grandson recently caught a fish so damaged by pollution that its scales were falling off. 

The Port of Freeport has also spent the last 20 years purchasing properties and forcing out residents of Freeport’s historic East End, a historically black community developed during segregation. Most have been bought or forced out. Now the land they were relegated to and have built their lives around has been bought up for further expansion of the port area.


Japan’s push for Gulf Coast fossil expansion

Despite the serious health and safety concerns with the Freeport LNG terminal, Japan’s export credit insurance agency NEXI is planning to support the expansion of the Cameron LNG terminal located on Calcasieu Lake in Louisiana.  JERA, the world’s largest corporate importer of LNG, has 20-year offtake agreements with Freeport,  purchases LNG from  Cameron and Calcasieu Pass export terminals, and signed an agreement this year to offtake 1 mtpa for 20 years from the proposed Calcasieu Pass 2 LNG export terminal, which is facing strong resistance. 

Japanese companies which hold stakes in Freeport LNG (JERA – 25.7% and Osaka Gas -10.8%) suffered massive losses during the shutdown when they were forced to purchase LNG on the spot market. 

“JERA has to seriously consider whether they want to be part of a dirty, risky project,” said Oldham. 

Recently, the Japanese government announced plans with South Korea to develop a joint ammonia/hydrogen supply network supported by public finance. Co-firing of ammonia at coal power plants and hydrogen at gas plants would prolong the use of fossil fuels and delay the transition to renewable energy in Asia. Yet, Japan’s Mitsubishi Corporation signed agreements this year to develop ammonia production facilities along the Gulf in Corpus Christi and Lake Charles.


Centering profits over people

Travis Dardar stared out the window of his shrimping boat as he reminisced about his life in Calcasieu Parish before the Calcasieu Pass LNG terminal was built. Dardar started shrimping when he was six. As we traveled along the waterways towards the Gulf of Mexico, brown pelicans and dolphins traveled by our side.

Local fishermen used to catch 700,000 pounds of shrimp per year before the Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal started operating last year, said James Hiatt, founder of For a Better Bayou. So far this year, local fishermen have faced a 90% decline in shrimp catch. Fishermen have suffered from losses in crab catch as well, but no compensation has been provided. The area has been facing a serious drought and an increase in ship traffic with LNG tankers. As if on queue during our trip, a Japanese LNG tanker passed by dwarfing our shrimp boat as it traveled to fill up at the Cameron LNG export terminal.

Dardar used to live 300 feet from the proposed Calcasieu Pass 2 terminal. Once construction started, vibrations in his house would knock the pictures off his walls. His kids suffered from illness and his wife had a heart attack. “By the time they build their plants, it will be all plants and no fish. If these LNG projects are so good, why are all the fishermen on their knees and the executives’ pockets are lined with cash?”

According to research by the Louisiana Bucket Brigade, Venture Global’s Calcasieu Pass LNG export terminal violated its air pollution permits on 286 of the first 343 days it was in operation, 83% of its first year. Instead of trying to clean up its operations, Venture Global petitioned the state air quality agency to increase its allowable pollution limits. The company also received $184 million in tax exemptions for one year. Meanwhile, local communities up and down the coast suffer from lack of funding which has left business districts struggling and the schools with insufficient resources. Venture Global has plans to build the Plaquemines, Delta and Calcasieu Pass 2 LNG terminals.

“I’m disgusted they want to build two more LNG terminals here and more upstream when they can’t even follow the rules here,” said Dardar. “They don’t follow the rules or even try to and there are no consequences if they don’t. They take so much and give so little back.”

Hiatt reflected about the gorgeous wetlands surrounding us in Calcasieu parish with its cheniers and water features. “The wetlands are like a grocery store – they’ve been providing and blessing our families for generations. And they want to pave it over for fossil fuel exports to continue exploiting the land.” 

“We say we love our neighbor but we pollute nonstop and act like we can extract and exploit without end, and we can’t. We all just have one life. What are we doing if we only center profits and not people?” said Hiatt. “I just think about my children and their children and about the suffering we’re inflicting on them because we couldn’t break free from our addiction to fossil fuels.”


No more “sacrifice zones”

Over and over, frontline organizers said these areas are considered sacrifice zones. Our new report, Biden’s Fossil Fuel Fail, shows that under the Inflation Reduction Act U.S. oil and gas production will continue to grow – particullary, due to escape hatches for LNG exports and petrochemicals that disproportionately  impact communities in the Gulf South.  Dardar’s response to Japanese importers, “Don’t buy LNG. It’s not worth it. It’s like selling your soul to the devil. You don’t sacrifice someone’s life for someone else.”  

The fossil fuel industry’s egregious human rights violations of already marginalized communities in the Gulf Coast was shocking and particularly for our Japanese colleagues who assumed this wouldn’t happen in the US. They drew parallels with the environmental and social destruction caused by Japanese-financed fossil fuel projects in Indonesia and the Philippines. 

“What’s happening in the Gulf South is happening in the Global South,” said Roishetta Ozane, founder of The Vessel Project and Finance Coordinator with Texas Campaign for the Environment, during a Power Up rally in New Orleans at the close of my trip. “Corporations are extracting our resources and claiming it’s benefiting the American people. But it’s all about money and greed.” 

As I reflect on our trip, what stands out is the blatant exploitation and harm inflicted on low-income predominantly communities of color by the fossil fuel industry. 

I’m also in awe of the grace, tenacity and love of frontline community activists which powers their work to protect their communities and future generations. I am excited to partner with them and our Fossil Free Japan coalition to stop Japanese investment in these destructive projects.

“I live in St. John Baptist Parish with one of the highest rates of cancer,” said Jo Banner of the Descendants Project, an emerging organization committed to the intergenerational healing and flourishing of the Black descendant community in the Louisiana river parishes. “I am calling on financiers in Japan to stop financing devastation for our past, present and future. We don’t want to die. We need you to stop.”

Thanks to the incredible and kind organizers at Texas Campaign for the Environment, Better Brazoria, Port Arthur Community Action Network, For a Better Bayou, The Vessel Project, The Descendants Project and Louisiana Bucket Brigade for generously sharing their time, knowledge and experiences with us. Special thanks to Jeffrey Jacoby, Katherine Hahn and Trevor Carroll for coordinating and accompanying us on this trip.

The post “The smell of death”: Gulf Coast communities speak out against Japanese-backed LNG development appeared first on Oil Change International.

Australia’s largest-ever civil disobedience protest stops half a million tonnes of coal exports

Oil Change International - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 12:23
C: Rising Tide

They are calling it the largest civil disobedience climate protest in the history of Australia.

This weekend, thousands of activists, young and old, from across the country descended on the world’s largest coal port at Muloobinba (Newcastle), on Awabakal and Worimi land and water.

The organizers labeled it a family-friendly event with live music and speeches. The plan also included blockading the plant by a sea blockage by kayak, boat, or even surfboard. It was the first time a blockage was planned overnight.

The protest was a huge success. In the end, some three thousand people prevented coal ships leaving for thirty-two hours and stopped half a million tonnes of coal from being exported.

Some tweets from the action:

THE BIG MOMENT: The community flotilla launches in Muloobinba/Newcastle, Australia, to blockade the world’s largest coal port. If govts wont stop fossil fuel exports, the community will! #PeoplesBlockade #NoNewCoal #MakePollutersPay

— Leigh Ewbank (@TheRealEwbank) November 24, 2023

Incredible turnout in Newcastle at the @RisingTideAus #PeoplesBlockade which is shutting down the world’s biggest coal port!

We want #NoNewFossilFuels a just transition & new green jobs in Australia. Enough of being the world’s 3rd largest fossil fuel exporter! ???@GreenpeaceAP

— Sophie McNeill (@Sophiemcneill) November 25, 2023

We are two hours in – 32 hours actually! of no coal ships leaving Newcastle harbour – this is cop telling us we shouldn’t be on a pontoon earlier – 6 people staying staunch – over 60 arrested so far for blocking shipping channel with @RisingTideAus #PeoplesBlockade #nonewcoal

— & threds (@peacenicsta) November 26, 2023

Defending the planet through civil disobedience: the #PeoplesBlockade of the world's largest coal port, Newcastle Australia @RisingTideAus.

— David Newheiser (@dnewheiser) November 26, 2023

Amazing scenes as hundreds of vessels block off world’s biggest #coal port at #Newcastle #Australia ?@RisingTideAus? #PeoplesBlockade #NoNuCoal #StopFossilFuels #ClimateCrisis

— Wendy Bacon (@Wendy_Bacon) November 24, 2023

Over a thousand people gathered in Muloobinba/Newcastle to blockade Newcastle Port, the world's largest coal port.

— PEDESTRIAN.TV (@pedestriandaily) November 25, 2023

In total, one hundred people were arrested, including 97 year old Reverend Alan Stuart who said: “I am doing this for my grandchildren and future generations.” He became the oldest person ever to be arrested in Australia.

OMG we love you Alan?? ?

97yo Uniting Church minister Alan Stuart talks to the press after becoming the OLDEST PERSON EVER ARRESTED AND CHARGED IN AUSTRALIA at the #PeoplesBlockade, blocking coal ships at the worlds biggest coal port. Take the pledge ??

— RisingTideAustralia (@RisingTideAus) November 27, 2023

Another person protesting was Anjali Beams, a 17-year-old school student from Adelaide who said the country’s “decision-makers have consistently ignored young people’s voices.” Anjali told the BBC: “I will not be complicit in letting my future get sold away by the fossil fuel industry for their profit.”

The protestors have some prominent backers. Australian Greens leader, Adam Bandt, said he planned to be on the blockade last weekend. “Now we need to embrace the importance of protest and civil disobedience. We must come together and fight back,” he said.

There is more from Bandt on Twitter:

We spoke to @Greens leader @AdamBandt about why he thinks joining the #PeoplesBlockade of the world’s biggest coal port is so important#risingtide #greenleft #climateaction #climatejustice

— Green Left (@GreenLeftOnline) November 27, 2023

The demonstrators are demanding that our governments stop allowing new coal projects, and instead tax fossil fuel export profits at 75% to fund community and industrial transition, and pay for climate loss and damage.

You can see why the Newcastle port is being targeted. According to some estimates, coal exported through Newcastle last year was equal to 77% of all Australian domestic emissions. Australia is the fifth-biggest producer of coal.

The Japanese Government and corporate officials have been putting pressure on the Australian Government to continue exporting fossil fuels to the island nation, which imports roughly 70 of its coal from Australia and 40% of its LNG. Japan has also been lobbying Australia hard for a major new gas export development to be given so-called “special treatment” under the country’s revamped emissions reduction policy.

The blockade is taking place amid increasing alarm over the scale and pace of our climate emergency.

Earlier this month, Australia’s Climate Council outlined how climate change was affecting the country’s oceans. According to the Council, “Marine heatwaves have already caused mass deaths of key species along 45 percent of Australia’s coastline.”

The Great Barrier reef has already suffered mass bleaching four times since 2016. And “Parts of the ocean could reach a near-permanent heatwave state by the end of this century, unless urgent action is taken to reduce fossil fuel emissions.”

On a global scale, scientists have warned that we have already passed 2 degrees of warming:

I was nervous posting my graphic showing 2.01°C because breaking 2°C is a huge event and I didn't want to get it wrong.

Then @LeonSimons8 posted the one below from Nov. 17 showing 2.06°C, and it relieved 100% of the stress.

Different data sets, same result. 2°C breached.

— Prof. Eliot Jacobson (@EliotJacobson) November 19, 2023

And unless we radically reduce carbon dioxide emissions, we are increasingly looking at 3 degrees this century.

Despite our climate emergency, Australia continues to export vast amounts of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel. In December last year, the Australia Institute highlighted that the country’s coal export revenue had reached $112 billion in 2021-22, an increase on the previous year of $73b or 186 percent.

There are some small positive signs. Finally, after a lost decade, Australia is taking some steps on climate action, having passed an emissions reduction bill earlier in the year. This will compel the country’s biggest industrial polluters to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 30 percent by 2030.

So Australia’s changing climate landscape and intensifying opposition to fossil fuel exports poses huge risks to fossil fuel importers like Japan. The shifting political landscape in Australia reiterates the need for Japan to break its addiction on imported coal and shift rapidly to renewable energy instead.

Over the weekend, a message of solidarity was read out from the Fossil Free Japan Coalition. It said they “stood in solidarity” with those protesting, praising “your commitment to taking peaceful civil disobedience action for climate justice is an inspiration to us all.”

The Fossil Free Coalition added: “Together, we can work towards a fossil-free future that respects our planet, our environment, and future generations.”

The post Australia’s largest-ever civil disobedience protest stops half a million tonnes of coal exports appeared first on Oil Change International.

Gold nanoparticles create purple smoke

Mining.Com - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 05:05

Researchers at the University of Bristol have confirmed that spherical gold nanoparticles are responsible for the purple smoke that appears when fulminating gold is detonated.

With this discovery, the scientists have solved a 400-year-old alchemy puzzle.

In a recent preprint, the researchers explain that fulminating gold, which was first discovered by alchemists in the 16th century, is a mixture of a number of different compounds, with ammonia providing the majority of the material’s explosive power.

German alchemist Sebald Schwaertzer noted the unusual purple smoke given off when fulminating gold was detonated in 1585, and the material was later studied by leading figures of chemistry in the 17th and 18th centuries, including Robert Hooke and Antoine Lavoisier.

But while the chemistry of the fulminating gold recipe has been understood for centuries, the question of what produced purple smoke remained unanswered.

It was long supposed, yet previously never proven that the rich purple colour of this cloud was due to it being formed of gold nanoparticles.

“I was delighted that our team has been able to help answer this question and further our understanding of this material,” Simon Hall, senior author of the study, said in a media statement. “Our experiment involved creating fulminating gold, then detonating 5mg samples on aluminum foil by heating it. We captured the smoke using copper meshes and then analyzed the smoke sample under a transmission electron microscope.”

Sure enough, the researchers found the smoke contained spherical gold nanoparticles, confirming the theory that the gold was playing a role in the mysterious smoke.

Having solved one historic scientific puzzle, Hall and his team plan to use this methodology to study the precise nature of clouds produced by other metal fulminates such as platinum, silver, lead, and mercury, which remain an open question.

IGO backs new CEO Vella after Rio Tinto dismissal

Mining.Com - Mon, 11/27/2023 - 03:45

Australia’s lithium and nickel producer IGO (ASX: IGO) is standing by its decision to appoint Ivan Vella as its chief executive officer, after investigating the circumstances that led Rio Tinto (ASX: RIO) to fire him earlier this month.

IGO said Vella, who will assume the top job at the company on Dec. 11, did not follow all appropriate procedure in relation to confidential information under his control. It noted that, based on what is known, no information was compromised as a result of Vella’s actions.

“Throughout the recruitment process, the Board was highly impressed by the alignment of Ivan’s values with those of IGO, and his proven track record as a corporate leader,” IGO’s chair, Michael Nossal, said in the statement. “Upon reviewing the full circumstances of this recent situation, the board continues to have confidence in Ivan’s character.”

Vella has accepted accountability for the policy breach that led to his early departure from Rio Tinto, where he was the head of the aluminum division.

“But having been passionately dedicated to Rio Tinto for over 20 years of my life, I can confirm that there was no mal intent,” Vella noted.

Vella takes the reins at a time when IGO’s nickel business is reeling from the costly takeover of rival Western Areas’ nickel assets and its own Nova nickel-copper-cobalt mine, its flagship operation, depletes faster than expected.

El Salvador wants humanitarian corridor for truckers stranded in the midst of protests against Cobre Panama

Mining.Com - Sun, 11/26/2023 - 12:07

The Salvadoran Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a communiqué on Sunday asking the government of neighbouring Panama, as well as civil society leaders, to open a humanitarian corridor so that cargo truckers that have been stalled in Panama due to the ongoing protests and road closures can return home.

According to the Ministry, for over 30 days, the embassy of El Salvador in Panama has been feeding and caring for the truckers. “However, it has been impossible to find a viable solution to the situation of these drivers who are stranded in Panamanian territory,” the statement reads.

The brief closes with an appeal to the “historic relations of friendship and cooperation” between the two Central American countries to find a prompt solution to the issue.

Since mid-October, thousands of people have been protesting in different parts of Panama against the recent approval of the Cobre Panamá mining concession, owned and operated by Canada’s First Quantum Minerals (TSX: FM). 

Early this Sunday, alleged activists attacked workers leaving the mine in an incident that left about eight people injured, according to a union leader.

The land and sea protests have also blocked the delivery of crucial supplies to the mine, which forced First Quantum to halt operations again this week. 

In addition to truckers, the rallies have also affected farmers, schools, emergency services and a long list of businesses unable to keep up with activities due to a lack of staff and supplies, stranded along the many blocked routes.

Protestors claim the mining contract was fast-tracked with little public input or transparency, and say they are worried about the potential environmental impacts of the giant operation. Thus, they are asking the Laurentino Cortizo government to repeal Law 406, which governs the concession and grants First Quantum the right to mine copper for 20 years, with the option of an additional 20 years. It also guarantees a minimum annual income of $375 million to the government.

A decision on the future of the operation is expected soon, as the Supreme Court of Panama began deliberations on Friday on several constitutional challenges to the contract signed in October.’s analyses show that a ruling against the mine would have vast implications. Uncertainty around Cobre Panama has wiped about C$10 billion of First Quantum’s market value, almost 50% of it, in about a month. It could also be a blow to the Central American nation as the mine accounts for about 5% of its GDP and makes up 75% of Panama’s export of goods, supporting at least 40,000 jobs, directly and indirectly.

Cobre Panamá started commercial production in 2019, is First Quantum’s top money-maker and accounts for about 1.5% of global copper output. At full capacity, it can process 85 million tonnes of ore annually and produce more than 300,000 tonnes of copper each year. Gold, silver, and molybdenum are also recovered. 

Currently, the complex includes two open pit mines, a processing plant, two 150MW power stations and a port.

Peru suspends mining concessions in ecologically sensitive area of its northernmost department

Mining.Com - Sun, 11/26/2023 - 10:53

The Peruvian Ministry of Energy and Mines (Minem) issued a supreme decree that suspends, for 12 months, new mining petitions or concessions near the basin of the Nanay River, a tributary of the Amazon River located in the northernmost department of Loreto.

The Nanay River is part of the Allpahuayo Mishana National Reserve, an area that hosts fragile ecosystems such as the white sand rodal and chamizal forests that belong to the Napo Ecoregion and numerous species of endemic flora and fauna.

During a town hall organized in the city of Iquitos by the People’s Commission of the Congress, the ministry’s general director of mining, Jorge Enrique Soto, noted that the decision follows repeated requests from citizens, environmental and Indigenous organizations and local authorities demanding the protection of the Nanay River as it supplies fresh water to more than half a million people.

Such demands date back to mid-August, when the Geological, Mining and Metallurgical Institute (Ingemmet) granted local company Raíces Gaddaffy a 1000-hectare concession in the upper basin of the river.

The fact that legal operations were being allowed baffled people in Loreto as they have been struggling for years to get rid of illegal miners polluting the Nanay River. According to the Andean Amazon Monitoring Project (Maap), between 2022 and 2023, over 122 unregulated mining structures were located in the area. 

The recent decree, however, won’t have any retroactive effect on the concession already granted to Raíces Gaddaffy. Other mechanisms such as an appeal for protection and an administrative complaint, already introduced by a number of organizations against the company, will have to proceed in order for the concession to be reversed.

“If we allow for this activity to take place, as it’s already happening in the Nanay, the river is going to disappear and we will be condemned too. Over half a million people in Iquitos will also disappear,” José Manuyama, the environmental activist leading the actions to defend the Nanay River, said at the town hall. “As images show, the Nanay River is starting to look like the new Madre de Dios.”

Located in the Amazon Basin in the southeastern part of Peru, Madre de Dios is a protected tropical biodiversity hotspot that has been plagued with illegal river gold mining for years.

Green hydrogen, CO2 used to produce e-fuel for hard-to-electrify vehicles

Mining.Com - Sun, 11/26/2023 - 07:27

An electro-fuel aimed at vehicles that are difficult to electrify has been produced from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide.

Earlier this month, the paraffinic e-fuel was tested for the first time on a diesel-powered tractor at AGCO Power’s Linnavuori factory located in Nokia, southwestern Finland.

The E-fuel Project, led by experts at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, has combined high-temperature electrolysis, carbon capture and Fischer-Tropsch hydrocarbon synthesis to develop electro-fuel production for commercial and industrial scale.

“Using Finnish technology, we have succeeded in producing e-diesel, or electro-fuel, from green hydrogen and carbon dioxide on a pre-commercial scale. The fuel can be used to replace fossil diesel in sectors that are difficult to electrify, such as heavy road transport and shipping. It can also be used in machinery. Our next step is to obtain information on the usability of the fuel in a field test,” VTT professor Juha Lehtonen said in a media statement.

Lehtonen pointed out that the project has produced hundreds of kilograms of synthetic hydrocarbons for sustainable transport fuel. The hydrocarbons have then been refined into a drop-in paraffinic diesel at a facility owned by oil refining company Neste. The resulting product was later on tested at AGCO Power’s Linnavuori plant.

“The Valtra T235D tractor, powered by AGCO Power’s 74 LFTN diesel engine, was fuelled with the new e-diesel and, during the test drive, which lasted several hours, fuel consumption and the carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, fine particles and other substances in the exhaust emissions were measured. The e-diesel produced in the project is expected to be of high quality and meet current road diesel fuel standards,” AGCO Power’s director of engineering, Kari Aaltonen, said. “We are developing solutions for different types of machinery to meet the needs of farmers, for example with electric batteries, hydrogen, methane and methanol.”

The executive noted that sustainable fuels suitable for the current diesel engine fleet, such as drop-in e-diesel, can be blended with fossil diesel completely freely and still meet the quality requirements of paraffinic diesel prescribed by the British EN 15940 standard.

According to Päivi Aakko-Saksa, principal research scientist at VTT, based on previous experience with paraffinic fuels, the e-diesel being tested is also expected to be an environmentally friendly alternative to fossil diesel in terms of local emissions.

“By analyzing the results of the Nokia test run, we will see whether e-diesel is also an environmentally friendly alternative with regard to harmful exhaust emissions,” the expert said.

Empress Royalty buys $5m Galaxy mine gold stream

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 14:48

Canada’s Empress Royalty Corp. (TSXV: EMPR) took a $5 million gold stream on Golconda Gold’s (TSX: GG) Galaxy mine in South Africa on Friday as part of its expansion and revenue diversification strategy.

As per the agreement, Empress will receive 3.5% of payable gold production from Galaxy for the first 8,000 oz., reducing to 2% after that until 20,000 oz. — or 20 years —  is reached. The payable gold will be bought at 20% of its spot price.

The Galaxy and Princeton deposits underpin Golconda’s flagship project, presenting distinct mining prospects. Galaxy is a substantial pipe-shaped deposit with a 35-metre thickness and a 100-metre strike, suggesting deep, vertical potential for gold extraction.

In contrast, Princeton has a steep dip with a 5-metre thickness extending 300 metres in strike length, indicating a need for specialized underground mining techniques, according to the company.

Empress Royalty’s investment aims to boost the mechanized cut-and-fill mining operations, driving the mine’s expansion to increase production and enhance the long-term profitability for both Golconda and Empress.

David Talbot, a mining analyst at Red Cloud Securities, views the investment positively. He estimates a pre-tax net present value, at a 5% discount, of $10.7 million for Empress over 20 years, foreseeing a potential yearly revenue increase of up to $1.8 million.

This agreement aligns with Empress Royalty’s strategy of investing in producing precious metal mines to ensure substantial returns for its shareholders. The Galaxy mine’s expansion, facilitated by this investment, will contribute to Empress’ long-term revenue growth.

Empress and Golconda expect to complete due diligence and finalize the transaction in early 2024.

After trending down 35% over the past 12 months to a recent low at C25¢ per share, at C30¢ per share on Friday, it was up 3.5% for the day in Toronto. It recently touched a high at C44¢ per share. Empress has a market capitalization of $35.5 million ($26m).

Study points to mining conflict emerging at future salmon habits along BC-Alaska border

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 11:07

A new study has found that the retreating glaciers along the BC-Alaska border may not only provide a new frontline for mineral exploration, but also a future habitat for salmon species.

The study — led by researchers from Simon Fraser University and published in the journal Science — said the retreat of glaciers in the ice-covered transboundary region is creating thousands of kilometres of new rivers that salmon are finding.

Yet, in 25 of the 114 rivers surveyed by the study, more than half of the future salmon habitat would lie within 5 kilometres of a mining claim, which according to Jonathan Moore, the study’s lead author, shines a light on an emerging conflict.

“Climate change and other human activities are harming salmon populations in much of their range. Yet in some locations of northern BC and Alaska, glacier retreat is creating hotspots of opportunity for salmon, but also of mining pressure,” Moore said in a statement.

Moore, along with fellow SFU researcher Kara Pitman, previously mapped where and when future salmon habitat would be created with glacier retreat, but this is the first time work has been to assess the potential overlap between these areas and mineral exploration.

Researchers call for science-based policies given impacts of mining on salmon, trout

Moore also stressed that the arrival of salmon during retreating glaciers is happening in “real time.” By 2100, another 6,000 kilometres of salmon habitat will open up for pink, coho and sockeye in the prolific mining area known as the Golden Triangle.

“We have ice retreating, and right at this ice edge, we have these new ecosystems that are being born, these ecosystems that are transforming,” he said.

“And then we started to come across some quotes from mining companies saying, ‘Hey, we’re looking to the edges of glaciers for mineral deposits that haven’t ever seen the light of day in the last 15,000 or 20,000 years.’”

The study also echoed the previous calls to modernize the BC Mineral Tenure Act by including Indigenous consultation before granting mineral claims to mining companies. In September, the BC Supreme Court answered those calls and ordered the Province to modernize the Act in the next year and half.

“These changes can’t come soon enough,” says Tara Marsden, with Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs, a study co-author. “The Mineral Tenure Act not only violates Indigenous rights but also undermines stewardship of ecosystems for future generations.

British court rejects Vale’s appeal in billion-dollar action for Mariana disaster

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 09:31

A British court rejected on Friday Vale’s appeal against the inclusion of the company in a lawsuit worth at least $46 billion against Vale, Samarco and BHP due to the collapse of the Fundão dam in Mariana, Minas Gerais, in 2015.

The Court of Appeal refused the miner permission to appeal the dismissal of its challenge to the jurisdiction of the English Court.

This means that if the claimants are successful in holding BHP liable for their losses, BHP’s third party claim against Vale will proceed in the English Court, where BHP will seek to hold Vale liable for 50% or more of any damages awarded to the claimants.

The lawsuit is the largest group litigation in English legal history and involves over 700,000 victims.

The Mariana dam disaster occurred on November 5 2015, when the Fundão tailings dam at the Germano iron ore mine near Mariana, Minas Gerais, Brazil, suffered a failure, resulting in flooding that devastated downstream villages and killed 19 people.

“Yet again we see the world’s two biggest mining companies squabbling in court rather than facing up to their responsibility as owners of the mine and dam that caused Brazil’s worst-ever environmental disaster,” said Tom Goodhead, CEO at Pogust Goodhead, the legal firm that represents the victims.

“No amount of money will be enough but hiring the most expensive lawyers in the world to fight each other in court is a huge kick in the teeth for all those who are continuing to suffer on a daily basis due to this crime,” he said.

Vale said in a statement that, as a shareholder of Samarco, it understands that the solutions created by the agreements in Brazil, especially the transaction term and conduct adjustment (TTAC), are able to address the demands of the foreign process.

“It is important to clarify that the merits of this action have not yet been assessed or judged,” the miner said in a statement. “The company also reinforces its commitment to repairing the damage caused by the dam collapse, in accordance with the agreements signed with the Brazilian authorities for this purpose.”

The TTAC was signed by Samarco, its shareholders, Vale and BHP, and various public authorities in Brazil and created the Renova Foundation in 2015. According to Vale, the foundation has invested R$28.1 billion ($5.74 billion) in reparation and compensation initiatives.

Chile to invest $7 million in lithium and salt flats research

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 09:23

Chile has earmarked $7 million to invest over three years in up to ten research projects linked to lithium, including environmental and social aspects of mining the battery metal.

“The more we know about the salt flats, the communities that surround them, and the technologies for their extraction and use, the faster and easier we can move towards sustainable lithium production,” science minister Aisén Etcheverry said.

Applications for the so-called “Lithium and Salt Flat Research Rings” program have opened, and the funding will be awarded in mid-2024. Examples of potential research topics are new methods of brine extractions, reusing materials in the lithium value chain, the biodiversity of the salt flats, and the impact of lithium exploitation on the salt flats, the government said,

Chile announced in April a new national lithium strategy, which calls for public-private partnerships for future lithium projects.

Under the new business model, the state will take a controlling stake in operations considered strategically significant, while private firms will be able to retain control of projects in non-strategic areas.

The nation’s left-leaning government has vowed to be flexible when defining those categories, as it acknowledges that some salt flats are too small for the state to have a major role.

Chile is the world’s top copper producer and the second-largest producer of lithium. Both metals are considered vital commodities for the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energies.

Total reserves and resources of lithium in Chile are estimated at 14.3 million tonnes, with the Salar de Atacama being the largest lithium-producing salt flat in the county, followed by Maricunga.

Before the new lithium strategy, only SQM (NYSE: SQM) and Albemarle (NYSE: ALB) were licensed to produce lithium in Chile, and limited to only the Atacama salt flat. 

Addressing concerns

The fact that most reserves are concentrated in the dry Atacama area has prompted concerns from indigenous communities and environmental organizations about the possible effects of lithium extraction on water resources and local biodiversity.

“We have little knowledge and, therefore, a great space to contribute to our understanding of these ecosystems that are so fragile and so valuable,” environment minister Maisa Rojas said.

President Gabriel Boric’s administration wants to expand production beyond Atacama, as there are other 18 salt flats that could potentially be open to lithium mining. His government is also looking to encourage downstream investments.

Global demand for lithium, according to the Chile’s own projections, will quadruple by 2030, reaching 1.8 million tonnes. Available supply by then is expected to sit at 1.5 million tonnes. 

Chile exported $6.9 million of lithium carbonate las year, representing a 777% increase when compared to 2021, data from the country’s Central Bank shows.

Mining People: Artisanal Gold Council, Centerra, Maple Gold,  Taseko, Osisko

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 06:12
Management changes announced this week:

The Artisanal Gold Council named Douglas Kao its global operations manager.

Canterra Minerals has named Paul Moore VP exploration and David Butler exploration manager.

CMC Metals named Jose Manuel Delgado interim CFO and a director to replace Mark Luchinski.

Discovery Harbour named Clayton Fisher its new CFO and secretary.

The new COO at EMP Metals is Paul Schubach.

Alastair Brownlow left the role of CFO at Engold Mines.

Maple Gold Mines made Kiran Patankar the permanent president and CEO and gave him a seat on the board.

Martin Milette is now CFO of Quebec Rare Earth Elements.

Taseko Mines says Richard Tremblay is now COO and Terry Morris has joined the company as VP operations.

World Copper said Nolan Peterson resigned as CEO and president. He is replaced on an interim basis by company chair Hendrik van Alphen.

Board changes:

Michael Power, formerly a board member at Buchans Resources, joined the board of Canterra Minerals.

The newest director at Akwaaba Mining is Heidy Arocha Rodriguez.

Orla Mining appointed Rob Krcmarov to the board.

Patrick Galletti joined the board of Pure Energy Minerals.

Osisko Gold Royalties noted that Sean Roosen resigned his directorship.

Miroslav Reba has joined the board of Silver Valley Metals.

Your phone vibrates thanks to a platinum-based material

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 06:01

Researchers at Hamburg University of Technology have produced nanoporous platinum (np-Pt), a platinum matrix containing tiny pores to increase energy conduction, in large quantities and in a cost-efficient manner, with the goal of improving actuator materials.

Actuators are common machine components that convert energy into movement, like the muscles in the human body, vibrating elements in mobile phones or electric motors.

Ideal actuator materials need good electrochemical properties to repeatedly conduct electrical currents made of flowing electrons and excellent mechanical properties to withstand the physical stress associated with continual movement.

This is where the new np-Pt material comes in as it is made up of a random, interconnected network of very fine platinum strands, or ligaments, as small as two nanometers (10-9 m) in diameter, which create tiny pores between the strands, improving the movement of electrons or charged atoms through the material.

Importantly, the team used an efficient manufacturing method that decreased the cost associated with synthesizing a np-Pt. By decreasing the diameter of the Pt strands, both the surface-to-volume ratio and the mechanical stability of the np-Pt material go up, improving the material’s actuator performance.

Nanoporous platinum is made up of interconnected small-diameter ligaments, or strands, of platinum as small as two nanometers (10-9 m) in diameter with tiny pores in between. (Image from Energy Materials and Devices, Tsinghua University Press).

In a paper published in the journal Energy Materials and Devices, the researchers note that compared to other nanoporous metals and materials being investigated for their potential use as actuators, np-Pt is physically more robust and would likely work well as a sensor or detector material versus other nanoporous materials that are too fragile.

“The fine ligament size of np-Pt could provide an enhanced surface area which makes the material a promising… catalyst of chemical reactions as well as an actuator material,” Haonan Sun, first author of the paper, said in a media statement.

According to Sun, as a catalyst, np-Pt would speed the rate of specific chemical reactions. However, in his view, the main breakthrough in this research is that he and his team obtained bulk np-Pt by electrochemical dealloying.

“Past studies on np-Pt were all based on nanoparticles or films that were prepared using more expensive commercial Pt particles. So the easy and cheap method of dealloying increases the practicality of np-Pt and makes further research possible,” the scientist said.

Specifically, dealloying is a process of selective leaching or corrosion where one component of an alloy, or material blend, is selectively removed from the material. Before the dealloying process, the material is a uniform blend. After the selective leaching process, the more chemically active blended materials are partially removed from the material, leaving tiny pores behind.

In this case, np-Pt was manufactured by selectively leaching copper from a platinum-copper alloy (Pt15Cu85) using sulfuric acid (H2SO4). Prior to this study, np-Pt had never been manufactured in larger bulk quantities.

The research team suggests that the successful performance of bulk np-Pt serves as a model for the development of other nanoporous metals that may be investigated for their suitability as potential actuator materials, strain sensors or chemical reaction catalysts.

Panama’s top court to rule on First Quantum copper mine fate

Mining.Com - Fri, 11/24/2023 - 05:23

The Supreme Court of Panama began deliberations on Friday that will decide the fate of First Quantum Minerals’ (TSX: FM) giant Cobre Panama copper mine, the only mining operation in the Central American country.

The top court is expected to rule on several constitutional challenges to the contract signed in October between the Canadian miner and the Panamanian government, which would allow the operation to keep going for the next 20 years.

The outcome of these deliberations is being keenly watched by the global copper market, investors and Panamanians, as the whole country has been paralyzed by widespread anti-mining protests over the past weeks.

The court has not given a timeline to release the verdict, but local lawyers contacted by MINING.COM expect it to come in a matter of days.

The land and sea protests have blocked the delivery of crucial supplies to the mine, which forced First Quantum to halt operations again this week, and have also affected farmers, schools, emergency services and a long list of businesses unable to keep up activities due to lack of staff and supplies, stranded along the many blocked routes in and out the capital city.

Protestors claim the mining contract was fast-tracked with little public input or transparency. “It was published digitally, but its download was not allowed (…) We are talking about a country where 40% of the population lacks internet,” award-winning Panamanian journalist Mary Triny Sea, wrote on Friday.

Campaigners have also made corruption allegations against lawmakers and the company, which has denied any wrongdoing. 

“First Quantum has always been an advocate of Panama and its people and is committed to the rule of law with the objective to achieve benefits the country,” the company has said.

Greta and Leo chime in

As the demonstrations against the contract turned into an anti-government, end-to-all-mining movement, public figures have expressed their support for the cause.

Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio joined Panamanian activists over the weekend, sharing a video that calls for the “mega mine” to cease operations.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg took to social media to call for a verdict against Cobre Panama contract.(Image courtesy of Greta Thunberg | Instagram.)

Climate activist Greta Thunberg also took to social media. Through her official Instagram account she called the nine judges of Panama’s Supreme Court to save the Donoso forest by deeming the mine contract unconstitutional. 

Opponents say Cobre Panama is located within a key biodiversity area of global significance.

“A road built for the mine goes through the heart of the Panama Atlantic Mesoamerican Biological Corridor, which connects wildlife habitats in seven countries of Central America to southern Mexico,” Amy Upgren, director of international programs at the American Bird Conservancy said in a statement. 

“Ecological corridors are critical for animals to be able to move to find food, habitat, and mates,” she noted.

Financial implications

A ruling against the mine would have vast implications. Uncertainty around Cobre Panama has already wiped about C$10 billion of First Quantum’s market value, almost 50% of it, in about a month. It could also be a blow to the Central American nation as the mine accounts for about 5% of its GDP and makes up 75% of Panama’s export of goods, supporting at least 40,000 jobs, directly and indirectly.

Canadian miner Franco-Nevada (TSX: FNV), which has a streaming deal with First Quantum’s local unit Minera Panama, has already lowered its production outlook for the current year, due to reduced operations.

Source: Google Finance.

Cobre Panama, in production since 2019, generated 112,734 tonnes of copper in the third quarter of 2023, contributing $930 million to First Quantum’s overall third-quarter revenue of $2.02 billion.

Analysts at BMO Capital Markets believe that First Quantum is in a financial position that allows it to weather the storm in the short term.

“Under our base-case scenario which assumes Cobre Panama mine closure through 2023 year-end, First Quantum has sufficient liquidity,” BMO analyst Jackie Przybylowski wrote.

Challenges, she added, would arise if Cobre Panama remained halted for 80 days in 2024, as this would draw First Quantum’s cash down to zero at the bank’s current commodity and cash outflow assumptions. 

A closure for the first half of the year, beyond the May 2024 presidential election, would result in a $267 million cash shortfall, Przybylowski said. This estimation doesn’t including cash reserves required for working capital.

President Laurentino Cortizo would be in a tricky spot if the court rules the contract with First Quantum unconstitutional, as his government passed a bill on Nov. 2 banning all new mining concessions and extensions. That would prevent the two parties from negotiating a new deal.

Uranium sector ‘scrambling’ to fill supply gap

Mining.Com - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 16:30

The price of uranium will hit triple-digits for the first time since 2007 as nations weaning off oil and seeking energy security deplete nuclear fuel supplies, the world’s largest investment fund in the physical metal says.

The spot price for uranium should rise from $79 per lb. this week to $100 or more per lb. within a year to 18 months, John Ciampaglia, CEO of of Sprott Asset Management, which runs the Sprott Physical Uranium Trust (TSX: U.U for $US;  U.UN for $CAD), said by phone on Monday. The trust holds 62 million lb. of yellowcake uranium valued at $4.9 billion.

Global yellowcake supply might reach 145 million lb. this year or next, Ciampaglia said, citing the World Nuclear Association. But annual demand is already at 180 million lb. and the industry group expects it to nearly double to 300 million lb. by 2040. Some 60 nuclear plants are under construction globally and more are planned. Countries like Germany and Japan that considered phasing them out are reversing course.

“You’ve got an industry that’s scrambling to meet the supply requirement that’s forming and the market today is already out of balance,” Ciampaglia said in Toronto where he’s based. “Around 2030, there’s a very large supply deficit that that could play out and that’s why the price of uranium is obviously starting to move.”

The price of yellowcake, also known as triuranium octoxide or U3O8, has increased more than 50% this year. The green energy transition is gathering pace as governments from California to Europe ease aversion to nuclear power more than a decade after the Fukushima disaster. They also want reliable and independent backups to wind and solar energy grids after the war in Ukraine showed the pitfall of relying on Russian natural gas.

Stock surge

The upshot is a surge in the stocks of uranium miners and developers. Canada’s largest producer, Cameco (TSX: CCO; NYSE: CCJ), NexGen Energy (TSX: NXE; NYSE: NXE; ASX: NXG) and Uranium Energy (NYSE: UEC) are at or approaching their all-time highs. Others such as Denison Mines (TSX: DML; NYSE: DNN) and Energy Fuels (TSX: EFR; NYSE: UUUU) are building momentum, if at less historic rates.

“It’s really important because these equities, many of them are previous producers so they need to raise capital to restart mines that have been on care maintenance,” Ciampaglia said. “You’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of actually building some new mines in Canada and other places, so it’s an exciting time against a backdrop where some of the other more traditional mining sectors are not having the same kind of momentum.”

Boss Energy (ASX: BOE; US-OTC: BQSSF) is planning to restart its Honeymoon operation in South Australia before year-end; Paladin Energy (ASX: PDN) plans to reopen its Langer Heinrich mine in Namibia early next year; in Texas, EnCore Energy (TSXV: EU; NYSE-AM: EU) is on track to start output from its Rosita uranium processing plant this quarter and its Alta Mesa plant next quarter.

Uranium hotspot

Activity in northern Saskatchewan’s Athabasca uranium hotspot is intensifying. NexGen received environmental approval for its Rook I project in November, the province’s first OK for a such a project in two decades. Denison Mines released a feasibility study for its Wheeler River project before investing in junior explorer F3 Uranium’s (TSXV: FUU; US-OTC: FUUF) Patterson Lake North property.

Also, IsoEnergy (TSXV: ISO; US-OTC: ISENF) took over Consolidated Uranium (TSXV: CUR; US-OTC: CURUF) in September. Uranium Energy spent C$570 million over the past two years buying Uranium One, UEX Corp. and Rio Tinto’s (ASX: RIO) Roughrider project. Cameco and Brookfield Renewable Partners last month closed their deal to buy Westinghouse’s nuclear plant construction unit for $7.9 billion.

BMO Capital Markets picks Cameco, which led the latest round of restarts with its McArthur River mine a year ago, as the go-to stock in the sector.

“Cameco’s advantageous geographical production base, its position as the largest and most liquid uranium stock, as well as attractive earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization growth should support further upside to its stock price,” mining analyst Alexander Pearce wrote in a Nov. 8 note to clients.

Cameco closed McArthur River in 2018 because of low uranium prices and even shuttered its Cigar Lake mine, world-beating in output, for a time in 2020 because of Covid-19. Now, the metal’s decade-high price while utilities and governments pursue low-carbon nuclear power and security of supply show the sector’s changed environment, Pearce said.

2017 entry

Sanctions against Russia don’t play a large part in supply bottlenecks, Ciampaglia said. They skirt former Soviet country Kazakhstan, which produces a world-leading 45% of all uranium, although Russia itself produces about 8% of world output. However, the country accounts for about 40% of global uranium enrichment plants needed to make fuel, which is forcing the West to rapidly invest and develop its own, he said.

Goehring & Rozencwajg, a New York-based fund manager, began investing about a fifth of its $500 million in assets under management in the uranium sector in late 2017. Cameco had stated its closure plans and state-owned Kazatomprom of Kazakhstan said it would curb output.

A coup in July in Niger, which produces 4% of the metal, has prevented its output from reaching the market. The lack of supply is exacerbated by funds like Sprott that buy the physical asset and take it off the market, Goehring & Rozencwajg said in a report.

“Financial accumulation is likely to accelerate once speculators realize the small size of the market and the precarious commercial inventory situation,” the company said. “Fuel buyers feel insecure and under-covered for the first time in nearly 15 years. Although it is an opaque market, all signs point to uranium entering into a sustained and frenetic bull market.”

Sprott says it’s considering a 5% part of its fund that could be bought by, say, a utility or government, at a discount to the spot market price and actually be used in a power plant. The concept must be approved by regulators, Ciampaglia said. The firm also offers two exchange-traded funds of uranium company equities. About 80% of the trust’s investors are large institutions, hedge funds or family offices, he said.

“Our goal is to have as large a vehicle as possible, as liquid as possible so that more and more investors can participate in the sector, which is obviously going through a renewed level of interest,” the CEO said. “Most of the world is pivoting back to nuclear energy after largely ignoring it for 10 years.” 

Collective’s Apollo porphyry drill program at Guayabales hits high grade

Mining.Com - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 16:06

Collective Mining (TSXV: CNL; US-OTC: CNLMF) on Wednesday reported a fresh set of high-grade assay results from the Apollo porphyry system at the Guyabales project in Caldas, Colombia.

At Apollo, the team recorded impressive intercepts, including 130.45 metres at 2.17 grams gold-equivalent per tonne from a depth of 119.9 meters and 98.75 meters at 2.71 grams gold-equivalent from 132.35 metres, the company said in a press release.

These results stem from a short-hole drill program designed to infill the shallowest part of the system, providing data for block modelling and enhancing mineralization understanding.

Collective says the team has extended the dimensions of the Apollo system’s high-grade brecciated porphyry zone to 560 metres, previously measured at 520 metres, indicating a more extensive mineralized footprint. The company believes the system continues to offer expansion potential to the west, north, and at depth.

Collective also on Nov. 7 reported the discovery at Apollo of high-grade tungsten mineralization in its shallow portion. This tungsten, contained within the mineral scheelite, varies between 0.06% and 0.59%, averaging 0.25%.

This finding has increased the weighted average gold-equivalent grade of the drilled holes in the tungsten-rich area by 28%, to 3.67 grams gold equivalent from 2.87 grams per tonne. Given tungsten’s status as a critical global mineral, the company said this enhancement significantly boosts the project’s economic prospects.

About 3 km northeast of Apollo, the Trap target shows promising mineralization and geochemical characteristics similar to the Apollo system, Collective said.

Spanning about 2 km by 2 km, Trap notably exceeds Apollo in size. The ongoing drilling program at Trap focuses on building on the 2022 discovery hole TRC-1, which revealed significant gold-silver-copper mineralization over 102.2 metres of gold-silver-copper mineralization averaging 1.53 grams gold-equivalent per tonne.

With four rigs operational, Collective continues its 42,000-meter drilling campaign for 2023.

Upcoming results include directional drill holes at Apollo and initial findings from the Marmato Extension target, representing an additional exploration focus for Collective, alongside the drilling activities at Apollo, Plutus, and the newly started Trap drilling.

At C$4.11, Collective shares closed down 3.3% on Wednesday, having traded at C$1.90 and C$7.05 over the past 12 months. It has a market capitalization of C$249 million.

From cupcakes to diamonds — the mining stories that inspire

Mining.Com - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 15:23

In the midst of life’s everyday hustle, there are moments that shimmer with unexpected magic. I walked through my front door the other day, to the happy welcome of my 3.5-year-old daughter, a bundle of enthusiasm. “Tommy, Tommy!” She cried, as she hurried me into the kitchen, where my wife, our 2-year-old daughter, and my in-laws sat, all flushed with anticipation.

They handed me a cupcake, promising that it held the secret to our third child’s gender, catching me entirely off guard. Taking a bite, I discovered pink icing inside, and in that sweet moment, I realized I was blessed to expect another wonderful daughter.

After my visit to the Madsen gold mine in July, my 3.5-year-old became captivated by gold mining tales. While we swam together recently, she asked for another story. I made one up about a young girl who ventured into a cave in search of gold but found herself trapped. A dynamite blast set her free, revealing the richest gold vein she’d ever seen. With this newfound wealth, she surprised her dad with a new house and swimming pool. She loved the story and begged to hear it again and again.

When she was a small child, Viola MacMillan‘s brother, Joe, would regale her with vivid tales of the underground riches in the silver mine where he worked. Sadly, tragedy struck when Viola was just a teenager; the Spanish Flu claimed Joe’s life. Undaunted, Viola embarked on an audacious journey, disguising herself as a man to explore the very mine Joe had worked in. This marked the inception of her legendary career in Canadian mining.

Viola and her husband, George, transitioned into prospectors. Armed with legal acumen from her stenographer days, she adeptly drafted agreements. At the height of the Great Depression, Viola established an investment firm, financing prospectors. She eventually built ViolaMac Mines into a multi-asset producer, and amassed considerable wealth.

But Viola’s legacy extended beyond financial success. She transformed the Prospectors and Developers Association from a modest organisation into Canada’s foremost mining trade group and conference. In 1991, she became the first woman inducted into the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, leaving a major mark on the industry.

In May 1994, a young female geologist led a diamond exploration campaign in Canada’s Northwest Territories. The last drill hole of the season, with the company teetering on financial ruin, yielded an astounding 2-carat diamond glimmering in the drill-core. Eira Thomas slept with the diamond under her pillow, then flew to Vancouver to present it to her CEO. Aber Resources’ stock soon skyrocketed from mere pennies to over C$50.

Eira continued her remarkable journey, developing more diamond mines, orchestrating the sale of a Yukon gold project for C$520 million, and dedicating 17 years to serving on the board of major energy producer Suncor. She is still a prominent figure in the mining industry today.

Catherine McLeod-Seltzer found herself unexpectedly let go from a brokerage firm at the age of 32. Determined to make the most of a tight budget for Christmas gifts, she baked cookies for her family. In a twist of fate, Catherine had earned the trust of an American geologist. They joined forces to explore Peru, ultimately leading to the discovery of a major gold mine and C$1.1 billion sale in 1996, just three years after her abrupt dismissal.

Catherine McLeod-Seltzer and Eira Thomas | Photo credit: Richard Lam – BIV.

Teaming up once again in Peru with the same geologist, Catherine ventured into copper exploration, culminating in an C$840 million sale in 2007. She also collaborated with Eira Thomas to delve into the world of diamonds. Today, Catherine chairs the board of major gold producer Kinross (C$9.15 billion market cap).

At the tender age of 14, Alexandra Woodyer Sherron started cold-calling mining companies listed in the Yellow Pages. Over time, she ascended from an analyst to the position of Director Structure Finance at a prestigious mining finance house, Endeavour Financial, which raised billions for emerging miners.

Alexandra co-founded Empress Royalty Corp (TSXV:EMPR) in 2020 to assist junior companies transitioning into production and expanding production. Alexandra’s unique approach involves creating, not purchasing, royalties using her extensive experience and network. Empress (C$32 million market cap) has delivered an impressive initial rate of return averaging around 30%, emerging as a promising player in this lucrative niche.

Gina Rinehart, Australia’s wealthiest individual, assumed control of Hancock Prospecting in 1992, channelling investments into iron ore projects. Substantial mining operations were developed on her lands, reaping immense profits during the early 21st-century commodities boom, fuelled by China’s burgeoning steel industry.

Mining often transcends generations, with knowledge and passion handed down. Viola’s brother initiated her journey into mining, and Eira, Catherine, Alexandra, and Gina all had mining legends as fathers. This isn’t to diminish their individual achievements, but it underscores the role of a family background in their mining success, regardless of gender.

A stroll through the PDA conference, founded by Viola MacMillan, spotlights the ongoing male dominance in the mining game. Some have speculated that women may be too savvy and risk-averse for the industry, but change is afoot. Among my peers, Daniela Cambone is an incredible mining educator through her interviews; she sits on the ARIS Mining board. Kelly Earle played a big role in two recent mining wins (Hot Maden & Eskay Creek). And Gwen Preston is all about helping regular investors through her research. Countless brilliant women are rising through the ranks in finance, exploration and development. It’s not just about diversity; it’s about broadening the talent pool and gaining fresh perspectives. A UN study revealed that having more women on boards of directors led to 20% better outcomes.

Today, there’s a pressing demand for more women in mining, and there are compelling reasons to consider it: the financial opportunities, the sense of adventure, and the opportunity to connect with incredible people.

At bedtime, I leaned over to comfort my restless daughter. This time, I shared the enthralling story of the diamond rush in Northern Canada and Eira Thomas’s extraordinary discovery. As she began to drift off, I thought of Viola’s brother, Joe, and the profound impact stories told in youth can have.

While I may not have the power to dictate my three girls’ future careers, I’m committed to telling them stories. I’ll do my best to inspire them to become miners or pursue whatever dreams they hold dear. Because in the end, it’s the stories we share that have the potential to shape the extraordinary journeys of our loved ones.

(This article first appeared in the author’s blog)

Global gold producers’ sector credit remains stable — report

Mining.Com - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 13:00

Global gold producers’ 2023 sector credit outlook is stable, supported by healthy balance sheets and deleveraging capacity, according to a new report by Fitch Ratings.

Gold producer financial metrics remain strong for respective ratings partially driven by a period of high gold prices beginning in 2020, which drove higher shareholder returns and investment as well as stronger financial flexibility, the firm said.

Gold prices have been resilient despite raising real interest rates beginning in 2022, supported, in part, by geopolitical factors and flight-to-quality investment demand, it added.

Looking ahead, Fitch sees gold prices moderating but remaining elevated in 2024 and 2025 relative to our midcycle assumption of $1,500/ounce. Margins will be pressured given elevated costs despite cost cutting/productivity programs but should be relatively strong for respective ratings.

The full report “Global Gold Mining — Relative Credit Analysis” is available here.

Shell in Hot Water: UK High Court Greenlights Nigerian Fishermen’s Rights Case

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 12:49
The judge even called the pollution in the Niger Delta “catastrophically environmentally damaging”.

Posted By John Donovan: 23 November 2023

In a twist that’s sure to have Shell squirming, the UK High Court just ruled that Nigerian fishermen can indeed bring their human rights claims against Shell PLC to court. They’re accusing Shell of violating their right to a clean environment under Nigerian constitutional law. Yep, it’s getting real.

13,000 Fishermen Casting Their Net for Justice

The court’s decision means 13,000 fishermen from the Ogale and Bille communities in the Niger Delta are gearing up to sue. Leigh Day, their legal squad, is all set to go to bat for them.

Leigh Day’s statement last Thursday was clear: the environmental damage from oil pollution in the region is extensive. The judge even called the pollution in the Niger Delta “catastrophically environmentally damaging”.

Matthew Renshaw from Leigh Day is pumped up, saying it’s a big moment in their eight-year tussle to make Shell own up to the oil mess that’s wrecked the land.

Shell’s Side of the Story

But Shell’s playing defense. They’re arguing that the plaintiffs haven’t really nailed down the specific oil spills causing their woes. Plus, they’re pointing fingers at oil theft and criminality in the Niger Delta as the big bad pollution villains.

Shell’s stance? “Oil is being stolen on an industrial scale in the Niger Delta, and this is the major pollution source in the Bille and Ogale claims.”

Contrast with Previous Court Decisions

This High Court ruling stands in stark contrast to a UK Supreme Court decision earlier this year that booted claims against Shell over the massive 2011 Bonga oil spill, which let loose 40,000 barrels of crude oil.

Back then, nearly 28,000 Nigerian plaintiffs called the spill an “environmental catastrophe” and wanted Shell to pay up for the huge damages and losses. But no dice.

Closing Thoughts

So, it looks like Shell’s legal battles are far from over, as Nigerian fishermen are casting a wide net in their quest for environmental justice. Stay tuned as this drama unfolds in the courts!

Disclaimer: The info here is based on current news. Shell, often in the spotlight for its controversial environmental impact, and other named parties can flag any inaccuracies for a swift fix. We’re committed to accurate, reliable, and bold reporting on the actions of this infamous oil giant.

Shell in Hot Water: UK High Court Greenlights Nigerian Fishermen’s Rights Case was first posted on November 23, 2023 at 9:49 pm.
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Shell and BP’s Tightrope Walk: Plan B: Diversify or Bust

Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com - Thu, 11/23/2023 - 12:32

Posted by John Donovan: 23 November 2023

Shell and BP’s Net Zero Balancing Act: A Pricey Path to Clean Energy

Shell PLC and BP PLC might need to break their piggy banks and cough up a staggering US$35 billion yearly until 2050. Why? To keep strutting their stuff as major energy players while playing nice with the planet.

The Cost of Going Green (While Staying Black)

Here’s the deal: if these oil tycoons want to keep pumping out oil and gas but not be the bad guys of climate change, they’ve got to get serious about carbon capture and removal. The International Energy Agency (IEA) laid it out: around 60 Mt CO2 of carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS) capacity, and about 200 Mt CO2 of carbon removal capacity.

Getting to these lofty goals means shelling out (pun intended) about US$25 billion each year for the tech, plus another US$10 billion to keep their oil and gas party going.

The IEA’s not mincing words: this is a Herculean task. It’s 3.5 times what these giants have been spending annually over the past five years.

Plan B: Diversify or Bust

There’s a Plan B, though. Shell and BP could turn their attention to low-emission fuels. To stay on the net zero track and meet today’s energy hunger, they’d need over 300 gigawatts from renewables, 85 kboe/d of biofuels, and 12 billion cubic meters of low-emission hydrogen.

This route is a bit gentler on the wallet, demanding around US$20 billion a year until 2050.

By then, the script would flip: less than 10% of their capital would be in oil and gas, with the lion’s share in clean energy.

Shell and BP’s Tightrope Walk

So, Shell and BP are facing a tightrope walk: spend big to keep their oil and gas glory while greening up, or pivot hard to renewables. Either way, their bank accounts and business models are in for a wild ride towards 2050.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is based on current news and reports. Named parties are encouraged to point out any inaccuracies for prompt correction. As Shell is aware, our aim is to maintain the highest standards of accuracy, reliability and impartiality in our news coverage of the polluting ruthless oil giants.

Shell and BP’s Tightrope Walk: Plan B: Diversify or Bust was first posted on November 23, 2023 at 9:32 pm.
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